Demand generation and lead generation are often used interchangeably to represent the idea that someone may be interested in buying the fabulous product you are selling.
As I am reading the Patterson Principles of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer, I realize that these 2 things are different, and identifying what make them unique would allow each approach to generate better results individually.
My approach is always to try to do the best small task that I can and then move on to the next; for that, I identify small differences between concepts and apply a strategic approach accordingly.In the marketing chain of value, demand generation comes before lead generation. Demand generation will (if done right) have an effect that supports the sales team across the buying process. Demand generation comes just after awareness of our product in the market (mostly done through press releases), and the goal of this concept is to give potential buyers reasons to use our product. By understanding why they need to use our product, they will then be interested in getting in contact with sales.
Customers are smart and educated. Customers may even have more information about your market than your sales force. They know how to compare, and they have a Goooooooogle world of options. Demand generation comes in various – non-commercial – forms; in informational blogs, testimonies, and documentaries, among others. In the world of demand generation, don’t try to sell too much, but inform and be on top of a buyer’s list when the potential buyer is ready to purchase.
Did I say don’t try to sell too much?
Lead generation is the action of creating several points of entry for your potential buyer. When they are ready to buy, they will reach out. Make sure when they do so that they have a minimum number of clicks and headaches to do so. Make sure they already know the answer to: “Where can I find them again?”
Remember, a website is not the only a place potential buyers can connect with your business. They are also using the phone and social networks. Someone needs to be on the other end of the tool they use to answer the potential buyer in less than 12 business hours. Lead generation takes elements of the demand generation and creates a “call to action” to urge the prospect to take an action. It can be a “contact us now” or “learn more”. The action allows interested prospects to interact with you in specific campaigns that will be measured (read this post about scientific marketing).
Don’t neglect demand for lead generation! If you have to choose, demand generation comes first.
Do you have someone to connect with the lead in 12 business hours systematically? If not, stop generating leads because you will create negative brand equity.