This is an introductory article for small to medium businesses who are either behind the digital sales and marketing curve, or who are dabbling with digital tactics for either branding or lead generation purposes. 

The focus of this article is ‘Digital Demand Generation’ (DDG), a discipline that combines a custom combination of digital tactics for lead generation (traffic), and an implementation of a marketing automation tool to manage lead progression through the funnel towards a closed sale. 

This discipline is now emerging as Revenue Performance Management (RPM) and was originally termed Marketing Automation. Regardless of title, progressive organisations can make significant strides forward with DDG  by increasing their number of leads, number of sales qualified conversions and reduction of the sales cycle in terms of time and expense. 

Using digital marketing tactics, marketing automation tools and the latest best practices can result in a tremendous revenue growth opportunity for SMEs, but be sure to consider the suitability of DDG for your business.

What is Digital Demand Generation (DDG)? 

Digital Demand Generation is a fast emerging sales and marketing discipline that enables companies to combine the very latest digital channels, tools & practices in a way that significantly improves their ability to attract & close business.

DDG is also known as Revenue Performance Management in some circles. DDG luses web tactics and online communications to deliver digital ‘bait’, to engage with prospects and to monitor their interest in your business.

Hot prospects are identified and alerted to sales, warm prospects are engaged further to nurture them to hot status, and cold prospects are delivered a drip feed of materials until they start to show interest.

The DDG environment can be fully automated, and once the system is configured the only ongoing effort is in the creation of content (‘the ‘bait’) needed to attract new prospects.

What are the opportunities and benefits?

Your company may already be using a selection of digital mechanisms for sales and marketing, such as a custom website, SEO/SEM, email, blogs and social media.

Implementing a DDG solution revamps/augments & aligns those digital tactics that provide the best return for lead generation, capture and conversion.

Effective Digital Demand Generation essentially expands the size of your sales funnel and automatically nurtures a greater percentage of leads down the funnel for closure.

DDG can create 25-500% more leads and 2-5x better conversion rates. For larger organisations a slight uplift in lead or conversion percentages usually results in significant revenue gains … smaller business can really move the needle and in many cases absolutely modernize their entire sales and marketing processes and function. 

The two major components of DDG

The two key components to manage within an overall demand generation strategy are: Lead Generation & Lead Management. Below is a diagram summarizing the activities, and it needs to be stressed that both aspects need to be addressed to significantly impact revenue.

Lead Generation fills the funnel using a custom combination of inbound/outbound marketing tactics, & lead management establishes the ‘marketing automation’ technology & processes for capturing leads then progressing them through the funnel. In many cases, the lead cycle time will be reduced by the efficiencies of automation.

DDG lead generation & management diagram

“Show me the Money”

DDG impacts the most important sales and marketing metrics. Below is an example of a project I executed with a software company. This company targets software trial downloads as their prime lead capture ‘bait’.

Leads are scored based on behavior and profile. Behavior activity such as web page visits, viewing videos, webinars, manuals, blogs & papers, opening emails & social forwarding increases scores. Profile questions capture company info, plus product/service needs to assess fit/urgency.DDG program started simply, grew in sophistication, & measures/reviews/refines every month.

It is critical that your DDG strategy is created from the top down, that it aligns with your company/sales/marketing objectives, and that is customized according to the many variables in play. With DDG you can start simple, realize early benefits & grow your proficiency, sophistication & impact month by month. 

The first step is to assess your current sales and marketing function, and what the DDG opportunity is for your business within the context of your competitors and the digital maturity of your target market.