February 7, 2024

How do you create a demand generation strategy?

How do you create a demand generation strategy?
The misconception in marketing nowadays is that 95% of the market is ready to buy, but in reality, it’s only 5% that is actively seeking a solution. With that in mind, it’s advisable to create a demand generation strategy to connect marketing with sales to educate a market. The goal here is to attract more highly qualified leads for your sales team. It’s time to eliminate siloed departments and let initiatives and departments work simultaneously. It will have a positive impact on your sales team as they won’t need to spend time on leads that aren’t ready to buy (yet). Furthermore, adopting a demand generation strategy will build credibility with your customers as you focus on creating valuable content that resonates with your ICPs' pains and needs. Stick around and learn how to create a demand generation strategy, how to qualify your leads, and most importantly, how to identify intent to not push your prospects away instead of connecting with them on a sustainable basis.

Decide how to qualify your leads

We won't dive into all the measurement methods out there to qualify your leads; the internet's got that covered.  

Instead, let's talk about Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Or better yet, let's just talk about SQLs and forget about MQLs.

We've been so focused on lead generation for so long that we've lost sight of the essence, which is revenue generation. So, let's redirect our efforts again towards boosting your sales by focusing on your sales qualified leads.

To support this statement, we like to refer to a statement made by Tedd Berkowitz of Gartner in 2017. Berkowitz called out the problem of scale by which the MQL-centric model is plagued. If sales targets grow by 2x, the MQL target also has to grow by 2x to keep up with sales growth.

Unfortunately, in reality, this is not a realistic scenario. Sales may bring in higher budgets, but in practice, they are not always used to double the marketing budget. As a result, marketing is forced to generate more leads at a lower cost per lead (CPL).

In consequence, your marketing department will rely on an endless stream of low-quality gated content to fill the pipeline with MQLs.

In short, it’s a painful, no-win cycle.

So, don't waste energy defining your MQLs; instead, focus on determining when someone becomes an SQL and is ready to engage with your sales reps.

It all comes down to understanding the buyer's intent

Distinguishing between MQLs and SQLs comes down to understanding buyer intent. Logically, an SQL is ready to talk to your sales reps about a possible purchase, while an MQL still needs to arrive.

Let’s take a look at the current situation and the desired situation.

  • Current situation: a prospect visits your website and downloads one of your research reports. You immediately forward those people to your sales team to contact them ASAP.
  • Desired situation: a prospect visits your website and downloads one of your ungated research reports on a top of the funnel concept. So, you keep creating helpful content and guide them through the funnel until they download your high-intent white paper that breaks down the technical side of your product.

Here's the key takeaway: not everyone who checks out your product is ready to whip out their wallet. You've got to nurture them with helpful content and guide them through the funnel until they're ready to buy.

And understanding buying intent can be complex. It’s influenced by numerous external factors. Last week, they might not have been interested at all, but today, they're all in.

So, how do you catch them at the right moment? By sharing valuable and educational content on a regular basis. This way, when your potential customers are ready to buy, your name is the first that comes to their mind.

Especially during tough economic times, don’t hit the brakes on creating content. You want to be the go-to choice when things start looking up financially for your potential buyers.

But always remember at the end of the day that you can’t force someone to buy. If your prospect feels that their freedom of choice is being threatened, they will resist. In psychology, this phenomenon is called reactance.

Reactance in marketing

Reactance is a defense shield that pops up when we feel someone is trying to push us into doing something. It's all about wanting to keep our freedom to choose.

Reactance can show up in two ways. First, it might make us flat-out reject something we feel is being forced on us. Or, it could work the other way around, making us really want something simply because it seems a bit out of reach.

So, what's the takeaway for you as an entrepreneur, sales rep, or marketer? It's a balancing act. On one hand, don't be pushy with your potential customers. On the other, try to make your product or service feel a bit exclusive. That sense of exclusivity can create a desire in your prospects, making them want it more.

How to create a demand generation strategy: step-by-step approach

In the first part of the article, we extensively discussed why creating a demand generation strategy is important and the significance of clearly understanding the buying intent of your target audience.

