Demand Generation Vs Lead GenerationTo Fill Your Sales Funnel

By Gabrielle Hailmann

If you are looking to fill your sales funnel it’s important to know what is demand generation vs lead generation. Here, we’ll take a look at the role demand generation plays, how it differs from lead generation, ways to measure its success and why it should be a critical part of your strategy in filling your sales funnel.

Demand Generation Vs Lead Generation

Good times and bad, businesses need to thrive.  Businesses can more easily understand leads and the need for them to grow their business.  However, if potential buyers don’t have demand for your products they will never turn into a qualified lead. If your business deploys aggressive tactics to capture and follow-up on leads it can be detrimental to long-term success.  Exploiting others’ vulnerabilities or aggressive selling won’t build long-term profitable relationships.  With social media, poor online reputation and negative reactions to self-serving needs can be swift and unforgiving. People like to buy but no one likes to be sold. More of the sales process being online it becomes ever more important to understand how demand generation vs lead generation fills your sales funnel.

To begin understanding the difference, let’s look at first how they differ.

What’s the Definition of Demand Generation? It helps your organization expand into new markets, launch new products, build its brand reputation and ultimately warm-up prospects and clients into buying your products and services.

The Goal of Demand Generation vs Lead Generation

“Up to 95% of qualified prospects on your website are there to research and not yet ready to talk with Sales, however up to 70% will eventually buy from you – or your competitors.” … Brian Carroll, author of Lead Generation for a Complex Sale.

Demand and lead generation can go hand-in-hand but there are key differences to be aware of. Summarized as follows:

Lead generation Goal: The goal is to create sales-ready opportunities by collecting information on prospects for sales follow-up; building a marketing database to gather lead information to track and to pass warm leads to Sales to close. KPIs can include, appointment setting, requesting a quote or a proposal, referrals and gathering from contacts BANT – budget, authority, need and timing.

Demand generation Goal:  Its goal is to create awareness and demand for an organization’s products or services aligned with the mindset of the buyer. The content provided is within the context of who you are targeting and their buying journey.  It is not about rushing to close a sale or having them commit to providing their contact information in exchange for content.  Demand Generation is about disseminating free content across channels to attract new prospects, build brand ambassadors, generate referrals and reinvigorate interest among potential buyers that may have lost interest.  If orchestrated right will eventually lead to a sale and loyal customers.

Demand and Lead Generation Waterfall

When To Choose Demand Generation Over Lead Generation?

Demand Generation can be used at the top of the funnel when there’s little knowledge of your brand or services.  This is when you need to invest in inbound marketing and great content marketing to attract, engage and delight.  But demand generation is not limited to pulling in opportunities at the top of the funnel.  It can also be used to reinvigorate stale leads, lost sales opportunities and leads that were passed to sales but not yet qualified or sales-ready.  This is where a demand strategy takes on lead nurturing. Lead nurturing makes a big difference in requalifying and taking a “maybe” or “no” to a “yes”.

Three Things You Need To Set-Up Demand Generation

There are many elements that go into building a well-oiled demand generation machine.  If you were to narrow it down into three things, it would be these:

  1. Gather insights about your buyers, their personas, what content they would be engaged in
  2. Build a sales-ready website to point your potential buyers to
  3. Set-up a marketing automation platform from which to run your campaigns and evaluate your progress

How Much To Invest In Lead Nurturing As Part Of Your Demand Generation Strategy?

Before you can start lead nurturing you need a database of potential buyers. If you are just starting out it’s best to spend your marketing dollars on filling your sales funnel from the top to create a stream of leads for sales to follow-up.  A more established or mature business would be able to mine their database that may consist of prospects, past and current customers and stale leads.

How much you invest in lead nurturing also depends on the type of industry.  The longer the sales cycle, the higher the revenue opportunity and the more stakeholders in the decision-making the more important lead nurturing becomes, especially with Account-Based Marketing.

Building a Prospect database for lead nurturing

In building a prospect database for lead nurturing you will need a marketing automation platform that integrates with your CRM platform.  This enables lead information to be easily passed from Marketing to Sales.

In building a prospect database, buyers’ journey of content can be sent by email based on a set of criteria:

  • Source of lead
  • Page visits (interests)
  • Firmographics (i.e., geography, vertical and/or title)
  • Prospect or customer
  • Behaviour (opening emails, CTR, etc.)

Measuring The Success Of Demand Generation

In achieving success, experts say it takes on average seven touchpoints before you can make a sale.  The renowned marketer, Dr. Jeffrey Lant created the “Rule of Seven” whereas you must contact your buyers a minimum of seven times in an 18-month period for your potential buyers to remember you.   Jay Abraham claims you need to contact someone seven times before they will say “yes” to a sale.

With the need for multi-touches before prospects are willing to buy from you, demand generation plays a vital role in creating a multi-touchpoint strategy to push buyers down the sales funnel. To measure the success of Demand Generation it’s about measuring engagement each step of the way. When promoting your content across online channels, KPIs can include, whitepaper or case study downloads, webinar attendees, events registrations, social media engagement metrics, webpage visits to the attribution they made to create a sale.

With marketing technology today, the task of executing demand generation and pulling a 360 view of your buyers for tracking and optimizing efforts is more within reach.

When Is It Time To Use Demand Generation?

Demand generation helps build awareness, warm leads so they are sales-ready as well as establish your business – its reputation and brand preference. During economic uncertainty and a shrinking market, customers may not be ready to buy.  But, establishing and growing positive relationships can go a long way when they are ready to purchase your products or services again or more often.

A digital sales funnel mapped out will help identify the opportunities, messaging and triggers that will move a prospect into a buyer.

When the time is right, they’ll be familiar with your brand. You’ll have proven you are there to solve their challenges.  You won’t be seen just as a commodity and compelled to sell on price.  They will know why and how to reach you.

Ask about our marketing funnel analysis. We’ll help provide insight into your key conversion points throughout the sales funnel and identify specific ones that can be more effective.

Gabrielle Hailmann

Gabrielle Hailmann / About The Author

President of 360 Integral Marketing, Gabrielle Hailmann is a leader in driving business performance with integrated growth marketing strategies and campaigns. With over 20 years of expertise in demand, lead generation, ABM and CRM, she is able to deliver an omnichannel, 360 solution.

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