Talking with people in different demand generation positions in SaaS companies, I realized that the roles are mixed up quite often. In most cases, it’s Demand Generation Manager vs Demand Generation Specialist.
In today’s article, I’ll elaborate on similarities and differences between Demand Generation Manager and Demand Generation Specialist to help you understand what each of these roles can bring to your organization.
You look at them and it makes you wonder – is there a difference between the two?
Is it the same as the difference between any Manager and Specialist?
A fair question to ask.
Let’s start with this: They both do different things in marketing to generate leads.
Why You Need More Than One Demand Generation Expert
Since demand generation deals with every element of the sales funnel, it’s not possible for a single person to handle every demand-related activity without burning out. Yes, the effectiveness of demand gen is measured against sales-based KPIs such as:
- Pipeline velocity
- Pipeline value
- Average deal size
However, demand gen activities usually encompass a broad range of marketing practices — social media, email, content, paid ads, and much more.
When you got a dedicated demand generation team, they can concentrate on aligning marketing and sales activities to retention and revenue. This way, they become a much-needed bridge between the two departments. They also make sure every strategy is concentrated on going beyond consumer expectations.
Now, let’s explore how demand generation managers and specialists can form the basis of your demand generation team.
Demand Generation Manager
Demand generation managers promote and increase brand awareness of your company and its services or products.
They often come in teams who build new strategies for reaching more customers. Moreover, they aid businesses in appealing to their target audience. In this position, managers handle developing market segments, campaigns, and strategies for every group.
They also need to connect company goals with campaigns. Plus, track and identify metrics that prove ROI. More experienced demand generation managers manage demand for a company through a range of sales and marketing tactics. For instance:
- Managing development
- Content Marketing
- Digital PR
- Measurement and analysis of the success of campaigns
Demand generation managers will also analyze sales data and report what they found to marketing VPs and the rest of the C-level.
Ultimately, they will work with sales and marketing teams to make sure the marketing message is consistent across all channels.
Defining Demand Generation Specialist
Demand generation specialists lead demand gen strategies and initiatives across various channels to increase the acceleration of new purchases across your market.
Their usual responsibilities are:
- Developing and updating content
- Ensuring marketing goals are accomplished
- Analyzing and maintaining marketing software and database for usability
- Analyzing and choosing platforms for marketing campaigns
- Implementing and measuring results of marketing campaigns
Of course, in different companies, they may have more responsibilities.
Based on the needs of the business, demand generation specialists can also handle other marketing activities, like partner or account-based marketing.
They also have to possess a particular skill set to be effective in their role. Based on the current research, demand generation specialist usually come with the following hard and soft skills:
Soft Skills of Demand Generation Specialist
They’re willing to experiment. Demand gen is half art half science. This is why marketers in this role are comfortable with trying out new techniques or experimenting with existing ones.
Also, they need to be able to develop marketing hypotheses about various tactics, strategies, and campaigns.
Demand generation specialists adapt according to data. They keep a pulse on metrics and how they follow overall marketing objectives. Moreover, they adapt campaigns based on data.
Demand generation specialists communicate.
Since they interact with sales and marketing, it’s crucial that demand gen specialists not only communicate about campaigns but also reinforce that campaigns focus on what truly matters to ICP.
They’ll talk to sales daily, or at least weekly, and identify pain points and important trends they hear from consumers.
Hard Skills of Demand Generation Specialist
Data analytics. Since demand generation specialists have to experiment and adapt based on data, they need to deeply understand metrics.
Those dealing with social media — following, brand mentions, engagements. And those dealing with websites — visitors, sessions, traffic sources, etc. They need to understand how customers behave in these places.
Ultimately, they will need to use Facebook Business Manager, Google Analytics, Scrollmaps, Heatmaps, and other tools for this.
Excel. Since metrics are a key element of demand generation, demand generation specialists need to be able to swiftly use Excel for making reports.
