It’s the 18th episode of Meaningful Conversations with Revenue Leaders – No fluff. Meaningful conversations only.

What is demand generation? And how does it differ from lead generation?

One thousand marketers may give 1001 answers. But it doesn’t need to be that complicated (and confusing).

As a tech MKT leader, Adam is passionate about making more MKT organizations focus on creating real demand.

What is “real demand” about?

In essence, it’s about pulling buyers into the very top of the funnel and keeping them moving through to create qualified pipeline.

And in the end, revenue.

Let’s check the video and find out how.

  • 0:00 Teams at GetAccept
  • 2:53 Build brand and generate demand
  • 5:06 How to measure it?
  • 10:19 Is Demand Gen the same as Lead Gen?
  • 14:25 How to engage your ICPs?
  • 16:39 Scaling up: differences challenges to enter new markets?
  • 21:57 Should content be based on Keywords or Insights?
  • 24:49 What will happen in MKT in 2022?

Highlight 1: There has been a lot of shifts in Demand Gen and people are a bit confused. What’s your take on it? What’re the differences between Demand Gen and Lead Gen?

Demand Gen is more revenue-focused – we want to do revenue-based activities that bring in ARR. It is the basis of what we do and through that, we provide value to our audiences and customers.

Lead Gen is more top of the funnel and usually correlated to MQLs – getting people through the door. But lead gen is a part of demand gen. The downfall of it is that lead gen is usually correlated to gated content. It’s not the right way to do lead generation in 2021.

Highlight 2: How do you generate demand at GetAccept?

Creating value for our potential customers is the main focus of our demand generation strategy and the north star of our team.

In general, we have different types of field events: paid search, paid social, SEO, organic traffic, and brand – it’s a mix. We are probably spending say 5050 versus brand and versus paid. At least 50% of what we do are brand awareness types of activities because that’s really where we see the long-term growth happening. We need to establish ourselves as a brand before we can actually start to create and capture demand.

In the past, GetAccept was really event-driven. In this way, we made a lot of buzz in the early days. At the present, we are trying to get back to bases.

We see a lot of interactions and attractions from communities. So we are working on finding communities that are specific to local markets and engaging a lot in there – not really pushing our product but just being visible there as a brand and as people with knowledge. I think that has worked really great for us.

For example, in Sweden, we have the SaaS Nordics. In the UK, we have Sales Continent. And in the US, we have Pavilion and RevGenius. There are a lot of these communities popping up, and I think it’s such a great place to be for us.

Highlight 3: How do you measure different MKT activities?

Trying to measure everything with all these different attribution software rarely works out well.

We are measuring brand by looking at how many branded searches do we have, how is our LinkedIn presence growing, and so on, and how are our overall revenue targets actually growing.

It doesn’t really matter where it comes from.

We saw ICPs coming inbound – okay, where did they come from? Direct traffic. Great. We can’t do shit with this. Now we implement in our forms by just asking the prospect how they found us. And we can already see so many interesting trends by asking that question, to be honest.

Highlight 4: One thing many companies are doing: ranking for certain keywords to drive more traffic. Do you think this strategy will increase the number of high-quality meetings booked?

For GetAccept, we are writing long-form research-based content based on what we think is important, not certain keywords. The starting point is more about what we want to say and the value we want to bring in this piece. And it’s never gated.

Of course, we use keywords that we want to rank on to improve the content, but we don’t start by listing all the keywords we want to chase after.

It’s not about growing our organic presence. It’s more of growing as a brand and as thought leaders in our fields.

Highlight 5: What’s your experience when scaling the business to other regions?

We started out from the US and US is a super aggressive market. We have thousands of competitors. It’s probably the hardest one to gain traction in.

At the moment, we’re growing in the Nordics and Nordic markets are very similar. Recently, we entered the UK market. I don’t think we realized how similar they are to the US more than to Europe in a sense, that there is a lot of competition as well, but also that they are very direct.

Want to check the uncut full text? Here's your transcript.

Marcus: [00:03] Here today we have Adam from GetAccept for our next episode for Meaningful Conversation. Welcome, Adam.

Adam: [00:11] Hey, nice to be here.

Marcus: [00:11] Tell me, how are you doing?

Adam: [00:14] I’m great. Yeah, happy to be back at the office for a Monday. We have new onboarding starting today with 90 new people, so it’s exciting. Happening a lot.

Marcus: [00:25] Ninety new?

Adam: [00:28] Yeah, exactly.

Marcus: [00:29] That’s a lot.

Adam: [00:30] Yeah, it’s crazy.

Marcus: [00:31] Is any of them from the marketing department?

