B2B Demand Generation: Here’s How To Create A Strategy Worth Implementing

May 3, 2024

Jeremy Moser

Generating leads for your sales team is no longer as simple as publishing lots of top-of-the-funnel content and waiting for qualified leads to stream in and pass them on to sales. 

If it were that simple, we’d never have to talk about the need to stand out from your competitors, low conversion rates, or hitting sales plateaus. 

You need to be proactive, either as a founder or a B2B marketer, because competition is stiff. 

Your peers publish content on different channels, and breaking through the noise requires you to go back to the basics instead of following conventional marketing tactics. 

The only problem is figuring out where to start when mapping out a plan that helps you stand out, create brand awareness, and generate high-quality leads. 

The answer? B2B demand generation. 

At uSERP, my team and I play an important role in helping high-growth B2B companies drive demand for their products through our link-building efforts. 

However, link-building is a tiny piece of a larger B2B demand generation program. 

Let’s take a closer look at what B2B demand generation is, why you need a B2B demand generation strategy, and how to effectively create one that drives sustainable demand for your product.  

What is B2B demand generation?

B2B demand generation is about increasing awareness and generating and nurturing interest in your brand’s product. 

The B2B sales cycle involves several steps and involves more than one decision-maker. 

graphic showing the 7-step B2B sales process

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B2B demand generation focuses on identifying who your ideal buyers are, creating relevant content, and distributing it through the right channels. It helps you remain at the top of your target buyer’s mind throughout their buying journey.

As your potential buyers consume your content, you present relevant offers to get them into your marketing funnel, where you can nurture them through email campaigns. 

Once they’re ready to buy, you pass them on to the sales team, who’ll convert your prospects ‌into customers. 

In the case of my company, our ideal buyers are SEO professionals and decision-makers who want to improve their visibility on search engines. 

The content we publish on our blog covers link building and other topics that improve search engine visibility.   

A blog post on how to integrate SEO and Content Marketing

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We present relevant offers at specific touch points. To watch the webinars I host, for example, you’ll need to enter your contact details. 

It gets our potential customers into our nurturing funnel, where I nurture them before they are ready to book an introduction call with me. 

A webinar on Traffic Taker Strategy

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By now, you can see that content marketing is a core pillar of B2B demand generation, but it can’t work alone.

It only works well when backed up with a demand-generation strategy to achieve specific business objectives. In this case, it helps drive demand for your product and fill your sales pipeline with high-quality leads.   

Why do you need a B2B demand generation strategy? 

Having a great product and achieving product-market fit is no longer enough to succeed in B2B demand generation. 

They’re both great steps, but you need to do more to stand out because you’re not the only one in the market selling a similar product. 

If we zoom out and look at the martech landscape, you’ll see that we have more than 11,000 martech tools that users can choose from:

An graph showing the growth of Martech tools

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If the product you’re selling falls into the martech category, it means that your prospects have more options to choose from. Besides, tools in each category have similar pricing and features, so there isn’t much left to compete on. 

Unless you’re HubSpot or Ahrefs, qualified leads aren’t going to join and naturally move down your marketing funnel just because you’re publishing content. 

Given that the B2B sales cycle is long, let’s assume that the marketing teams behind each B2B company you’re competing against are publishing content. That means more content on different channels, and your prospects have a hard time sifting through all of it to make a purchase decision. 

Throughout their buying journey, your potential customer’s ideal buyers go through different buying milestones, and each milestone requires specific types of content to help them move to the next buying milestone.  

For example, when your potential customers identify and shortlist available options, they’ll consider the technical capabilities of their preferred solution and the long-term financial costs they’ll incur. 

They’ll need content that addresses these two issues to help them narrow down and pick the solution that aligns with their needs and is within their budget. 

Lastly, the buying process in B2B isn’t reliant on one person’s decision. There’s a buying committee, which often includes the decision maker and the product’s end user.  

You’ll need to convince each committee member that your product will help them solve their pain points. 

To avoid overwhelming potential buyers, provide relevant content to the buying committee when they need it, and stand out from your competitors, you need a demand generation strategy. 

It helps you:

  • Lower your long-term customer acquisition costs 
  • Generate interest in your brand’s products 
  • Ensure a steady flow of qualified leads
  • Increase customer lifetime value

How to create a B2B demand generation strategy

A solid foundation for your B2B demand generation campaign ‌will determine how successful your efforts will be. 

