Demand Generation | What Is It & How To Win With It

Table of Contents

What Is Demand Gen. Marketing?

Demand generation (or demand gen) is essential for a healthy business-to-business (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.”

It includes a series of touchpoints designed to raise awareness of customer challenges, position your brand as a trusted advisor, generate leads, sell your solution, and—if done correctly—foster genuine brand loyalty.

Building awareness, creating and nurturing opportunities, and prompting engagement through a deliberate content strategy is essential to growing revenue.

A strong demand generation strategy will help your business bring in reliable, high-quality leads and ultimately grow your business.

Demand generation isn’t a quick fix.

It’s a gradual, comprehensive, holistic approach to engagement that comprises dedicated inbound marketing tactics, social interactions, e-book campaigns, weekly newsletters, pop-up events, webinars, and more.

Done properly, demand generation can create awareness around the issues relevant to your business, provide sales the qualified leads it needs to close deals, and position marketing as a revenue generator instead of a cost center.

Lead Generation

Before any other stages of demand generation can happen, you need to have leads to deliver your strategy.

Advanced demand generation programs typically rely on proactive lead generation activities supported by more traditional market programs and processes.

This is because demand generation programs tend to assume that prospective customers are aware that they have a need or problem, and are attempting to solve it when they search for solutions.

Lead generation involves gaining the interest of potential customers and adding them to your marketable database.

Once captured through a nurture program, these leads can be handed to the sales team.

Of course, before you decide what the programs entail, you need to know who you’re targeting.

Understanding your audience and building customer profiles will help you precisely target your marketing.

You can develop personas based on your target audience’s roles, needs, and objectives. And the more details you can include, the better.

When your audience is aware that they have a certain problem to which you’re offering a solution, there’s built-in demand for your product or service.

On the other hand, when you’ve identified a problem that your audience doesn’t know they have, you need to develop demand generation tactics as part of your marketing strategy.

Common demand gen tactics inbound include blogs, social media, videos, podcasts, newsletters, and e-books — content-driven resources that establish your company as a thought leader, influencer, and information hub in your industry.

Because consumers are so overloaded with information, strategic audience marketing is more crucial than ever.

Ad blockers, email opt-outs, and even new laws, like GDPR, have given consumers more control over which brands they engage with.

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 complete lead nurturing strategy from first contact through decision and purchase.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Marketing And Sales Teams Collaboration

Demand generation, aka “demand gen,” isn’t just about leads.

Demand gen marketing is about creating high-quality leads that engage with your brand – and eventually, turn into revenue.

More than ever, marketing teams and demand generation teams face mounting pressure from their executives to tie marketing efforts to revenue.

It’s a marketers’ core responsibility to pass high-value leads to the sales team. Sales can return those leads to marketing for further nurturing.

The lead is nurtured from that first interaction along a journey to the consideration phase, where marketing passes the qualified lead off to sales.

Marketing teams can re-engage those leads and reach that benchmark level of interaction to return them to sales for further conversations.

Lead scoring is one of the best ways to ascertain whether your leads are quality your sales team needs to close more deals.

Lead scoring evaluates the historical behavior of your prospects and the actions they’ve taken while interacting with your brand to determine whether the individual prospect demonstrates sufficient interest to be considered a “hot” lead for your sales team.

Marketing and sales alignment is critical to the success of your entire business.

Though the two haven’t historically gotten along, today’s sales and marketing teams need each other to give customers the best possible experience—and of course, develop a replicable process for closing deals, increasing deal size, and speeding up the sales cycle.

Sometimes, there is a fragile line between a company’s sales and marketing operations.

Other times, these two groups are at odds — for instance, account executives want marketers to be more aggressive, and marketers want their sales counterparts to turn it down.

Fortunately, sales enablement initiatives driven by a comprehensive demand generation strategy can promote unification across marketing and sales and, in turn, close more business.

Demand generation strategies ensure that companies effectively reach their strongest-fit customers.

It’s a marketers’ core responsibility to pass high-value leads to the sales team. Demand generation strategies ensure that companies effectively reach their strongest-fit customers.

The list below features foundational sales enablement methods, tactics, and examples that your marketing team can execute to close the gap between marketing and sales.

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy in which a supplier selects a target audience representing significantly higher expansion or growth opportunities with tailored marketing and sales support.

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.

Demand Capture

If there is existing demand in the market, you can capture it and guide potential clients to your products and services.