Adam: [00:35] Yeah, we have two new in our marketing department, so we’re growing like crazy.

Marcus: [00:41] Once we’re talking about that. I know you started recently at GetAccept. Before you was at Lime, right? The CRM platform. Tell me about your team, how do you build it, these kind of things.

Adam: [00:55] It’s a pretty funny story, actually, at GetAccept. One of the reasons I joined here is really because marketing have such a unique position and it’s really valued here. I think two years ago there were three people in the marketing team. Today with these two new we are 27 people. It’s a pretty crazy journey.

Marcus: [01:19] How big is the company in total?

Adam: [01:22] 164.

Marcus: [01:24] How big is the sales team?

Adam: [01:26] I would say around double as the marketing team is.

Marcus: [01:30] Yeah, because that’s something I heard. Having a ratio that’s almost 1.5 or 2 is quite a solid foundation.

Adam: [01:40] Yeah, and I’m – when I’m coming from a situation where the sales team is more or less 5x or 10x what the marketing department is, it’s a great change. We are 27 people now, and the team that I’m leading, the demand gen team – I’m head of demand gen – we are five or six people, which is my entire marketing organization at some companies, right, so it’s really great.

Marcus: [02:08] Let’s talk more about this marketing structure and the team because I really see this transition going from having more and more marketers and equal to sales because I think the landscape have been changing a lot quite – last one and a half years, roughly. What I think this will be super interesting because you’re working with demand gen. Demand get I will say I think is a lot confusing for a lot of people and I think there have been a lot of shifts lately. You have lead gen part, demand gen part. We’re coming to that back later because I think that’s an open discussion that I see on LinkedIn and everyone talking about it, but I will argue a lot of people have their ideas, but when you start asking question about it, they are like most following the mainstream, right?

Adam: [02:52] Yeah.

Marcus: [02:53] I would love to hear how does your demand gen team look and what they’re doing.

Adam: [02:59] Yeah, I would say demand gen for me is really about creating as much value as possible to our potential customers is really the basis of it, to really have that as a north star of our team, to be honest. In our team, we have our paid, everything paid: paid search, paid social, and all of those goodies. We also have different types of field events, all of that. We have SEO. We have organic, and also brand, so there’s a lot of things included.

Marcus: [03:36] How do you work with brand in demand gen team? How does the workflow look like? How do you guys set agenda, the goals for the quarter. Branding is very – it varies from company to company in my opinion because it can do different duties. It can be sometimes more peer focused and some more social focused. I would love to hear how you believe in it and what’s your take on it.

Adam: [04:00] Yeah, I would say that GetAccept in the past are coming from being really event driven, and that’s where GetAccept made a lot of buzz in the early days, and I think we are trying to get back to bases a little bit there. To sponsor an event is extremely costly these days, right, so that’s not always an option to be honest, but what we are trying to do a lot now that we see a lot of traction from are communities, finding communities that are specific to local markets and engaging a lot in there, not really pushing our product but just being visible there as a brand and as people with knowledge. I think that has worked really great for us. In Sweden, we have the SaaS Nordics for example that I know a lot here are part of. In the UK we have other communities like Sales Continent that are very big that we’re a part of. In the US we have Pavilion, RevGenius. There are a lot of these popping up, and I think it’s such a great place to be for us.

Marcus: [05:06] Yeah. That’s actually quite interesting thing because during corona, people are moving away budget from conference and event but instead I think many of them turn remote or online instead, so I still see equal much event or even more event because it’s easier to host but still spending money on it.

Adam: [05:31] For sure. I would say that we are probably spending say 5050 versus brand and versus paid. I would say that at least 50% of what we do are brand awareness types of activities because that’s really where we see the long-term growth happening. We need to establish us as a brand before we can actually start –

Marcus: [05:54] That’s a very interesting topic because brand – the whole getting the company name out there is often a long-term – it’s a marathon, right? The question here essentially how do you measure these kind of things, or are you measuring it, or do you have holistic approach, or what’s your take on it?

Adam: [06:16] Yeah, we are. I would say my take on measuring brand is a bit – I think it’s easy to become too data driven in a sense in trying to measure everything with all these different attribution softwares and all of those things. I think it rarely works out well. We are measuring brand in some sense looking at how many branded searches do we have, how is our LinkedIn presence growing and so on, but we’re more looking into okay, how are our overall revenue targets actually growing, and then it doesn’t really matter where it come from to be honest.

Marcus: [06:54] On top of that because I had a great interview with the founder of Lemlist some weeks ago, and we also talked about that. One part of it potentially is that if you want to look at stuff on metrics, you can tie a number – you can basically tie it to whatever you want it to be.

