Demand generation is the entire range of B2B marketing and sales initiatives that generate interest in your company’s product or service.
More than ever, marketers and demand generation teams face mounting pressure from their executives to tie marketing efforts to revenue.
That’s where a solid demand generation strategy comes into play. Demand gen is essential for a healthy B2B sales and marketing strategy.
The Content Marketing Institute defines demand generation marketing as “the practice of creating demand for an organization’s product or services through marketing.”
So what is B2B demand generation, and how does it differ from similar marketing strategies?
What Is Demand Generation Marketing?
Demand generation is more focused on making sure the right people see the right content for them, which means gating isn’t the best approach.
It’s a marketing strategy focused on building reliable brand awareness and interest, resulting in high-quality leads.
It allows demand generation to do its work before the lead generation kicks in to capture those who have been pre-nurtured and are already interested.
Lead gen is a marketing strategy that converts prospects into qualified leads. Its main task is to capture and stimulate a person’s interest in a product or service.
Lead gen precedes demand generation and is a more short-term strategy.
What Is B2B Demand Generation?
B2B demand generation is a form of marketing that creates interest in a product or service. A tool or offering that overcomes the pain points they experience.
However, unlike standard marketing and advertising, the purpose here is to answer a problem a business might be facing.
Demand gen is like laying a trail of breadcrumbs leading buyers back to how your solution can help them achieve their business objectives better than competing priorities.
Along the way, you create awareness, add value, and educate them on features of your offering that are true differentiators.
The Sales Funnel
In a basic sense, marketing leads or MQLs are interested in what you have to offer. But they’re not interested enough to make a purchase.
They need additional lead nurturing to turn into sales-qualified leads (SQLs). The marketing team hands MQLs over to the sales organization to qualify the leads.
At this point, the leads are in the middle of the funnel. When sales accept the leads, they become sales qualified leads (SQLs).
A qualified lead is what the sales team deals with.
The next stage is that sales create an opportunity, and if everything goes well in the sales funnel, they will become a customer.
The further the prospect moves through the sales pipeline, the more “touchpoints” are required to perceive them to buy.
What Are The 3 Key Trends In B2B Demand Generation?
The top three trends in demand generation are:
These tactics heavily rely on marketing data to make strategic campaign decisions and allow for heavy personalization.
Part of your demand generation strategy will create waves right away, bringing your website engaged and interested traffic.
But, like all awareness generation strategies, short-term movement is just the tip of the iceberg.
Who Does Demand Generation?
B2B demand generation is an integrated marketing approach to drive awareness and demand for a product or service in the B2B marketplace.
Marketing teams focus on generating leads for the sales team that result in new opportunities. Many marketing channels are worked on simultaneously to achieve the best results.
Marketing teams can work on multiple channels because various departments in the marketing team will have different objectives.
Your marketing or sales teams usually execute demand generation activities, depending on where each activity sits in your sales strategy.
The demand generation manager’s job is researching your market, creating and promoting your content, and fine-tuning customer experience with your brand.
However, other activities such as lead nurturing and customer retention will lie with your sales (or Customer Success) teams.
Create An Ideal Customer Profile
This will be the north star for all your demand generation strategies. Make it as narrow as possible, so you can craft a message that speaks to their pain points.
Marketing teams should design target company personas based on high-value clients that are most likely to convert and grow.
Evaluate what business objectives and values these target accounts tend to share and what major steps in their buying journey precede purchase.
Use the target personas to inform how you market to these leads, providing them with personalized content that directly addresses their unique pain points and questions.
Define The Channels You're Going To Use
It’s beneficial to determine the channels your B2B demand gen strategy will use.
As we’ve mentioned, you will need several media to execute your efforts and then bring a multi-touch attribution model to evaluate the success of each channel.
What Is A Demand Generation Manager?
A demand generation manager oversees their team of campaign managers. The demand generation manager monitors campaigns closely and optimizes them.
They study the buyer’s journey and develop the strategy to best reach the target audience.
The demand generation manager is responsible for their team’s performance and spends a lot of time researching new channels and methods to create interest from your target audience.
