What is B2B Demand Generation? The Complete Guide (Definition, Strategies, Examples & More)

Nidhi Kala
min read
August 10, 2023

If generating demand for your company’s products is making your job terrible for you, you have our back. 

Let us tell you: it’s not about your job but the right direction you’re missing out on.

You’re clearly missing out on the right execution. On leveraging the right strategies.

Buy hey, we told you..You have us. 🙂

In this article, we’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of demand generation, the different strategies and trends you must know about.

Come, let’s roll in.

What is B2B Demand Generation?

Demand generation is all about building awareness and generating demand for your product by educating the target audience about their pain points, offering them relevant solutions, and putting your product at the forefront as the right solution for them. All in all, demand generation is directly proportional to the company's revenue.

Traditionally, marketing teams used demand gen to create brand awareness, trust among prospects and thought leadership. But in the last few years, this picture has changed. Demand generation is now the protagonist of the story as it works hand in hand to tie up other marketing activities together.

Earlier, demand gen used to be a choice to support your lead generation activities but today you cannot generate leads unless you have integrated demand generation into your marketing funnel. After all, it is because of demand gen that you’ll land your first set of visitors which you will find MQLs from.

For example, hosting webinars is an excellent way to educate the target audience about their pain points, give them a few strategies or showcase the benefits of your product. 

Webinars is a demand generation asset that educates the target audience about their pain pints and generated demand for the solution

When interested people give away their email addresses to sign up for the webinar, it clearly means these folks want to get more information. Plus, because these folks give their contact information, the lead gen team can integrate their information into the company’s CRM, qualify them further and identify MQLs.

This enables the demand gen funnel for the prospects and allows the sales team to convert them. 

What Does the B2B Demand Generation Funnel Look Like?

The demand generation funnel goes through several stages such as identifying buyer persona, developing content for different buying intent, repurposing and distributing the content, and optimizing the sales funnel. 

Let’s understand each stage of the demand gen funnel in detail in order to turn one-time visitors to paying customers.

The different stages of B2B demand generation funnel

Step 1: Identify the Buyer Persona

Your buyer persona, or ICP helps you align your organizational efforts—whether it is qualifying the prospects, mapping the customer journey, or tailoring the content and messaging based on each buyer’s journey.

So strengthen your customer research and customer feedback to identify who your ideal customer persona (ICPs) are. 

  • Customer Research: Study your buyers and understand their pain points, priorities, job responsibilities, interests, hobbies, platforms they actively use and so on. 
  • Customer Feedback: Interview your target audience and create a feedback Slack channel where you can easily engage with them to gather feedback about your product and marketing assets—and understand what works for them and what you need to improvise on.

Doing so, you will be able to identify a super-specific buyer persona and craft highly-targeted messaging for your customers and execute demand-gen campaigns effectively.

💡Pro tip: Use Hubspot’s Make My Persona tool to map out your buyer’s details to identify the buyer persona.

Step 2: Send the Right Content to the Right Audience

Create content for the audience based on the stage they are in their buyer journey. We know for a fact that there are people who are problem-aware and solution aware. 

  • Problem aware: These folks are aware of the problem they are struggling with but they do not have access to the right solution (clearly: they need to get more information about how to solve their problem).
  • Solution aware: These folks are aware of the problem and the right solution. But, they aren’t aware of the solution your product offers to their problem.

So for this audience, create different kinds of content for audiences with different buying intent. 

Let’s understand this better with the example of Hypefury, a Twitter management tool that sends a free email course for people who want to grow their Twitter profile.

Problem: Not being able to grow their Twitter account and stay consistent with posting content.

Solution: Teach the prospects the different types of content they can post on Twitter.

So, Yannick Veys, the Founder of Hypefury sends people (who signed up for the email course)  one email daily with tweet inspiration in their email inbox.

Further, he shares snippets of his email course on his Twitter profile—that’s a great way to distribute content on the channel your target audience lives in, and that’s what Yannick did.

Email course by Hypefury helping their prospects to grow their Twitter profile

Also Read: Solutions Selling vs Product Selling: What Makes Sense For Your B2B Business? 

Step 3: Turn Prospects into Leads

Now you have a bunch of prospects who are interested in your product. It's time to convert them to leads. To do so, you have to start sending them content that shows them how to solve their problems using your product. 

For example, with the email course, Yannick sends to email subscribers—he plugs in Hypefury’s specific features such as:

  • Tweet inspiration
  • Scheduling tweets and threads
  • Recurrent posts

This helps users repost published tweets, generate interest and encourage people to sign up for Hypefury.

