Successful demand gen grows brand awareness, engages potential customers, and drives leads.
The key to driving these positive results is understanding your target buyer well. This includes nailing down:
- Who they are
- What they struggle with
- What their content preferences are
- And, where they spend their time online
It’s only when you have these insights that you can create a demand generation program that resonates with, attracts, and successfully engages your target audience.
Not sure where to start with creating such an ROI-positive demand generation campaign? We’ve got you covered with this guide that lays out the exact steps you need to take. As an added bonus, we also included some examples of effective demand generation strategies to inspire you.
How to create a B2B demand generation program
From creating buyer personas to deciding which channels to use for reaching new customers and creating consistent brand messaging, there’s a lot that goes into developing a successful demand gen campaign.
But instead of taking a haphazard approach, make a defined plan. Having “A clear plan will help you allocate your resources appropriately, ensuring that you’re not wasting time or money on activities that won’t pay off,” says Gauri Manglik, CEO & Co-founder of Instrumentl.
Here’s where to start and the subsequent steps to take to create your demand generation program:
Step 1: Determine who your target buyer is
Knowing your target buyer is key to creating a plan that resonates with your audience and drives results.
“You have to understand who they are and what they want in order to be able to make them feel like you understand what they’re going through — that’s how you build trust and credibility,” shares Daniel Nyquist, the Chief Marketing Officer at Crosslist.
However, understanding your target buyer goes beyond the basics such as their pain points. Instead, “You have to know what they care about and how they like to be communicated with,” Daniel advises. “Once you know that, it’s much easier to create content that resonates with them and builds a program around it.”
The Director of Demand Gen at PartnerStack and Founder of B2B SaaS Reviews, Joe Kevens, also adds you need to understand your customer’s average contract value.
“If it’s 4–figures, you should have a high volume, inbound-driven demand program. If it’s 6 figures, you should [create] a low-volume, outbound-driven demand gen program. You should have a hybrid of the two if it’s in between.”
In short, “Research, research, research,” says Lilly Ice, Head of Sales and Marketing of NoContractVoIP. Find out: “Who are they? How can your offered solution benefit them? What are they missing? Where do they hang out?”
Step 2: Create a value proposition for your demand gen program
Next, work out how you’ll differentiate your B2B marketing efforts. The idea is simple: “Developing a clear value proposition that differentiates your company from the competition,” Testlify’s Founder, Abhishek Shah, highlights.
Instrumentl’s Gauri also points out, “A demand generation program should be focused on creating a strong brand image” as a way to differentiate yourself. “The more people know about and love you, the more they’re going to want to buy from you.”
“You don’t need to spend lots of money on marketing — just make sure that everything you do is authentic and genuine so that people can see that the business is run by real people who care about what they do,” Gauri adds.
Step 3: Decide which demand generation assets and channels to use
Use insights from your audience research to make data-driven decisions about:
- What type of content you'll create and
- Which channels you’ll use to reach out to, educate, and engage your target audience
Remember though, there are tons of demand gen channels such as social media, email marketing, and dark social that you can use. But be sure to limit yourself to 2-3 channels your audience uses so you can focus your efforts without spreading yourself too thin.
And “… make sure you’re consistently telling [the same] story across every platform & channel that you choose to engage in,” advises Brianna Doe, the Director of Demand Generation at Aion.
As for content formats, choose from whatever your target buyer consumes the most. For example:
- Case studies
- News articles
- Original research
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts
- In-depth blog posts
Step 4: Set measurable objectives
Next, set up objectives for your demand generation program. Ask yourself:
- What do we want to achieve with our demand gen campaign?
- What would be a realistic timeline for achieving these objectives?
- What metrics should we use to track progress and determine whether we’ve achieved our objectives?
Brianna Doe of Aion stresses the importance of determining the metrics you’ll use to track performance. “[Demand generation is] about driving acquisition, retention, brand awareness, education, etc. Establish the metrics for success beforehand (for each marketing initiative & effort) so you can measure accordingly.”
