Demand generation

We are talking about the modern day demand generational funnel which is important to understand for both the B2B (business to business), B2G (business to government) and B2C (business to consumer) markets.  The traditional marketing funnel is simplistic and puts prospects into buckets and with presumption that buyers will act in the same way.  Its starts with the marketing campaign then the sequence of awareness, interest, evaluation, commitment, referral and finishing with repeat.  The thought process revolves around messages and responses; this is way too basic as it gets you thinking that all buyers want the same thing.  The modern day demand generation funnel allows buyers to follow a conversation which is unique to them and put them in control a acquiring the information they need to move forward with a purchase.  We can therefore stop thinking about this process as a funnel and instead replace it with a number of overlapping circles with buyers resembling pond skaters floating on the surface of water sensing vibrations and ripples in the water with sensitive hairs on their legs and bodies.  It is also worth remembering Pond skaters are very agile on the surface of the water and can jump to evade a predator.

Demand generation is seen as the marriage of marketing programs coupled with a structured sales process.  It is a number of targeted marketing programs driving awareness and interest in a company’s products.  The internet has changed the process with vast amounts of interconnected information which is both relevant and up to date.  If done intelligently both the sales and marketing efforts allow the buyer to engage with the company using their preferred communication channels at a time and location of their choosing.  The concept of demand generation can often be recited by a marketer but is often misunderstood or neglected by sales teams.  The intelligence gathered by sales can prove very valuable to the marketing process.

Creating awareness

The efforts to create awareness are often most viable to those external to the organisation and often seen regarded as a function of marketing.  However the sales team can play a very important role by increasing awareness when interacting with prospects for is unfamiliar with the company and its products or services.  Marketing often take the view that the prospect is aware they have a specific problem and are looking for solutions to address the problem.  Sales might take the review that the prospect is unaware they have a problem and need educating.  Traditional marketing programs and processes should be combined with highly targeted lead generation activates to form an advanced demand generation program.

The activities that can be used to create awareness include

1. Branding.

2. Inbound marketing including SEO (search engine optimization), Viral marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, PPC (pay per click).

3. Outbound marketing including inside sales/telemarketing, outsourced lead generation, outsourced appointment setting.

Supporting discovery

Buyers now use the internet as a preferred tool for researching solutions to specific problems.  Marketing have a number of advanced tools to facilitate discovery of their product or service when a prospect seek a solution for there problems.  The most commonly used marketing tools include SEM (search engine marketing), SEO (search engine optimization), free trials, demonstrations, webinars and seminars.

Once demand has been successfully generated it is up to the lead process to convert the demand into sales.  Sales play an important role in the later stages of the buying process especially for complex product and new technology.  The sales team will support the solution validation process by leading scoring, lead ranking and lead routing.

Demand generation has become more important as the internet has changed the way people buy.  It is an area that is likely to evolve as new technologies and social media increase the knowledge of buyers.

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