Here’s how Yannick plugs in contextual features in most of his emails.

Yannick Veys embedded Hypefury’s features in the daily emails he sends to the email course subscribers

Along with the product feature’s screenshot, he embeds the CTA to direct the subscriber to Hypefury.

CTA embedded at the end of the email to direct email subscribers to Hypefury

Also Read: How to Prepare a Great Software Demo Presentation in 2023 [With Demo Scripts]

Stage 4: Nurture the MQLs

At this stage, you have received several leads from your demand generation team. It’s time to engage with these leads and filter out the marketing-qualified leads before turning them into sales-accepted leads (SALs). For this, create the parameters on which you’ll qualify the leads further. This varies from company to company.

For example, when a subscriber opens the email course sent by Yannick, it’s clear he is interested in getting more information about the product. But, if the subscriber goes to Hypefurry’s website and signs up for their free trial, there is a higher probability that he is interested in the product too—turning the subscriber into an MQL. 

Step 5: Evaluate the SQLs

This is the final stage in the demand generation funnel where the MQL gets converted into SQL. Sales qualified leads are those individuals who the salespeople have accepted into their pipeline. 

When the sales team received MQLs, they are often put through a round of qualification by the sales reps or pre-sales teams through a discovery call or basic research to check if they have a use-case fit, budget or time constraints or anything outlined in your qualification criteria. If they cross this stage, they’re entered into the sales pipeline. 

Offer them a personalized product demo with your sales reps where they can walk the lead through the product. It is during these calls that the sales reps can answer all the doubts and questions the sales qualified lead (SQL) has upfront.

Priorities, budget, or implementation timelines are some common objections. A marketer’s role here is to understand how many of the MQLs are actually being converted into SQLs. The feedback from sales here is helpful in understanding the quality of leads being generated by the demand gen team. With this information, they can tweak their activities to get better results. 

Also Read: How to Create an Awesome Product Tour in 2023

Responsibilities of a B2B Demand Generation Marketer

You now know all the stages of a demand generation funnel. That’s exactly what a demand generation marketer does. But there’s more. 

Let’s understand the responsibilities of a demand generation marketer. A B2B Demand Generation Marketer needs to:

  • Have in-depth knowledge of email marketing and automation, data analysis and reporting, Salesforce and Pardot
  • Map customer journeys within the company’s automation tool
  • Create campaign workflows from contact acquisition to retention, and deploy campaigns.
  • Execute, track, report and optimize the campaign performance 
  • Manage and execute inbound lead generation programmed and drive customer satisfaction
  • Build marketing automation campaigns to engage target audiences and improve ROI for online and advertising activities.
  • Create dashboards and reports to enable quick decision-making and campaign optimization efforts
  • Manage templates for emails, landing pages, custom forms.

Difference between Demand Generation and Demand Capture

Demand generation focuses on creating demand for products among people who are not yet ready to buy it.

Demand capture focuses on leads who are willing to buy.

In simple words, demand generation is all about generating awareness while demand capture is about converting deals.

Side note: Demand capture is always the first step in the demand generation funnel, and demand generation comes second.

As Chris Walker, the CEO of Refine Labs highlights in his LinkedIn post, the entire company creates demand for the product. However, it’s the sales team who captures demand.

All in all, the sales team has stepped up to help accomplish both the demand generation goals.

Chris Walker talks about demand capture in his LinkedIn post

Factors to Consider While Creating a B2B Demand Generation Strategy

Before understanding the demand generation strategies you can use to elevate your demand generation efforts, let us understand the factors you need to support the demand generation strategy.

5 Factors You Need To Create a Demand Generation Strategy 

Different factors to consider while creating demand generation strategy
  1. Laser-focused content for target audience: Every content asset you publish should talk directly to the target audience. For example, publish blog posts and conduct webinars on a problem-oriented topic your target audience struggles with, and provide the solution.
  2. Strategic content promotion: Be mindful while promoting content. Collaborate with influencers and subject matter experts with the same target audience as yours and attract the right kind of audience for your demand generation efforts.
  3. A/B testing the strategies: Keep testing the different strategies and measuring them. If they work, amplify them; if they don’t, discard those strategies.
  4. Successful brand awareness campaigns: Create both paid and organic brand awareness campaigns. Organic brand awareness campaigns include content collaborations and webinars with industry experts and publishing educational content across social platforms. Paid brand awareness campaigns include running sponsored posts and ads on social channels and collaborating with influencers.
  5. Engagement with Demand Generation campaigns: Track engagement metrics for your demand generation campaigns like the return on ad spends, and conversions.

