This article helps guide you through putting in place a scalable software stack to effectively grow a lean demand generation program over time.
The success of a modern business rests on a long-term strategy to generate demand for your product or service. An effective approach focuses on far more than creating demand at the moment. It is about reaching out to people in every stage of the buyer journey, even those who are not yet aware that they will someday need what you offer.
A modern demand generation strategy is complex and involves multiple sales channels, variety of types of content, an effective sales strategy, and a robust customer service process. There is no way to properly oversee such a complex strategy without the appropriate tools to track every aspect. Also, these tools need to interact with each other, sharing critical data to ensure the correct information gets to where it is needed.
Unfortunately, there is no single software solution to handle every possible aspect of a demand generation strategy. For this type of work, you will need to create a software stack – a collection of the right software options that will work together to create a seamless workflow for your strategy.
Refining your lead generation program
The first thing to consider is the actual pieces you will need for your software stack. Every stack is different. There are now tools that may combine more than one function within one tool. There may also be certain situations that require one or more additional tools and also cases where one or more of the tools listed won’t be necessary. However, this list should give a general overview of what you will need.
1. Content Management System (CMS)
Your demand generation strategy revolves around your website. Modern business sites are more than just websites, they are content management systems designed to host and organize your marketing content and create an easy to navigate process for potential customers to learn more. Well-designed CMSs can also host specialized landing pages and feature clear calls to action designed around nurturing and conversion.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
It has been a while since customer management moved from EXCEL spreadsheets to specialized software, but now a robust CRM software is an essential part of a demand generation strategy. Excellent CRM software does more than just keep track of all the information about your potential, current, and past customers, it helps with communication and nurturing through creating and automating workflows.
3. Marketing Automation
Marketing involves more channels than ever before. Each channel has different goals and desired outcomes.Fortunately, when you combine sales and marketing software stack, you can now automate demand generation components for lead generation and customer accusation by creating workflows based on contacts, companies, deals, sales quotes show in the screenshot below.
The software can help create and automate email marketing campaigns, data hygiene, follow-up strategies, nurture campaigns among others. The screenshot below illustrates how you can have a single trigger event such as filling out a form the the basis for a new sales deal being created, assigning the pipeline and deal stage, emailing the lead across many weeks or months. This is just one example of how you can leverage workflows to augment your demand generation efforts and automation the nurturing of those qualified leads through your awareness stage and the bottom of your sales funnel.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
No demand generation strategy is complete without a plan to optimize organic web traffic through search engine optimization. Ideally, your company should be writing persona-driven blog posts that address pain points of you ideal buyer. This ensures that people looking for problems you solve find you organically through search engines. This will not only increase your website traffic, but also increase the likelihood that the reader will convert into a marketing qualified lead after readying your article.
There are many manual operations and best practices to help build SEO into everything you do with your CMS. Some CMSs also build in functionality for improving search results. However, it is also helpful to have a dedicated platform to ensure you are making the most of search.
These are just four essential components of your demand generation strategy software stack. Depending on your specific needs, other software could include a business intelligence (BI) platform, a conversational marketing tool, video hosting platform, or an analytics tool.
Lead Generation Stack Takeaways
Ensure They Will All Work Together
Once you have an understanding of the different tools, you will need in your stack, and before you start assembling those tools, it is critical to ensure they will all work together. In a perfect world, every software package could exchange data automatically.
The next best option is that pieces of the stack can quickly transfer information by exporting and importing Excel or .csv files. Without the ability to share data between software packages, you may find yourself manually reconciling data between your CRM and marketing automation email to send a nurture email or manually exporting content from your CMS for inclusion in dynamic marketing content.
Don’t Forget Scalability
As you create a software stack for your demand generation strategy, pay attention to scalability. These days all of the demand generation tactics are great, but they are just that…tactics. Most often, tactics are not aligned with your revenue goals of your demand generation program and not in all cases in support of your broader quarterly or annual demand generation KPI’s and quotas.
As your business grows, you will want to be sure you won’t outgrow the demand generation software stack chosen and need to start from scratch. It is also essential to consider that the world of marketing is always growing and changing, and you need a stack that can grow and change as well.