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How to Master Demand Generation: B2B Strategy Guide

Dive into our Guide 'How to Master Demand Generation: B2B Strategy Guide'. Uncover actionable tactics and insights to increase your marketing efforts and drive substantial business growth
Written by
Harsh P
Published on
March 13, 2024

Introduction to B2B Demand Generation

Introduction to B2B Demand Generation
Introduction to B2B Demand Generation

What is B2B Demand Generation

B2B demand generation is a strategic business process used by companies that sell products or services to other businesses (B2B) to create awareness and demand for their offerings.

Unlike direct sales tactics, demand generation involves an approach to building and nurturing potential customer relationships over time, aiming to cultivate interest and awareness in a brand's products or services.

This process encompasses a variety of marketing and communication strategies designed to attract the attention of potential business customers (leads) and convert them into buyers.

The ultimate goal of B2B demand generation is not just to generate a one-time sale, but to create a sustained interest in a company's offerings, leading to a pipeline of prospects that can be nurtured and converted into long-term, loyal customers.

Demand generation operates on the principle that the majority of your target market is not immediately prepared to make a purchase, and they may not even realize they face an issue. Consequently, it is divided into two distinct segments.

Demand Creation

This is about building awareness and interest in your product or service among potential B2B customers. It involves educating your target market about the problems your offerings solve and the benefits they provide, often before these prospects have decided to make a purchase.

Techniques include content marketing, social media engagement, email campaigns, and more, all aimed to create demand by establishing thought leadership and trust in your industry.

Demand Capture

This component focuses on identifying and engaging with potential customers who have shown interest or are actively looking for solutions that your product or service provides.

The goal here is to "capture" this demand through targeted marketing efforts such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and retargeting campaigns, ultimately guiding these leads toward making a purchase decision.

The Importance of Demand Generation in B2B Markets

Demand generation plays a pivotal role in B2B markets, serving as the engine that fuels business growth and market expansion. It's not just to generate demand for products and services but also about nurturing relationships that convert interest into sales.

Building Brand Awareness

  • Reach and Visibility: Effective demand generation strategies increase brand visibility among potential B2B customers, essential in a crowded marketplace.
  • Thought Leadership: By sharing valuable content, businesses establish themselves as industry leaders, with 55% of decision-makers citing this as a key factor in vendor selection.

Generating Qualified Leads

  • Targeting and Engagement: Through targeted campaigns, B2B marketers can engage with potential clients who have a genuine interest or need for their product or service.
  • Lead Quality over Quantity: Focusing on demand generation ensures that the leads generated are more likely to convert, with high-quality leads being 13% more likely to result in a positive ROI compared to average leads.

Enhancing Sales Alignment

  • Smoothing the Sales Process: Demand generation efforts provide sales teams with insights and tools to better understand and engage with prospects, reducing the sales cycle by up to 18%.
  • Increased Conversion Rates: With better alignment and understanding of customer needs, conversion rates can increase, with companies seeing up to a 67% higher probability of closing deals when sales and marketing are aligned.

Driving Revenue Growth

  • Sustainable Business Growth: Demand generation is not just about immediate sales; it's about creating a sustainable pipeline of prospects to ensure long-term business growth.
  • ROI: Companies with strong demand generation strategies report a 4-10 times higher response rate on marketing campaigns and a significant impact on revenue.

Types of Demand Generation

Demand generation is a crucial aspect of B2B marketing, focusing on creating awareness and interest in a company's products or services. It's aimed at drawing potential customers into the marketing funnel with the ultimate goal of turning them into paying customers.

The strategies for demand generation can be broadly classified into two types: Inbound Demand Generation and Outbound Demand Generation. Each type employs different methodologies and channels to attract and engage prospects.

Inbound Demand Generation

Inbound demand generation is a customer-centric approach that involves creating and distributing content and experiences tailored to the needs, challenges, and interests of potential customers.

The goal is to attract prospects to your company naturally and organically, building a relationship with them over time. Inbound strategies focus on being found by customers, rather than seeking them out directly.

70% of buyers fully define their needs on their own before engaging with a sales representative, and 44% identify specific solutions before reaching out to a seller

Key Inbound Tactics:

  • Content Marketing: Blog posts that answer key industry questions attract 3x more leads than paid search advertising.
  • SEO: Websites on the first page of Google receive 95% of web traffic, highlighting the importance of ranking highly for relevant keywords.
  • Social Media Marketing: Social media influences the purchasing decisions of 74% of consumers, making it a powerful tool for building brand awareness and engaging with potential leads.