Adam: [07:10] Yeah, exactly.

Marcus: [07:11] I see that problem but you’re chasing too many metrics so you’re losing the gut feeling and the creative part of it and the – you’re losing the best, right? If you’re really metrics driven then you can look at the metrics and do best like that, but many of them takes a long time to go. Even if you get the numbers too early, you’re probably making wrong decision or not the best decisions.

Adam: [07:41] Yeah, exactly, and I have a great example of that. We have a great collaboration with our demand team here at GetAccept together with our SDR team that actually handles all our inbound, so we’re getting so much great feedback, and then when we’re looking into this, okay, these were some really great MQLs coming in, right? They fit our ICP, ready to buy. Okay, where did they come from? Oh, yeah, direct traffic. Great. We can’t do shit with this. Now we implement in our forms by just asking the prospect how did you find – in your head, how did you find us? Where is the first – and we can already see so many interesting trends by asking that question, to be honest.

Marcus: [08:24] Adam, this is so much fun because literally I did the same change weeks ago. I also have SDR team in marketing because I think that’s one of the best information you can get on a weekly basis, and we do share it. Every week, we go through the past week and take the highlights, and the highlights into one asking them in the forms but also – this is something what I see. Even if you ask things in the form, you also get the best answer when you’re having a real conversation with them, right? This is at least what I see. If you only ask how did you hear about us or whatever that would be, it’s most likely the internet, a friend. You know that’s nice to start with, but you can have a little bit more than that.

Adam: [09:12] Yeah, I agree.

Marcus: [09:14] How do you work with the sales and SDR team?

Adam: [09:18] I would say we work very – as you said, we work with feedback on a weekly basis, so they usually – they actually type down where they – and give us each week on good leads, bad leads, and then we have – we sit down together with them each week to be honest just to go through it, but sometimes it’s hard. If we get feedback that something is very bad and it’s from direct traffic, it’s very hard to do anything concretely about it, right? It’s more or less – yeah.

Marcus: [09:56] No, I follow. I see a little bit of a problem. You have direct traffic, your brand search, you can see it direct from Google or Facebook, whatever, but even if you see that, it’s usually not that’s the only touchpoint anyway.

Adam: [10:10] No, exactly, that might have been – they might have found us a year ago from an event, whatever.

Marcus: [10:19] Cool. I think something that actually goes – talked about a lot right now, past month, I would say, is the whole lead gen and demand gen thing. I think to start with, I think a lot of people are confusing those two and think they’re the same. What’s your take? What is it?

Adam: [10:39] Yeah, my take it’s really a thing of perspective where demand gen is more revenue-focused, obviously. Okay, we want to do revenue-based activities that bring in ARR. That’s really the basis of what we want to do and through that, of course, we need to provide value and so on. Lead gen is more top funnel, getting leads through the door, and Lead gen is not – I think Lead gen is getting this super bad reputation now since demand gen is growing. Lead gen is really a part of demand gen that you’re going to – it’s getting people through the door, which is still important. I just think that lead gen is – we have some way – be leaning on gating content and those kind of things to get leads in and that might not be the thing to do in 2021.

Marcus: [11:34] That probably is – how I view it is a little bit like – also, the lead gen downfalls is very correlated to the MQLs and ebooks. I think there are a lot of correlations between all those things. My personal idea of it, we’re trying to drive things and mostly focus on getting them into pricing or into demo. That’s when they discover that what you have, right? It can be successful over the ebook thing. We take it back that we don’t gate things, at least, or most of the things we don’t. The launching process is quite complicated and we see rarely good results. You have often taken more time versus output.

Adam: [12:25] Yeah, another interesting point on that that I had. I listened to – I don’t remember. It was another podcast maybe with Susanne who is international marketing manager at Hubspot, and she talked about only – they only reached out to the buyers who themselves raised their hand. That’s a good point, and that’s something we also want to strive against, but they have thousands of leads coming in every month. I think it’s very different for a company that are scaling up in the beginning of their journey. It’s hard to only focus on the ones who raise their hand. I think that’s ultimately what we want, but yeah, we need to do other things as well, I think, to grow.

Marcus: [13:14] Yeah, that makes fully sense. We’re talking about – I usually talk about the revenue team – Success, Sales and Marketing. How does the correlation in your company in the way you are running demand gen team with the sales and success? How do you combine the metrics together? Do you guys talk on a weekly basis? How do you make sure you’re reaching the quarterly goals or yearly goals or the goals you guys have?