Key B2B Demand Generation Goals and Metrics to Track

We asked experts about the three metrics they use at their organization to track their demand generation efforts. Here are the following metrics they shared with us.

Different demand generation key metrics you need to track

Arham Khan, the Co-founder of Pixated emphasizes three key metrics—cost per acquisition, payback period, and average deal size.

  1. Cost Per Acquisition (CAC): CAC gives fantastic insights into demand gen success. While following demand gen best practices doesn't always lead to sales, the number of customers acquired and how much those sales cost you are attributable to your demand gen strategies. Measuring your CAC gives you an indicator of the demand you've generated.
  2. Payback Period: Tracking the payback period ensures your upfront costs and marketing efforts are paying your business back down the line. Let's say your demand generation costs are keeping your business profitable (or at least keeping your numbers in the green when you're just looking for user growth). Your payback period is how long it takes to earn back your upfront costs for winning a paid user. This should be 12 months or less. 
  3. Average Deal Size: Within your demand generation strategy you're likely to have numerous tactics for building demand among your ideal customer profiles. A core metric for tracking your demand generation progress is your average deal size. Is it growing in size or not? When you can attribute a channel to the largest deals, rather than simply to the most deals, you can make smarter decisions about where to invest your time and money.

Simon Bacher, CEO and Co-founder of Ling App focuses on engagement and performance metrics to measure demand generation efforts.

  1. Engagement Metrics: We determine how well our language-related articles impact our target audience by measuring site traffic, click-through, and read rates. During the pandemic, our content marketing strategy was massive. We hired double the number of writers we had pre-COVID and published at least 10 articles per day starting June 2020. As a result, we gained 300% more traffic and 200% app download rates.
  1. Performance Metrics: We analyze our marketing-qualified leads and sales-accepted leads. Most importantly, we constantly track our download rate, which is directly related to our sales. Qualitative metrics we measure for content marketing include web content readership rate and social media reactions and comments. Social media is part of our B2B omni channel communication, content marketing, and demand generation strategy, boosting customer engagement and relationships.

Dmytro Sokhach, Founder of Admix Global highlights a few unique metrics, especially tracking case study views.

  1. Views on Branded Content (case studies): At Admix Global, tracking views of our case studies is crucial. It shows us the impact of our content marketing and confirms that we're reaching our target audience effectively.
  2. Quantity and Quality of Leads: We focus on lead quantity and quality, scoring each lead and multiplying it by the weekly total. It helps us adjust our demand generation strategies and allocate resources to engage high-potential prospects.
  3. Brand Search Volume: The third metric we monitor is brand search volume, reflecting the number of times users search for our brand. Tracking this reveals trends and allows us to optimize marketing efforts for a stronger brand presence.

Vaibhav Kakkar, Founder and CEO, Digital Web Solutions talks about lead quality, conversion rate, and revenue attribution as some of the critical demand generation metrics.

  1. Lead Quality: It is essential because it allows us to identify prospects who are most likely to convert into paying customers.
  2. Conversion Rate: It helps us understand how effective our marketing campaigns are at persuading potential buyers to take action.
  3. Revenue Attribution: It helps us measure the financial impact of each campaign and determine which channels generate the highest return on investment.

B2B Demand Generation Toolkit

Here are 5 tools demand generation marketers should use to accelerate their demand generation efforts.

  1. Outgrow: Create interactive surveys, quizzes, recommendations, polls and chatbots
  2. Autopilot: Integrate your marketing CRM and automate your marketing touchpoints to convert more customers
  3. Ritekit: Maximize social engagement—views, engagement, and link click-through rates
  4. Storylane: Create interactive personalized demos to showcase your product, collect lead details and nurture them.
  5. Demand Base: Engage with specific accounts based on intent data and ideal customer profiles 

5 B2B Demand Generation Strategies with Examples

Let's take inspiration from the 5 B2B demand generation strategies that are working for most people.

Demand gen strategies you can leverage to grow demand for your products or services.
  1. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-based marketing is a great way to filter out less-fit accounts and target high-value accounts who fit the ideal customer persona and convert them to paying customers. 

Strategies you must use to leverage your demand generation efforts

“One successful B2B demand generation strategy we've implemented is account-based marketing (ABM). By targeting specific high-value accounts with personalized content and outreach, we've been able to create a more focused and efficient approach to generating leads.

