The 3 Stages of Demand Generation (For SaaS Startups)

"Demand generation" doesn't have to be as scary as it can sound. And no, you don't always need to "generate" it yourself. It's easier than that.

The entire demand generation process can be boiled down to three buckets.

It doesn’t need to be any more complex than this:

  1. Demand creation
  2. Demand capture
  3. Demand conversion

Three buckets, that’s it.

Yes, you can go a mile deep within each to really expand on the details, but you can also roll the concept all the way up to just three areas.

Let’s explore them:

Bucket #1: Demand CREATION

No one’s talking about the problem or product. They don’t know what it is, let alone why they should care. Your priority at this stage is to stir up interest. Period.

You don’t need to drive ebook downloads.

You don’t need demo requests.

You don’t even need clicks.

Just interest & curiosity.

Bucket #2: Demand CAPTURE

Conversations are happening. Folks are aware of the problem or the product and they’re getting curious. So curious that they’re going to Google (or ChatGPT) and doing some light research. They’re asking questions.

Your priority at this stage is this:

Show up when those searches happen.

Be on page 1 in Google with a page that’s actually worth clicking on. And once you’ve landed the first click, create a user experience that naturally carries visitors toward your “money” pages.

Now you push ebook downloads.

Now you push for demos.

Now you want clicks.

Bucket #3: Demand CONVERSION

At this point, you’re on the radar. Your audience’s curiosity has been peaked (by you or by someone else), they’ve found their way to your website, and they took the first steps.

By now, you’ll have tracked some type of micro conversion, be it a resource download, demo request, trial signup, etc.

The focus now is REVENUE 💰

Time to turn the micro conversions into macro conversions. Demo requests into closed-won’s. Free trials into upgrades. Resource downloads into purchases.

Putting this framework into practice

Within this framework, you’ll have an endless amount of tactical levers to pull. Some will work, others won’t. The key is to focus on the PRIORITY at each stage.

Don’t try to sell when there’s no demand to begin with. That’s an uphill battle you’ll lose.

And if you’re struggling to capture the demand that already exists in the market, that’s exactly what we do best here. If you’re eligible, apply to join the Early-Stage SEO Accelerator Program today and we’ll take the keys to all things organic demand capture for you.


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Get 1:1 time with Josh to talk organic growth strategy, content marketing, demand capture, fantasy football, and anything in between. I’ve got a decade of experience working with seed-stage startups through to B2B SaaS unicorns to lean on.


Josh Gallant

I help B2B SaaS companies grow with conversion-led SEO.

Big on building scalable systems & frameworks for growth. I write about how B2B SaaS companies can unlock better results from organic search. Follow me on LinkedIn for more.

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