Outbound Demand Generation

Outbound demand generation involves proactively reaching out to potential customers through various channels to generate interest in your products or services. Unlike inbound methods, outbound strategies are more direct and often involve reaching out to prospects who may not be actively seeking your solutions.

Email marketing, a key outbound tactic, offers an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent

Key Outbound Tactics:

  • Email Campaigns: Personalized email campaigns achieve 6x higher transaction rates than non-personalized emails.
  • Paid Advertising: Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in Google Ads.
  • Events and Trade Shows: 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority, making these events a prime opportunity for direct sales pitches.

B2B Demand Generation Journey: From Awareness to Advocacy

The B2B Demand Generation Journey is a strategic process that transforms potential customers into brand advocates. This journey, from Awareness through to Advocacy, is underpinned by a targeted demand generation marketing strategy at each stage.

1. Awareness

The journey begins with Awareness, where the primary goal is to get your brand recognized by potential buyers.

In the Awareness stage, 63% of customers who recognize a brand are more likely to purchase, highlighting the importance of being visible and memorable.

Demand Generation Marketing Strategy: Utilize SEO and content marketing to boost visibility. Employing these strategies increases the chances of your brand being discovered by potential clients actively seeking solutions.

How to Execute:

  • Leverage SEO: Optimize your website and content with relevant keywords to increase visibility in search engine results, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
  • Engage on Social Media: Utilize platforms where your target audience is active. Share insightful content, engage in conversations, and use paid social ads to broaden your reach.
  • Run Targeted Ad Campaigns: Use platforms like Google Ads and LinkedIn to run targeted campaigns aimed at your ideal customer profile, increasing brand awareness among relevant audiences.
  • Content Marketing: Publish valuable content such as blog posts, infographics, and videos that address the needs and interests of your target market, drawing them to your brand.
  • Participate in Industry Events: Attend, sponsor, or speak at industry conferences, webinars, and trade shows to showcase your expertise and connect with potential customers.

2. Education

Once aware, potential customers move into the Education phase, seeking to understand how your solutions can address their specific needs.

Educated leads are more likely to convert, with 74% of B2B buyers choosing to work with the brand that first provided them with the insights and education they needed.

Demand Generation Marketing Strategy: Use educational content such as webinars, whitepapers, and case studies to inform potential customers about the value your product or service offers.

How to Execute:

  • Create Educational Content: Develop and distribute content that addresses specific questions and challenges faced by your target audience. Include whitepapers, e-books, and case studies to provide depth.
  • Host Webinars and Workshops: Offer free webinars or online workshops that delve into industry challenges, solutions, and best practices, positioning your brand as a helpful resource.
  • Utilize Email Marketing: Send targeted, informative email campaigns to nurture leads. Use segmentation to personalize content based on the recipient's stage in the buyer's journey.
  • Develop How-to Guides: Publish step-by-step guides and tutorials that help potential customers understand how to solve their problems or improve their operations with your solutions.
  • Engage Through Q&A Platforms: Participate in forums and Q&A platforms like Quora or industry-specific forums. Answer questions related to your domain, providing value and directing traffic back to your educational content.

3. Consideration

In the Consideration stage, prospects are comparing options and deciding on the best solution for their needs.

At this juncture, B2B buyers are looking for reasons to choose one solution over another. A targeted approach can increase conversion rates by up to 10% when tailored to the buyer's specific interests and needs.

Demand Generation Marketing Strategy: Personalized email marketing and targeted advertising play crucial roles here. These strategies can guide prospects through the decision-making process by highlighting your USPs.

How to Execute:

  • Personalized Email Campaigns: Segment your email list based on behavior and interests. Send personalized messages that address the specific concerns and questions of each segment, showing how your solution meets their unique needs.
  • Case Studies and Testimonials: Share stories of successful outcomes achieved by clients similar to your prospects. This not only demonstrates your capability but also builds trust and credibility.
  • Demo Presentations and Complimentary Trials: Provide prospects with the chance to explore the benefits of your product through free demos or trial periods, without any commitment required. Make sure the trial is easy to navigate and accompanied by informative materials to enhance their understanding.
  • Comparison Content: Publish content that compares your offerings with competitors, highlighting your unique selling points (USPs) and value propositions, making the decision-making process easier for your prospects.
  • Dedicated Landing Pages: Create targeted landing pages that cater to specific industries, use cases, or business sizes. Tailor the messaging and content to speak directly to the concerns and needs of each audience segment.

4. Conversion

The Conversion stage is where potential leads make the decision to become customers.

Streamlining the conversion process can lead to an increase in conversion rates by up to 300%. It's crucial to remove as many barriers as possible.

