Demand Generation for SaaS businesses, if done correctly, elevates the awareness and demand for their products and services. Often companies consider demand generation and lead generation to be the same. However, they are different despite their significant overlaps.
Demand generation is basically about making consumers engaged in what you’ve got to sell and generating demand. The demand-generating process takes the customers to your website and improves visibility, leading to campaigns and care that will lead the sales staff. In contrast, Lead Generations is about capturing data from web users that you can use to support your prospects and qualify them as consumers. Lead Generation is focused on converting prospective visitors to leads that the sales team can pursue.
In this article, we deep dive into the importance of demand generation for SaaS businesses and how it differs from lead generation. When done right, SaaS demand generation can address problems that your prospective customers have and accelerate conversions.
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
The critical aspect where demand generation and lead generation differ is how the usage of content differs. Lead generation focuses on providing information to your prospects that aims at possible problems they have to capture their contact information. In comparison, demand generation focuses on content that generates awareness for the brand and engages prospective customers to close the sale.
- Lead Generation: Lead generation focuses on identifying, recruiting, and allowing prospects to provide their information to launch the sales process. Examples of lead generation include ads that lead to a web page to deliver a piece of information or an eBook in return for an email.
- Demand Generation: Demand generation relies on addressing challenges or problems your potential prospects already have to build or encourage a need for your product as a solution. Your content educates your potential buyers about your product and its importance. It’s a strategic sales strategy.
Why is it Important?
1. Reaching the Right Audience
When you show your prospects that the latest current solutions that they are using are not enough, you will have to put your product as the next best option. The demand generation helps in establishing a clear niche and a business share.
Your demand generation strategy should help you narrow down your niche’s problems by establishing a precise market positioning. Positioning the product too vaguely will lead to a decline in demand from the right consumers and lead to higher competition. For example, if positioned your generic CRM as a solution for all the challenges your customers have, then it is likely to fall short of customer expectations.
2. Positioning the Product as a Solution
When you have fully defined your market and put your product as the answer and your brand as the authority, it’s easier to draw the right leads. Gathering leads from organic traffic that you create from content, and any paying traffic that proceeds to engage them is key.
Gathering leads from organic traffic that you create from content, and any paying traffic that proceeds to engage them is key. Identify who your ideal customers are, and when they are online, what they’re looking for, etc., is essential for attracting the right traffic to the site. SEO and content play a crucial role in your demand generation strategy. Your paid strategy should understand where to reach your audience online and having the right message to convert your customers.
3. Establishing Topical Authority & Leadership
Besides offering content, a significant part of generating demand is placing your business as an expert in your niche so that consumers can trust your solution. This is critical when you are building a solution to a problem that addresses a new niche. Educational content can elevate your brand’s credibility by positioning you as a trusted advisor. This is the perfect way to create trust and loyalty to future customers. It eases the sales process and puts the product as a top of the mind solution.
Many brands have achieved this by creating content, supplying professional tools, and presenting critical data and studies across their niche. Hubspot coined the inbound marketing approach to address very specific challenges that a lot of marketing customers had. They have a whole learning center with information pages and tools for consumers to educate them on this whole new sales approach.
4. Demand Generation & Marketing Funnel
Consider a typical marketing funnel. Your marketing team drives brand awareness and generates leads through various paid campaigns like SEO, events, and referrals. These leads are then nurtured further until then can be handed over to the sales teams. They are labeled as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), considering the propensity to convert is higher.
When a prospect reaches the MQL stage, your sales development team (SDR) reaches out to them by setting up a conversation and follow-up calls. Opportunities who pass the first round of qualification are then passed on to the Account Executive (AE) team, who engage with the prospects by setting up a full demo and delivering a proof of concept. Before the opportunity moves from qualified opportunity to close won deal, it moves through several stages.
Demand generation plays a crucial role in moving opportunities further down the funnel. Demand marketers apply a holistic approach to growth to reach potential customers across the sales cycle.
5. Reach the Right Audience by Collaborating
It takes time to build organic traffic and to discover the best ad plan to reach your prospects. But while you are still at it, considering exploiting your existing networks to reach your target audience. This can be achieved by guest writing for other blogs, leveraging social media, interviews, meetings, workshops, and PR opportunities. This helps in building a strong SEO value by creating links to industry leaders. Backlinks, particularly from larger outlets, can help boost your rating, authority and drive important long-term traffic.
Demand generation for SaaS is just about becoming a pioneer, seeing a new path ahead for consumers, and taking the lead. SaaS businesses have a rare ability to build and take advantage of brand new niches that can be very lucrative. Understanding your client’s pressure points, the actual end targets, and how your product can help them get there is the cornerstone. Demand will arrive with an emphasis on that.
Every SaaS business is involved in demand generation, either aggressively or passively. To realize the true value of demand generation, you have to take concrete steps to build your content cadence, systems, and processes. This will help you maximize your traffic, pipeline with potential leads, and accelerate your time to value.