Who Is Responsible For Demand Generation? Marketing or Sales

Rob Krekstein on Nov 25, 2013 in Demand Generation

Marketing exists to drive business outcomes. We are more than the people blowing up balloons at trade shows. And more than a bunch of creatives figuring out what color our logo should be.

Effective Marketing drives demand. So to keep my finger on the pulse of demand generation, I love to get the insights from my former colleague and demand generation partner Rob Krekstein.

Rob is the Senior Director of Global Lead Generation at enterprise technology companyVentyx. In my former role as head of digital marketing for SAP North America, Rob helped me ensure we achieved a return on our marketing investment.

Who Is Responsible For Demand Generation? Marketing or Sales?

This seems to be the newest dilemma with any Demand Generation Program.  In my 20 Years of experience with Sales and Marketing, I have been on both sides of the equation, and found that the  optimal placement is . . . neither!

Within every company, Demand Generation MUST align to the larger organization, I fully understand that, so I briefly discuss where and how Demand Generation should be aligned.

1. The Demand Generation Organization:

Every organization is different and has many nuances including Product, Industry, Size.  These differences will certainly have a substantial impact on how Demand Generation is aligned.

Whether it is a true Volume and Velocity Program, or a more Account Based Strategic Program, the answer is still the same, align the Demand Generation Group to the larger Sales Program.  Sales has one major positive that Marketing typically does not, people (head count.)  This will allow the Demand Generation team to scale as needed for the business, as Sales typically does not have an issue with adding talent as they are seen as “keeping the lights on” with the revenue Generation.

2. Demand Generation Management and Responsibilities:

Even with the alignment to Sales, the Demand Generation Team MUST function as its own entity within the organization.  It must act as the conduit between Marketing and Sales.  Too often the Sales Leadership “swallows” up the Demand Generation Group and makes it a “junior sales” team which only cares about revenue.

Subsequently, if aligned to Marketing too often the team becomes “event recruiters” or changes their primary focus to only driving qualified leads and pipeline. The Demand Generation Team’s primary role is prospecting, lead triage and opportunity generation, with secondary focus on revenue.  To move away from this is to lose the efficiency and success of demand generation.  Autonomy is key, and the Demand Generation Team must always act for the overall success of the Business.

3. Demand Generation Key Performance Indicators:

This is a critical component for any team.  Compensation dictates behavior.  We want to be certain that our Demand Generation Team is fully focused on the goals, and the bonus is paid out accordingly.  Sales accepted pipeline value and volume are the primary responsibilities and the bonus should be focused here.  Revenue, qualified leads, system adherence should all be added as KPI’s, but only as a component of the position, They should not be a bonus factor, as they will change the daily behavior of our Team.

Demand Generation Alignment Between Marketing and Sales

Demand Generation has grown substantially in the past few years, from a rarely used term, to a normal course of business at all companies.  I have outlined a simple way to align the group so the team can function in an optimal fashion, generate substantial pipeline, and grow your company to whatever size is needed.

I want to thank Rob for these thoughts. Now let me know yours in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook  and Google+ or  Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

Showing 8 comments
  • Peter Johnston

    The answer, of course, is none of the above.
    What you are doing with this post is creating a “somebody else’s problem” field.

    Everyone, across the whole company, is responsible for making a product or service desirable enough for the people they designed it for at a value they think is worthwhile. And providing the satisfaction of ownership, confidence in the product and the people behind it to make it become a good lasting memory to them.

    Don’t let everybody off the hook by saying it is somebody else’s job.

    • Michael Brenner

      I gt your point Peter. Demand generation, like product excellence and service and social media authenticity are the whole company’s job!

  • kenny

    SMARKETING baby! Great post Michael

  • Jhon Park

    You have mentioned demand generation alignment between marketing and sales, I believe in this point. Very effective in small business.

  • Shimon

    Hi Michael, I believe that the answer should be both instead of neither. The best demand generation ‘department’ would include colleagues from sales and marketing to share the funnel responsibility in the most effecient way.

    • Michael Brenner

      I totally agree Shimon and hope to see more of this.

  • Duc Nam

    Greate post. Thank for share