Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: What Should You Focus On?

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation- How to Optimize Both

Demand generation and lead generation are essential for any company.

Without them, your lead pipeline will run dry. You’ll stop closing new deals. Your business growth will stall.

Demand and lead generation are the lifeblood of any growing company.

However, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

If you’re wondering what the main differences are, this article is for you.

I’m going to walk you through what both demand and lead generation are, examples of them in practice, and help you consider if you should be focusing on one over the other.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is the focus of marketing initiatives to drive awareness for a company’s solutions.

It’s a strategy that can be used in almost any business, however, it’s seen as most effective for B2B, B2G (government), or other companies with long sales cycles.

It’s a crucial part of marketing.

If your audience is:

  • Aware of your brand
  • Knows what you’re selling
  • Knows the benefits

Your sales team won’t need to rely on hard sells, as your inbound leads will already be interested in your solution and ready to purchase.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation comes after demand generation. It involves the activities used to bring your audience directly into your sales funnel and lead pipeline.

It’s a top marketing priority for 70% of companies and hugely important.

If you’re still not quite sure of the difference, don’t worry. In the next section, I’ll show you some examples of both lead generation and demand generation strategies, and everything will become clear.

Examples of Demand Generation Strategies

If you’re considering investing more in your demand generation, then keep reading.

It’s going to be vital to your business growth, so you need to get it right.

Luckily, there are a wide variety of demand generation strategies out there. Let’s take a look at them.

Multi-Channel Strategies Work

In B2B software, the top sources of new business are:

  • Organic Search
  • Search Engine Marketing/Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Word of Mouth Referrals

As well as that, 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies. This may be because you can use it in so many ways. It has SEO benefits and will drive traffic to your site. You can share it on social media. You can send it to decision-makers.

The key is to use your

The Importance of Sales and Marketing Alignment

89% of companies who align their marketing and sales see increases in opportunities. If your demand generation efforts work, your sales team will find it significantly easier to close new deals and encourage leads to take the final step – becoming a customer.

High-Quality Customer Experience Is Key

You’ll notice that the strategies above are mainly digital. However, referrals do and will likely always remain an essential part of your demand generation strategy. It’s vital that you provide a high level of service as well as meeting the expectations of your customers.

There is a range of other demand generation activities that I haven’t covered here, because the list could be endless. Essentially, it’s any way that your ideal customers can find out about your business.

Examples of Lead Generation Strategies

If you want to convert your audience into leads, you’ll need to use some smart marketing.

You’ll need to be using a multi-channel strategy.

Go Mobile

49% of B2B marketers use mobile marketing as part of their lead generation initiatives. It’s a great way to ensure your brand is always top of mind, and leads will move down your pipeline faster.

Bottom-of-Funnel Content is Key

Content marketing is used for demand generation, as you can create top-of-funnel content that appeals to a wide audience.

However, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of content marketers say that their main goal is lead generation.

HubSpot also found that lead generation is a top priority for content marketing strategies.

Video Marketing Lives Up to the Hype

When it comes to converting existing users and audiences into leads, 70% of B2B marketers say that videos are their most effective type of content for doing this.

Social Media Isn’t Working

If you’re investing heavily in social media and it’s not delivering results, then you’re not alone. 49% of B2B marketers say that social media is the most challenging lead generation tactic to execute. It may be worth investing your resources elsewhere to see more success.

Which Should I Focus On?

Not sure if you should focus on demand generation or lead generation?

In an ideal world, you’d do both as part of an aligned sales and marketing strategy.

However, budgets do have to be prioritized, and if your marketing budget can’t be stretched to cover both, there are some questions you should ask before deciding.

Let’s take a look at some things to consider.

Who is your customer?

If you’re selling to large, enterprise companies or government, it’s worth focusing on lead generation over demand generation.

In most cases, when large companies reach out to you, they’ll have already done a large amount of research and are reaching out to evaluate your company as a vendor.

By investing in lead generation, you’ll have more resources to focus on turning them into customers.

As there are always multiple decision-makers and stakeholders inside large companies, demand generation to raise awareness won’t be as effective. Even if one person is aware of your solution, they’ll still need to convince others on their team.

How much does your solution cost?

If your solution is a low-cost option, then demand generation may work well.

If you can build awareness and the barrier to entry is low, then that initial awareness may turn them into customers.

However, if your product is more expensive, sales cycles will be longer, and you’ll need to spend more time talking to your leads. In this case, lead generation should be your area of focus.

How DemandScience Can Help With Your Demand Generation Strategy

If you’re ready to invest in demand generation, it’s time to start considering channels like cold email and cold calling, as well as ABM campaigns.

DemandScience can help. Having access to accurate, verified B2B data is going to be crucial if you want to engage with decision-makers in your target companies at scale.

You’ll be able to engage with 41+ million decision-makers in companies around the world, and have access to both business emails, direct dials, as well as information on technographics, firmographics, and more.

Want to learn more? Reach out to meet with our experienced team.

Wrapping Up

Demand generation and lead generation are both extremely important. There’s no question about that.

Demand generation is perfect if you want to grow your brand awareness and get in front of potential customers. You’ll need to ensure your sales and marketing team are aligned on everything that happens, but when they are, the benefits will become clear.

If you already have a high amount of traffic to your website, then it’s worth considering lead generation as your primary focus, assuming you aren’t doing both at once. To close new business, you need more than just awareness. You need to educate your leads about the benefits of your solution and help move them through your sales funnel to become paying customers.

If you’re ready to start your next demand generation campaign and want to get in contact with qualified leads who fit your buyer persona, then DemandScience is the easiest way to do so.