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Demand generation is the focus of targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company's products and/or services. Commonly used in business-to-business, business-to-government, or longer business-to-consumer sales cycles, demand generation involves multiple areas of marketing and is really the marriage of marketing programs coupled with a structured sales process.
There are multiple components of a stepped demand generation process that vary based on the size and complexity of a sale. These components include, among other things: building awareness, positioning relevance, supporting validation and mitigating customer evaluation.
The demand generation function in most businesses resides as part of the marketing organization. Demand Generation is a holistic approach to marketing and sales cohesion within the company. Building awareness is a vital component in the demand generation process. Building awareness often takes a continued effort and involves multiple facets of marketing.
Advanced demand generation programs typically rely on some form of proactive Lead Generation activities supported by more traditional market programs and processes. This is because demand generation programs tend to assume that prospective customers are aware that they have a need or problem, and are attempting to solve it when they search for solutions. If the prospect is unaware (consciously or, at least, subconsciously) that they have the problem, then demand generation may not be effective - thus the need for adjunct lead generation activities.
The second key area of focus for a marketer focused on demand generation is ensuring that when a prospect decides to seek a vendor to provide a solution in a given solution category, they discover the vendor that the marketer serves. This is again accomplished with a variety of techniques and tools, often overlapping with the tools used for creating awareness of the category, but with a different emphasis.
Again, in this phase of the demand generation process, many approaches and tools are used and this list is only a selection of the more common approaches.
Often confused with demand generation is the lead process itself. Converting demand into sales is a totally separate task. Many companies, however, will call themselves demand generation organizations when they are really lead generating.
This later phase of the buying process involves validating that a selected vendor will meet specified requirements, coming to an agreement with the vendor on costs, contract terms, support and services, and finalizing the purchase process.
This often involves coordinating the involvement of other organizational and extra-organizational resources such as sales representatives and reference clients.
The coordination of sales involvement, the selection of the right sales resource, and the timing of the involvement can be difficult to determine. The scoring, ranking, and routing of leads into sales is a sufficiently deep topic to warrant further exploration.
The involvement of sales professionals in the solution validation process involves three main aspects. These are the same whether inside sales or field sales professionals are being involved.
In order to effectively manage and optimize the required communication, response, and lead management processes outlined above, marketers focused on demand generation must become proficient at two other related disciplines
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