on Dec 09, 2020 / by Corey Cantrell

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation- How to Optimize Both

Marketing has multiple facets to its overarching structure. Whether or not your focus is on-demand generation or lead generation as a practice, you’re more than likely encompassed by its processes throughout your day. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between the two and learn how to optimize both methodologies. So, the question stands – “how can I generate demand while also producing leads?” Let’s find out.

Demand Generation Marketing

If your role is in demand generation, the concept might seem straightforward, but it’s definitely worth reiterating. Demand generation is the practice of building interest, awareness, and interaction around your products and organization to enable marketing conversions and sales opportunities (That’s a mouthful, huh?). Okay, so now that you know what it is – how does demand generation apply to you? Well, first off, regardless of what marketing position you’re in, building awareness and interest in your company’s products is a crucial job function for you. To explain exactly how to do that, we would need a couple of 30-minute meetings. In reality, your focus should be on two things: ROI on marketing activities and sales/marketing alignment.

Marketing ROI

Mastering the art of return on investment as a demand generator isn’t easy, and it often looks different depending on where you work. However, the most important thing stands – are your tests and campaigns yielding results in revenue opportunities higher than the program’s cost? You should set up each campaign to track individual performance. That means weekly reporting! On top of that, your campaigns should be somewhat malleable and have interchangeable content and resources available. At the same time, you want to make sure you’re giving your marketing campaigns time to breathe and perform. Canceling or changing things out week over week isn’t enough time to get accurate results. Finally, know the metrics you need to hit. Are you tracking MQLs? If so, make sure your program is set up and enabled to generate MQLs 100% of the time.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

This topic is somewhat of a mystery to some and a major headache to others. Why should I care what the sales team wants? Well, they’re the ones who are directly affected by your results. If your demand generation campaign isn’t performing, it will inhibit sales performance later down the line. Meet with the sales managers and team leaders regularly to understand what they need each month/quarter. It seems like a ton of time to invest but can pay off immensely in the long run. Lastly, utilize the sales team to enact marketing-enabled outreach to their clients. They have direct “ins” with most prospects, and running a small SDR-centered campaign with the sales team can help boost their revenue and your bottom line KPIs.

Lead Generation Best Practices

You more than likely have a process set in place for lead generation, and if you don’t, let me refer you to this article on how to do so. Lead generation, as a whole, isn’t something that just happens naturally. You have to be active in your outreach to prospects and have a roadmap planned out. One thing to keep in mind (and if you can master this, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of other lead generation marketers) is to learn how to speak directly to the PERSONAL issues of your prospect. Marketing is so often encompassed by generalized emails and activities when the bulk of your time should be focused on talking about individual pain points. Creating persona-based marketing campaigns or even selecting finite job titles can help you with this practice. Just think – how would your solution help a specific job title overcome their challenges and struggles?

Personalized Lead Generation

You can master the art of personalization by first segmenting your dataset. Work with your operations team to pull a list of relevant buyers and find commonalities with them. Are there similar job titles across the board? What types of companies do they work for? Answering these questions can help you create the building blocks for your personalized marketing campaign. From there, think about how your products or services apply directly to those contacts/companies. Create a 6-8-week campaign focused on the narrative of the prospect overcoming their challenge, and you’ll be on your way to streamlined marketing personalization.

Using Intent

The final step to fully optimizing your demand and lead generation processes is onboarding and utilizing intent filtering and metrics. Marketing intent, simply put, is information about the select buyer that hones in on their engagement around specific topics and/or keywords centered around your products. The higher the engagement, the higher the intent. Seems pretty obvious, right? Well, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes magic that happens with any given intent solution. The most important thing you need to know is how this intent ecosystem matches your specific buying audience. Most of the time, the intent provider will meet those expectations. However, it’s up to you to track and see how those contacts react to your follow-up cadences. In theory, you shouldn’t see stagnant engagement on intent-backed leads; but you more than likely will. The main reason for this is that keywords and intent topics aren’t truly enough to understand the buyer’s mindset. Does that mean buying intent is entirely useless? Absolutely not. Pairing intent with a predictive marketing analytics solution will give you real-time marketing engagement with behavioral insights.

How to Make Demand and Lead Generation Work

Okay, so we covered a lot here. At the end of the day, all of this means nothing if you’re not making each part work for you. A common misunderstanding is that demand and lead generation are the same thing and should be managed by the same person. That cannot be further from the truth. In fact, a demand generation campaign should lead directly into a lead generation program. Both should have their own metrics and KPIs, targeting different touchpoints and nurtures. Lead generation is a direct result of successful demand generation. Keeping these two marketing programs separated in practice will help you optimize both equally, resulting in higher results and a more agile process.

Suppose you want to learn more about getting the most out of your demand and lead generation. Check out this whitepaper about some best practices and how to put them into action. Lastly, if you want to start marketing smarter and create actionable programs that WILL produce results, take a look at what DemandScience can do for you!

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