3 Things Demand Gen Teams Can Learn from Sales

Guest blog post from our friends at Clearbit

A demand generation manager must meld several operational roles (marketing, automation, analytics) into one core competency—increasing conversions, and ultimately, revenue. They’re the “growth hackers” of B2B marketing, working across disciplines to solve problems.

Just as growth hackers seek the viral loops that will skyrocket their growth, demand generation teams look for opportunities to automate and systematize the customer life cycle.

In practice, that’s meant that demand generation teams have been much more similar to marketing teams than sales teams. But from tools that automate formerly clunky processes to prospecting methods, there’s quite a bit that demand generation teams could take away from the techniques that sales teams are using to great effect today.

1. Prospect like Socrates

Asking questions is the most fundamental skill that salespeople need to be great. Steli Efti at Close.io has more than a half-dozen points he asks himself when talking to a new potential buyer — if he doesn’t know the answers, he figures it out by questioning the prospect:

  • How much value can I add to this person or organization?
  • How will the value I add be quantified?
  • How important will supporting this prospect be?
  • What are their overall wants and needs for my product?
  • What size is this deal and what is their budget?
  • How much additional usage will our product see as a result?

If you don’t know all of these angles on the deal you’re trying to close, then “there are all kinds of ways” that “quoting them a price too early can backfire,” according to Steli.

Extend this logic a bit further back in the customer life cycle. Imagine if your sales reps didn’t have to think through these kinds of questions at all.

Your job in demand generation is not limited to bringing in more traffic to your website. You have to make sure you make that traffic count. To do that, you want to have a clear sense of who exactly you’re generating this demand in.

There are many ways to understand your target customer base, but the old-fashioned way is still the best and most reliable. Pick up the phone, ask questions, listen, and learn. Don’t treat the Socratic method of prospecting as a one-off process that your sales reps have to do to ink deals. Understand your potential customers, their needs, and the amount of value you can bring their organization before the sales call, and the leads you take to your sales team will blow their minds.

2. Use Tools To Reach Peak Efficiency

Smart sales teams have fully embraced automation. Those doing it right are consistently reaping great prospects and warm leads while doing a fraction of the work they used to do.

Today, sales teams with developers are going all-in on Clearbit and MadKudu, who make a series of APIs designed to generate customized lists of leads, qualify them, score them, enrich them, and send them into CRMs.

However, if you don’t have development resources, the easiest way to get started is with Clearbit Connect, a Gmail extension that works like Rapportive used to. It lets you look up the contact information for virtually any employee at any company, segment by role, and see a large swath of company information at a glance.

Here’s an example of the kind of information you can get—name, address, company, role, title, site, social following, and more all from one request:

flowc

To use Connect, just install the Chrome extension and it’ll appear as an option inside your Gmail dashboard:

Demand generation isn’t just about bringing in more leads or helping your sales team succeed—it’s about improving results at all stages of the funnel and driving growth. And there’s no better way to do that than with data.

Find your best customers. Understand who they are, inside and out. Then clone them.

3. Automate & Customize

Cold emailing may seem like a foreign concept if your job is demand generation, but with a refreshed technique it can be a hugely powerful tool for testing new markets and validating hypotheses about who your customers are.

First, you need the target markets you’re trying to reach, the roles and titles of the people that can get value out of your product, and a list of emails.

With a tool like Customer.io, you can take that information and turn it into personalized emails built on liquid tags—little snippets of code that, like variables, let you input whatever information you want.

That means rather than force yourself to rewrite new emails all the time, trying desperately to make them sound fresh, you can create personalized, evergreen emails that actually work. Here’s an example of an email that Customer.io posted on their blog:

This automated-yet-customized approach to the welcome email is how top sales teams are heating up their cold leads and optimizing their pipelines. The power of this technique is even greater, however, when taken in the broader context of a demand generation team’s job.

You’re not just going to get good click-through rates—you’re going to bring in qualified leads who understand the value of what you’re offering.

Top, Middle, And Bottom Of Funnel

Demand generation teams are responsible for one of the B2B startup’s most important objectives—growing inbound awareness, conversions, revenue, and growth.

To reach peak performance, they need to look across all departments and disciplines for the latest and greatest methods. These are three that I think are super valuable—let me know what you think in the comments below. What demand generation processes do you use at your company? What processes do you wish you used?