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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Nov 28, 2017 9 min read

2018 Planning Tips For Demand Generation Improvement

When It Comes To B2B Demand Generation, All Demand Is Good Demand

demand generation agencyNow that Thanksgiving is behind us, blog authors like me are going to be writing tons of content to get you ready for 2018. Since I don’t want to be left behind, I have a series of articles with 2018 planning in mind. Now is the perfect time to start looking at what you’re doing, what youre planning on doing and applying some upgrades to produce better results.

Of course, you should expect a demand generation agency to provide remarkable planning tips, including recommendations that we’ve already proven to produce lift. They will be cross-functional tips, meaning not only marketing-related ideas but also sales-related, revenue-related and strategy-centric ideas. Most importantly, these 2018 planning ideas will be steeped in the science of revenue, apply a formulaic approach to driving revenue and, if executed correctly, produce a scalable, repeatable and predictable revenue machine for your business.

Here are a handful of demand generation ideas for your company to build into your 2018 plan.

Consider Going Slower To Ultimately Go Faster

Everyone wants to get started quickly. Speed is something we talk about every day with our clients. Everyone needs leads today and everyone needs revenue today. Anyone can say that and anyone can ask for that, but the reality is almost nothing produces immediate results.

Even if you start an AdWords campaign today, you won’t have a landing page, might not have an offer and won’t have an optimized campaign with the appropriate budget for a few weeks. Yet you would have been buying ads. Does that sound like the right approach? We don’t think so either.

Instead, go slower out of the gate and do you research. Create a compelling landing page and promote educational content or a compelling bottom-of-the-funnel offer (not a demo) in your ad campaign. Do some testing to see which offer produces the higher-quality leads. Remember, its not always about quantity; it should be about quality leads too.

Have Something Interesting To Say

demand generation strategyEverything you do in both marketing and sales is competing with everything else out there. Some of it is your competition, but more of it is just static. People are busy and distracted. Your message, story and what you have to say is more important than ever before. How many poorly messaged emails have you deleted today alone? Probably more than you want to say.

But what happens when you read a subject line, article or story that grabs your attention? You click, you read, you engage, and you even stop and consider your next action. This is the difference between marketing that executes and marketing that produces measurable results and drives your revenue growth.

Consider what you learned in kindergarten. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say anything at all.

Remember That Demand Comes From Current Customers Too

Most B2B demand generation agency people think demand is about new customers, but that’s only part of the puzzle. Demand can be found in your existing customer base too, and in most cases, that’s low-hanging fruit. These people already know you, they probably already like you and the reason they only bought part of what you sell is because your sales team didn’t properly diagnose their needs in the beginning. How many of you have asked your current clients, “Do you know we also do A, B and C?” Most respond with, “No, we didn’t know you also did that.”

Great demand generation also focuses on driving demand within the customer base. There’s more! Demand isn’t always about new leads, either. A lot of the demand work we do focuses on lead nurturing. How do we shorten the cycle and pull prospects down and out the bottom of the funnel faster?

There are specific demand gen campaigns and specific lead nurturing campaigns that you should be thinking about planning, building and executing in early 2018 to activate your existing leads and turn them into sales opportunities earlier than later next year.

Apply Data, Goals And Metrics-Based Reporting To Every Demand Generation Tactic

Doing campaigns for the sake of doing campaigns is an old-school mentality. Today, you want to go into every campaign with clear goals, metrics and performance expectations. These should come from historic performance plus the lift expected through the various campaign upgrades youre using, but if you don’t have historic campaign data, there are still ways to set these goals, measure against these goals and report on goals regularly.

Leverage Technology To Increase Demand Generation Results

demand generation agencyWhile you don’t need tech to improve results from demand gen campaigns, it’s best practice, and sales and marketing technology can contribute a lot of efficiencies in the execution, tracking, testing and reporting elements of the campaign.

Once you set up a campaign, tweaking it and executing it to target a different list or audience is easy. It’s also easy to adjust the message, offer or campaign content to test different campaign elements or direct it toward a different audience.

Finally, as reporting and metrics go, it’s going to be much easier to see dashboards and graphical reporting within a marketing automation product than in Excel or a spreadsheet filled with data. The key is not the data but rather using the data to uncover insights and ideas that help you make upgrades, updates and produce program performance.

We do a lot of demand gen work for a lot of clients, and what I’d like to see upgraded in 2018 is a more orchestrated approach to the entire revenue generation effort across your marketing teams and your sales teams. In a lot of cases, we see companies looking to fill gaps in their ability to execute. While we’re happy to help fill those gaps, instead of a siloed approach, a more strategic and holistic approach to demand would produce better results.

A wide variety of improvements can be delivered if we participate in the message development pre-email launch or if we create a more disruptive message and a higher-quality collection of content pieces before your account-based marketing (ABM) campaign launches. We can drive engagement and ultimately the revenue performance of all these demand programs.

The key is to start now. Planning in 2017 for campaigns that you’re going to want live in early 2018 is not a request, it’s a requirement. Jumping into execution with little or no strategy and planning always produces less-than-expected results. Make 2018 your best year by putting your best strategic foot forward. Start thinking now about what you want to say and do in 2018. 

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.