Demand gen specialist concentrates significantly on tracking and gauging metrics. In some situations, this involves knowing how to use marketing analytics dashboards that pull data from different sources to support reports.
The Benefits of Having a Demand Generation Team
Rather than thinking about sales funnels, demand generation teams focus on increasing revenue, implementing a holistic marketing approach to drive growth.
To do this, they use all the tools they can — marketing automation, data analytics, reporting, various campaign strategies, and more.
The demand generation approach is developed to reach prospects throughout the sales cycle, providing solutions to their issues based on where they are in the buyer’s journey. To be more specific, demand generation departments come with the following benefits for your business:
- Improves your SEO: Demand generation experts got skills in researching. They can help you develop efficient keyword strategies to boost your content development efforts and explore audience intent. They’ll research the demographics, psychographics, and firmographics of your audience. As well as the channels they use the most. They’ll also explore other SEO opportunities by talking with your sales teams about consumer’s questions, pain points, and objectives.
- Omnichannel marketing support: Demand gen is based on a holistic, unified strategy encompassing several channels. Demand gen experts will not only develop campaigns for particular channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), they’ll also integrate content across all touchpoints.
- Continuous tests and optimizations: Demand gen teams test various strategies to find out precisely which tactic is working. This encompasses headlines, emails, Google Ads, paid social, website design and copy, and more.
- Place your brand in front of your ICP: Demand generation doesn’t focus on bringing low-quality leads. They’ll deeply research your audience and precisely articulate the value your service or product brings.
Of course, different companies have different approaches. But these are some of the basic benefits complex demand gen strategies bring.
How to Have an Effective Demand Generation Department?
Developing interest and driving awareness is the foundation of demand generation. But successful demand gen also acts as a bridge between sales and marketing activities.
Since the COVID pandemic, marketers are faced new challenges. Your consumers expect significantly personalized valuable content. As well as a smooth experience encompassing all channels and touchpoints. Based on MarketingLand study, today’s marketer needs to concentrate on KPIs such as:
- Pipeline influence
- # of engaged accounts
The latest tech and evolving customers’ expectations have reinvented the relationship between sales and marketing. Once, marketers captured high-value leads and passed them to sales.
Today, demand gen is a more integrated, holistic approach focused on developing sustainable customer relationships and building and maintaining demand for the brand.
The Relationship Between Organizations and Demand Gen
Demand gen is a part of a broader marketing team. Technically. But it also concentrates on strategies that enormously support the business’s overall sales objectives.
With this in mind, you can look at demand generation as a modern marketing approach to B2B marketing. One with a sales enablement function and that powers the sales cycle.
Whatever the case may be, demand generation teams work closely with marketing and sales.
Making sure marketing delivers the highest ROI.
The demand gen department can give real-time feedback and insight to the marketing team.
Enabling the marketing team to make content based on the narratives that drive consumer loyalty long-term.
Demand gen teams also help with repurposing content for various channels and personas. This is becoming more and more important since content creation was never more expensive and time-consuming.
Should You Outsource Demand Generation?
According to the demand generation report, there wasn’t a harder year for B2B marketing than 2020. Pandemic brought more screen time. But it also produced advertising and marketing fatigue. That’s why lots of value from demand generation comes from them doing a better job at understanding, identifying, and engaging the company’s target audience. Moreover, according to Ascent2 research, only 36% of companies rely exclusively on in-house talents for managing marketing.
As we spend more and more time in front of screens, marketing strategies will have to become more and more complex.
That’s why there’s a trend of companies using a hybrid model where in-house teams work with outsourced demand generation experts.
When you outsource demand gen, you get access to a wider range of skills and expertise. It usually does represent a cost-efficient alternative to hiring a full-time demand generation team.
But remember that outsourcing demand gen isn’t the same as hiring a content writer on Fiverr.
Demand generation is way more complex than that. Its success also depends on an in-depth understanding of your audience and brand. Outsourced demand gen teams have to closely work with marketing and sales. So, take care with who you hire.