Alignment Between Sales And Marketing Teams
Demand gen should be a collaborative activity between your sales and marketing teams.
Some of your demand generation team players will include job titles such as demand gen marketing team lead, marketing operations, or marketing technologist.
On the sales side, typical titles include sales operations or sales managers. Integrating your sales and marketing programs is important to maximize knowledge sharing.
The sales team can benefit from understanding which type of content you resonate with a prospect.
And the marketing team can benefit from lead scoring data to understand which digital marketing channels perform the best.
Dig into the data to find out which factors had the most significant influence on sales and, from there, develop a points-based system for qualifying leads.
Then, both teams can work together to develop a strategy for targeting the right audience—through PR efforts, advertising, and organic marketing tactics.
The Best Demand Generation Strategies
Demand generation marketing uses coordinated, multi-tiered activities to identify and engage buyers through inbound and outbound activities.
Demand generation channels can surface digitally and conventionally.
A strong demand generation program produces engaging, high-quality, and authoritative content that drives your ideal customers.
There are several tactics tied to demand generation:
Kennected covers all these demand generation strategies.
Of course, we are not the only ones – Kennected also has an entire B2B marketing process, including a blog, social media, and a YouTube channel, and employs many other activities to attract prospects and build meaningful relationships with them.
What Happens If You Don't Have A Demand Generation Program?
Demand generation strategy is crucial to becoming profitable fast to keep the company afloat and attract new customers and investors.
Without demand generation, companies would fully rely on their sales teams and organic methods to attract customers. This is too stagnant and will result in slow business growth.
In B2B, reference cases are crucial. It’s one of the most impactful tools to attract customers. Naturally, the more customers you have, the easier it is to collect reference cases.
You can create awareness and interest for your company through demand generation at an accelerated pace.
What Are Campaign Responses?
Demand generation campaigns are marketing programs executed through various channels to create interest and awareness in your target audience.
Campaign responses measure the performance of these campaigns.
Your website is one of your most important demand generation strategies.
It is where you can observe the digital fingerprints of people visiting your website, which reveal their interests, pain points, content preferences, and even urgency.
Many inbound marketing tactics include content offers, blog posts, and other website resources.
You can launch marketing automation sequences to maintain the touchpoints and engagement.
The most important part of a demand generation campaign is the content you use, with 85% of B2B marketers surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute believing high-quality content creation was a key factor in their overall success.
This could be thought leadership material, white papers, e-books, or videos.
Make it useful, make it compelling and make it free, and it will make people truly believe they need your product or service.
A solid content marketing strategy that offers timely, relevant content at each step of the purchase journey is the best way to build expertise.
Industry expertise means that leads see your brand as an authority in its field from the first interaction with a potential customer.
This kind of expertise helps build client trust, and lays the groundwork for important conversations about customer pain points and the solutions your business can offer.
Providing content that answers buyer questions/concerns while they move through their purchase journey builds purchase confidence and brand credibility.
According to Forrester’s B2B Social Technographics, fully 100% of business decision-makers use social media for work purposes.
Besides impacting lead gen activities, social networks may also influence your prospects’ vendor selection and buying decisions.
Your social media team will work on organic and paid social media to increase your follower base and generate traffic back to your website, resulting in more leads.
Your SEM team has the objective to drive traffic to your website through paid advertising on search engines. They often use tools such as Semrush to find new advertising opportunities.
Paying to be where your ideal customers spend their time online is one of the fastest ways to generate demand.
You can promote your content with pay-per-click (PPC) ads that place you at the top of Google when someone searches for your chosen keyword.
Or you can pay to show up in your ideal customers’ social media feeds.
Benefits of Demand Generation Marketing
There are various benefits to using demand generation marketing:
Lead quality is higher because they have already qualified.
Lead scoring is faster and easier.
Demand generation deals with a smaller audience.
Demand gen strategies focus on solving the prospect’s pain points.
Conversion rates are usually higher.
The sales process is more straightforward.
