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Demand Generation Consultants vs. Inbound Marketing Companies

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Demand Generation Consultants vs. Inbound Marketing Companies — Which is More Suitable for B2B SaaS Marketing?

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Have you figured out your B2B marketing strategies yet? Or are you trying out every DIY trick in the book to see what works and ending up losing potential customers? 

According to research, 76% of B2B businesses have developed a formal marketing plan. Surprisingly, 24% of the rest don’t have a formal marketing plan.

Today, B2B companies cannot succeed without an effective marketing strategy. They must analyze their existing marketing pipelines to determine which areas need improvements. B2B businesses can engage in-house marketing teams or leverage the services of external agencies to improve their content marketing strategies and sales pipeline.

In this post, we will compare demand generation consultants vs. inbound marketing companies to find out the best strategy and relevant tactics to grow your B2B SaaS business. To do that, let’s start by defining demand generation. Then we’ll have a detailed discussion about who are demand generation consultants and how do they affect the marketing landscape for B2B companies?

In the latter half, we’ll discuss inbound marketing and its various components and highlight how inbound marketing companies differ from demand generation consultants. Let’s dig right in!

What Is Demand Generation?

Demand generation has become a buzzword among B2B marketers. There are many different interpretations of demand generation. However, the core aspect of demand generation is to get people interested in your company’s products and services by employing various marketing techniques. Modern B2B marketers track multiple data touchpoints to evaluate their demand generation programs and improve existing pipelines and achieve B2B business goals.

One of the most accurate definitions of demand generation is given by Gartner, which states that:

“Demand generation is a data-driven marketing strategy focused on driving awareness and interest in an organization’s products and services, with the ultimate goal of developing long-term customer engagement.”

While Hubspot defines demand generation as:

“Demand generation is how your business reaches new markets and gets audiences excited about what you have to offer. The process helps you increase brand awareness, educates audiences, and generates trust.”

Who Are Demand Generation Consultants?

A demand generation consultant is someone who helps B2B companies improve brand awareness and interest through various marketing and content distribution channels. Larger organizations may employ them as part of their in-house team or be contractually outsourced to marketing agencies. Moreover, demand generation consultants can work independently as freelancers.

A demand generation consultant’s job is to help businesses grow organically and develop long-term relationships with potential customers. They employ various marketing tactics to present a B2B company’s products and services in front of larger audiences. Their goal is to identify and inform the prospects about the problems they are facing and present a possible solution to their issues.

Demand generation consultants build trust among the audience and establish brand authority. Their job is to position the relevant B2B companies as thought leaders in their domain by educating potential customers using free resources.

In fact, 52% of B2B buyers are more confident in buying from a brand if they’ve read relevant content published by the B2B company. They create and provide a constant source of free resources to answer questions that potential customers might have.

Demand generation consultants define buyer personas and develop personalized content to target specific audiences. They distribute content using omnichannel marketing to deliver the same user experience across all platforms. They measure the performance of demand generation tactics using data-driven techniques to make an informed decision about improving the demand generation campaign.

Demand generation is often interchangeably used with lead generation. In the next section, we’ll try to differentiate the two.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

Demand generation and lead generation are two different marketing strategies. They both have their purposes, but they complement each other and should be used together to maximize marketing outcomes. Let’s see how they differ from one another.

Demand generation focuses on creating brand awareness and interest, building relationships, and educating prospects about your company’s products and services. Demand generation techniques are meant to generate new sales opportunities by penetrating new audiences.

Relevant demand generation activities occur at the top of the B2B sales and marketing funnel when the prospects become interested in exploring your product and services. In order to do that, demand generation teams create and distribute large amounts of content across channels.

Lead generation is often termed as a subset of demand generation. It is usually the next stage in the B2B sales and marketing funnel, where the interested audience is converted into qualified leads with a focus on closing deals.

At this stage, the prospects share their personal contact information like phone numbers or email addresses to learn more about the company’s products and services which they believe can solve their problems, thanks to effective demand generation efforts. Here, the leads are nurtured by offering them trials, demos, and gated resources that help them make a purchase decision. Lead generation activities highlight the benefits of your business offerings against competitors.

In conclusion, if a B2B company is not generating enough leads, it is probably because of its ineffective demand generation approach, resulting in cost-inefficient lead generation activities with low conversion rates. Moreover, an imbalanced demand generation and lead generation strategy misaligns the targets for sales and marketing teams, resulting in unsatisfied customers.

10 Demand Generation Strategies Used By Demand Generation Consultants to Grow B2B SaaS Businesses

The global economy is in a state of flux. The current economic environment has led many B2B businesses to rethink their strategies and business models while others struggle to survive. In this turbulent time, it is important for companies to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changes to succeed.

