How to Build an Effective B2B Demand Generation Strategy

Discover key tactics to build a successful B2B demand generation strategy.

Rory Sadler
November 14, 2023
February 24, 2024
Discover key tactics to build a successful B2B demand generation strategy.
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B2B sales and marketing teams often assume that generating leads is the first step in the sales funnel. But leads only exist because there's an existing demand for your product or services.

B2B demand generation strategies take a step back, believing that only by building brand awareness and developing an engaged audience can you hope to generate any leads.

The greater the interest or demand, the more potential leads are available.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of confusion about B2B demand generation tactics, how they differ from lead generation, and why they matter.

Below, we dispel any myths and misconceptions, helping you build a highly effective B2B demand gen strategy.

In this guide:

  • What is B2B Demand Generation?
  • Key Benefits of a B2B Demand Generation Strategy
  • What Makes a Successful B2B Demand Generation Strategy?
  • How to Build a B2B Demand Generation Strategy

What is B2B Demand Generation?

Business-to-business (B2B) demand generation is precisely what it sounds like. It's a strategy to generate interest and demand in a company's products or services.

Beyond mere lead generation, demand gen takes a longer-term viewpoint.

Through marketing, sales activities, and content creation, companies can nurture relationships, build brand awareness, and establish trust among potential business clients.

Think of it like a garden – if lead generation is harvesting the fruit, demand generation is sowing the initial seeds.

Marketing and sales teams aim to build a brand buzz, sparking interest and talk throughout the market while re-engaging past customers.

That may not result in immediate sales. However, later, when a need arises, businesses who previously engaged with your demand gen efforts will turn to your brand for help.

Key Benefits of a B2B Demand Generation Strategy

Unlike lead generation strategies, the fruits of a B2B demand gen aren't immediately apparent. Only later, through a lead generation strategy, will a company see a return on investment (ROI).

Nonetheless, ignore B2B demand generation at your peril. After all, a customer who's never heard of your brand can never purchase a product.

Here are some key benefits to consider:

  • Increased Brand Awareness: Demand generation activities enhance brand visibility among potential clients, making your business a more recognised and preferred choice in your industry.
  • Improved Lead Quality: This strategy focuses on attracting leads that have a higher likelihood of being interested in your services or products, leading to a more effective and efficient sales process.
  • Enhanced Alignment Between Marketing and Sales: It ensures that marketing efforts directly contribute to sales objectives, creating a unified approach that optimises the customer journey from awareness to purchase.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Businesses gather valuable data about customer behaviour and preferences through their demand generation efforts, enabling more targeted and effective marketing strategies.
  • Sustainable Business Growth: By establishing long-term customer relationships and continuously engaging with the target market, demand generation lays the groundwork for ongoing business expansion and resilience.
  • Competitive Advantage: Companies that effectively implement demand generation strategies can gain a competitive edge in their market by being top-of-mind for potential customers and by demonstrating deep understanding and solutions for their needs.

1. What Makes a Successful B2B Demand Generation Strategy?

Successful B2B demand generation strategies aren't magic.

By sticking to some tried-and-tested rules, companies can have an outsized impact, putting their brand on the map. Let's explore six reasons behind effective demand gen strategies:

2. Trust in a Data-Driven Strategy

Expertise only gets you so far. There's a reason why 36% of B2B marketing professionals believe that a greater ROI is the most significant benefit from a data-driven demand gen strategy.

Look at key metrics like website traffic and click-through rates to determine the success of your campaigns.

3. Clearly Defined and Documented Strategies and Processes

Organisation separates the good, the bad, and the ugly in demand gen strategies. In fact, marketers who document their strategies (538%) or processes (466%) are much more likely to see success. There's no substitute for a well-made plan!

4. Social Media and Email Marketing Utilisation

53% of B2B organisations prioritise email marketing for demand generation. Why? Because subscribers who have already interacted with your brand have a much higher investment in your products or services. It's a fantastic way to reinvigorate past customers.

Meanwhile, B2B marketers also use social media platforms like LinkedIn (66%), Facebook (49%), and Twitter (36%).

5. Cost-Efficiency and Lead Generation

Demand generation can seem fruitless. After all, there's no instant gratification – companies must wait months, even years, to see the benefits.

Nonetheless, successful B2B demand generation strategies can generate up to 50% more leads at a 33% lower cost per lead.

6. Marketing Automation

Don't do everything by hand – try to automate as much as possible, leaving your marketing team free to generate content, build customer relationships, or start turning the demand into leads.

Indeed, 39% of marketers identified marketing automation as a key component in accelerating a demand gen strategy.