Demand Generation Marketing Strategy: Employing a strong call-to-action (CTA) across all platforms and optimizing the sales process for ease can significantly increase conversion rates.

How to Execute:

  • Streamline the Buying Process: Remove any friction from the sales process. Ensure your website's checkout or sign-up process is as simple and intuitive as possible, with clear calls-to-action (CTAs).
  • Sales Enablement Tools: Arm your sales team with detailed product information, FAQs, and rebuttals to common objections. Ensure they are trained to engage effectively with leads at this critical stage.
  • Incentives and Offers: Consider offering limited-time discounts, bundled packages, or exclusive content as an incentive for prospects to make a decision. Highlight these offers in your communications.
  • Follow-up Strategy: Implement a systematic follow-up strategy for leads who have shown high interest but haven't converted yet. Use a mix of email, phone calls, and retargeted ads to keep your solution top of mind.
  • Customer Reviews and Social Proof: Leverage positive feedback from current customers on your website and in your marketing materials. Social proof can significantly influence decision-making for new prospects.

5. Retention

After conversion, the focus shifts to Retention, ensuring that customers remain satisfied and continue to choose your services or products.

It costs five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Plus, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%.

Demand Generation Marketing Strategy: Implementing customer success programs and regular check-ins can help in identifying any issues early and reinforcing the value your business provides.

How to Execute:

  • Regular Communication: Keep in touch with customers through newsletters, product updates, and personalized check-ins. This keeps your brand top of mind and shows customers you value their business.
  • Customer Success Programs: Implement programs designed to help customers achieve their goals using your product or service. Assign customer success managers to high-value accounts to ensure they're maximizing the value they get from your solutions.
  • Feedback Loops: Regularly solicit feedback through surveys, customer interviews, and feedback forms. Use this information to make improvements and show customers that their input directly influences your offerings.
  • Exclusive Offers for Existing Customers: Provide special discounts, early access to new features, or loyalty rewards to encourage repeat business and enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Educational Content and Training: Offer ongoing training sessions, webinars, and educational content to help customers get the most out of your product or service, reducing churn.

6. Advocacy

The final stage, Advocacy, is where satisfied customers become brand advocates, promoting your products or services through word of mouth.

Referrals from satisfied customers are among the highest converting leads, with a 92% trust rate from prospects, and can lead to a 37% higher retention rate.

Demand Generation Marketing Strategy: Encouraging happy customers to share their positive experiences through case studies, testimonials, and referrals can amplify your reach and credibility.

How to Execute:

  • Referral Programs: Encourage customers to refer new business to you by offering incentives for each referral that converts into a customer. Make the process easy and straightforward.
  • User Communities: Create user groups or online communities where customers can share tips, ask questions, and connect with others. This fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty.
  • Case Studies and Testimonials: Invite happy customers to share their success stories. Publish these stories on your website and social media, and use them in your sales process to provide social proof to prospects.
  • Engage on Social Media: Encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand on social media. Respond to their posts, thank them for their support, and share their content where appropriate.
  • Customer Advocacy Boards: Form a group of top customers to serve as a sounding board for new ideas and to provide feedback on your roadmap. This not only gives you valuable insights but also makes you feel valued and heard.
B2B Demand Generation Journey
B2B Demand Generation Journey

Difference Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation

Difference Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation
Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation
Aspect Demand Generation Lead Generation
Objective Creates awareness and interest in a company’s products or services. Focuses on capturing information of interested parties for sales purposes.
Scope Broad, targeting the top of the funnel to attract potential customers. Narrower, targeting individuals at the interest stage to convert them into leads.
Strategies Content marketing, SEO, social media marketing. Email campaigns, landing pages, lead magnets.
Outcome Brand awareness, education, and engagement across a wide audience. Collection of lead data for further nurturing and sales efforts.
Measurement Engagement metrics, website traffic, content consumption. Conversion rates, number of leads generated, cost per lead.

Key Components of an Effective Demand Generation Strategy

1. Identifying the Target Audience

The first step in a robust demand generation strategy is understanding who your potential customers are. This involves:

  • Leveraging intent data: By analyzing intent data, businesses can identify which prospects are actively researching products or services similar to theirs, indicating readiness to buy.
  • Utilizing demand generation tools: Tools like analytics platforms and CRM software can help segment the audience based on their behavior and preferences, ensuring your marketing efforts are targeted efficiently.

Identifying your target audience allows you to tailor your marketing efforts effectively, increasing the likelihood of converting prospects into customers.