Demand generation consultants employ and adopt various strategies to achieve marketing goals and ensure business success. If properly executed, the following demand generation strategies can help B2B businesses grow during these uncertain times. 

1) Identify Buyer Intent

Buyers don’t always buy what you’re selling. They may need some convincing before they make a buying decision. This is why it is essential to understand buyer intent and identify the right buyers who will benefit most from your products and services.

To determine buyer intent, demand generation consultants try to figure out the following:

  • Who are ideal customers for the relevant B2B products and services?
  • What problems does the target audience have?
  • How can the relevant B2B company address consumer pain points?
  • Why should the target audience choose the relevant B2B company over other companies?

Once the demand generation consultants have identified buyer intent with relevant buyer personas, they can develop targeted messaging and content that resonates with each one, giving marketers a competitive advantage. In fact, 97% of B2B marketers think that buyer intent data gives B2B companies a competitive advantage.

2) Publish High-Quality Informational Content

Content marketing is key to successful demand generation. That includes text, audio, and video content. When done correctly, content marketing helps attract new audiences through effective search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and influencer outreach campaigns.

For example, when publishing informational content on blogs, eBooks, infographics, webinars, demand generation consultants focus on creating high-quality content that answers questions and solves problems for potential buyers. To do so, they use data analytics tools to find the most popular topics among their target audiences, then create informative content around those topics.

Moreover, demand generation consultants use video marketing to publish informational content. It is reported that 82.8 percent of internet users view digital videos at least once per month. So video-based content is highly effective in attracting new audiences. In fact, 31 percent of marketers use video messaging to nurture marketing campaigns. In the coming years, we can see this number increase as videos have become an important part of modern marketing pipelines.

Additionally, the demand generation consultants prepare and distribute some free reports, whitepapers, e-books, and guides that attract attention. When you share some freebies, you will gain many followers, eventually generating more leads.

3) Use Content Syndication Techniques

Content syndication is another powerful way to attract potential customers. This technique involves republishing the same content across multiple channels such as websites, email newsletters, blog posts, etc.

The objective of syndicating content is to drive traffic to specific landing pages where potential buyers can contact the relevant B2B companies. For instance, if a website has published a blog post about a particular topic, demand generation consultants can share the same article via email or social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, to drive more traffic to the original blog post.

B2B marketers and demand generation consultants usually republish best-performing content on bigger or high-domain authority third-party websites that allow content syndication. Content syndication increases backlinks by adding canonical links to these third-party websites. Demand generation consultants work with big publishers and use the publishers’ syndication network to expand their content reach, resulting in business growth.

4) Use Marketing Workflow Automation Software

B2B demand generation consultants use various marketing workflow automation software and tools to streamline content production and management. These tools allow them to automate repetitive tasks and save time. There are many workflow automation software available today. Some of these include Hubspot, Marketo, Salesforce, Zoho, Active Campaign.

Hubspot defines workflow automation as:

“Workflow automation is the process of using rule-based logic to launch a series of tasks that run on their own without any human intervention. After you establish the rules and logic, automated workflows can send emails, set up reminders, schedule tasks, trigger drip campaigns, and more — all without anyone in your team touching a single button.”

Some workflow automation examples include welcoming new users, sending reminders and notifications, assigning team tasks, scheduling posts and content while also distributing content. Workflow automation tools allow demand generation consultants to grow and scale marketing strategies very quickly, given they’re scaling things that are working on a small scale.

5) Use Niche Targeting to Improve ROAS

When it comes to attracting the right audience, demand generation consultants must be able to reach out to potential buyers who fit into specific categories. The best way to do this is niche targeting.

Niche targeting allows demand generation consultants to segment potential buyers based on their industry, job title, company size, geographic location, demographic data, psychographic data, etc. Then, they can send targeted messages to each group separately.

Usually, niche market consumers have specific needs that are different from the general audience. For instance, a skincare niche market consumer would prefer a skincare product that is well suited for their skin type as opposed to using a general-purpose product. Once a niche audience is identified, it is easier to target them via personalized ad campaigns that result in optimal ad spending. Personalized content creation gives your brand a human touch and can really elevate your inbound marketing effort to a new level. A report from Salesforce suggests that 52% of consumers may switch brands if they were not receiving custom messages and content.

6) Use Account Based Marketing (ABM) for B2B SaaS to understand and predict user intent

Account-based marketing is a type of B2B demand generation strategy that focuses on identifying high-value prospects and engaging with them to convert them into high-paying customers. ABM is an effective strategy to improve marketing ROI and generate more revenue.