Next up, we're diving into the nitty-gritty: how to actually put together a demand generation strategy that'll make your company stand out as a thought leader in your market.

Remember, everyone's journey as a customer is unique - they move at their own pace and in their own way. That's why you need to use multiple channels to reach them. The big goal? To make the most of every single chance, you have to connect with your audience through your brand.

Step 1: Kick it off by bringing sales and marketing together

Here's a cool thing about demand generation: it really brings your sales and marketing teams together. Instead of everyone doing their own thing and stepping on each other's toes, they work in sync.

To achieve this, it’s important to start with a kick-off meeting where you bring sales and marketing together to get everyone on the same page. Here's what you'll want to chat about:

  • Understanding your target audience: What are the goals, obstacles, problems, and needs of your target audience?
  • Identifying Sales Qualified Leads: When does someone become a sales-qualified or marketing-qualified lead?
  • Content collaboration: What kind of content can help your sales team in their chats with potential customers?

Lastly, think about the content that will draw people in (that's your 'funnel')l. What's going to grab their attention? And what will convince them to take the leap and become customers? By working out these details, your teams will be like a well-oiled machine, all focused on one thing: turning prospects into happy customers.

Step 2: Complete the demand gen funnel

Feeling a bit lost about how to start with content marketing? Don't worry, we've got you covered with three objectives:

  • Create as many 'touchpoints' as possible. This means getting your brand out there, being seen, and staying active.
  • Know why people might buy what you’re selling, and create content that provides value around these reasons.
  • Create content tailored to your target audience. Identify the problems, questions, goals and obstacles they are dealing with.

Think of your content as the friendly guide that takes your prospects by the hand and leads them towards buying your solution. It’s also a way to keep your current customers loving your brand.

Now, the next step: what kind of content should you create? A good tip is to think about your audience in two groups: those who aren’t ready to buy yet and those who are actively looking for a solution.

Content for passive audiences that aren’t ready to buy

Your goal here is to add value. Share your insights, solve problems, and just be there in their line of sight. This way, you’ll have a better shot at being noticed and remembered.

Content for active buyers who are proactively looking for a solution

Craft content to show you are the best fit, answer questions, address objections, and foster trust. This type of content is here to put you as the favoured supplier when prospects need a solution like yours.

Step 3: Create demand

The holy grail of demand generation? It's all about, well, creating demand. Sometimes, things are more complex than they seem.

Let's break it down. The very first step in your demand generation funnel is to get noticed. How? By sharing content that not only catches your target audience's eye but actually helps them move forward.

Remember, as much as 95% of the market isn't actively looking to buy a product or service. Your mission at this stage is to shine a light on a problem or a need they might not even realize they have. It’s about making them think, “Hey, I do need this!”

So, how do you create this demand? There are two main ways:

  • Raise awareness of a problem
  • Create demand for your solution

Raise awareness

Focus on creating and distributing educational content. Make your prospect aware of a specific problem while becoming a thought leader in your market.

The content that resonates at this stage typically includes:

  • Podcasts
  • Live events/webinars
  • Videos
  • In-feed social content

Create demand for your solution

Instead of hiding your best advice behind sign-ups or gates, why not share it openly? That's right, let's talk about providing content that anyone can access anytime. This is all about giving your potential customers valuable advice and helping them find solutions.

Let your knowledge and expertise take centre stage, not just your products or services. By focusing on being genuinely helpful to your ideal customers, you're building a bond of trust with them.

Think about it like planting seeds of loyalty. When your potential customers are ready to buy, your name will pop up in their minds first.

So, what kind of content should you be sharing? Here's a quick list:

  • Blogs/articles
  • Pillar pages
  • Guides

Step 4: Identify buyer intent

Identifying buyer intent is all about identifying potential buyers who are engaged and have shown an active interest in your offering.

This is all about spotting potential customers who are not just browsing around but are seriously checking out your offerings. Maybe they're comparing options, digging deep into your content, or doing some serious online research.