Adam: [13:39] Yeah, I would say that we sit down for sure on a weekly basis together with many of our different test teams to make sure we are trending in the right direction in terms of mostly our order that we are looking at. We also look at both MQLs and meetings both drive because those are still targets important to hit to reach that ARR. We are more or less looking at that weekly and also looking at a lot now okay, are we getting in the right companies, in the right ICP, and what are their intent when they get in? That’s really important for a sales team to know. We are always trying to increase that.

Marcus: [14:25] How are guys making sure the ICPs is the correct and you guys making sure you’re driving the right demand for the right ICP. How does that work together?

Adam: [14:39] Yeah, exactly, and that’s super hard. That’s the basis of us creating this feedback loop, because we don’t know. As a marketing team, we have so little customer interaction, so it’s easy to get caught up in just the numbers. We usually spend some time at least biweekly to listen in on sales calls to understand what a specific ICP – what is a good potential customer there because it’s so different in our different verticals, for example. It’s so easy for us to really be behind a screen just thinking about it, but we need to listen a bit more, I think. That’s what we are trying to achieve now.

Marcus: [15:29] Yeah, I mean, it’s a hard thing. We try to revisit every quarter, this kind of things, but also I think the whole ICP thing for me is very correlated to talking with the SDRs on a weekly basis to actually get the feedback because you have one part of it, in my opinion, which is ICP they won’t ask you for and you learn from, but you also want to make sure that the understanding when they’re coming and raise their hand from the website aline with the idea of pitching in a demand gen funnel to actually saying on the website. They come in with the right intent.

Adam: [16:06] Yeah, exactly, and we usually – when we create specific landing pages for specific campaigns, we usually include SDRs at some point to make sure that we are talking about the same things, that we are not – and usually we have certain things in certain countries that brings people through the door, and then we have other things that SDR uses to get them further down the funnel. That’s also things we can create content for, of course, to get them down the funnel ourselves. I think that’s super important.

Marcus: [16:39] Have you seen – looking for demand gen. Is it different in different countries? Some countries in Europe are more familiar, and then you have UK, you have US, and they are sometimes a bit different from the rest of Europe. You see these different tactics or you see different struggles between the different countries.

Adam: [16:55] Yeah, I would say it’s a huge difference between countries. We started out from the US and US is like a super aggressive market We have thousands of competitors. It’s probably the hardest one to gain traction in. In the Nordics, we became big in Sweden pretty fast. We’re growing in the Nordics because they are very similar. We can talk more. I think we developed the marketing in the Nordics to be this – we were a bit different. We weren’t as nice as all the other companies in the Nordics, but in the US, we were still these nice Swedes; the same in the UK. I think that’s where we have to change a bit, and now we need there to be a bit more aggressive in the UK. We need to be more aggressive in the US, also France compared to how we talk in the Nordics, for example. I think that’s something that we underestimated in the beginning, that we can simply talk and act the way we do. Sometimes we need to – there to be different in other markets.

Marcus: [18:04] There’s specific countries in a specific case. Do you think this is a bit harder than it was from the beginning?

Adam: [18:10] Yeah, I think in the UK – we entered the UK pretty recently, this year, actually. I don’t think we realized how similar they are to the US more than to Europe in a sense, that there are a lot of competition as well, but also that they are very direct. They want to know what’s in it for me right away; don’t skip the fluff-fluff. We need to really make sure that we are doing that. I think that’s a realization we did pretty quickly but could have probably done before we entered even.

Marcus: [18:53] I don’t know if you know how to answer this. How do you decide which country you’re going after? You’re obviously trying new countries from time to time. It’s a quite common strategy. How do you decide these are the ones you want to run after?

Adam: [19:09] No, for us, it has been – we sell mostly to sales organizations with a lot of sales reps, often in the IT tech space, so looking at what countries – now when we are growing in Europe, looking at what countries have the biggest markets, really. Where can we actually grow the most? Where can we get the most bang for the buck? That led us to now initially UK and France where we see we’re starting to get traction but we still see we have so much potential sales to grow for years to come. I think that’s also the main reason why we are trying to move away from the Nordics a bit. It’s so much bigger market in both the UK and France. It’s like the entire Nordics in one of those countries. I think that’s important for many companies starting out in the Nordics to also dare to step away from the Nordics also. I think it’s easy to get stuck in the Nordics.

Marcus: [20:11] Yeah, it is. I mean, I think it’s two ways, right? I agree on it, but you also have this – if you want to do something, maybe it’s super big, but you could – a lot of companies don’t touch the Nordic markets, so you could be by yourself here. A lot of American companies do not touch the Nordic markets.

Adam: [20:33] No, exactly, and that’s the other problem, companies coming from the US. Hubspot, I know they want to grow in the Nordic market, for example, and that will be hard for a company like that that are used to growing in more aggressive markets.