HubSpot defines account-based marketing as:

“Account-based marketing (ABM) is a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.”

Running a successful ABM strategy involves many steps. This includes discovering high-value accounts, identifying key stakeholders, developing personalized content touches, distributing content via appropriate marketing channels like targeted display or using marketing automation tools, executing targeted search and display or non-digital campaigns, measuring and refining strategy based on your set KPIs. KPIs are not necessary metric based, but could be focused around moving accounts from one state to the next or engaging multiple contacts within one organization.

Performance Marketing strategies and tactics would often be used by a savvy digital marketing agency that uses search engine marketing to support your inbound marketing campaign efforts. This is usually done as a critical part of your demand generation efforts to support ABM initiatives.

A savvy inbound agency that understands how inbound and ABM can work together would frequently use SEO, geo-targeted display ads to help you connect the dots between your inbound methodology and ABM. Once a solid demand generation strategy is in place, a digital agency can help you focus on sales and marketing alignment to support your sales enablement team in pursuing the best accounts with the highest engagement.

It is highly recommended that you use an inbound marketing service from the highest rated or the best inbound marketing company on an agency marketplace. Check that their pricing fits your budget and that their web design or seo service aligns with your business outcomes, instead of doing it yourself. Time and time again we hear from every client that they wasted a lot of time and effort trying to get it off the ground, only to become overwhelmed and frustrated at the complexities involved in the overall digital marketing strategy. Using an inbound marketing agency that offers inbound marketing services is a really good place to start, especially if your budget is on a smaller side, because it can help you build a long sustainable pipeline for your B2B SaaS.

7) Use Event Marketing or Trade Shows + ABM Effectively

Event marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience in person. It’s also known as experiential marketing because you give people something tangible (e.g., physical presence, panel discussion, live demos, Q&A session, free food, VIP giveaways, contests,) instead of just sending emails and text messages.

For instance, if a B2B business wants to attract new clients, the demand generation consultant would organize a networking event where B2B owners get to meet prospective clients face to face. B2B marketers fix a sizable marketing budget for event marketing activities. In fact, a Forrester report showed that CMOs allocate 24% of marketing budget towards live events.

B2B companies can either attend or host events. A demand generation consultant would develop a comprehensive event marketing strategy and book all events beforehand. B2B companies generally participate by exhibiting (setting up a booth) at an event, hosting or attending VIP dinners, attending conferences, or hosting roadshows.  

8) Develop a Comprehensive Social Media Strategy

By 2025 almost 4.41 billion people are expected to use social media, compared to over 3.6 billion people in 2021. Report suggests that 84% of B2B executives make purchasing decisions using social media. To build trust with the target markets, B2B companies must develop a strong social media presence

Demand generation consultants can create strong professional profiles on popular social media sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, on behalf of their B2B clients. They are responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date information about the company so that visitors can learn more about the business and its products.

Demand generation consultants can engage with the audience using comments and live streams to increase their interest. They can establish their B2B clients as thought leaders by promoting informational content and business insights. Based on the social media sentiment about the company’s products and services, the consultants can help B2B owners make informed decisions.

9) Collaborate With Influencers

Influencers are those individuals who have large followings on social media. They are often considered opinion leaders who can endorse or recommend products to their followers. By the end of 2022, B2B influencer marketing is expected to generate $11.7 billion in revenue, and a report suggests that 38% of B2B companies are exploring influencer marketing to include it in their marketing pipeline.

Demand generation consultants can find authentic and relevant influencers in their domain. They can ask them to review their B2B products or services. Influencer collaboration creates a targeted customer base for your product. Moreover, influencers can become brand ambassadors. Having a known face attached to your products can be an effective strategy to attract prospects.  

10) Use Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach customers. By 2027, the global email marketing ecosystem is expected to grow to $17.9 billion, compared to $7.5 billion in 2020. Marketers receive $42 for every $1 they spend on email marketing. So, it is highly effective in attracting prospects, generating leads, and increasing sales. In fact, emails have an open rate of 22.86 percent out of the 85 percent of people they reach, with a click-through rate of 3.71 percent.

Demand generation consultants can set up an email marketing pipeline to reach a broader audience. For instance, they can send bulk emails to the list of potential customers automatically. This usually involves sending a weekly or monthly newsletter. In fact, 81% of B2B marketers consider newsletters necessary for effective content marketing. Or they can send personalized emails based on user interest. They can also collect product feedback and get the consumers to fill out surveys.