Here’s my take on what makes a great B2B demand generation strategy, both from the brands I have worked with and from my experience running B2B demand generation campaigns for my own agency. 

1. Set realistic objectives  

When preparing to launch a B2B demand generation campaign, ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic enough to achieve in a given time frame. 

Setting realistic objectives starts with honestly assessing where you are so that you know what to focus on. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • How does content contribute to my larger marketing goals? Is it helping me generate qualified leads, and if not, why? 
  • How many marketing-qualified leads are we generating each month, and what’s their conversion rate?
  • Are our conversion paths in each channel, email, blog, and landing page effective? 
  • Still on content: Does my content drive traffic to relevant pages on our website?   
  • What channels get me the most traffic and leads?

These questions will help you diagnose what’s working and what isn’t working with your current demand generation efforts. 

Now that you know where you are and the challenges you’re facing, it’s time to identify where you want to be. 

What goals do you want to achieve each month and each quarter? Examples of goals you want to set include:

  • Number of sales-qualified leads that you’ll pass on to sales each month
  • Number of marketing-qualified leads you want to generate each month
  • Conversion rate for each channel and stage of the marketing funnel

Let’s say your assessment showed solid conversion rates, but you’re not getting enough traffic. 

Your goal is to generate 200 marketing-qualified leads each month and pass on 50 sales-qualified leads to the sales team each quarter.

To achieve your goal, you’ll focus your demand generation efforts on diversifying your traffic sources to increase the amount of traffic you drive to specific web pages. 

You’ll convert more traffic into high-quality leads, nurture them, and pass them on to the sales team when they’re ready. 

To diversify your traffic sources, consider ‌updating and optimizing old content and ‌diving deeper into the themes you talk about on your blog to achieve topical authority. 

Other ways to diversify your traffic include paid advertising, creating video content, building relationships to acquire referral traffic, and link building

2. Align your objectives with the sales team

To succeed in your B2B demand generation campaign, align your objectives with the sales team so that all your efforts build up to the larger sales and revenue goals.

Ask yourself: What revenue and sales goals are you looking to achieve this year as a business to improve your growth and maintain profitability?

Once you identify your goals, break them down to what you and the sales team need to achieve to make your larger sales and revenue goals a reality. 

Let me give you a quick example of what I mean. 

Let’s say your average recurring revenue goal this year is $1 million (it may be more, but let’s work with this). 

If you sell your product for $99 per month, you’ll need 850 customers paying $99 per month to achieve that goal. 

Now, if you know that for every 2,000 leads you generate, you make 300 sales, your conversion rate is 15%. 

If you want to make 1,000 sales to hit and surpass your goal, that means you’ll need to generate around 6,000 leads each month so that you have enough leads to pass on to your sales team.

You also need to agree on who a sales-qualified lead is and who isn’t. Doing this reduces friction and the unending blame game between sales and marketing teams whenever they fail to hit their goals.

To do this, check your data and identify the actions your existing customers took before becoming customers. Was it a free trial that solidified their decision? A product demo? A webinar?

Note these details to determine the quality of leads and share this information with your sales team. This way, your marketing team and sales team remain aligned and on the same page regarding generated leads. 

3. Refine your target audience

You already have an idea of who your ideal buyer is and probably have a buyer persona or two for different audience segments. 

Difference between an ideal customer profile and a buyer persona

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To ‌effectively generate demand, you want to go beyond knowing the basics about each audience segment, such as who they are and their goals and challenges. Zoom in to learn more about:

  • What’s getting in the way of making a switch
  • What drives them to seek your solution
  • The jobs your ideal buyer needs to do
  • Their role in the buying process
  • Their ah-a moments 

To avoid inventing this information or collecting irrelevant data, send surveys to your existing ‌customers to understand their motivators for considering your product.

Watch demo recordings to see what features they use often and identify common ah-a moments that turn your product from a nice-to-have into a must-have. 

Analyze customer sentiment from chatbot conversations and customer service interactions to help you identify what drives them to seek your solution and what gets in the way of making a switch (if they’re using a competitor). 

The better you understand your target audience’s thinking as they seek solutions to their problems, the easier it will be to position your brand and product as the solution they need. 

4. Create strategic content assets

Your content combines all your efforts to engage your target audience and generate demand. 

While you may have a ton of options available when choosing what content assets to create, not all content assets are equal. 

When choosing the content assets to create, look at the information you collected in Step 3 to identify content ideas. What kind of content can you create based on their pain points and the jobs they need to finish? 

