B2B Outreach: Why Your Sales Team Needs a Demand Centre

Modern office, with people sat at desks

Whatever vertical industry you’re in, B2B sales has changed over the last ten years. Gone are the days of an expert salesperson needing only a pen and a telephone to hit their targets - now they need carefully curated data, content support, the right technology, and a laser-focus on the right prospects to perform at their best. 

The primary driver of this change has been the availability of information - prospects have immediate access to content, and can conduct in-depth research without needing to contact a vendor. As such, sales and marketing teams need to work hard to generate their own interactions and engage potential customers. All to ensure that when the phone calls do get made - they’re effective.

To facilitate this, demand generation - a sales-focused marketing strategy - has evolved. Demand generation aims to build awareness with your target audience, by strategically positioning your brand as a thought-leader to engage both new and existing customers. This might sound simple, but demand generation is not a passive discipline - far from it. In fact, to generate significant numbers of leads requires good quality data inputs.

In this article, we’ll look at how you can empower your sales and marketing teams by implementing a demand centre to support demand generation activity. Learn the technology and techniques required to institute a demand centre, and see how it will help your team nurture curated prospect data, build a solid pipeline, and harmonise your sales and marketing team.

Demand Generation and Lead Generation

It’s a cliché, but leads are the lifeblood of any sales operation. If B2B salespeople can’t generate enough leads on their own, sales leaders can find themselves with a pipeline problem.

In an attempt to address this, sales teams turn to a mixture of channels, tools, and tactics, including Twitter, LinkedIn, website visitor identification services, and email, to name but a few. They also spend hours updating their CRM systems, with notes saying that they’ve left messages and sent emails, that they’re not sure this is the right person, that they’ve tweeted at someone, or that they haven’t been able to get hold of anyone for many weeks - They compose similar emails over and over again. And it should be said; some have great success - but this ad-hoc, manual approach to selling is resource intensive, and inefficient.

Sales People Need the Right Tools: Automation

If they could just find a way to reduce the repetition, and reach more of the right people at the right time, they could get back to spending more time making successful outbound calls, scheduling real and virtual appointments, and building relationships with customers. But how?

Technology is the first part of the answer. Salespeople will be more effective if they’re able to focus their efforts on contacts who are better qualified (i.e. those who have demonstrated some sort of intent). Marketing automation technology eliminates the need for salespeople to write and send near identical messages to large numbers of prospects, via a litany of channels. Deploying it will free up a large amount of sales time, whilst simultaneously uncovering actual leads.

Feeding the Machine and The Inbound Fallacy

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of assuming that your content will do the work for you, but with demand generation, emphasis is on the word “generation”. It’s unrealistic to expect that your demand centre will generate enough inbound interactions on it’s own, so outbound marketing is very much the engine of any demand strategy. 

Using a mix of channels, organisations must take proactive steps to put their content in the hands of prospects, and create engagement. Reputable data partners like Corpdata can help you identify relevant B2B prospects, and give you access to the carefully curated data you need to feed your campaigns. 

The Demand Centre

A demand centre is a combination of sales and marketing people, technology, and processes which together provide an operational centre from which to manage demand creation activity. It’s important to stress that it’s not a one-size-fits-all concept, but something built to support the needs of an individual business.

At its most basic, a B2B demand centre will typically feature:

  • Inside sales capability (telesales/teleprospecting) to follow up with contacts, seeking to qualify and augment them, and develop leads as they are identified.

  • A set of applications (often referred to as a technology stack) including a CRM system, social media management tool, a customer-facing content hub, and a marketing automation tool. These functions can be delivered as part of a monolithic system, or using a collection of individual apps, but they must be integrated.

  • Content expertise is critical for B2B demand generation, as we’ve covered previously, so demand centres will often create content, facilitate its creation via third parties, or partner with internal resources (such as marketing and comms teams) to do the same.

  • Marketing expertise to plan and create top-of-funnel interactions, using everything from advertising, to targeted campaigns, plus ongoing nurture programmes for existing contacts. 

The combination of these provides an effective set of skills and tools to engage prospects in a scalable way. A unified demand centre can support common objectives and targets, helping to eliminate the often-adversarial relationship between sales and marketing.

Visualising a campaign - an example

The demand centre gives sales and marketing leaders the tools they need to integrate people and process, keeping sales people talking to customers and prospects, rather than wasting time on manual tasks.

For smaller organisations, the demand centre can be a less formal concept, with resources contributed as necessary, and staff often playing multifaceted roles - for example, senior sales people might devote time to creating content, whilst marketing campaigns might be designed by senior management and orchestrated by administration staff.

For larger organisations, the demand centre can provide a backbone to marketing teams, offering frameworks for local campaigns, operational systems support, and demand generation expertise. This way of working can offer significant economies of scale, deliver brand consistency, and dramatically increase the number of sales-qualified leads (SQLs).

In Summary

A demand centre is a critical part of a modern B2B go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Implementing one improves sales and marketing outcomes. The demand centre is a manifestation of the fact that B2B outreach is a shared marketing and sales responsibility. It recognises that sales and marketing must be closely aligned, and that practitioners from both functions must contribute to demand creation - running marketing campaigns, creating content, streamlining admin, and more. 

Most importantly; if implemented effectively, the demand centre delivers better customer experiences, cuts costs, and helps salespeople to focus on high-value leads - helping them generate more revenue.

About Corpdata

For more information about Corpdata, and to learn how high quality B2B prospect data can help you meet your sales objectives, get in touch with our experts now.

See how targeted marketing campaigns can free your inside sales and marketing teams from research and data entry - to help them spend time nurturing warm leads and building great campaigns.

Call us now on 01626 777 400 or visit corpdata.co.uk for more information.

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