Bonus Strategy – Use Webinars, Demos, and Podcasts to Engage Prospects

People love to listen and watch what they are interested in. Podcasts and webinars are another great way to connect with your audience. People can listen to podcasts while commuting, working out, cooking. In fact, about 71.1% of internet users listen to audio at least once a month. This can be a great tool to generate awareness and share thought leadership across the web. 

Demand generation consultants can take advantage of this trend and create a podcast to help the B2B company grow. Similarly, webinars are used in 48% of nurture campaigns. B2B consultants can organize webinars with company experts where the audience can interact with them and familiarize themselves with the company’s offerings. Additionally, the team can develop product demos, and the demand generation consultants can distribute them to the audience.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing builds meaningful and lasting relationships with the audience and tries to convert them into loyal customers. It’s an approach to marketing that emphasizes the quality of your content over quantity. This means that the business creates valuable information for people.

Forbes formally defines inbound marketing as:

Inbound marketing is a digital marketing strategy that guides consumers to your company when they are looking for solutions to a problem. It refers to a technique of drawing customers to a product through a balance of content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and branding.

Inbound marketing aims to attract, engage, and delight the audience. First, the people are drawn in by valuable content. Then, the audience is presented with solutions that directly align with their pain points. Finally, when the company has built enough trust with the audience, the audience is compelled to buy products from the company and become loyal customers.

Inbound marketing is effective because the goal is not to sell company products. It is to educate and entertain the audience so that they feel welcome and explore products further. During the entire marketing cycle, the customers are in the driver’s seat, and the car stops right at your company’s doorstep.

What are Inbound Marketing Companies?

Now that we understand what demand generation consultants do, let’s talk about what inbound marketing companies offer.

Inbound marketing companies focus more on generating leads by putting content in front of prospects. They put resources into improving the user experience so that prospects end up converting into valuable leads and, eventually, customers. Inbound marketing companies have well-trained and experienced resources specializing in implementing inbound marketing strategies.

An inbound marketing company‘s main concern is increasing the overall traffic to the B2B company’s products and services. It can quickly scale marketing activities as per the B2B company’s requirements.

As a result of successful inbound marketing campaigns, inbound marketing companies can increase loyalty and trust between the company and the customer.

What is the Relationship Between Inbound Marketing and Demand Generation?

As mentioned above, demand generation lives at the top of the digital marketing funnel, where the goal is to increase brand awareness and interest. Demand generation converts the audience into prospects. Inbound marketing comes next in the marketing funnel, where the goal is to convert prospects into leads.  

Inbound marketing helps generate leads for B2B SaaS companies by engaging with prospects developed as a result of demand generation activities. Once the B2B business has built trust among the prospects, they can start selling them products and services. If you are looking to improve your B2B marketing pipeline, both inbound marketing and demand generation must work simultaneously. The more prospects developed during demand generation, the more chances there are to convert them into leads during inbound marketing.

Demand generation encompasses the entire buyer journey, and inbound marketing is a part of that journey. In demand generation, the goal is to approach people who might not be looking for your solution and get them interested by appealing to their pain points. However, an inbound strategy is more marketing-centric, where the audience is already interested in exploring your solution further.

In the next section, we’ll briefly talk about the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing because these terms are often used together, and it is important to highlight the differences in both marketing strategies.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing” and “inbound marketing” are terms that have been thrown around the internet for years now. They refer to two different ways of attracting customers, but they also represent a fundamental shift in how businesses market themselves.

Inbound marketing is all about getting people to find you. It’s about creating content that naturally attracts customers. And it’s about using social media and other channels to get your message in front of the right audience at the right time.

Outbound marketing is the practice of sending a message to an audience with the purpose of influencing them to take some kind of action. It can be done through traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, and radio, or it can be done online using websites.

Choosing a specific type of marketing strategy can be difficult, especially when you have a limited budget and time frame to focus on your business. However, it is always better to develop a balanced marketing strategy that involves all components while improving and optimizing it frequently.

8 Proven Inbound Marketing Strategies Used By The Best Inbound Marketing Agencies to Grow B2B SaaS Businesses

If you’re a business owner, you know how important it is to have an effective inbound marketing strategy. One thing that many B2B businesses overlook when they develop their inbound marketing strategy is the fact that not all companies are created equal. Many inbound marketing strategies are also overlapping with demand generation activities. Overall, it is not necessary that what works for one company may work for another.

Many B2B businesses end up creating generic landing pages and hoping to get lucky with SEO. However, if you want to see real results from your efforts, you can follow these inbound marketing strategies.

1) Create Target Buyer Persona to reach a potential customer

Target personas are a way to understand your customers’ needs and how you can best meet those needs. They help you identify who is buying what, where they are in their decision process and why they buy from you. It’ll also help you create content that will resonate with your target audience. Remember content creation is at the heart of your digital marketing strategy so be sure to align it with your perfect ICP or buyer persona.

