The Complete Demand Generation Strategy Guide

The outputs of a demand generation system are easy enough to see: qualified leads that can be turned into new customers. 

But peek behind the curtain of any mature demand generation motion, and you’ll find a systematic approach that strives to establish connections with prospects across the buyer’s journey — from the initial stages to the point of purchase, and even beyond.

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is the process of building awareness and interest in a brand’s products and services. Marketing teams work cross-functionally to develop ongoing, omnichannel strategies that connect value propositions to the right audience.

Demand generation involves any activity a business undertakes to contribute to the sales funnel, most often through the following steps:

  1. Creating awareness around products or services.
  2. Nurturing prospects through the conversion optimization process.
  3. Moving prospects through the sales cycle.
  4. Retaining, upselling, and cross-selling customers after a purchase.

Demand generation is a joint effort between B2B marketers and salespeople. To successfully execute a demand gen strategy, demand generation managers must facilitate sales and marketing alignment. The goal is to target the right prospects and move them through the buyer’s journey.

The Difference Between Demand Generation & Lead Generation

Are demand generation and lead generation the same? No, but they do overlap. 

Successful demand generation strategies span the funnel and focus on generating brand awareness and loyalty. Lead generation, while aided by awareness driven by demand gen, is the process of converting sales-ready prospects into qualified pipeline. 

Who Creates Demand Generation Campaigns?

A demand generation manager works with teams across the organization to build out a demand generation plan. Multiple functions must be looped in and aligned, including:

Digital Marketing

  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Design and creative 

Core Marketing Functions

  • Product marketing
  • Segment marketing
  • Marketing operations
  • Customer marketing
  • Partner marketing 

Customer-Facing Communications

  • Corporate communications 
  • Public relations 


Business Intelligence 

The Core Responsibilities of Demand Generation

Account Mapping

This process aligns companies and personas to define your business’s targeted account universe. Sales leadership can then determine your total addressable market (TAM)


It’s imperative to determine which distribution channels are best at reaching your target audience. Search engines, social media platforms, advertising, and email are all valuable channels that must be developed to carry your message to prospective customers. 


The key to understanding your target audience is understanding their unique pain points and where they find information about products or services that might solve them. Defining detailed segments and buyer personas and developing a database of their characteristics goes a long way in how you target and speak to them. 


Teams must carefully consider how they speak to their target audience at every stage of the demand gen funnel. Clear, well-timed communication developed with its channel in mind is key to successful demand generation. 

Journey Mapping

Once each target persona is identified, it’s important to figure out how they might arrive at your product or solution. Clear journey mapping reduces the number of steps between a buyer having the intent to purchase and becoming aware of your solution. 

Behavioral Scoring

Behavioral scoring includes monitoring your target audience’s intent, search behaviors, and content engagement. It can include a combination of third-party and first-party data. For example, third-party intent data aggregates web consumption related to relevant keywords from company IP addresses.

First-party intent data, meanwhile, is sourced from activity across your web properties. This includes high-value web visits like pricing pages or case studies.

Behavioral scoring pairs a prospect’s actions with a lead qualification score and establishes a benchmark to achieve marketing qualified leads (MQLs)

Lookalike Modeling

With lookalike audience targeting, businesses can use previous performance to find their next target prospect. This ensures you’re ready to systematically address the market.

Funnel Measurement

This involves ensuring that metrics align with expected results while working with sales leadership to escalate issues with follow-up, lead response time, and pipeline health. 

Demand generation activities should span the entirety of your sales and marketing funnel — not just adding new prospects at the top. 

Tactics for Each Section of the Demand Gen Funnel 

Demand generation tactics map to each stage of your marketing and sales funnel. You might be familiar with the modern sales funnel that teams have ingrained in their processes. 

the demand generation funnel starting at TOFU; awareness, interest. MOFU: consideration, evaluation. BOFU 7 beyond: CRM, retention.

By developing data-driven multi-touch programs that address each funnel stage, you can optimize conversion from one stage to the next. 

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

TOFU is where businesses typically engage in marketing activities that create awareness and interest. Essentially, you’re trying to reach prospective customers with content that will educate them and answer their questions about your offering. 

