Demand generation is a set of strategies, activities, tools, and decisions that contribute to your revenue and profit growth. In this article, we’re discovering what is means, and how you build your demand generation engine.
- What is Demand Generation?
- Why is it important?
- What’s the difference between traditional marketing and Demand Generation?
- How can you build a Demand Generation program for your small business?
Let’s dive in!
Demand generation is the process of creating awareness and demand for your products or services. It expands your audience, generates urgency, clarifies your solution, and transforms interest into action. And it aligns 5 very important functions of your business: marketing, sales, product/service development, finance, and IT.
Why is Demand Generation important?
The most important function of any business is to create revenue. If your business is not making money, it’s not a business. While we love our hobbies, the goal of a business is to generate revenue and to do it consistently. Demand generation is focused on revenue creation and is most successful when executed through a well-planned, integrated technology stack.
So while the main goal of Demand Generation is to create revenue, the side benefit is brand building. You see, when you have a solid system for client generation, you have chosen the right tools that support your goals, and implemented the right elements of your Demand Generation Engine, you will also build a brand profitably.
What’s the difference compared to traditional marketing?
While traditional marketing often draws the line between sales and marketing, a full Demand Generation Program aligns the two. And, product development, finance, and brand.
The systems, tools, and assets used in your Demand Generation Engine are aligned with your sales team’s processes and tools, and in fact, they often are the same.
That’s why the Demand Generation Program development needs to include members of your sales, product, brand, technology, and marketing teams, to work together with the Growth Engineers who lead the Demand Generation work.
How to build it?
A full Demand Generation Program is built in stages. Depending on your current stage, you can choose to implement the right strategies and tools right now, and then improve them when you grow.
Overview of the essential elements:
- Client profile
- Lead generation
- Prospect qualification
- Sales mechanism
- Nurturing mechanism
- Content system
- Lead routing
Let’s start with the most essential: your client profile
For your Demand Engine to work, you need to decide who you want to attract. You need to know what they need, and how much they know about the problem your business is solving for them. You need to know where these people hang out, and what kind of messaging makes them raise their hands and say “oh, that’s interesting, tell me more”.
See, not “I take it”… why not? Because most often, people new to your promise and brand will not buy instantly.
Particularly, if they are hanging in a place where buying is not the INTENT (such as social media)
So, the key to understanding how to build your engine is to know:
- who do you want
- what do they want
- why do they want it
- when do they want
- what needs to happen so that they will make a buying decision
And then start building your engine that leads the person to the buying conclusion… by using the right messaging and tools.
You need to have a CRM system for this. Yes, even if you are a tiny business. This is the hub of your business, and all digitalization projects start with the selection of the hub that suits your needs.
Here’s our favorite CRM system: MailerLite. It’s very simple to use, and it’s perfect for design businesses who want a system that does what it should: increases you’re sales.
Demand Engine Elements
Now let’s dive into the elements.
Your business needs leads that can be transformed into buying customers and clients. So, one essential component is to build mechanisms that bring you leads.
You need to decide how you define a lead in your business, and what kind of a mechanism you use to attract marketing-qualified leads. This usually uses some kind of Digital Products, such as lead offers, quizzes, webinars, challenges, cheatsheets, and tools. Your Product Suite should be designed in a way that you have these assets available.
Not all leads become your customer and clients. Furthermore, through your Demand Engine, the leads need to be qualified to determine to what stage or channel they should be sent. Hence your strategy needs to define what qualifies a lead to be sent to sales, and how you trigger the sales conversations.
Also, you need to have a mechanism to disqualify leads. Some people are just not meant to work with you, or maybe they should be routed to other offers that better suit them.
You need to a have proper sales mechanism. How it looks depends a great deal on your product/service, price point, and how you have packaged your offers. But, every business needs a systematic way to turn prospects into customers and clients.
Also, you need to think about what happens after the initial sales! Will there be more sales opportunities? How do you increase the LTV? Again, this has to do with your Offer Suite design, and what your business model looks like.
Not all your leads will buy instantly. In fact, MOST of your leads won’t buy within a few days of becoming a lead. That’s why you need to have a nurturing mechanism.
This means regular communication about what you do and how you can help. To do this effectively, you need to have a plan for regular communication, often via email.
The goal of your nurturing is to make the person say “Now I get it. I need it. Let’s work together!”. To do that, you need to produce relevant content that makes them say yes to you.
And, you need to insert regular sales events to encourage the leads to qualify themselves to become prospects and clients.
Your content system is part of your nurturing mechanism, but it should also cover creating content for people who are not just yet qualified as leads. This could be regular blogging, social media, creating a weekly podcast, or a YouTube show.
This will not only attract new leads and prospective customers, potential partners, and team members to your ecosystem but also strengthens the relationship between you and your leads.
This is an operational and technical component of demand generation. When you have received a new lead, there must be a defined process that determines how and where it should be routed.
This is about identifying the system that qualifies the lead, whether it should be sent directly to sales or if it should remain in the nurturing process. This process, once defined, should be configured into the marketing automation and CRM systems.
Retention means that you keep your clients coming back to you. Getting a person to buy for the first time is the most expensive – and difficult – task in your business. Getting them to stick around and keep buying from you is way easier when you have created a great client experience.
Also, you want to get referrals from your past clients, and for that purpose, you need a referral program.
Ah, the tools! This is most likely the most difficult part of your demand generation engine, but nevertheless very important. As you might realize by now, technology is required to run a solid demand generation program. The tools you choose to implement should make the processes easier and many times – automated.
When you design your IT infrastructure, think about your future needs, not just what you need right now. Your IT toolkit needs to enable you to grow and scale, so don’t invest in tools that will not support you get to your goals.
Also, your tools need to talk to each other. This means that you can easily exchange data between the tools you use. Unfortunately, there are no tools that do everything in your business, but there are great tools that do a lot, and with a solid strategy and technical roadmap in hand, you can find the right tools for you!
Last but not least: your activities and investments need to be measured regularly. You can’t understand how your demand generation program performs unless you measure everything it does. When you know what you measure, your sales, marketing, and growth activities become an investment instead of something you dread doing.
For example, one of my clients in the design industry regularly generates leads for under €3 / piece. The leads are so good thanks to their impeccable focus on targeting the right audience and having a message that truly speaks to the audience.
And, their product is amazing.
They are turning approximately 1 out of 40 leads into a customer. Each customer’s INITIAL purchase is worth between €10-30K…
This means: they invest around €120 to get a client that generates €10-30K in revenue.
That’s an INSANE return on investment.
Would you keep investing in your Growth with numbers like this?
I bet you would 🙂
We can build your Demand Engine
We help our clients first analyze what needs to be improved, then build the right kind of Demand Engine. We implement the strategies, tools, technics, and automation, and figure out the metrics. We create SOPs and train the team members to use them. And we help our clients become smart, sophisticated buyers of technology that helps them grow and scale.
In our world, each client is different, so each plan is different, and the end results are different. And we keep them secret. If you would like to discover working with us, read more and get in touch.
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