7. Integration of Multiple Marketing Channels

Success in B2B demand generation isn't limited to a single marketing channel.

Given the objective is to generate as much interest and brand awareness as possible, create a cohesive strategy that works across multiple channels, including social media, email, content marketing, and more.

How to Build a B2B Demand Generation Strategy

Want to create more brand awareness and expand your reach? Not sure where to begin? Here's a simple step-by-step guide to building a successful demand generation strategy:

Step 1. Choose Your Marketing Channels

There's a temptation for marketers to cover every marketing medium.

That's a mistake! Doing so leaves most companies spread too thin and fails to produce satisfactory results.

There's also no need. LinkedIn alone has 774 million users (as of 2021) – if you can't generate enough interest there, then you're doing something wrong.

Choose a handful of highly relevant channels for your business for the best results. That's not just digital marketing – there are also traditional channels like radio, TV, print advertising, referrals, loyalty programs, and more.

The channels you pick will depend on your objectives and industry. For example, new brands may want to increase their website traffic rapidly; pay-per-click (PPC) advertising excels in this.

Search engine optimisation (SEO), in contrast, slowly builds traffic over the long term but has lasting results.

Meanwhile, social media platforms have different demographics. TikTok and Instagram skew toward Gen Z and Millennials, whereas Facebook caters to older generations, and LinkedIn is the premier professional platform.

Step 2. Develop a Content Creation Plan

Whether you're building a blog article portfolio, launching an email marketing campaign, or promoting your brand on social media, you'll need content.

Don't wing it – develop a content creation plan to synchronise your efforts across platforms and ensure you deliver value to your readers and followers.

Start by identifying the content your target audience resonates with – for example, blog posts, white papers, eBooks, webinars, videos, and infographics.

B2B buyers tend to prefer fact-based, informative, and high-level content compared to the emotive, beginner-level content expected from consumers.

Key factors in developing a content plan include:

  • Understand Your Audience: Conduct market research to identify your target audience's pain points, interests, and behaviours, shaping your content topics and types.
  • Set Clear Objectives: Define specific goals for each content piece, such as educating, informing, or converting, and align them with your overall marketing goals.
  • Maintain Consistency and Quality: Produce high-quality content regularly to build trust and keep your brand in the forefront of clients' minds.
  • Optimise for SEO: Apply SEO best practices to enhance your content's search engine ranking, boosting visibility and organic reach.
  • Promote Content Effectively: Use selected marketing channels, like social media, email, or paid ads, to distribute and promote your content.

Step 3. Decide on Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Metrics

Without KPIs and metrics, you won't know if you're experiencing success. Select your KPIs and metrics before launching your campaign and monitor them closely, adjusting your strategy as necessary.

Popular B2B demand generation KPIs include:

  • Lead Generation: Number of new leads generated.
  • Conversion Rate: Percentage of leads converted to opportunities and customers.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Total cost of acquiring a new customer.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Overall return on demand generation activities.
  • Sales Cycle Length: Time taken to convert leads into customers.
  • Pipeline Growth: Increase in the size and value of the sales pipeline.

Step 4. Add an Incentive

Not seeing the traction you wish for? You can generate plenty of brand buzz through a free tool or resource. That could be a free eBook or white paper, a useful tool, or a free trial of your service.

Plenty of brands provide free resources as part of the B2B demand generation efforts – chief among them is HubSpot.

Its endless library of articles, videos, and how-to guides is the centrepiece of its marketing efforts, turning the company into a renowned B2B brand.

However, HubSpot Tools also runs several free tools to spark brand awareness further.

Website Grader, for example, analyses a website in seconds, providing clear advice for optimisation. However, businesses can only get advice by submitting their email address, creating a potential lead later down the line.

Step 5. Include a Call-to-Action

Just because demand generation isn't focused on leads doesn't mean you can generate some. Including a call-to-action in your emails, blog articles, or social media posts can trigger readers to take the next step.

Consider adding these to your content:

  • Download Our Free Guide
  • Register for Our Webinar
  • Schedule a Demo
  • Subscribe to Our Newsletter
  • Contact Us for a Consultation

Closing Thoughts

Once you've generated demand, you'll need somewhere to funnel potential leads and clients.

Too often, businesses rely on a disorganised, scattergun approach spread across multiple channels. Consolidate your marketing and sales efforts into a single digital space.

With trumpet's digital sales rooms, you'll gain access to a suite of tools to help you track, educate, engage, and convert your leads into valuable long-term clients.

Our platform streamlines your lead management process, maximising every opportunity.

Sign up today to learn more about the platform.