Keep in mind though, the demand generation metrics you track will depend on your program’s goals.
At Aion, for instance, Brianna Doe shares, “The metrics for success might vary slightly based on the lever that I’m pulling, but generally speaking, it drives organic and paid traffic, higher conversion rates, a lower CPA (cost per acquisition) and a higher ROI (return on investment).”
Similarly, for NoContractVoIP, demand gen is more about building awareness than lead generation. Therefore, tracking their website and social media traffic is vital according to their Head of Sales and Marketing, Lilly.
However, Lilly adds, “Demand gen and lead gen go hand in hand, of course, so I want the demand gen to get enough interest to use the lead gen landing page and give the contact info. If my lead gen landing page isn’t converting, the problem is probably over in demand gen.”
Step 5: Create your demand gen toolkit
“The right toolset can make all the difference in how quickly you’re able to execute your strategy and how effectively you can ensure that everyone involved in implementing it understands how everything works together,” writes Gauri Manglik from Instrumentl.
The exact tools to use, however, depend on the assets you’d create as part of your demand generation strategy.
For example, if you plan to use content marketing for driving brand awareness and educating target buyers about your product, you’ll need content ideation and search engine optimization (SEO) tools. Similarly, if you plan to use email outreach, you’ll need email automation software among other sales prospecting tools.
One tool that all demand generation programs can leverage is UserGems. It assists with high-quality pipeline generation — letting you quickly convert high-quality leads from your demand gen program.
Essentially, UserGems tracks customer job changes, notifying you every time a paying customer changes their job or a new person takes on a role at an account you’re targeting. You can then use this information to reach out to:
- People who already know about your product and who are more likely to convert
- And, folks who are looking to invest in new software for a new role they’ve taken
Step 6: Execute, test, optimize
Lastly, it’s important you execute your demand gen program with an experimental mindset.
Remember: not all your demand generation efforts will drive results or be worth your investment. But you’ll only learn which demand gen tactics pull in the most qualified leads by testing, iterating, and optimizing.
As Instrumentl’s Head of Growth & Customer Success, Will Yang, recommends: “Experiment and track —don’t be afraid to experiment with different strategies and campaigns. By tracking the performance of your efforts, you’ll be able to identify what works best for your particular target market.”
Will also adds, “In addition to tracking, it’s important to measure the success of each campaign by focusing on metrics such as engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. You should then use this data to refine your strategy and optimize your campaigns for better results.”
Examples of demand generation programs
Now that you know how to create a demand gen strategy, let’s walk you through three examples of other companies using demand generation marketing to grow their brand awareness and fuel lead gen.
1. PartnerStack’s social proof-led demand gen program
“PartnerStack has a demand generation program with paid ads, organic content, account and lead information, and buyer intent data,” shares Joe Kevens, their Direction of Demand Gen.
“What drives it all is a strong foundation of user reviews on sites such as G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius, to position PartnerStack as the leader in the categories it serves based on the voice of the customer,” Joe explains.
“40% of our closed-won accounts researched PartnerStack G2, and our opportunities with and without G2 buyer intent activity yielded 8.5 percentage points higher win rate and a 27% higher average deal.”
2. Aion’s organic and paid marketing strategy
Aion’s Director of Demand Generation, Brianna Doe, shares “The demand gen program that I’m building at Aion involves 4 main pillars: content marketing & SEO, organic social & community, paid media/advertising, ABM (account-based marketing), and thought leadership (with a few outliers).”
To this end, the team creates the following marketing and lead gen assets:
- “Video content
- Case studies
- Email and remarketing campaigns
- Podcast appearances
- How-it-works' articles
- In-app notifications & customer marketing (for customers on the freemium plan)
- Paid advertising on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as sponsored media placements
- Event marketing and sponsored events”
3. Instrumentl’s educational demand gen framework
“At Instrumentl, we have a comprehensive demand generation program in place. We've designed assets such as white papers and webinars that are aimed at helping our customers understand the nuances of fundraising better and how our product helps them do it more efficiently,” shares Will Yang, the Head of Growth and Customer Success there.
