Lead Management vs. Demand Generation. A White Board Runs Through It.

With all the marketing and sales jargon floating around, it is not surprising that some confusion exists around what certain terms mean. Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of Annuitas Group, noticed that many of the clients he worked with were confused about what demand generation and lead management were, and how the two worked together. So, he did a whiteboard series with Marketing Automation Software Guide, an online resource that provides reviews of marketing automation solutions. Carlos explains the difference between the two, as well as how marketing automation is a powerful tool for supporting the strategy you build around demand gen and lead management.

Most of what he says is pretty spot-on. My only modification would be to point out that individuals who leak from the funnel should be recycled by marketing with a special program until they are ready to progress again. This can be done with your marketing automation system.

Check out Carlos’ great whiteboard session and be sure to leave your comments below.


8 thoughts on “Lead Management vs. Demand Generation. A White Board Runs Through It.

  1. Maribeth Ross (@MaribethRoss)

    Compelling conversation and I can’t help but join in!!!! When I talk with marketers about their greatest challenges, they often fall into these 3 buckets:

    Process & tracking: “If you build it they will come.” Not always so! Automation and integration enable this, but marketers can fall victim to funnel leaks that should have been properly marked by sales to be placed into a nurture program. Marketers need to have a back up plan to identify and route improperly triaged leads to the right place.

    Buyer’s journey: More and more marketers are building personas and doing a good job using them to inform their message and content. However, to Hugh’s point, understanding what information your buyer needs to move from where they are to the next step in the process is aspirational for many – they just don’t know how to ascertain it. I’m a big fan of marketing befriend customers and non-customers alike and talking with them regularly, whether it’s through workshops, surveys, focus groups or win/loss analysis.

    Lead scoring: Marketer’s have to be like Sherlock Holmes, constantly on the lookout for how to identify those that are ready to buy. This is particularly important with nurture, because (as Bob said) people will fall out of the funnel for reasons beyond your influence. The science behind engaging with this folks (good call, Bob, on the compelling content) and knowing when they are re-engaged as a buyer is elusive and one that I hear many companies struggle with.

    Would love to get your thoughts on this!

    1. Hugh Macfarlane

      Great post Maribeth. Re your last point, Steve Woods (Co-Founder & CTO of Eloqua) put it like this: “prospects lie”. He was building up to an argument that you need to be led by true digital body language rather than survey responses. Unfortunately, that’s where your Sherlock Holmes comment plays its hand. Surveys are simple to implement and easy to believe. Digital Body Language is hard enough to understand, let alone implement. The top 10% of well-resourced companies might have enough horsepower to work out the ‘secret sauce’ (Jon Miller of Marketo’s favourite expression) comprised of the winning formula of actions and reactions that suggest a Marketing Qualified Lead in the making. For the rest of us, we make do with simple surveys and begin our response email or phone call with a series of questions to try to find out their real position. If your volume is low, perhaps the smart marketer (in less-resourced companies) pays their telemarketing guys a little more and expects them to be very good at finding this on the call (assuming they get through).

    2. Bob Apollo (@bobapollo)

      If you’re selling a complex, high-value solution – particularly one for which a need has to be created – I don’t think you can get away from having to engage in skilled, thoughtful conversation with your prospects.

      Some of this can be digitised, but I am seeing an increasingly important potential role for the telephone at appropriate places in the buyer’s journey (I’m not thinking about stone-cold calling here, but rather progressing an already engaged prospect).

      The problem is, many sales people and the vast majority of outsourced telemarketing companies behave as if they lack the skills and intelligence to have a proper exploratory conversation. It’s an area we would do well to upskill.

      I’m reading “The Challenger Sale” with great profit. I like their approach to facilitating purposeful conversations – and they make it clear that this has to become an organisational competence, not just something to be left to sales.

  2. Bob Apollo (@bobapollo)

    We may be entering the realms of semantics here, but you can’t stop some leads “leaking”. Regardless of how well the marketing and sales teams execute, at every stage of the funnel some leads will abandon or defer their buying decision process for reasons the vendor has no chance of influencing or controlling. When that happens – and it will – the vendor needs to nurture or recycle those leads until the prospect is ready to restart their buying journey. Compelling, issue- and insight-based content is critical to this process.

    1. Hugh Macfarlane

      I agree, Bob. We track the time taken for each stage of the Buyers’ Journey for won deals and compare this to the time taken for leaked deals for most of our clients. The insights are amazing. You and Maribeth are arguing a similar point: you don’t stop leakage, you deal with it. Of course you can tweak your tactics to minimise leakage (most smart marketers A/B test everything they do), but if I was presented with two options: 1 – reducing leakage; and 2 ripping leaked deals out of the funnel so that Sales dealt with live opportunities while Marketing recycled (and reconditioned) those not yet ready; and was only allowed one fix. I’d go the recycling route every time. Sales (and Marketing) spend way too much time on prospects simply not ready and too little time finding those who are (or getting them ready). It’s kind of like saying “I know these leads are rubbish, but they are all I’ve got so I’ll work them hard” rather than “I need to do better at finding prospects who are ready (or getting others to be so)”

  3. Hugh Macfarlane

    Good point, Carlos. Nurturing though is a term I have seen used to refer to handling progression carefully, and also to the idea of putting those not yet ready for progression back in the pot for a while. We tend to refer to recycling for the latter, and nurturing for the former. On that basis, nurturing should be targeted to the journey stage as you suggest. In theory, recycling should be targeted to the point in the buyers’ journey they leaked from, but few do this in practice. It is hard enough to get marketers to build a recycling program, let alone to build a handful.

    Back to nurturing: the logic should be along the following lines. Given we know (digital body language) that the buyer is at stage x, what would tempt them to progress to stage y? What content, survey, diagnosis, anything would they find compelling and would take them to the next stage?

    Re ‘preventing leakage’, that’s perhaps a big call. Buyers are often simply not ready to progress. When they don’t progress, some simply take time, but many really have leaked and we just deny it for a while. I’d advocate leaking more aggressively rather than plugging leaks. If they are not ready, put them into a nurturing program until they are – change their concept through the recycling so that the next time they are more ready.

    Parking leaked buyers at stages in your CRM is the reason why most sales leaders say they need 3x their target in their forecast: they have so much rubbish in there. As the sales training experts at Miller Heiman put it, win fast or lose fast, but never, ever lose slowly.

  4. Carlos Hidalgo

    Agree that nurturing should be utilized. However this should be targeted along the buying cycle so leads do not “leak”. As referenced in the video, this is the important role that process plays.


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