Since demand generation marketing focuses on catering to a potential customer’s needs, it takes them less time to make a purchase decision – they already have all the necessary information to do that.
Also, we should emphasize that demand gen tactics are long-term oriented.
Unfortunately, the pressure to see quick returns causes many marketers to play the short game and capture demand.
They are happy to check the MQL box and not worry about what happens down the road when the sales team has to fight it out with multiple competitors.
Increase Brand Awareness
In today’s competitive sales and marketing landscape, brand awareness is critical for a consistent flow of quality leads.
And while it may seem straightforward, building brand awareness isn’t simply gaining a potential buyer’s attention.
A true and lasting brand awareness strategy leaves potential buyers with a lingering, positive impression of a company.
It makes them more likely to trust that company when it offers solutions to the customer’s challenges or needs.
Enterprise demand generation programs are awareness machines that don’t just bring visitors to your website.
Inbound marketing campaigns make your brand stand out to people who may not yet need your product.
However, when they constantly encounter your brand in thought leadership posts, on stage at industry conferences, or on social media, those digital demand generation efforts build trust and recognition.
How Do You Create A Demand Generation Strategy?
Demand generation becomes a multi-phased relationship with many stages (some that intersect other marketing functions), from initial brand awareness through reinforcement and on to generating qualified leads.
Creating a demand generation strategy starts with developing persona templates. After understanding your audience, you will set campaign goals.
The next step is to find the best channels to reach your audience. You will then create campaigns for each marketing channel but with an integrated message.
A strong demand generation strategy will help your business bring in reliable, high-quality leads and ultimately grow your business.
The goal is to gently nurture potentially receptive leads, guiding them through the said funnel and qualifying them in and out as you go before handing incredibly hot leads to the sales team to convert.
For this reason, demand generation requires close ties between marketing and sales to be effective.
Nurture High-Quality Leads
Once you’ve first contacted a potential customer, your marketing team hands over the lead details to the sales team and congratulates each other on a job well done, right? Wrong.
Healthy, reliable demand generation requires a full lead nurturing strategy from first contact through decision and purchase.
A certain percentage of these might immediately translate into high-quality leads. However, depending upon your industry and offering, lead nurturing can take months, or even years.
If your sales cycle is seasonal or sporadic, check out our post about how to generate leads more consistently.
Integrated Marketing Strategy
After understanding your audience, you will set campaign goals. The next step is to find the best channels to reach your audience.
You will then create campaigns for each marketing channel but with an integrated message.
Integrated marketing communications play a huge role in developing a successful demand generation strategy.
If people reach different messages on various channels, it will confuse them. This will result in your conversion rates tanking.
Try Partner Marketing
The recent rapid shift from in-person to virtual business interactions means a sharper increased digital marketing focus.
Even as businesses begin to return to safe, in-person interactions with customers and staff, it seems likely that increased digital interactions are here to stay.
Companies need to share their message online, but pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can be difficult to manage alone.
With all the technology available at our fingertips, we can now tie most of our marketing efforts to revenue.
It’s becoming more and more common for marketing to have a revenue goal, just like sales.
A well-planned demand gen process can address these challenges by offering an efficient and reliable process to identify and engage these empowered buyers and turn quality leads into revenue.
Have Your Sales Team Utilize A CRM
You want to use the right set of demand generation tools. A critical component of sales enablement is automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
Organizations need to have the right tools, including a central content repository that makes it easy for salespeople to find the right information on-demand, a CRM that keeps customer contact 24/7.
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
Lead generation is a component of demand generation.
Demand generation is a top-of-funnel process in which you are creating awareness and interest for your company within your target audience.
While demand generation aims to attract new visitors to your brand and build your reputation as an expert in the industry, lead generation focuses on converting the newly attracted prospects.
Demand Generation Metrics
When measuring your demand generation marketing efforts, skip the vanity metrics and instead focus on lead quality and the impact your initiatives have on your overall revenue.
You can’t succeed at demand generation if you don’t continuously track your progress. Otherwise, your strategy might start leaking money.
