What is B2B Demand Generation? + 5 Strategies for SaaS and Tech

August 25, 2023

ViB Editorial Team

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How many of us B2B marketers are tired of campaigns failing to reach the right audience in tech?

🙋‍♀️ You’re not alone. 

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 58% of marketers believe their ability to accurately target content to their desired audience is at best average and more commonly considered “fair” or “poor”.

This has led to an increase in middle-of-funnel B2B lead generation strategies, aimed at adding most of our touchpoints to an audience who’s aware of our company already and neglecting strategies that bring in new leads. Meaning, we’re so focused on lead generation, we forget the importance and value of demand generation (yes, they’re different!).

Demand generation and lead generation should be working in tandem. Both are critical components of an effective full-funnel marketing strategy.

In this blog, we’ll unpack what B2B demand generation is, its process, and how it’s different from lead generation. Plus, you’ll see some examples of strategies, and services if you’re choosing to outsource.

Tech professionals don’t like to give up their contact information. That’s why Lauren from OffSec works closely with ViB for targeted demand generation — that exceeds her goals on repeat.

What is B2B demand generation?

Demand generation is focused on creating brand awareness and interest in a company’s solutions, with the primary goal of building brand recognition, educating potential customers, and establishing trust. 

If you’re having a hard time generating SQL (sales-qualified leads), that may be an indication there may be gaps in your demand generation strategy.

B2B demand generation marketing is a holistic strategy focused on creating and nurturing awareness and interest in your products or services within a targeted audience. It involves a range of tactics, such as content marketing, email campaigns, webinars, and personalized engagement.

The emphasis here is on creating demand for your offerings by fostering meaningful interactions and relationships.

In fact, B2B SaaS (software as a service) companies spend 80-120% of their revenue in marketing and sales in the first five years. Unlike other industries, trying to break into the market can be near impossible without a combined demand generation and lead generation strategy. 

What about B2B lead generation?

You can think of B2B lead generation as a subset of demand generation. Lead gen specifically deals with identifying and capturing potential customers who have expressed interest in your products or services. 

Lead generation campaigns are more geared towards direct engagement and conversion, including methods like forms on landing pages, chatbots, or appointment setting. The key here is to collect information and initiate direct communication with prospects who are closer to making a purchasing decision.

Demand gen vs lead gen?

If you’re trying to decide which one is more important to your marketing strategy, we’ll pause here — you cannot have an effective full-funnel marketing strategy with only one.

If we were to directly compare the two:

  • Demand generation is like casting a wide net. It’s about creating a buzz, attracting a broad audience, and nurturing long-term relationships. Think of it as the big picture strategy.
  • Lead generation, on the other hand, is like a focused laser beam. It hones in on individuals who have shown a specific interest, making them more likely to convert. It’s the tactical approach within the broader demand generation strategy.

Demand generation starts at the very first stage in the sales funnel and encompasses both lead generation and inbound marketing. This is the first perception a potential customer has of your brand. The goal of demand generation is to increase brand awareness and become recognized as a thought leader in your industry. 

As potential customers learn about your brand, they move down the funnel into a lead generation-focused approach. MOF (middle-of-funnel) strategies are aimed at educating prospects on how your solutions can solve their problems. Here, differentiation is key. How are you different from your competitors? Most lead generation strategies involve gated resources which require prospects to give their contact information for something in return. 

How do they work in tandem? 

Demand generation is focused on providing value and educating, to set the stage for conversions. Lead generation then identifies and captures the ripe opportunities by inspiring action. 

Both are essential components of a successful B2B marketing strategy, especially in the tech sectors like cybersecurity, IT, SaaS, AI, and Cloud, where building trust and understanding are crucial before a purchase decision.

Understanding the B2B demand generation process

It’s important to understand that every demand generation process looks different — there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving success. 

But, there is a general framework that works for most tech and SaaS companies. 

Step 1: Generate awareness

This top-of-funnel approach is aimed at building brand awareness, increasing brand trust, and positioning your company as a thought leader within your community. 

In theory, you want as many people entering your sales funnel as possible. But, it’s important to remember quality is more important than quantity. You’ll waste valuable percentages of your budget if you’re focused on reaching the masses. 

To reach the right people, start with defining your target audience

Who are they? Where else do they look for solutions? What are their buying patterns?

Once you understand who they are and what they want, give! That’s right, in this first stage, change your mindset from “I need to sell this solution immediately.” to “How can I provide customers with value?” 