This process involves a range of lower-funnel content that will establish your brand proposition, such as PPC advertisements, SEO optimizations, and 3rd party intent data.

Pipeline Acceleration

Once you’ve succeeded at generating or capturing demand as opportunities, you can speed up the sales process using pipeline acceleration techniques.

These can be as simple as engaging in conversation with potential clients or creating highly targeted content that meets your leads’ pain points and is appropriate to their position in the sales funnel.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Brand Awareness

With today’s competitive sales and marketing landscape, brand awareness is critical for a consistent flow of quality leads.

Through various nurture campaigns and marketing approaches, demand generation efforts aim to both create a long-term relationship between a brand and a potential buyer, and at the same time, gauge and develop a prospect’s purchasing interest in said brand’s products/services.

Building brand or product/service awareness is a vital component in the demand generation process, and often takes a continued effort and involves multiple facets of marketing.

It means that your brand is seen as an authority in its field from the very 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 your business’s solutions.

This is again accomplished with various techniques and tools, often overlapping with the tools used for creating awareness of the category, but with a different emphasis.

The primary purpose of display campaigns is to raise brand awareness. The display can be a highly effective part of a wider demand generation campaign.

You’re not necessarily looking for conversions from a display (though it’s always nice), but instead increasing mindshare and promoting your brand, both of which are strengths of display campaigns.

Content Marketing Is Your Sales Team

A solid content marketing strategy that offers timely, helpful insights at each step of the purchase journey is the best way to build expertise.

Seventy percent of buyers ranked “relevant content that speaks directly to our company” as “very important” in the Demand Gen 2020 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, with  76% of respondents saying the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision.

Content marketing is a crucial element of demand generation. And doing it well requires two things: investment and originality.

There’s no point in regurgitating what’s already out there. It’s a surefire way to get lost in the crowd. Instead, pepper your content with original insights, research, and expert input.

Part of your demand generation strategy will create waves right away, bringing your website engaged and interested traffic. A new white paper or a research report can do that.

But, like all awareness generation strategies, short-term movement is just the tip of the iceberg.

Eventually, you’ll experience long-term impact as businesses develop a need for your product or service down the road.


If webinars are going to be a part of your demand generation strategy, you need to go all in, and only partner with the superstars of your industry on webinars.

Doing so will increase your standing in your industry, forge valuable connections with key influencers, and boost your brand’s awareness – all crucial elements of an ongoing demand generation strategy.

Provide A Free Tool

One of the most effective ways to create a successful demand generation campaign as a new brand is by offering a free tool or resource.

Kennected implemented this strategy after we launched back in 2018.

Under our “resources” page, you’ll find free mini-courses, networking messaging templates, and other resources aimed at lead generation.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Use A Lead Magnet

If a free tool feels too complex, creating a more simplified lead magnet can help you achieve a similar goal.

A lead magnet can be anything from a free checklist, e-book, quiz, or access to exclusive content.

Downloadable Resources

We mentioned that you might demonstrate your value to potential clients by offering free tools and reports.

As you aim to capture existing demand, you might use a similar strategy, this time, offering a free resource in exchange for an email address and a few details, as opposed to a web-based tool with no strings attached.

Conversational Marketing

Chatbots are another channel to engage with prospects and customers visiting your website.

From finding leads, qualification, and customer support, chatbots both automated and live, provide website visitors with the ability to answer their questions in real-time with minimal effort.

Social Media Marketing

Many companies start on some of the broadest search or social media platforms, but then struggle to narrow their messaging.

A simpler way to quickly get user-generated content in front of the right people is to find a partner who has already carved out the online audience you want.

For just about any product or service, a base of potential clients is waiting.

With a funnel in place, you’ll see which demand generation marketing strategies you can incorporate into each phase.

For a more in-depth look at how to set up a social media funnel that complements your demand gen strategy, check out our post on building a successful social media marketing funnel.

There are three pillars of a social media strategy that are vital to the success of your demand generation program.


The first is focus. Always be focused on your customers’ needs. This includes listening, joining groups, and creating conversations.


Secondly, you’ll want to inform. This includes educating your audience on all things related to your vertical – or theirs.


Trust is the most important aspect of social media marketing, and it’s what has gotten leading companies as far as they have come today.

Put simply, if your customers don’t trust you, you won’t get any business. Build those key relationships with customers by commenting, liking, and sharing other people’s content.

This process will take time, and it’s important to be patient.

Web Insights And Inbound Marketing

Your website is one of your most important demand gen 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.