Since implementing ABM, we've seen a significant increase in our lead conversion rate—up by 22%—and a reduction in our CPL by 16%. This strategy has allowed us to generate more high-quality leads while optimizing our marketing spend.”

— Thomas Costella, Founder and CEO, ReachRight

But the real question is, how to create such personalized campaigns? Nick Lafferty, ex-Growth Marketing Lead at Magical and Look shares his experience of creating a personalized LinkedIn ad campaign while previously working at Loom.

"I ran an ABM expansion play on LinkedIn ads to grow target accounts to our expansion number. Loom had a magic number of users where if accounts grew to that size then it dramatically increased our chances of closing that account into an Enterprise deal. I looked at accounts under that magic number and ran highly personalized ads to people there not using Loom (excluding current Loom users at that company via email lists), and the results were amazing with average CTRs around 2-3%.”

He further adds how he measured the campaign's impact.

"To measure the impact we segmented those accounts into two groups:

  • A holdout group that didn't receive the ads
  • The group that received the ads

The group that received the ads grew to a PQA state 5x faster than those who didn't get the ads."

Why did this strategy work?

  • With LinkedIn's Account Targeting feature, Loom could create micro-targeted ABM campaigns for specific companies, roles, and people—which helps them reach the right set of people at the right time. 
  • With this campaign, they could direct prospects to a personalized landing page, and drive action.
  • They created the ad copy personalized for the target account. To personalize the ad, they adjusted the number of teammates, copy, and company logo—which made the ad campaign more effective.

Also Read: 7 Examples of Account-Based Marketing Done Right (Tactics and Strategies)

  1. Use Content Syndication

Content syndication is about publishing content on third-party websites. For example, publishing guest blogs and being a guest on another podcast or webinar. 

"We have a surge in our website traffic this year, up by 25% compared to last year. We've also seen a 15% increase in leads generated from referral sources and a 12% boost in our overall lead conversion rate. We attribute this improvement mainly to the increased exposure and credibility we gained through our content syndication efforts."

—Milo Cruz, CMO at Freelance Writing Jobs

For instance, Hunter, an email finder platform publishes guest blogs on several high-authority websites like Zapier and Wordstream.

Guest blog Hunter published on Zapier’s blog

Why did this strategy work?

  • By publishing guest posts on a high-authority website, they get eyeballs on their content. This means getting more traction on their website, and product pages (and generating demand).
  • By educating readers about the specific features of their product, they will encourage people to use it.
  • They can link back to their content like the other education blog posts they have written on Hunter's blog. This will direct readers to their blog and give them more information about a specific topic.
  1. Developing a multi-touchpoint content marketing funnel

A single touchpoint is never enough because you have to reach your target audience where they live throughout their buying journey. So, that could be social media, web, or even their email.

So, a variety of content can be used to cater to different channels like:

  • Blog Posts
  • Ebooks
  • Case Studies
  • Newsletters
  • Live Chatbots

"We created high-quality, targeted content pieces at various stages of the buyer's journey, such as blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and case studies, to engage our audience and guide them through the sales process. 

As a result of implementing this content marketing funnel, we experienced a 35% increase in lead conversion rate, a 20% reduction in CPL, and a 25% improvement in the MQL-to-SAL ratio within a six-month period."

— Michael Chen, Growth Director, Notta

For instance, Toplyne has created several content assets like their newsletter, Top of the Lyne, that talks about product-led growth in detail. 

Why does this strategy work?

  • The newsletter is highly detailed and highly relevant to their ICPs as it educates its subscribers by interviewing companies with successful PLG stories, and sharing their growth stories.
  • When the brand consistently talks about PLG, its subscribers become familiar with the brand, helping them establish their expertise on PLG and become thought leaders.

Also Read: How Toplyne Boosted Product-Led Growth With Storylane

  1. Focus on Organic SEO

When it comes to creating awareness for your product, merging content and SEO can never go wrong. 

Sure—you'll see a plentiful of paid ads as the common channel to get people to know about your product. But, organic search is a long-term parameter demand generation teams should leverage. 

“A key demand generation strategy we implemented was focusing on our own organic SEO. The site had been optimized initially to rank for local searches in our area, and this strategy worked as we dominated local searches. We decided to build further authority and strength into the site and then pivot our target to more competitive national phrases.

As a result of that strategy, we saw an annual uplift of 298% in organic traffic, 27 new positions 1 rankings, and a 237% in organic conversions.”

 — Ben Foster, CEO, The SEO Works

For instance, when you search for the keyword 'project management software', you'll get either the product's website or listicle blog posts as results.