Your main goal shouldn’t be to generate sales immediately.

Whether that means creating value-first email campaigns or providing free content like blogs, white papers, or reports, give your audience something that will bring them one step closer to solving their challenges

TIP: To move your audience further down the funnel, encourage them with a CTA (call to action). Make their move throughout the customer journey as seamless and easy as possible.

Thumbnail of B2B Ideal Customer Profile Template ViB
Simplify your targeting strategy with the one-page B2B ideal customer profile template, designed to help you define your best audience and communicate your targeting needs.

Step 2: Educate and build trust

Customers know that you exist – congrats! Now, it’s time to turn that prospect into a lead. 

At this stage, educate your prospects. Let them know how your solutions are different from your competitors. Is your software easier to navigate? Does it provide them with more information to make better marketing decisions?

Use B2B research marketing services and survey targeted consumer profiles to gain valuable insights you can use to tailor your inbound marketing strategy. Virtual events are also a great way to engage with prospects and create space for Q&As, polls, and other valuable interactions.

The goal at this point is to make their challenges feel a little less daunting and to make their lives easier. 

Step 3: Push for conversion

You have leads, but you’re ready for them to turn into MQL (marketing-qualified leads). Customers in this stage are actively looking to make decisions. 

They’ve done their research, they’ve asked their questions, and now they’re looking to purchase. Be more straightforward in this stage. 

What better way to give them the final push toward action than a personalized session? Encourage them toward the final step of action with a one-on-one meeting structured to answer any lasting questions, discuss budget concerns, and run through customized solution options. 

In this stage, it’s alright to be a little more “salesy” but remember, always lead with value.

Thumbnail of ViB B2B Marketing Trends Report

Discover the latest trends and statistics — and the key actions B2B marketers and leaders need to take today. 

Step 4: Seal the deal

You’ve done it! You answered all their questions, acknowledged their concerns, and they feel good about proceeding with your software.

Now, this isn’t the point where you send them to your sales team and wave goodbye. In collaboration with sales, follow up closely on their purchase, such as with timely user experience questionnaires. See if there are any gaps in your customer journey that elongated their decision-making process.

Provide white-glove customer service, quickly fixing any hiccups that may occur in the implementation phase. After all, initial customers are great, but the ultimate goal is to build a lasting relationship so net new leads are brought in by word of mouth.

Let’s take a look at some strategies that we can implement throughout each of these stages.

5 B2B demand generation strategies to try

Unlike other marketing strategies, demand generation focuses on each customer journey touchpoint before encouraging them to purchase. 

This may seem counterintuitive because, after all, our job as marketers is to sell, right?

Of course! Once you implement some of our go-to demand generation strategies below, you’ll begin noticing an almost immediate difference in the quality of your leads and the effect that has on your bottom line.

1 — Buy lead lists

Purchasing lead lists of potential customers within your target audience can help accelerate your pipeline with prospects most likely to take action. 

These leads may be individuals or organizations that may not have otherwise known your solutions exist. While some marketers love this channel of securing leads, others are more wary because companies typically aren’t aware of the lead quality until they receive it. 

See the 10 B2B data providers we trust

2  — Produce and promote tailored content

Is your team creating content and not receiving a high ROI on it?

Here, we’re not just talking about building content marketing teams and assets, but also making sure they convert into results.

Utilize existing content by tailoring it to different touchpoints within the customer journey. Providing high-value, informative content and getting that content to reach your target audience is key to increasing engagement and propelling growth. 

Prospective clients are curious to learn more about your solutions, so it’s imperative you’re providing tailored content that increases their demand as they become more familiar with the benefits you provide. 

3  — Run virtual events

B2B virtual events are a great way to establish your company as a thought leader in your industry. Whether you’re engaging in Q&As or providing value via keynote, events are a great way to increase brand awareness and credibility. 

If possible, host live demos to show how your solutions solve industry-wide problems. The best way to draw in new prospects is through their perceived value of your company. 

4 — Leverage consumer intent data

Intent data is the behavioral data of consumers that reveals their purchase intent. 

Consumer intent data can help:

  • Discover new niches of your audience
  • Create tailored content
  • Increase customer retention
  • Turn leads into qualified leads quicker

 

This research provides a foundation for setting your team’s KPIs and gives you the information you need to make faster and smarter marketing decisions. 

5 — Nurture prospects with email campaigns

Despite the flood of social media platforms and community engagement channels, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways of nurturing prospects with personalized content. Set yourself apart from your competitors by actively caring and being empathic toward your audience — nobody likes a schmoozer, but people love honest, trustworthy people!