Let’s use uSERP as our example to explain what I mean:

Our target audience is SEO professionals, and one of their roles at work is to improve search engine rankings and drive more traffic to relevant web pages. 

So, to drive demand, the content assets we create need to help our target audience get their jobs done.

In this case, the content on our blog shares actionable strategies and frameworks to help SEO professionals do their jobs. In this case, helping them boost their rankings:

A blog post about SEO Competitive Analysis

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If your data from refining your target audience points you to topics with longtail keywords, start there and create sales enablement content. 

You’ll get hold of high-intent leads who need an extra push to make a purchase decision and buy. 

You’ll also need to create a buzz around your brand and product by publishing opinions that drive conversations within your industry and make your potential customers pay attention to you. 

In the early days of uSERP, I published a couple of thought leadership pieces in the Search Engine Journal. Here’s one of them:

A thought leadership piece keyword-driven content

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Back then, keyword-driven content didn’t seem like a significant idea that startups needed to consider, as most of them swear by it. However, ‌recent updates to Google’s algorithm prove I was right.

If there is a best practice that you think has outlived its usefulness, write about it. Challenge a truism in your industry by sharing your opinion about it and the circumstances in which that truism doesn’t hold.

Alternatively, share a personal experience of how you have overcome a common challenge your peers face. For example, I’ve shared how we grew our team 7X in three years while maintaining productivity. 

A personal story about growing a team in 3 years

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In the process, the conversations you spark will help spread the word about your brand and the products you sell. 

5. Choose your distribution channels

To make sure that you’re distributing your content on the right channels, go beyond scheduling content on social media marketing tools. 

Start by learning the following about your target audience: 

  • YouTube channels they subscribe to
  • What social accounts they follow 
  • Who they engage with online
  • Podcasts they listen to
  • Websites they visit

At a high level, this information helps you know where your audience hangs out and what they talk about. You also start getting ideas about how to join the conversation without interrupting their experience. 

Let’s take what you’re reading about, for example, B2B Demand Generation

If I want to choose my distribution channels, I’ll log into SparkToro to learn more about who my audience engages with online: 

Audience research inside SparkToro tool

Image Sourced from SparkToro 

Data from SparkToro showing audience behavior online

Image Sourced from SparkToro 

Based on this information, I may consider guest-posting on some of the websites my audience visits to help me distribute my content and drive some of that traffic to uSERP. 

Alternatively, if the owners of these social accounts run email newsletters and are open to partnerships, I might consider booking a spot to help drive awareness about my brand.  

I might also take this further by learning what podcasts they listen to and what YouTube channels they subscribe to:

Data from SparkToro showing what information an audience consumes

Image Sourced from SparkToro 

Here, I’ve seen co-branding opportunities with the hosts of these channels and sponsored one of the podcasts my target audience listens to. 

See how that works? Our audience is already receptive to these channels, so when we use them, we maximize visibility and engagement while driving demand. 

6. Scale your campaign with demand-generation tools

As you run your B2B demand-generation campaign, the volume of repeatable tasks grows, and you can’t simply keep up with the manual tasks. 

Without the right tools and people in charge, you’ll find it hard to be consistent and effective. 

For example, when creating content, you’ll need to streamline your workflows to produce high-quality content at scale. 

Once your blog posts are ready, you’ll need to transfer them from Google Docs to WordPress, and before you hit ‌the publish button, add relevant internal links. That’s hectic. 

Since you’ll be creating content in your demand-generation campaign, here are three tools to help you streamline your content operations

Wrapping up

In my link-building campaigns, I’ve worked with B2B marketers who are experts at running B2B demand generation campaigns for their brands and products. 

It’s hard work, but B2B demand generation is effective. While there’s no way around it (if you want to stand out), create and implement a solid B2B demand generation strategy. 

By following the advice I’ve shared here, you’ll not only create demand for your brand but also generate high-quality leads for your sales team. To recap, make sure that you:

  • Set realistic objectives
  • Aligned your objectives with the sales team
  • Refine your target audience
  • Create strategic content
  • Choose your distribution channels
  • Scale your operations with tools

Now, go out there and start creating your B2B demand generation strategy. Good luck. 

Jeremy Moser

Jeremy Moser

Jeremy is Co-founder and CEO of uSERP and has spearheaded SEO campaigns for global brands like SoFi, Robinhood, Freshworks, monday.com, & 100s more. He's a Forbes 30 under 30 in Marketing & Advertising.