By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
Marketing success in many fields still revolves around many indirect success measures – share of voice, cost per impression, share of impressions, and in the digital age, number of followers, website traffic, website interactions, and so on. Yet, B2B marketing must measure success in more direct terms – revolving around sales success.
During my fleet B2B marketing career, I’ve worked hard to plan and implement marketing programs tied to sales and executive teams. Many times, they use the terms demand gen and lead gen interchangeably, but there are significant differences that marketing leaders should understand.
In a demand generation-driven marketing environment, the sales team is responsible for converting product or service interest into demand. While that may be measured in leads, it is typically measured in opportunities and assigned a sales pipeline value.
According to most studies, 80 percent of today’s marketers rate their efforts to generate new leads as only “slightly” or “somewhat” effective. Well over 80% of sales people are underwhelmed by marketing’s ability to fill the sales pipeline with marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).
However, a lead-gen perspective alone is insufficient. Understanding how lead generation fits into the larger spectrum of a holistic demand generation strategy may help companies appreciate the need to measure demand generation and improve data-driven marketing programs.
What Is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is creating a want for a product or service. This want may not always translate to a closed-won deal as various issues can prevent it from becoming a purchase – for example, cost, lack of organizational preparedness (i.e., not enough resources, training, infrastructure), no executive buy-in, and more.
Yet, this demand is a pivotal part of a B2B marketing program’s ultimate goal of driving net-new or up-/cross-sell sales. Demand gen supports the entire marketing and sales cycle, from initial prospect interest and lead generation to lead nurturing and sales enablement to first sale and cross-sell. Demand generation is in fact key to providing the full-funnel education needed to ensure loyal, profitable customer relationships.
Next month, we will look at specific demand-gen and lead-gen activities. Please free to contact me with questions or comments or any other fleet marketing topics at firstname.lastname@example.org.