This happens when these websites and blog posts have relevant keywords embedded. Indeed, organic SEO can do wonders if done the right way.

Why does this work? 

  • When ranking on the first search position, you’ll get the attention of all the people who are searching for a particular keyword.
  • With the right implementation of SEO, your website and blog posts will rank on the first page of Google—which is the ideal place the reader discovers most solutions.
  • On discovering the blog post and finding it valuable, the prospect is likely find out more about your website and the solution you provide. 
  1. Create targeted email campaigns

Strike prospects with relevant and personalized emails exactly when they’re looking to solve a problem. 

Creating email campaigns with information that educates the audience and offers solutions to their pressing problems are a great way to boost conversions.

“One B2B demand gen strategy that we implemented in our organization was to create a series of targeted email campaigns based on specific industries or roles within companies. For example, we created a campaign that was tailored specifically to CFOs in healthcare organizations. The impact of this strategy was a 35% increase in MQLs from these targeted segments.”

— Jessica Shee, Marketing Manager, iBoysoft

For example, when a prospect signs up for Mixmax’s free trial, they start receiving a drip email campaign that focuses on educating the prospect about the product’s features.

But here’s the catch: You’ll receive these drip campaigns only when you sign up from a business email and not personal email. 

To send such email campaigns, first, you need to filter out the personal and professional email addresses as prospects with personal email may not be the right audience to target. Next, you’ll segment their data in your email marketing software and create email campaigns relevant to the specific segment.

Mixmax’s email drip campaign they send to prospects on 14-days free trial

Why Does This Work?

  • By targeting super-specific accounts, you’re nurturing the right prospects who’ll ideally opt in to buy your product at the later stages
  • When you segment the emails and integrate them with your CRM, it sends out emails to these prospects based on the updated information the CRM collected—making your personalization more relevant.

Demand Generation Trends of 2023

Here’s the thing: industry trends keep on changing, and that’s why, as a demand generation marketer, you need to be up-to-date with what’s coming up next. Here are 4 key demand generation trends experts are talking about.

Also Read: How to Create an Awesome Interactive Product Demo

Emphasizing Personal Content and Experiences

One demand-gen trend for 2023 is the increasing emphasis on personalized content and experiences. As buyers become more sophisticated and demand more tailored solutions, companies will need to invest in technology and data capabilities. This will enable them to deliver experiences that feel unique and relevant. Additionally, we expect to see an increased use of AI and machine learning to help companies automate and optimize their demand gen efforts

— Jessica Shee, Marketing Manager, iBoySoft

 Increasing usage of social analytics

"Even just two years ago, only a third of marketers were integrating social analytics into their demand gen strategies and adopting multichannel lead nurturing. But now I'm seeing a huge number of businesses spanning every industry gathering and analyzing social data to inform their decisions.

 And since demand gen is ever present in the buying process, businesses must learn to identify their high-performing content based on how users are interacting with them. Moreover, of course, social analytics play a key role in boosting brand awareness, and highlight how effective your current social media strategy is at getting the attention of your target audience."

—Arham Khan, Co-founder, Pixated

Using LinkedIn Video Posts

“Video posts on LinkedIn have become a lot more popular. The space is really noisy now as a lot of people have moved away from twitter, so businesses are looking for ways to stand out.

You see the video from podcasts, TikTok style videos, and looms a lot more in the feeds than you did six months ago. Most people shy away from video due to the time it takes to set up compared to text posts. This indicates the pressure on creatives to find new, unique ways to stand out in the space.”

— James De Roche, Founder and CEO, Lead Comet

How Storylane Can Help in B2B Demand Generation

Now comes the meaty part: interactive content are the next big thing in 2023. 

This means focussing on assessments, quizzes, polls and surveys. But what you might be missing out on are – interactive product demos. 

Storylane offers you a personalized, automated and interactive demo you can embed on your website and educate the first-time visitors on how they can use the product.

First-time visitors mostly shy away from booking the demo with your sales reps. But they won’t shy away when the demo is embedded on the website and all they have to do is click on the video product demo. 

With Storylane’s interactive product demo, you can:

  • Add Lead Capture forms before the demo to collect lead details to nurture them and capture the demand.
  • See detailed analytics like impressions, leads, CTA clicked last view, time spent and completion—which will help you understand the prospect's interest in your product and further nurture them.
  • Share your demo as a link or GIF that you can embed in your emails when sending to prospects.

So, book a demo and find out how Storylane can boost your demand generation efforts.

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
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