Their CEO, Gauri Manglik also adds they use social media to reach their target audience and build their sales pipeline.
To this end, Will shares their demand gen plan is based on the following core elements:
- “Content creation. We create content such as blog posts, newsletters, videos, and webinars to educate our target audience on the challenges posed by fundraising and how our product can help them overcome those challenges.
- Lead nurturing. We have an automated lead nurture process in place where we follow up with potential customers via email or phone call over a period of time until they are ready to purchase.
- Targeted campaigns. We run targeted campaigns aimed at specific segments of our customer base that are more likely to convert into paying customers.”
3 pro tips to learn demand generation and become an expert
Becoming a modern-day demand gen marketer is critical for creating effective marketing campaigns. But it takes consistent learning, experimenting, and optimizing.
To this end, here are three tips experts recommend you follow:
1. Understand the solution you’re offering
“Those who want to learn demand generation must learn people, first and foremost. They must learn the difference between a feature and a benefit,” recommends NoContractVoIP’s Lilly Ice.
“They have to learn to answer the great unspoken constant question asked by the target audience, ‘But what about ME?’
“Don’t brag about the cool nifty technical stuff your solution does, nobody cares. Tell them how it will make their lives easier, make them more money, let them spend less money, give them more time, reduce the amount they have to learn,” explains Lilly.
2. Learn from the experts
Equally important is to learn from the people who have been driving incredible results.
Consume content that demand gen experts share on their social media profiles, in their newsletters, social media posts, or courses. Also, make sure you ask questions and reach out to them to conduct informational interviews.
Joe Kevens from B2B SaaS Reviews and PartnerStack shares a list of people to follow on LinkedIn for continuous learning:
- “Dave Gerhardt - Growth / Copywriting
- Sam Kuehnle - Demand gen/ads
- Kaylee Edmondson - Demand Gen
- Sam Jacobs - Revenue strategy
- Jason M. Lemkin - SaaS founder / C-Suite
- Silvio Perez - Digital ads in B2B
- Tim Davidson - Funny videos about B2B SaaS Marketing and Sales
- Daniel Murray - Marketing Ops / Growth Marketing
- Jill Rowley - Sales / Partnerships
- Adam Schoenfeld - Data-driven research on B2B (PLG and Community)
- April Dunford - Positioning
- Justin Welsh - Solopreneurship
- Brian Dean - SEO
- Liz Richardson - Customer Marketing
- Leslie Barrett - Customer Marketing
- Shiv Narayanan - SaaS growth
- Marc Thomas - SaaS growth”
3. Learn how tools can optimize your efforts
Lastly, learn to use demand generation tools that automate and optimize your processes. For instance, by giving you the data you need to create your B2B demand generation strategy.
Brianna Doe from Aion advises, “If you’re currently in a marketing role, practice pulling different levers to drive brand awareness and education. Get comfortable with CRMs (like Hubspot) and marketing automation, so you can accelerate your growth!”
Skyrocket awareness with your new demand gen program
To reiterate, an effective demand generation framework is a result of:
- Understanding who your audience is
- Testing different awareness-driving marketing tactics
- Using data to make all your decision including optimizing your campaign
An equally important step here is to use tools like UserGems to improve the results you drive from your demand generation program.
UserGem tracks your target accounts to inform you about people taking on new jobs there. You can then use this insight to reach out to target accounts when they’re already looking to invest in new software.
Take a UserGems demo today and learn how we can improve your demand gen. campaign.
UserGems is a pipeline generation software that helps revenue teams generate and protect revenue efficiently. With UserGems, companies can track and automate outreach when their champions change their jobs, and capture the buying groups to find the warmest path into every account.
Companies like Mimecast, Greenhouse, Medallia use UserGems to reach their revenue goals, quickly and efficiently.