Just like in demand generation, inbound marketing companies can identify user intent and build personas for potential prospects. In inbound marketing, we can create target personas for leads that can be converted into paying customers with an effective targeted approach.

2) Survey Your Client Roaster & Target Customers

Inbound marketing companies can survey prospects and existing customers to incorporate their feedback in future inbound marketing campaigns and help B2B companies improve their products based on their feedback.

For instance, customers may report that the existing customer support journey can be improved, which is important because 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Inbound marketing companies can report this feedback to the customer support team to help them improve their processes, eventually increasing business ROI.

3) Conduct Interviews

Inbound marketing companies can conduct interviews with various prospects and existing customers to understand the buyer journey and related issues. Once they understand the buyer journey, they can identify any loopholes in it and refine their strategies, resulting in converting more leads.

4) Create and Share Content With a More Visual Appeal

High-quality content creation and publishing is the most important activity in the inbound marketing pipeline. Here, the idea is to develop content that convinces the prospects about the advantages of using the particular B2B product. To do that, inbound marketing companies can spend extra effort on generating visually appealing content, attracting more prospects, and converting more leads.  

5) Use Guest Posting Services

Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to get B2B products noticed by search engines, eventually the audience. It’s also an excellent way to build relationships with other bloggers and website owners, leading to more traffic and sales for your B2B company.

Inbound marketing companies have experienced writers who can write compelling content and publish them as guest posts on external websites which link back to your company’s products. For instance, many B2B CEOs (or inbound marketing companies on their behalf) write thought leadership articles on Forbes which links back to their company.

6) SEO for B2B SaaS

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for B2B SaaS is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engines. SEO aims to make sure that your site appears on the first page of Google, Bing, and other major search engines. According to a report, 70% of participants stated that SEO is more effective in generating sales than PPC. And, 71% of marketers report that using strategic keywords was their top priority for an effective SEO strategy.

Inbound marketing companies have SEO experts who can perform comprehensive keyword research and optimize B2B content on all platforms, such as web and mobile.

7) Build Backlinks

It’s no secret that backlinks are the lifeblood of any website. They’re what makes your site rank on Google, and it’s also how you can get traffic to your site. But while it’s true that building links is essential for ranking well on search engines, there’s a lot more to link building than just creating lots of links.

Good content marketing will always be better at getting you quality links, but if you don’t have great content, you won’t see much success with link building. Inbound marketing companies develop high-quality content which automatically attracts backlinks.

8) Test and Refine Your B2B Inbound Marketing Pipeline

The best long-term marketing services are those that can help you build a solid relationship with your customers. This is the most effective way to get them to buy from you again and again. To do that, inbound marketing companies must perform extensive A/B testing to refine their campaigns.

For instance, inbound marketing companies can help B2B companies set up email marketing campaigns. They have expert resources who can write email copy that attracts customers. They can develop a long-term email marketing plan and automate pipelines to reduce marketing costs. They can analyze the performance of their campaigns to figure out what works and align future campaigns accordingly. 

How Can B2B Companies Hire The Best Demand Generation Consultants or Inbound Marketing Companies?

If you want to hire a demand generation consultant or an inbound marketing company, there are a few things that you should consider before making any decision. These steps will keep you away from making mistakes during the hiring process.

  1. Check out reviews about them online like on social media
  2. Get references from previous clients 
  3. Look at their portfolio, skills, and experience and make sure that it aligns with your business requirements
  4. Look at their pricing structure and make sure that you are comfortable with it
  5. Make sure that they follow what’s outlined in the contract when negotiating contracts

The Collective Benefits of Using Demand Generation and Lead Generation

The B2B SaaS market has changed rapidly over the past few years. It’s a lot more competitive than ever before. A report suggests that 35 percent of marketers struggle to keep their brand relevant, and the same percentage find it difficult to manage their brand globally. To succeed in this environment, B2B SaaS companies must adapt quickly. One of the best B2B marketing approaches is to develop a balanced demand generation and lead generation pipeline that leads to desired business results. It presents the following benefits:

1) Increases overall marketing efficiency

2) Increases customer engagement and targets the right customers to deliver personalized experiences

3) Improves brand authority, recognition, and awareness

4) Aligns sales and marketing efforts

5) Reduces customer acquisition cost and increases ROI

If you are still unsure about developing your B2B SaaS marketing strategy, reach out to Algocentric Digital Consultancy. Our team offers AI-powered and value-driven marketing services to accelerate your B2B SaaS business progress faster.

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