Marcus: [20:50] Yeah, that’s definitely the case. I think it’s a good site for some, bad site for others. If you’re looking back to when we talked a little bit earlier about metric things, how does the team report to you and what numbers are you reporting on? Yeah, give me a little bit of information there.

Adam: [21:07] Yeah, I would say at a company level, we are very much driven by their own metrics, of course, but also meetings booked in our ICPs, and yeah, then in my team, we’re also looking, of course, a lot on traffic to site, organic traffic, because we’re trying to grow that, of course, as a long-term game. We’re looking at the MQLs, and the MQLs in different segments and sizes and making sure that we are getting them – getting the ones that we want, to be honest. Then looking at deals in MRR and also the metrics in between. How many of our MQLs actually qualifies to become a deal and how many of our deals actually becomes a customer. Those are very important for us, I would say.

Marcus: [21:57] Makes sense. A question is about SEO driving traffic, essentially. Obviously I guess you are doing active words to ranking for certain keywords and so on to drive more traffic. First, I want to have your take on it, but how do you see correlation between that and actually more good meetings booked?

Adam: [22:22] Yeah, I think we have been – we – a lot of the content that we write now are not that we pick a keyword and then write content. We are writing a lot of content now that are very long and research-based based on what we think is important. Then usually when we have started writing something like that, we of course find keywords that we want to rank on. I wouldn’t say that the starting point is that. The starting point is more this is what we want to say and the value we want to bring in this piece that is, of course, never gated. Then through that value, we really believe they will take at least some step further on. It might not be now; it can be in a year. They might read our next blog post in a year or so. It’s not so much about – I wouldn’t say at all. It’s not at all about selling in our – when we’re growing our organic presence. It’s more of growing us as a brand and as thought leaders I guess in our fields.

Marcus: [23:31] Yeah, and I think that’s the reason I asked; I think we have a more similar way of thinking. I do think you’re posting something by quality first and if it gets shared, a lot of people like it, then it’s a good post. I definitely don’t look so much about how much traffic it’s getting and so on. If a post got shared and this kind of thing, obviously you get traffic from it, but I would less like to know if it’s ranking for the keywords. It seems the trending for how we’re buying things is less towards having Google on and what do you search Google and more about what other people sharing the same problem. They want to listen to the same problem and know if someone has used it before recommend you. That way it feels like the first person experience kind of things is definitely the way forward, at least for us.

Adam: [24:26] Yeah, I agree completely, and the talk we got so much from the US now about the dark funnel where people talk about your products and stuff where you can’t affect it at all in communities and so on. That’s also places where people share these kind of blog posts if they are good. If they are knowledge that should be shared, that’s also a way to get into that, I guess.

Marcus: [24:49] Yeah, definitely it’s community-based dark funnel gated guardance all these things. Okay, last few things here. First, I want to ask you what do you think will happen next year in marketing?

Adam: [25:05] I think next year, demand gen will happen for real in Europe. I don’t think many companies work with demand gen in Europe. I don’t think we are fully there yet. I think we are just taking the first step towards our revenue-driven marketing organization I think marketing teams will have much greater importance during the next year. It’s a great time to be in marketing, I think, especially in Europe.

Marcus: [25:38] Good for all fellow marketers right now.

Adam: [25:41] Yeah, for sure.

Marcus: [25:43] Okay, then we have one last thing. Give me two or three things you want to recommend or say to all the marketers out there, tips and tricks, whatever floats your boat.

Adam: [25:52] Yeah, I would say it has always been such a huge focus on being data-driven, but I – as you talked about before, I think that’s so important. Be data-driven in a smart way. Find or decide on one or two metrics that’s most important and that’s it. Don’t dwell on it too much. It’s more about we need to create the story, we need to create the brand, and that’s really where the demand grows from. I really believe that. Sometimes we need to be a bit less obsessed about being data-driven. I think that’s important in order to create the story and create the value.

[26:36] My next thing I would say is do not gate anything ever. I think it should be illegal in 2022. I see many arguments for them, but I think none of them are valid.

Marcus: [26:56] No, I agree with you. It’s great. Thanks. Great tips. I think this was a great, interesting conversation. I know you write a lot about demand generation and I know we think they’re missing it here. I see many of your posts. We are happy to have you here Adam, it’s great what you are doing. Okay, thanks for the chat. Pleasure to have you.

Adam: [27:21] Thank you. Great to be here.

More Related Videos

Episode 4: Magdalena Prantl

Demand Generation Manager

Episode 13: Devin Reed

Head of Content Strategy

Episode 22: Sophie Glaser

VP Marketing at Vimcar