Inbound demand generation explained

Phil Vallender avatar
Phil Vallender

Nov 30, 2021

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Inbound demand generation is a unified approach to inbound marketing and website strategy that generates awareness, traffic, leads, and crucially, opportunities in your pipeline.

Inbound marketing is an excellent way to generate traffic, leads and to grow a database of prospects that can be nurtured. But websites are where B2B opportunities are made. And an integrated approach to the strategy, structure, content, SEO, and user experience of both your inbound content and your website is needed to generate rapid and sustainable pipeline results from an inbound approach.

What is demand generation?

Definitions of demand generation differ, widely.

To some, demand generation is the top-of-the-funnel marketing activities that generate awareness of your brand, traffic to your website, and contacts in your database. To others, it's the creation of interest in a category that didn't exist before. And some believe that it's an outbound sales process aimed at setting meetings with good-fit buyers.

To us, the definition of demand generation that makes the most sense is; any set of integrated marketing activities that are intended to work across the buying journey, from top-of-the-funnel awareness and discovery through to the creation of opportunities to sell.

Inbound demand generation

Inbound demand generation is demand generation aligned to the way that modern buyer's research and buy today, supporting their preference for self-discovery, self-education, self-service, and self-qualification. And it provides them with a path to purchase that is free of friction frustration.

It is demand generation without reliance on interruptive, outbound tactics that are typical of traditional demand gen. Although it may incorporate some of these tactics at times.

Inbound demand generation gives buyers the information they seek, when and where they seek, all the way along the buying journey. It proactively puts the buyer in control of the selection process and the decision to convert into an opportunity. The effect of this is increased levels of trust and preference for your brand, which in turn increases the quality of conversions and their likelihood to close.

How to succeed with inbound demand generation

Achieving inbound demand generation success requires two core strategies to be integrated across the buyer's preferred path to purchase - an inbound marketing strategy is that effectively attracts potential buyers to you, and a website that turns interest in your offering into marketing qualified leads or opportunities in your pipeline.

These two things need to be considered holistically and integrated into a seamless customer journey from discovery to decision.

Your website performs a vital role for buyers on this journey, acting as the bottom of the lead generation funnel, and it must perform its role as well as any piece of content higher up the funnel. It must also be supported by this higher-up content - the structure, subject, and internal linking of which must all confer authority and relevance to the commercially optimised pillar pages within your site's main navigation, making them more discoverable for buyers at later stages of decision making.

The user experience, design, messaging, performance, and organisation of your site all matter too. Arriving buyers who are at later stages of the decision-making journey need to quickly and intuitively find the information that is critical to their purchase. Your conversion offers, the calls to action, and the journey that leads visitors to the information need to be clear, specific, honest, and aligned to how your buyers actually want to do business with you.

The role of sales in inbound demand gen

Sales, in one form or another, still play an important role, since many B2B opportunities can't close themselves.

In the many B2B settings where sales are complex, long, or high value, demand generation has to be well aligned with and supported by sales, so that qualified leads and opportunities are followed up effectively and revenue is realised. Although for SaaS businesses, inbound demand generation can drive the initial purchase, meaning the traditional role of personal selling may be skipped and customers handed to onboarding or success teams instead.

Why adopt inbound demand generation

Buyers increasingly demand delicious, consumer-like experiences around everything they purchase, and they want control of the process. Inbound marketing, thanks to its buyer-centric philosophy, has proven itself as an effective way to align lead generation to this. Inbound demand generation takes this approach to the next level, generating an increased pipeline for your business in a way that buyers still love.

Inbound Marketing

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