How to apply demand generation best practices to overcome common mistakes
Demand generation best practices are critical to the success of B2B marketers. However, many marketers still make mistakes that hinder their effectiveness and results; either through a lack of awareness, or because they’re seeking a short-term ‘fix’ rather than a sustainable solution. By avoiding these mistakes and adopting demand generation best practices, businesses can generate higher-quality leads that convert into customers and thereby achieve long-term, more sustainable growth.
Mistake #1: Focusing too much on lead quantity over quality.
Many marketers continue to prioritise lead volume over lead quality leading to wasted resources and poor results.
Best practice: To avoid this we need to shift from a quantity/price focus to quality/value. This entails having clarity on how data is being collected and where leads are coming from; more robust processes to track and measure conversion and attribution across channels; and ensuring inclusion of sales conversion data to understand ROI and optimise investment.
Mistake #2: Focusing on short-term results.
B2B demand generation is a long-term strategy, and companies that focus only on short-term results miss both an overall performance view (i,e, lifetime return), and on opportunities to build lasting relationships with potential customers.
Best practice: Marketers should take a more holistic approach to demand generation that considers both short-term and long-term goals in the context of a continuous, ‘always-on’ program.
Mistake #3: Being unclear on what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to.
Companies often make the mistake of not understanding their target audience, which results in ineffective messaging and a disjointed journey.
Best practice: It's important to conduct thorough research and profiling to gain insights into your target audience's pain points, challenges, and preferences; and then to have a clear and resonant value proposition that highlights why your target audience should pay attention and care about your product or service (see how to create a value proposition). This is crucial to create really compelling messaging throughout your content and across the overall customer buying journey to stimulate demand and move it forward.
Mistake #4: Ignoring the importance of customer experience.
Neglecting the customer experience in demand generation efforts can result in a negative impact on brand reputation and decreased customer loyalty.
Best practice: Demand generation is a journey, not a one-off event, and understanding and focusing on the overall customer experience across these journeys results in pre-conditioned, warmer and ultimately better converting and long-term higher-value leads. Look to build positive engagements across all customer touch points and use data-based automations to personalise journeys and move demand forward.
Mistake #5: Not leveraging multiple channels for demand generation.
Relying too heavily on a single channel for demand generation limits your reach and appeal to all potential customers. Relying on a single channel, such as email marketing, may be effective for some target audiences, but it may not appeal to others who prefer other channels of communication.
Best practice: B2B marketers should test a variety of channels - not just up-front, but on a continuous basis. Use this to determine which channels to focus on and allocate spend and resources to. Tailor messaging and content to each channel.
Mistake #6: Not measuring demand generation efforts effectively.
Failing to track and analyse demand generation efforts makes it difficult to identify what's working and what's not. Effective demand generation requires a deep understanding of the customer journey, from initial awareness to conversion and beyond. Without tracking and analysing key metrics at each stage of the journey, companies miss opportunities to optimise the customer experience and channel mix, and improve conversion rates.
Best practice: Measuring the ROI of demand generation efforts is essential for determining whether spend is generating a positive return and thereby justifying future investment. Identify and quantify the key levers in moving demand forward, and align metrics to ultimate sales conversion and customer lifetime value (LTV).
Mistake #7: Poor lead management.
Companies without a robust lead management system may lack visibility into lead behaviour, experience inefficient lead follow-up, and poor lead nurturing.
Best practice: To avoid this mistake, companies should establish a lead management system that includes lead scoring, automated lead nurturing, and streamlined lead follow-up. This system helps prioritise leads, deliver personalised content, and follow up in a timely and personalised manner to ensure potential customers are properly nurtured and engaged throughout the sales process.
Mistake #8: Not aligning sales and marketing efforts.
Sales and marketing teams need to work together to drive B2B demand generation. Companies that don't align these efforts risk losing potential customers due to fragmented messaging and poor lead nurturing. Creating demand generation campaigns that generate leads but fail to align with sales goals and objectives can result in wasted resources and missed opportunities to close deals.
Best practice: To align demand generation efforts across marketing and sales, involve all teams in campaign planning and set specific lead qualification criteria - not MQL or SQL, just QLs no matter how or where they come from.
Demand generation best practices
The above represent the primary mistakes that marketers are making in their demand generation practices, leading to poor results, inefficient spend, and lost time and resources. Taking a data-driven, holistic, customer-focused, always-on view to demand generation can go a long way to addressing these and giving businesses a super-power when it comes to ultimately driving sustainable growth.
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