You can use inbound marketing tools for most of the tactics, which also work for B2C marketing automation. These tools can help you:
Scale your demand gen processes
Improve customer experience
Track and measure intent data
Drive up the conversion rates
Track your efforts in real-time
Get insightful reports
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Your CPA is the average cost of winning one paying customer.
You will have a CPA for your entire demand gen operation, but you can also narrow it down to get a CPA for individual lead sources or activities.
Total Campaign Cost
Calculate your total campaign costs by the number of leads that came in.
This tells you about your demand generation campaign’s cost efficiency, and it’s a useful metric to discover how much you should expect to spend to keep your funnel full.
When planning new demand generation campaigns and calculating your demand gen ROI, keep this metric in mind.
You should have a clear cost per lead that you’re willing to spend so that you don’t spend more acquiring leads than receiving back in revenue.
Customer Lifetime Value
The pipeline value is the expected value you’ll get from leads. Pipeline value can be a helpful metric where the deal cycles are long, as they are in most B2B Marketing organizations.
You can use this metric to make “in-flight” optimization decisions of a campaign, as marketers should identify pipeline value relatively quickly in a demand generation process.
Average Deal Size
This metric represents the average value of each new customer in dollars. Divide the total amount gained from paying customers by the number of deals closed in a given period.
Tracking your average deal size helps you forecast revenue from demand generation and decide what types of customers you should target and prioritize.
Running account-based marketing campaigns is a great strategy for B2B demand generation because it focuses on a narrowly-defined audience.
ITSMA Survey found that ABM companies saw an 84% rise in reputation scores and a 74% improvement in customer relationships.
This approach lets you drive demand with specific companies and individuals, delivering better results down the sales funnel.
Everything in an account-based marketing strategy depends on a deep, reliable understanding of the accounts and audiences you’re targeting.
ABM requires marketing and sales teams to strategically select accounts to target and nurture through customized engagement and support.
For just about any product or service, a base of potential customers is waiting.
Third-party partners can get your company’s products or services in front of the right buyers at the right point.
B2C Sales vs. B2B Sales
B2C companies typically have to get buy-in from only one person: the customer (and maybe their spouse or family).
B2B marketers, on the other hand, usually have to get the buy-in of entire teams, key decision-makers, and sometimes even an entire department.
This all adds to a much longer sales cycle for B2B companies. A B2B purchase decision may take six months or even longer than a year in some instances.
Decisions are made after careful deliberation by multiple parties and various approvals at different levels of the organization.
Increase Social Engagement
One of the best ways to create demand will always be through social proof.
You may not be in a position to partner with a social media celebrity, but the opinion of your actual customers carries a lot of weight with your potential ones.
Ninety-three percent of consumers pay attention to reviews about products before purchasing them.
Keep it personal even if you’re speaking to thousands. Relationship building is a core facet of demand generation, helping to introduce and reinforce the credibility of your brand.
Broad brush strokes in email marketing and posts won’t cut it here.
You need to be speaking directly to the people you’re targeting, understanding their needs, and showing them how you can solve their unique problems.
Hop-On The Kennected Train
According to HubSpot, 61% of companies name their top marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads.
If you’re part of that 61%, keep reading because what you’re about to discover could be a game-changer for you and your business (like it has for thousands of people before you).
So many business owners & sales professionals that come to us are struggling to get ahead because they’re stuck relying on referrals, lead lists, or manual prospecting.
This is taking up too much of their time and isn’t creating the consistent income they’re looking for to fund the lifestyle they want for themselves and their families.
Four years ago, the founders of Kennected had the same struggles. They found that lead generation was way too complicated, expensive, and time-consuming, knowing there had to be a better way.
So they developed a new way of getting qualified leads that turn into new customers on the #1 platform for B2B lead generation… LinkedIn.
In the four years since we developed this lead gen strategy, we’ve earned a spot on the Inc. 5,000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in America.
And more importantly, it helped over 17,000 businesses get new leads and sales for THEIR businesses.
Want to see how it works?
Click here to see how you can use Kennected to fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads in less than 10 minutes per day.