2. Content Creation and Distribution

At the heart of demand generation is content. This phase is critical because it's not just about creating content but also ensuring it reaches the right audience.

  • Build brand awareness: Creating high-quality, informative content positions your brand as a thought leader, building trust with your audience.
  • Generate high quality leads: Through content that addresses pain points, you're more likely to attract leads that are interested in your solutions.

Content should be distributed across a variety of channels, such as social media platforms, email marketing, and your company website, to maximize reach and engagement.

3. Utilizing Inbound and Outbound Tactics

A balanced mix of inbound and outbound tactics ensures a comprehensive approach to demand generation.

Inbound marketing: This includes SEO strategies to rank higher in search engines, and content marketing to draw in leads through valuable resources. It’s about creating pull factors that attract your target audience to your brand naturally.

  • For example, businesses that blog regularly see 67% more leads than those that don't.

Outbound tactics: These are more direct, such as email marketing efforts or event marketing. They allow you to push your message out to a broader audience, even those who may not be actively looking for your solutions.

  • Leverage social media: Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can be powerful for reaching out directly to potential customers or engaging in industry conversations.

Combining these tactics allows you to reach potential customers at different stages of the customer journey, from awareness to consideration, making your demand generation strategy more effective.

4. Lead Capture and Nurturing

Capturing leads is just the beginning; nurturing them until they are ready to make a purchase is where the real challenge lies.

  • Email marketing: A cornerstone for lead nurturing, providing timely and relevant content directly to your prospects' inboxes can significantly advance them through the sales funnel.
  • Lead scoring: Implementing a lead scoring system helps prioritize leads based on their engagement level and readiness to buy, ensuring you allocate your resources efficiently.

Lead nurturing is about building relationships with potential customers by providing them with value and maintaining engagement over time. By doing so, you increase the chances of these leads converting into customers.

5. Conversion and Sales Alignment

The bridge between marketing efforts and sales success is alignment. This phase is critical for ensuring that the leads nurtured by your marketing team are effectively converted into customers.

  • Sales and marketing teams collaboration: Regular communication and shared goals between these teams ensure that leads are smoothly handed off and followed up on.
  • Sales pipeline: Understanding and optimizing your sales pipeline for efficiency can help in reducing the sales cycle and increasing conversion rates.

Aligning sales and marketing efforts not only improves the efficiency of the conversion process but also ensures a cohesive customer journey, enhancing the overall experience and likelihood of conversion.

6. Analysis and Optimization

The demand generation process is never static; it requires continuous analysis and optimization to remain effective.

  • Demand generation metrics: By closely monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), such as conversion rates and lead quality, you can gain insights into the effectiveness of your strategies.
  • A/B testing: Regularly testing different aspects of your marketing and sales strategies allows you to understand what works best and refine your approach accordingly.

Analysis and optimization are about making data-driven decisions to improve your demand generation strategy continually. By understanding what works and what doesn’t, you can adjust your tactics to maximize ROI and drive business growth.

Example of Generating or Creating Demand

One real-life example of creating demand can be seen in how the technology company, Apple, launches its products. Apple is renowned for its ability to generate unprecedented demand for its new products, even before they are available for purchase.

This strategy involves a combination of anticipation building, innovative product features, and strategic marketing.

The Apple Product Launch Model:

1. Pre-Launch Hype and Secrecy:

  • Apple is known for its tight-lipped approach to new product developments. This secrecy creates speculation and buzz in the tech community and among consumers. Months before a product launch, rumors and leaks start to circulate, building anticipation.

2. Keynote Events:

  • Apple's keynote events are central to its demand generation strategy. These highly anticipated events are where new products are unveiled. The presentations are led by senior executives and are designed to showcase the innovative features of new products, differentiating them from competitors. These events are live-streamed globally and watched by millions, amplifying the excitement and anticipation.

3. Product Differentiation:

  • During the launch, Apple focuses on highlighting how the new product stands out from previous versions and competitors' offerings. They emphasize innovation, design, and new technologies that address consumer needs, often introducing new functionalities that consumers may not have realized they needed.

4. Immediate Pre-Order Availability:

  • Shortly after the announcement, Apple typically opens pre-orders for the new product. This immediate availability encourages consumers to act quickly to be among the first to obtain the latest technology, capitalizing on the excitement generated by the launch event.

5. Leveraging Social Proof and Influencers:

  • After the announcement, and as the product hits the shelves, Apple leverages reviews from tech influencers and early adopters to further boost demand. Positive reviews and unboxing videos contribute to creating a buzz around the product, influencing potential buyers' decisions.