Email marketing fosters brand loyalty and credibility as prospects become familiar with your logo, messaging, and benefits. When prospects see your company as a trustworthy source of information, they’re more likely to think of you when their purchase intent is high. 

It’s also via email that you can put your best foot forward, and encourage interested leads to request demos and consultations or ask any questions. 

You might like: 5 steps to create the perfect cold email campaign

How to outsource effectively to a B2B demand generation agency

Outsourcing your B2B demand generation strategies not only saves your team valuable time, but it can also increase your ROI by 3-5x.

In fact, you’d be in the majority with over 85% of marketers noting a positive impact of outsourcing their [demand] generation. And, nearly 71% said an external team performed better than their internal team.

Demand generation isn’t something that should be left to the inexperienced. If done correctly, demand gen can be the lifeblood of your company, providing your team with a steady flow of net new qualified leads.

So, finding a partner that understands your goals and industry is vital to a successful demand generation campaign. 

I’ve so many thoughts on how to find the perfect vendor (check out the 15-question checklist below, or the deep dive ebook: The 5-Step Guide to Evaluating Any B2B Lead Generation Agency

But let me summarize with a TLDR of the 5 key areas to evaluate when choosing the right B2B lead generation agency:

1 — Are they industry experts? 

They’re not only familiar with your industry but they’re engrained in it. They’d consider it their bread and butter.

2 — Are there success stories?

They can provide you with numerical proof of their success. Most importantly, they can show you the ROI comparable companies have experienced by working with them.

3 — Are they transparent about their services?

How does their process work? What type of lead are you expected to receive? Their process should be crystal clear, and they should offer a customer representative that’ll walk you through the entire process. 

4 — Are value and cost are equal?

You’re getting what you paid for. A successful demand generation campaign means receiving qualified leads. The leads they’re providing you are within your target audience and ready to take action. We prefer a pay-per-lead pricing structure.

5 — Is growth their goal?

Your growth is their progress. So, the demand gen partner you’re working with should be focusing on providing services that’ll help you grow in the long run and sustain that growth. We’re not looking for quick fixes and small bursts of leads. We’re playing the long game.

Making an informed decision when evaluating the right B2B lead agency doesn’t have to be rocket science. Get the one-page checklist of the 15 must-ask questions, to cover all your bases, easily.

Your demand generation partner should be exactly that, a partner. 

ViB is committed to providing services designed to help you grow your bottom line. With a white-glove service and commitment to transparency, ViB’s demand-generation solutions make your goals our prerogative. 

Accelerate your pipeline today! 🚀

Best B2B demand generation services for tech/saas

What kinds of tactics can be effectively outsourced as demand generation services in our industry?

There’s actually many to choose from, that hit at different points in the customer journey. 

When the interactions occur is just as important as the interactions themselves. Let’s take a look at some of our B2B demand generation services that make up a full-funnel marketing strategy.

I. B2B email marketing services

Perfect as a top-of-funnel awareness strategy, email marketing enables you to send emails to thousands of targeted, high-tech professionals for an instant boost in awareness and qualified leads. 

Supplement low results from inbound marketing campaigns with 5x the leads. Whether you’re interested in promoting an upcoming event, releasing a new software feature, or just looking to build relationships with your audience, email marketing allows you to reach beyond your contact lists and databases.

📧 Reach out to high-value accounts today.

II. B2B market research services

Hard to see the value of quality research without recognizing the price tag and effort

With ViB, you can easily survey targeted tech profiles to generate research that meets your team’s objectives. The research can then be syndicated as downloadable content for your leads and can be repurposed into infographics, blogs, emails, or press releases. 

Need some inspo? Check out these 6 real market research report examples created by tech markters like you.

Research can be hard to execute, but with an affordable service you can perfect your inbound marketing strategies with valuable consumer behavior data from the sources themselves!

🔎 See how you can produce custom research that you can repurpose anywhere. 

III. B2B content syndication services

Content is king. As marketers, we’ve heard that for years now. But, are we receiving the full ROI potential on the content we’ve already created? 

With ViB Syndication, they match your content to tech profiles looking for solutions. Reach net-new professionals who’ve already opted in to receiving content like yours. Unlike typical content syndication websites, ViB has fostered a trusted community of tech and Saas professionals where every lead is vetted and certified. 

