Sep 6, 2023

The evolution of B2B software marketing: the rise of demand generation

Simon Prince
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In the world of B2B software marketing, there has been a notable shift towards more innovative and strategic approaches. Traditional marketing strategies are giving way to a new era, where demand generation takes centre stage. So, what’s behind this rise and what is its significance in the B2B software industry.

Understanding demand generation vs. lead generation

Before delving into the importance of demand generation, it's crucial to understand the fundamental differences between demand generation and more traditional lead generation. The latter is focused on capturing contact information from potential customers who have already expressed interest. Demand generation on the other hand aims to create awareness and interest in your product or service, nurturing prospects through every stage of the buying journey.

The importance of demand generation in B2B software

So, what’s behind this growth in demand practice? Well over the last few years the B2B buyers’ journey has changed. It’s moved from a place where buyers are sold to by sales to a position where many purchases can be completed without the need for interactions with the sales team. In fact, according to Gartner, 75% of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free sales experience meaning most will complete research and trials in isolation. When you combine this with the fact the at any given time only 5% of your target audience might be in market and ready to buy you can see why demand generation is becoming favoured by those in the industry.

Demand generation strategies

Demand generation encompasses a variety of strategies, including content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, SEM, and email marketing. Unlike traditional approaches, demand generation engages potential customers with valuable content that addresses their pain points and needs. It’s design to show the target audience that your brand understands their wants and needs and is well place to deliver solutions. This approach not only builds awareness but also establishes trust and authority in the industry.

Creating lasting links

As mentioned earlier, most buyers (95%) are not in a position to buy so expecting sales to correctly identify the need and contact at the precise time a purchase decision in flow is a risky strategy. It therefore falls to marketing to ensure that the ideal customer is “touched” by the brand in some way. Ensuring the messaging reaches the broad segment in a target category will help you to connect with buyers regardless of their buying readiness. Helpful, relevant and solution led will allow audiences to form memory links with your brand, product, or service and in time build both awareness AND perhaps more importantly consideration.

A lack of prompted awareness is a more common barrier to purchase than active rejection.

Challenges and considerations

While demand generation offers a wealth of benefits, it's not without its challenges. Those responsible may grapple with issues like crafting compelling content, achieving a consistent online presence, or keeping up with rapid changes in digital marketing. Staying close to the ICP will help to ensure what you share is relevant in the world of the audience. Try to stay on top of trends, key issues, and emerging technology to give yourself the best chance of success.

Measure everything

Each organisation will mostly likely have a range of key metrics which will need to be tracked to measure performance. Ensure you include demand gen cycle length so you can test ways to shorten (or increase) the time it takes to attract, interest, and convert. What’s more, be sure to keep a close eye on the post conversion numbers. These will allow you to decide on channel optimisation, content type and much much more.

The future of demand generation in B2B software marketing

As we peer into the future, we can anticipate further advancements in demand generation. Innovations in AI and automation are poised to reshape marketing strategies. The continued integration of data analytics will enable even more precise targeting and personalisation.

In conclusion, demand generation has emerged as a transformative force in B2B software marketing. It provides a dynamic approach to engaging potential customers and overcoming the challenges faced by senior marketing managers. By adopting demand generation strategies, businesses in this industry can navigate the evolving landscape effectively.

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