B2B Demand Generation: Ultimate Guide For 2024

If you’re a sales rep, sales leader, or marketer looking to achieve sustainable business growth and sales revenue in 2024, then demand generation should be at the top of your priority list. 

Let me give you a little bit of context here.

According to the latest, ‘2023 B2B Buyer’s Behaviour Survey’ conducted by the leading B2B marketing publication Demand Gen Report, B2B sellers are constantly facing 2 issues — 1) delay in purchases for budget freezes (31%) and 2) escalated purchases due to changing business needs(29%). 

This shows that the B2B buying landscape is quite uncertain in 2024. Buyers want more engagement and attention from solution providers than ever before. Now, to effectively make up for that, sales and marketing teams need to collaborate and reach buyers at every stage of their purchase journey.

Demand Generation is the strategy that helps you align your sales and marketing initiatives at every point of a buyer’s journey for a more predictable, sustainable, and long-term customer acquisition.

Today in this article, we will cover everything you need to know about demand generation, including what it is, how it differs from lead generation, how to create a successful B2B demand generation strategy, what are some key metrics, and more.

By the time you finish reading this article, you will be able to:

  • Know the meaning of ‘Demand Generation
  • Know the components of a successful ‘Demand Generation’ strategy
  • Identify the difference between ‘Demand Generation’ and ‘Lead Generation’
  • Strategize for improved ‘Demand Generation’ campaigns 
  • Measure ‘Demand Generation’ efforts 

Let’s get started with.

As the name suggests, ‘Demand generation’ is an umbrella term for a long-term, education-focused Inbound marketing strategy that creates demand for your offered product or service

Demand Generation, also referred to as ‘Demand Gen’ is a critical component of any marketing playbook. It focuses on all the touchpoints of a sales funnel to educate, nurture, and help users with the information they need to make the purchase. Thus, it focuses on creating brand awareness of your offerings.

The ultimate goal of B2B demand generation is to remain top of mind of the prospect — so that whenever they need to buy, your product or service immediately comes first to their mind. 

For example, we at SmartReach create valuable content such as blogs, podcasts, webinars, etc. to educate our users and non-users about B2B sales, emails, and other sales and marketing-related content, so that they can do the best of their business. 

Demand generation marketing’ is the process of creating awareness and interest among your prospects for your offered product or service, without directly selling them.

Now what do I mean by ‘without selling them’?

Well, for a business, building trust, authenticity, and leadership are the 3 primary goals for sustainable customer acquisition and organic growth

Demand generation marketing provides the right information to the right audience at the right time and creates a demand for your product or service, which is later fulfilled by lead generation efforts

So, essentially it aligns your sales and marketing initiatives for strategic revenue and business growth.

PPC, Blogs, G2 reviews, White papers, etc. are all tools of B2B demand generation marketing. 

Now let’s look at the factors that differentiate demand generation from lead generation. 

Demand generation and lead generation are often used interchangeably by rookies, but surprisingly they are not the same thing. 

Demand generation is the process of creating awareness and interest in your products or services. On the contrary, Lead generation is the process of capturing leads and turning them into paying customers.

The table below summarizes Demand Generation v/s Lead Generation.

Demand GenerationLead Generation
Top of the funnel activityBottom of the funnel activity
Creates awareness and interest in your products or servicesCaptures information from leads and turn them into customers
Long-term, education-focused marketing strategyShort-term, sales-focused marketing strategy
Prioritizes reaching and engaging “out of market” buyersPrioritizes capturing information from leads
Helps you increase brand awareness, educates audiences, and generates trustHelps you convert qualified leads into customers
Examples of demand-generation programs include – blogging and creating resources for your audience to use to help them succeedExamples of lead generation marketing tactics include – using CTAs with lead gen forms to get audience contact information and reach out to them for a sales
Metrics used to measure the success of demand generation include website traffic, lead generation, and salesMetrics used to measure the success of lead generation include cost per lead, conversion rate, and customer acquisition cost

For generating a healthy pipeline of qualified leads, every B2B solution provider should adopt a B2B demand generation strategy.