Inbound marketing is a huge part of a successful demand generation strategy, and content creation has never been more important.

Many believe that demand generation and inbound marketing are the same. But they’re not.

Demand generation is a function; you want to generate demand for your product or service. Meanwhile, inbound marketing is how you can carry out that function.

Essentially, the greatest difference between demand generation and lead gen is that “demand gen” is a significantly more comprehensive process that takes place over a much greater period than lead gen, involves close collaboration and communication between sales and marketing departments, and incorporates elements of inbound, direct, and email marketing to nurture prospects.

If you believe in educating your customer base and guiding them through the funnel with valuable content and offers, inbound marketing can help you do that.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful component of your demand gen. campaigns, but far too many advertisers misuse it or fail to harness its potential.

When it comes to email marketing, A/B testing is essential, and the adage that “Less is more” most definitely applies.

Metrics Of Demand Generation Marketing

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 certain cases.

Decisions are made after careful deliberation by multiple parties and various approvals at different levels of the organization.

So, your B2B demand generation campaigns are just one step in the process of building your sales funnel.

To know if your strategy is working, you need to measure the amount of impact your demand gen. strategies are making.

Measuring demand can be tricky, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

There are a few ways to set expectations accurately and analyze the results of your demand generation campaigns.

Define KPIs

Remember when we recommended starting your campaign by identifying your end goals? Well, that’s only half the equation.

The other half is determining and tracking your key performance indicators (KPIs) to see if your demand generation program achieves its goals.

This includes early-, mid-, and late-stage metrics that cover everything from the program cost, new targets, and cost-per-target to the number of opportunities your campaign has generated and how much revenue you can attribute to it.

Before you can accurately measure your efforts, you need to know what to look for. To track the success of your efforts, first, you need to define your target key performance indicators.

The KPIs you choose should always align with your overall business or marketing goals.

A few KPIs that may apply to your campaigns are: Website traffic, Lead magnet downloads, Cost per lead, Free trial/tool signups, and Customer acquisition cost.

This way, you can connect the dots between your demand gen efforts and actual business growth.

Once you’ve determined which KPIs are relevant to your business goals, then you can map them across your customer journey.

This will help you understand which areas give you the highest return on your investment.

Measuring your funnel stages and conversion rates will take place in your CRM and rely heavily on your marketing automation tool as well as your sales team’s manual data entry.

If you’re looking for a successful marketing automation tool, request a demo for our number one LinkedIn tool, Cloud Kennect.

Working with a partner or internally to establish a strong foundation in revenue operations will pay long-term dividends.

Then measuring the number of opportunities that turn into paying customers tells you whether your demand gen campaign brings real results.

Pieces Of The Demand Generation Strategy

There are three main parts to a successful demand generation strategy: the players, the methods, and the goals.

The Players

The players of demand generation marketing include both your sales team and marketing team.

Although the two teams have different methods of lead generation, they have a commonality of generating interest in their company’s product or service.

The Methods

The pre-purchase, top-of-funnel stage should include “light” thought-leadership content that builds brand awareness, highlights a need, and drives desire.

In the mid-funnel, research-and-consideration stage, your job is to educate buyers of the challenges they face and help them solve their issues with things like whitepapers, buying guides, analyst reports, and ROI calculators.

The Goal


Your goal should be to have a well-oiled demand generation program that improves lead quality, accelerates the buying cycle, and improves conversion rates from your initial inquiries to qualified opportunities.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

Demand generation strives to build brand awareness and authority, so potential clients reliably enter the purchased track.

A lead generation strategy focuses on turning an engaged audience into leads via direct outreach.

Demand generation aims to grow your audience by bringing new visitors to your website and introducing them to your solutions.

Demand generation requires much more education and tends to work in the inverse of lead gen and inbound marketing.

On the other hand, lead generation aims to convert your audience into qualified leads.

This initiates sales conversations with the brand.

One of the biggest challenges for today’s brands is creating demand for products and services.

Demand generation aims to identify potential prospects based on their initial behavior and guides them through a nurturing process.

This results in better conversations between sales reps and prospects, and – of course – higher conversion rates and more sales: demand gen and lead gen overlap in certain areas.

And when nurturing your database, both are applicable for building the relationship as you move them through the conversion funnel.

While demand generation marketing has a lot in common with lead generation, this strategy takes time.

For free tools, and more on emerging trends like digital marketing, head to our blog page, where we’re consistently supplying readers with content.

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