TOFU is where you can establish your brand as a thought leader, provide prospective customers with a sample of your products and services, and gain visibility amongst your audience.

Some marketing activities at the top of the funnel include:

Content Marketing

This involves producing valuable, educational, and actionable content like blog posts, eBooks, videos, white papers, and videos. The idea is to expose TOFU prospects to your brand.

Content that targets prospects further down the funnel should be gated. Gating allows prospects to convey qualified interest by sharing their contact information. After sharing, you may be able to consider them MQLs.

Branded content positions your product and services. Focus on explaining how your product or services work, how they compare to alternatives in the market, and their unique benefits. Share this content widely across different channels such as email and social media. 

Public Relations

Dedicating time and effort to public relations can reveal a lot about where your audience gets its information. Knowing which websites, publications, and resources your audience uses helps you spread awareness where it counts.

Free Trials, Demos, Tooling, or Samples

This includes offering a limited but valuable version of your product or services for free so prospects have a chance to genuinely evaluate it. Providing a demo also gives prospective customers a full-on experience and the chance to ask questions along the way.

Here are some examples of how we do this at ZoomInfo:

  • Free Trial: Prospects who sign up for a free trial receive access to an operational but limited version of the ZoomInfo platform to evaluate what it would add to their business. 
  • Revenue Calculator: Prospects can use this free revenue calculator to see what the business impact of adding ZoomInfo to their tech stack would be based on their internal business model.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

When prospects arrive at the MOFU stage, they have become aware of your brand and offering. MOFU is all about engaging and converting leads. It’s the part of the funnel where marketing hands over qualified leads to sales reps to take to the finish line. 

Nurture Programs

These are arguably one of the most effective tools in the demand generation manager’s arsenal. A nurture program uses personalized, targeted, and cadenced messaging to convert leads.

Nurture programs are not limited to email campaigns. They loop in other tactics such as sending prospects to landing pages with gated content or signing up for webinars. 

Multi-Channel Nurture

This is the practice of targeting leads across different channels based on how they engage with your initial outreach attempts. For example, if a lead ignores nurture email content, you might target the same lead with the same offer on social media instead. 

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Once leads reach the BOFU stage, MQLs and SQLs (sales qualified leads) are converted into paying customers. The tactics used here focus on demonstrating the value proposition of your product or service and how it can impact the customer’s bottom line.

Case Studies

Providing potential buyers with hard data about how your solution solved a problem for a paying customer is a great way to demonstrate your value.

Discretionary Offers

These types of offers can win potential customers who need a bit more convincing. By collecting data about the customer throughout the funnel, you can make strategic offers that focus on their unique problems.

Education, Resources, and Help Center

Offering comprehensive content and resources like educational blogs, eBooks, webinars, and videos that help your customers properly implement and use your solution is a great value proposition, especially for complex B2B products. Not just because it can convert potential customers to purchase, but can also retain them after the sale. 

Beyond the Funnel 

It is far easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new one. Focusing on creating demand generation, even after a customer has already made a purchase, is great for retention and harnessing brand trust.

Tactics to generate revenue from existing customers include:


This sales technique presents customers with a more expensive, upgraded, or recent version of a product or service. 


This practice encourages customers to purchase useful products or services that can be paired or used with a purchase they’ve already made. 


Bundling encourages customers to purchase several solutions together for one price so that they buy more.

How to Develop a B2B Demand Gen Strategy 

After establishing initial alignment within internal teams and doing the necessary research, you can start generating demand in a planned, data-driven way. 

1. Work Backward From Your Goals

Planning your demand generation from the goal backward (such as sales booking revenue) means you’re always driving toward measurable goals and keeping benchmarks in mind.

Using your company’s historical data to establish benchmarks and goals makes this process easier and more accurate. Most companies carry out this process every quarter. 

the demand gen process starting backward from goals starting with determine the required bookings revenue all the way through determine the number of MQLs need at the top of the funnel

2. Build Personas

Successful demand generation relies heavily on having clearly defined buyer personas. An in-depth understanding of your target audience’s problems goes a long way in creating a demand for your product and services.

To build actionable personas answer the following questions:

  • Who are your personas? Is there one or many? How are they different from one another?
  • Where do they live online and get the information they need to make buying decisions?
  • What problems do personas face when it comes to the solutions you offer? What are their unique problems?
  • What are the most frequently asked questions your personas have?