Here are the top 5 elements that you should take care of before running a B2B demand generation program:

Before you can launch a successful demand generation campaign, you need to know who you are trying to reach and what they are looking for. That’s why defining your target audience is the first and most important step in the demand generation process.

Your target audience is the group of people who are most likely to buy your product or service or who have the most influence over the buying decision. They are also the people who share common characteristics, challenges, goals, and needs that your solution can address. 

By understanding your target audience, you can create a demand generation strategy that speaks to their pain points, offers value, and motivates them to take action.

Here are 3 ways to define your target audience:

Market research will help you gain information about your target market, industry, competitors, and customers. Also, you will gain insights into the behavior, preferences, and needs of your target audience, as well as the trends and opportunities in your niche. For example, the coconut market, through comprehensive market research, will provide valuable data on consumer preferences, emerging trends, and the competitive landscape within the coconut industry, enabling informed strategic decisions for your business.

Leverage online tools such as SurveyMonkey, Typeform and Typeform’s alternatives to create and distribute surveys to your existing or potential leads, or a broader sample of your market. You can ask questions about their demographics, challenges, goals, preferences, expectations, and satisfaction levels, among other things.

Also, you can use focus groups to gain qualitative data from the target audience. One of the easiest ways to do this is by inviting a small group of people who represent your target audience for feedback/discussion on your offered product or service. You can use this data to further improve your product or service, develop new categories of products or services, etc. 

Additionally, you can do online research using tools such as Google Trends, BuzzSumo, Google Analytics, or SEMrush to analyze the keywords, traffic, and behavior of your target audience.

If you run a Facebook page, Instagram page, LinkedIn page, or YouTube channel you can take a deep dive into the followers you have on your page. It will help you gain insights into the preferences, sentiments, likes, interests, etc. of your target audience. Use a social monitoring tool like Hootsuite, locobuzz, etc. for social listening.  

For the B2B businesses that use CRMs, you already have a treasure trove of customer data piled up in your system. Use a tool like OneAI to gain insights into your customers’ buying behavior, sentiments, etc. directly leveraging CRM data. 

Additionally, leverage tools like Hotjar and Google Analytics to track your website data on how your target audience finds your pages and interacts with those, what actions they take, etc. for further narrowing down your approach. 

A powerful value proposition is your secret weapon for a successful B2B demand generation. It will help you draw attention, boost conversions, enhance lead quality, and build unshakeable trust with your audience

Whether you want your audience to fill out a form or make a purchase, a strong value proposition makes it happen. It gives you a reality check for spotting genuinely interested leads and your roadmap for offering them problem-solving solutions. 

Having a multi-channel marketing approach will help your business target prospects based on different channels. It’s like turning on a spotlight for your brand, illuminating it for a larger audience. 

Use multiple channels such as Social Media, Email Marketing Newsletters, Blogs, Ads, etc. to educate and nurture your target audience

It will also help your brand gain credibility and authenticity as well and your prospects can now interact with and engage with your brand across various channels.  

In short, having a multi-channel demand generation strategy in place will help you interact with your target audience on various levels enhancing your customer engagement strategies and audience reach. 

Your content for demand generation allows your target audience to gain insights into your products or services. By highlighting your offerings’ unique features and benefits, content aids in decision-making. You can also use interactive demos to give a real look at your product and drive more trust for your buyers in their journey.

According to a recent survey by SemRush, a significant 69% of businesses are planning to ramp up their content marketing budgets in 2024. This underscores the growing recognition of content’s pivotal role in demand-generation strategies.

Crafting informative content not only positions your brand as a thought leader in your industry but also addresses the challenges faced by potential customers. This approach enhances brand visibility, allowing you to demonstrate your expertise and unique selling proposition.

Think of SmartReach, and how we are helping you understand demand generation better through this article and other content available on your website, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. 

Focus on creating a content hub that educates your audience for free.

Below is a list of content based on a survey by SemRush. Pick the one that works best for you 🙂

Content survey by SemRush for demand generation for companies

Wondering how to get started with creating content, what kind of content should you create? 

