Once you’ve created valuable content that is compelling and moves your prospects through the funnel, it’s time to use this content to generate demand. However, demand generation is not just the next tactic that should be checked off the list. It’s the second core strategy in your sales-centric marketing plan that is instrumental in helping sales generate more revenue.
Demand generation is about reaching the right prospects, at the right time, with the right message, to turn them into customers. It involves creating awareness of your solution to get found by prospects, qualifying the leads, sending the sales-ready leads to sales, nurturing the others by building relationships with them until they are ready to buy, while working with sales to move the qualified leads along the funnel until the deal is closed.
But in many organizations, demand generation is not done right and therefore gets a bad rap with the sales team. That’s because demand generation is not just about generating large quantities of leads that are simply thrown over the wall to sales. It’s not about setting up appointments with anyone who will take the inside sales call even though they are not a decision maker, influencer or budget holder.
A successful demand generation program combines the appropriate marketing tactics with sales tools that results in increased revenue for your product of service. One campaign may include everything, from blogging to email marketing or events to search advertising and social media promotion. But it doesn’t stop there.
Demand generation is ongoing and involves ongoing follow-up with these prospects while the sales organization builds relationships and closes the deal. It must also be measurable, continually optimized and entirely in sync with the sales objectives of your organization. In a nutshell, it’s the complete sales funnel from the top to the bottom.
But, it’s also a culture shift that depends on a strong relationship between sales and marketing. In fact, any demand generation campaign will live or die on the strength of this relationship. That’s why in the early days of this blog I wrote about how marketing and sales needs to get along and communicate.
If sales thinks all the leads are crap, then marketing needs to make changes to address the issue by either finding different prospects or nurturing them longer until they are ready to buy. And it works both ways; sales need to follow up on the leads they get and give feedback to marketing so the program can be adjusted continually. Making sure both are in sync on the scoring, ranking, and routing of leads is absolutely critical.
Ultimately, demand generation covers the entire sales funnel from prospects first finding your product all the way to them becoming customers that are so excited about your solutions they will buy more and tell others. The goal of demand generation is to find, build and nurture customers for the long term.
Over the next few posts, I’ll look at the many aspects of this crucial strategy from how it’s more than lead generation or brand awareness, some of the ways it’s changed over the last few years with marketing automation and social media and also many of the tactics that support demand generation and make it successful.