Driving growth is critical to business success. In B2B SaaS — and any industry — if you're not growing, you're losing ground. But what if you don’t know where to start?
Running an expensive ad campaign and hoping for the best is a common best attempt at demand gen. But you've been burned by the short-lived results and low ROI of this method before.
Alternatively, demand generation is a high ROI, long-term growth-driving vehicle you need to know about. Here's how to use demand gen to drive growth.
What Is Demand Generation?
Demand Generation is a data-driven marketing strategy that creates demand for your SaaS solutions. To accomplish this, you must determine the why, where, and how of the target audience's relationship to your B2B SaaS.
Why do they want it? Analytics — mixed with some common sense — tells you the goals and pain points.
Where do they look for it? It tells you the channels they frequent and sources they trust.
How do they need to get it? Demand gen focuses not only on how you initially deliver your SaaS. It cares about "how they receive it". Do they love it and tell others?
Focus on the full funnel
Demand generation seeks to align your marketing, sales, and customer support. In doing so, you create a seamless customer experience that delights customers — top to bottom, start-to-finish, a full funnel experience.
But demand gen doesn't see a funnel that ends at the bottom. It sees a cycle where the bottom of the funnel feeds the top. To accomplish this you'll focus on four demand engines.
Use all four demand engines
What's an engine do? It powers something. To get the most out of demand gen, you need to get all four engines humming in unison. This drives growth.
This engine focuses on generating awareness about the problem your SaaS solves for businesses.
This one involves engaging people who've shown interest. Start conversations and engage them in the solutions in a meaningful way.
It's critical to note that small actions lead to bigger actions. Leverage this interest to strengthen this bond. Get them to take action like following you or signing up for an email list.
After all, 79% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective distribution channel. It's important to capture demand here when possible.
What's it mean to accelerate? You want to not only fill the funnel with high-quality leads but speed the funnel up.
How? Invest in deepening and widening this connection.
Deepen the connection by providing helpful content that serves their needs and goals. Simultaneously, they're learning about your offerings and developing greater intent to buy.
Use data to know when an individual is ready to buy. Deploy automatic lead routing technology to Speed the Lead to sales and close the deal.
At the same time, widen a connection. Encourage interested people to engage with you on multiple channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, etc.). They may not even be a paying customer yet! But this both passively and directly engages other decision-makers in their company (and others).
This also widens the bond because now they're talking offline too! As a result, more people are becoming aware of the problems and entering Top of Funnel.
What do you do after you've made the sale to delight new customers? You should offer robust customer support (people and self-service) along with data-driven, automated onboarding procedures, and advocacy programs.
Marketing creates relevant content to support these efforts, thus aligning marketing and customer support.
Create content for the full funnel...for each demand engine
Each engine needs its own special type of fuel to work. Content is that fuel! But the type of content is different for each stage.
- Creating demand
- Educational problem-centered content, blog posts, infographics, long-form guides, videos.
- Capturing demand
- Content focused on solutions, eBooks, case studies, white papers, webinars, social media posts.
- Accelerating demand
- Sales enablement content, managing objections content, success stories, demos, free trials.
- Growing demand
- Onboarding emails, videos, and other guides, troubleshooting guides, self-service content, ChatBot content. Simultaneously, you're facilitating and promoting User-Generated Content (UGC), Loyalty and Advocacy programs.
Identify and Grow Key Accounts
This demand-gen customer success strategy focuses on strengthening the bond you have with high-value accounts. Your goal is to maximize customer lifetime value.
On the surface, this sounds like an account retention strategy. After all, you've heard that increasing retention by just 5% can double your revenue. Of course, retention matters.
But customer lifetime value is more than how much one business account spends in their lifetime. Keeping that company engaged in the solutions fuels all four demand generation engines.
This engagement translates to ROI. This happens in several ways, all of which you can amplify through this strategy
First, simply having a long-standing well-known and/or active customer demonstrates stability, authority, and relevance. Key accounts often have many employees who engage with you on social media.
Let them do the talking. What they say about your products will mean more than anything you ever say about it.
To employ this strategy, actively build a platform that encourages these key accounts to create user-generated content. Then, promote on social media and at various stages. At the same time, leverage their feedback to make your product, pricing strategy, features, and content better.
They'll feel heard—a very basic human need. When businesses fill this need, they strengthen the connection and turn key accounts into brand advocates. These voices drown out the competition as the advocates further drive growth.
Ready to Grow?
Real Growth drives itself — but you have to get the engines started and fueled up. As you focus on full funnel demand gen, you fuel the four engines that turn customers into advocates.
These advocates propel others faster through the funnel. They amplify results you get from your efforts, saving you time and money. Then just keep those engines running, and you have long-term, sustainable growth.
To learn more about demand generation, check out our guide to demand generation. Here, you'll learn more about how to generate the demand that drives growth.