Example Case:

The iPhone Launches A prime example is the launch of new iPhone models. For instance, the iPhone X introduced the Face ID technology and a new edge-to-edge display, features that were highly publicized and anticipated due to the pre-launch rumors and the detailed presentation during the launch event.

The strategy resulted in significant demand, with the iPhone X selling out quickly during the pre-order phase and achieving record-breaking sales figures upon its release.

8 B2B Demand Generation Strategies to Use

Here are 8 B2B demand gen strategy that stand out for their effectiveness and ability to drive results.

1. Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting campaigns allow you to re-engage visitors who have left your website without converting.

  • Retargeting keeps your brand in front of bounced traffic, increasing the chances of conversion.
  • Use cookies to track your site visitors and display your retargeting ads to them as they browse other sites online.

2. Lead Magnets

Offering valuable resources in exchange for contact information is an effective way to generate leads.

  • Lead magnets attract prospects by offering them something of value for free, in exchange for their contact information.
  • Develop resources like e-books, whitepapers, or industry reports that address your target audience's pain points or questions.

3. Partner and Co-Marketing

Partnering with other businesses that offer complementary services or products can help you reach a wider audience.

  • Co-marketing allows you to share resources and leverage each other's audiences, increasing your reach and credibility.
  • Identify potential partners with similar target audiences but non-competing offerings. Collaborate on content creation, events, or promotions.

4. Customer Referral Programs

Encouraging existing customers to refer new business to you can be a cost-effective way to generate high-quality leads.

  • Referrals come with a high level of trust, leading to higher conversion rates compared to other lead sources.
  • Implement a referral program that rewards existing customers for referring new business to your company.

5. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagements at specific accounts.

  • ABM aligns marketing and sales to deliver more personalized buying experiences, improving conversion rates and accelerating the sales cycle.
  • Identify high-value accounts, then tailor your marketing messages and campaigns to meet the specific needs and pain points of those accounts.

6. Webinars and Online Events

Hosting webinars and online events can position your company as an industry leader and build deeper relationships with your target audience.

  • They provide a platform for demonstrating your expertise, offering valuable insights, and directly engaging with potential customers.
  • Choose topics that are relevant to your target audience's interests and challenges. Promote your events through email, social media, and your website.

7. Customer Advocacy Programs

Encouraging satisfied customers to share their positive experiences with your brand.

  • Word-of-mouth and testimonials from happy customers build trust and can significantly influence buying decisions of prospects.
  • Create a structured program that incentivizes customers to share their success stories through case studies, testimonials, or social media, enhancing your brand’s credibility and attracting new leads.

8. Leveraging Email Marketing Automation Tools

Utilizing email marketing automation to send timely, personalized, and relevant emails to leads and customers based on their interactions with your brand.

  • Email marketing automation allows for highly personalized communication at scale, improving engagement and conversion rates.
  • Automated emails can be triggered by specific actions, ensuring that messages are timely and relevant, significantly increasing the chances of moving leads through the sales funnel.
  • Implement an email marketing automation tool that integrates with your CRM and website analytics.
  • Set up automated email sequences for different segments of your audience, such as welcome emails for new subscribers, nurture sequences for leads, and re-engagement campaigns for inactive users.

Role of Marketing and Sales Teams in Demand Generation

The success of demand generation relies on the seamless collaboration between marketing and sales teams, each playing a crucial role in engaging and converting leads.

Marketing Team's Role:

  • Attract and Engage: Creates and distributes content to attract leads, utilizing strategies like SEO, PPC, and social media.
  • Nurture Leads: Implements email campaigns and automated workflows to advance leads through the funnel, preparing them for sales engagement.

Sales Team's Role:

  • Qualify and Convert: Takes over once leads are ready, focusing on personal outreach, qualification, and closing deals.
  • Feedback for Optimization: Provides insights back to marketing on lead quality and content effectiveness to refine strategies.

Collaboration is Key:

  • Both teams align on shared goals and metrics, maintain open communication, and establish a feedback loop to continuously improve demand generation efforts. This partnership ensures a smooth transition of leads from attraction to conversion, maximizing efficiency and effectiveness in driving sales.

Concluding Thoughts

Mastering B2B demand generation is key to growing your business. It's all about understanding who your customers are, creating interesting content for them, using the right marketing tactics, and making sure sales and marketing work together smoothly.

Don't just focus on making a sale; keep your customers happy so they come back and tell others about you. Use the strategies we've talked about, like email automation and customer referral programs, and always be ready to change and improve your approach based on what's working.

By doing all this, you can build a strong demand generation process that not only brings in new customers but also helps your business grow in the long run.

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