After sales and marketing clarify what prospects are looking for, you can establish the demand generation programs that would best target them. 

When mapping personas, it’s important to understand that there may be multiple decision-makers for B2B purchases.

According to the 2023 Gartner B2B Buying Report, the typical B2B buying group comprises five to 11 stakeholders, across an average of five different business functions.

This makes it essential for brands to take multiple members in an organization, and their specific roles and responsibilities, into consideration when targeting their personas. 

Additionally, any marketing activities can be enriched by considering additional data points such as firmographics, technographics (information on which technology solutions they’re already using), and things like business model, funding, headcount, and locations.

3. Decide on a Demand Gen Strategy 

Your demand generation strategy should be based on your target audience.

B2B demand generation strategies tend to be one of two kinds: 

Broad-Reach Marketing

This is an ongoing approach that works on improving demand generation incrementally. It is the most commonly used strategy and relies heavily on inbound marketing tactics. It casts the widest possible net to bring in as many prospects as possible into the top of the funnel to generate as many wins as possible at the bottom of the funnel.

Brands that use a broad-reach approach tend to focus on optimizing their digital marketing engine by using their website, email marketing, paid ads, earned media, social media, and content marketing. 

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is when marketing activities are carried out with the goal of winning specific accounts.

This strategy contrasts broad-reach marketing in that it aligns marketing and sales efforts to penetrate a specific list of accounts. ABM is not necessarily about amplifying the brand voice widely across your target market, rather approaching specific prospects and engaging with them directly.

Key Demand Gen Success Metrics

To gauge your demand generation marketing campaign’s success, you must measure everything. 

By keeping key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind at every funnel stage and measuring the outcome of every activity, you can improve your demand generation process by adjusting along the way.

Here are some important metrics to keep track of:

Customer Lifetime Value

Tracking your customer lifetime value (CLV) is a key to measuring the profitability of an account over the length of its relationship with your business. CLVs provide insight into the quality of your company’s account management capabilities.

Closing Percentage

This is a measure of how well your organization is converting MQLs to SQLs who buy your product or service. It provides a clear indicator of where the discrepancies lie along your funnel. 

Conversion Rates

It’s important to measure and track the conversion rates of every tactic used in each demand gen funnel stage. Knowing how many MQLs were converted at the top of the funnel, how many of those were converted to SQLs further down, and how many were finally closed are all key indicators of success. 

Average Deal Size

This value gives you the average dollar value of new customers after they’ve been through your sales cycle. 

Cost Per Acquisition

This ratio is calculated by adding together all marketing expenses, then dividing by the number of customers acquired within the same period. 

Cost Per Lead

This ratio is calculated by dividing the cost of advertising by conversion. It determines the average costs per campaign, channel, or persona.

Frequently Asked Questions About Demand Gen 

How does thought leadership impact demand generation?

Thought leadership is a marketing effort to position a brand as an authority on a particular subject. That position can be conveyed through content that aims to help or solve problems for your audience. In this way, brands can establish trust with prospects, making them top-of-mind. 

What makes content valuable for demand generation campaigns?

Content quality is central to generating demand for your solutions. Branded content should aim to solve a problem for users and/or provide actionable data and insights. This can take the form of how-to guides, templates, downloadable resources, and more.  

Make Demand Gen More Achievable With ZoomInfo

Effective demand gen strategies come in many varieties, but in general they should: 

  • Broaden your audience
  • Keep your brand top-of-mind for your ideal customer 
  • Drive high-quality leads to convert on your website
  • Encourage retention, upgrades, and referrals 

Succeeding in these key areas throughout the customer journey means keeping up with a ton of data, a lot of customer relationship details, and an ever-increasing list of tasks and touchpoints. 

At ZoomInfo, we use our own ABM platform to make demand gen more successful, accurate, and approachable. 

This plays an essential role in how we reach tens of thousands of customers globally, enhance match rates, reduce cost-per-lead, and achieve marketing and sales alignment. 

Want to see how it can do the same for you?

Request a demo or contact sales and find out how to easily generate a strong pipeline via demand generation using ZoomInfo.