🤫 PS: Want to watch how our content syndication program works

IV. B2B webinar marketing services

With webinar services, it’s all about running an end-to-end webinar without the stress of managing every stage of the event. ViB plans, promotes, hosts, tracks, and delivers a guaranteed number of leads to your event. 

Plus, will your B2B marketing webinar with real attendees — active tech professionals with a desire to learn about new innovative technologies. Whether you’re looking to speak directly to CIOs or focused on explaining your value to security analysts, you’ll have the opportunity to segment ViB’s network by any qualification — job title, job level, geography, company size, and more. 

📹 Run great events with guaranteed, targeted attendees.

V. B2B appointment setting services

What’s one of the hardest parts of generating new leads? Knowing when your prospect’s purchase intent is highest, and getting them to meet.

With appointment setting services, leads have already opted in and voluntarily meet with you. Target your ideal customer through a segmented network, filtering by job, title, revenue, etc.

Unlike working with outsourced SDRs, there’s no forced meetings with uninterested parties, just valuable prospects actively looking for solutions to their problems. And, with ViB’s appointment setting services, you’re only charged per lead, meaning you only have to pay for successful meetings held.

🚀 Ready to keep your sales team busy?

VI. B2B intent data services

Marketing can sometimes feel like guesswork. Which is why marketers are ramping up their use of B2B intent data to really understand how a buyer thinks, feels, and acts.

But conventional B2B buyer intent data comes with challenges, like vague signals interpreted from online activity, or outdated data from third-party sources. Sounds like something you’ve experienced before?

That’s why ViB Deal Intent is a unique solution (that we’re really proud to launch). Unlike other B2B intent data providers, Deal Intent captures intent signals directly from each prospect, so you know it’s accurate, reliable, and explicit.

I’m talking about crystal clear data about an active prospect’s buying timeline, budget, other decision makers involved, and consent to be contacted. With that explicit, zero-party sourced data, we’ve seen marketers launch intent data marketing strategies that catapult their reps into warm conversations.

🔮 Get leads and know everything about them with Deal Intent.

Emails

Generate targeted tech leads for your message, offer, or event

Appointments

Generate pipeline by meeting prospects who match your ideal customer profile

Syndication

Generate new content downloads with leads who may never find you organically

Deal Intent

Generate leads with active projects, and explicit intent data from the source

Webinars

Generate a fully planned live or simulated live webinar with a lead guarantee

Research

Generate custom research on your buyers to create data-backed content 

Examples of successful B2B demand generation campaigns

You may be wondering how much of an impact these B2B demand generation services can actually have on your bottom line. 

Truth is, working with a credible and trusted demand gen partner can help you crush your KPIs. 

What if you have little need for demand generation? What if you’re already bringing in new leads? 

Take Google for instance, their VP of Demand Generation, Mike Hardwicke Brown, puts significant resources into producing top-quality content. Dissatisfied with their ability to get content pushed out further (yes, even Google!), he reached out to our team at ViB. 

Providing specific criteria, they agreed to focus their efforts on ViB’s content syndication services. 

And, imagine this.

Even Google saw dramatic results. They had 4x more pipeline than before, a 50% lead to conversion rate, and 100% of those leads were considered qualified leads.

Not only were the leads successful the first time, but they also continued getting net new leads while working with ViB. 

 

We use four content syndication providers per quarter. We always recycle at least one to two [underperforming] vendors. But in two years together, we haven't experienced any audience exhaustion with ViB and we haven't rejected a single lead in more than a year."
Mike Hardwicke Brown
VP of Demand Generation, Google

But, Google isn’t the only one!

Donoma Software launched a new product called OneVault, a centralized data archiving solution, and planned on promoting it at industry events

Parker Pearson, VP of Marketing, said “Being able to drive a large enough audience to fill the pipeline for this new product was important to me.” 

The Donoma team worked with ViB using their B2B webinar services to plan, promote, execute, and track their event.

The result?

From Parker herself, “‘The webinar helped me fill my pipeline.’ About 140 people registered to attend the event, priming her to reach the year’s goal of 500 net-new opportunities, and ‘we’ve had some early-stage buying conversations.’”

What's next?

Whether you’re an established company like Google and looking to reach more people, or looking to launch a new product, ViB has the resources, expertise, and proven track record to accelerate your pipeline and drive business growth.

Take the first step and find out more about how you can level up your demand generation strategy by checking out our process and media kit.

Or better, chat with a team member today!

Need more info to get started with B2B lead generation?

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