Now, figuring out who's really ready to buy isn't always straightforward. At Brandsome, for example, we look at things like who's visiting our website and what they're doing there. But there are other clues too, like social media interactions and form submissions.

  • Website tracking: By keeping an eye on your website data, you can tell a lot. Look for visitors who linger on your product pages, spend time on pricing information, or sign up for demos or trials.
  • Search data: What people search for online can give you a hint about their buying intentions. For example, someone Googling “What is demand generation?” is in a different stage than someone searching for “Demand generation agencies.”
  • Content consumption: Pay attention to the type of content your prospects are into. A person who downloads a specific guide, like a checklist for setting up Reddit Ads, might be closer to buying a related course than someone who just grabs an ebook about various ad channels.

But here's the thing: even with all these tactics, it’s not always crystal clear who’s ready to make a purchase. That's why it's a good idea to have most of your content easily accessible online, both gated and ungated. This aligns with the way people like to buy these days: on their own terms when they're ready.

Step 5: Capture demand

Now it's time to hand your beloved MQLs over to sales. It’s time to focus on the 5% of the market that’s actively looking for a solution.

Let's reap the rewards of the hard work in creating awareness. Capturing demand is all about making a bold presence and laying out a clear, logical conversion path.

An effective way to realize this is by creating a content strategy focusing on buyer-intent keywords. This ensures that your commercial pages are the first thing potential buyers see when they’re ready to make a purchase.

If you are active in SaaS, learn how to grow your SaaS company through review sites such as Capterra & G2. When it comes to creating content for demand capture, review sites are textbook examples.

Add an ad strategy to your content strategy here, and you have a full-funnel strategy to create awareness for a problem or your solution to get your ICP to convert.

Other content types that capture demand are:

  • Product demo’s
  • Product guides
  • Case study’s
  • FAQ
  • Pricing page


Focus on relevance and winning trust

Now, we have tackled the complete roadmap to create an effective demand generation strategy. From understanding the real picture of the market to nurturing leads and finally handing them over to sales, we've covered the essentials to make your strategy a success.

Remember, it all starts with busting a common myth: not everyone is ready to buy right off the bat. It's about generating as many touchpoints as possible so that your target audience gets to know you, educating and guiding potential customers through valuable, accessible content. By highlighting problems they didn't know they had and showcasing your solutions, you set the stage for a deeper engagement.

Identifying buyer intent is key. Keep an eye on website interactions, search data, and content consumption patterns. This insight helps you distinguish between those just browsing and those gearing up to buy.

As you hand over the torch to your sales team, focus on that critical 5% of the market actively seeking solutions. This is where your hard work in creating awareness pays off. Leverage buyer-intent keywords, capitalize on review sites (especially if you're in SaaS), and use a variety of content types to capture demand.

In the end, your goal is to be present and helpful throughout the customer's journey, aligning your marketing efforts with their buying process. By doing so, you're not just aiming for immediate conversions; you're building lasting relationships and brand loyalty.

So, go ahead and put these strategies into action. With a thoughtful approach to demand generation, you're well on your way to becoming the first choice for your Ideal Customer Profiles. Here's to your success in this exciting and ever-evolving journey!

Related Blogs

Inspiring innovations: stay updated with our latest news and trends

March 21, 2024
What is AI Marketing? Revolutionize your marketing strategy
REad More
REad More

What is AI Marketing? Revolutionize your marketing strategy

Dive into the world of AI marketing with us as we explore not just the what and how, but also real-life examples.
March 15, 2024
Navigating the Product-Market Fit Maze: Insights and Innovations
REad More
REad More

Navigating the Product-Market Fit Maze: Insights and Innovations

Achieving PMF is the golden ticket to scaling your business (unit), innovation, product or service.
February 7, 2024
How do you create a demand generation strategy?
REad More
REad More

How do you create a demand generation strategy?

Learn how to create a demand generation strategy, how to qualify your leads, and how to identify intent.
Logo of Brandsome

Translating innovation into marketing.