Take a look at this 2023 Global Content Marketing Report by SemRush for an effective content production guide in 2024. 

Marketing automation tools help you streamline operations and boost your marketing efforts, particularly in the realm of demand generation

From scoring leads to nurturing them, from engaging potential customers across multiple channels, these tools make it all possible within a single platform.

According to the latest Dun & Bradstreet report, 46% of B2B organizations use marketing automation to manage their demand generation program

Usage of marketing automation by B2B organization for demand generation program - survey done by Dun & BradStreet Report

                   Credits: Dun & Bradstreet report

The real game-changer is the deep-dive analytics and performance reporting these tools provide for your demand-gen campaigns. They empower businesses to fine-tune their strategies, making necessary optimizations to enhance campaign performance.

Now, you know some critical components you need for an effective demand gen campaign. Let’s take a look at some of the key metrics that you should ideally track for measuring the success of your B2B demand gen efforts.

“What gets measured gets managed”

~ Peter Drucker

Demand generation is a critical component of any business’s growth strategy. To measure the success of these efforts, businesses need to track specific key metrics that align with their overall goals. 

Here are some essential metrics to consider:

The primary goal of demand generation is to generate high-quality MQLs. Therefore, the number of leads generated is a crucial metric. 

However, it’s not just about quantity; the quality of leads is equally important. Businesses should track metrics like lead conversion rate, which measures the percentage of leads that eventually convert into customers.

CAC is the total cost of acquiring a new customer, including all aspects of marketing and sales. 

A lower CAC indicates a more efficient demand-generation process.

ROI measures the profitability of the demand generation efforts. It’s calculated by dividing the net profit by the total investment in demand generation activities.

 A higher ROI means that the strategies employed are effective and provide good value for the money spent.

This metric indicates the average time it takes for a lead to move through the sales funnel from initial contact to final purchase. A shorter sales cycle is often indicative of effective demand generation and efficient B2B sales processes.

These include metrics like click-through rates (CTR), time spent on the website, bounce rate, and different social media engagement. These metrics provide insights into how effectively the content is resonating with the target audience.

High engagement metrics indicate that your target audience can relate to your content and find it helpful.

Conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. 

A high conversion rate indicates that your demand generation strategy is effective.

Website traffic is a critical metric for demand generation. You must drive traffic to your website to generate demand for your products or services. 

A high website traffic indicates an effective demand gen strategy.

Cost per lead is the money you spend to generate a single lead. This metric is important because it helps you determine the ROI of your demand generation strategy.

With an effective demand gen strategy, your cost per lead decreases.

The key to successful demand generation is aligning these metrics with overall business goals. 

For instance, if the business aims to increase market share, the focus should be on metrics like lead generation and conversion rates

On the other hand, if the goal is profitability, metrics like CAC and ROI become more important.

Tracking the right metrics can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of demand generation efforts and guide future strategies. 

Struggling to generate leads and boost sales in this uncertain market?

Look no further than B2B demand generation, the long-term strategy that fuels sustainable growth. 

Ditch the hard selling and embrace education – think of it as building a loyal audience who can’t wait to buy from you.

Here are the key insights from the blog that you will find helpful: 

  • Demand Generation, a.k.a ‘Demand Gen’, is an education-focused Inbound marketing strategy that focuses on educating the prospects for brand awareness and generating interest.
  • Demand Generation marketing consists of multiple tools and platforms such as Email marketing, Ads, Blogs, podcasts, etc.
  • The main difference between demand gen and lead gen is demand generation focuses on brand awareness, and lead generation focuses on sales.
  • 5 essential elements of a successful B2B demand generation strategy consist of – 1) Know your target audience, 2) Create a Value Proposition, 3) Adopt Multichannel Approach 4) Create a Content Hub 5) Integrate Marketing Automation
  • 8 important key metrics to track demand generation – 1) Lead generation, 2) CAC, 3) ROI, 4) Sales Cycle Length, 5) Engagement Metrics, 6) Conversion Rate, 7) Website Traffic, 8) Cost Per Lead 
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