What is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is about creating a presence in the minds of your prospective buyers. It’s about establishing a connection with your brand as a solution for buyers who need to solve specific problems. And, ultimately, it’s about being on those buyers’ short list when they’re ready to purchase.
Creating this presence involves orchestrating a wide spectrum of initiatives that will reach buyers in the places they frequent, engage them as they research and consider solutions, and equip your sales team to connect with them in a way that results in a closed deal.
To maintain a brand presence in the minds of your prospects, you must continually perform and optimize all of the activities above. Demand generation is not a one-off initiative that you work on for a period of time, launch, and forget about.
Needless to say, juggling this many ongoing projects requires tremendous effort and discipline. In fact, demand generation not only requires discipline, it is a discipline.
The perpetual nature of demand generation is precisely what makes it so difficult. Every department within a company has ongoing projects they try to maintain, but the challenges and emergencies that pop up addressing them.
If you are ready to make demand generation a priority, you will likely be challenged by resource constraints.
The First Challenge: Headcount
To prevent demand generation from being permanently relegated to the back burner, you must devote personnel resources to each part of it. You also need to have someone overseeing the entire demand gen function, ensuring that it is continually executed on time and within your budget.
Does this mean you have to hire a full-time employee to manage each piece of the demand gen puzzle, and another full-time employee to manage all of them? Not necessarily.
The key is to focus on the skillsets you need to fulfill each function. You may find that a single person can take on multiple roles—managing copywriting and execution for email campaigns, for example. There’s nothing wrong with using fractional resources, as long as people are assigned to the jobs they are best suited to do, and no one is stretched too thin.
These last points are particularly important to keep in mind. It can feel like there are never enough bodies to do the work that needs to be done, but remember that no one person is good at every component of demand gen. You can only stretch people so thin before their output quality starts to suffer.
Demand Generation Not Only Requires Discipline, It is a Discipline
If you’re struggling to staff your demand gen function, think creatively: start from the skillsets you know you need, distribute responsibility in-house where you can, and consider bringing on part-time contractors or outsourcing to fill in the gaps. As long as you have one strong manager type who understands the process from end to end and can ensure rigor in execution, you will be able to run a demand gen program with a relatively small team.
The Second Challenge:
Of course, to get the technology and headcount you need, you have to carve out a place in your budget for demand generation. It is easy to pay a lot for your demand gen function. Marketing automation software alone can be prohibitively expensive, and you still need people to create and run campaigns, manage your database, and close deals. If you bring on multiple full-time employees or hire an agency, costs will add up quickly.
That’s why it’s important to choose software that doesn’t charge you for functionality you won’t use, and to be smart about who you hire (or contract with) to help you fulfill each demand gen role. The point is that demand generation is complex and requires a deliberate, rigorous approach—and the resources to back it up. Work backwards from your goals to determine what your demand gen function should look like, and budget, hire, or outsource accordingly.