In the Lead…

Every sales and marketing professional knows the definition of a sales lead: a person or business who may become a customer. In the thrill of the hunt for a sale, leads are digital footprints of the quarry. They have the potential to create a sale with the prospective person or business. Leads come in a variety of flavors, so for perspective, imagine a pyramid, and at the top, you have the generic sales leads, followed by marketing leads, followed by service leads.

Generic sales leads are further split into hot, warm, and cold, qualified, unqualified, marketing qualified, and sales qualified, then good leads, bad leads, and at the very bottom, dead leads. Leads follow a fairly predictable lifecycle and can actually disappear if not nurtured correctly. Leads aren’t born, and they don’t magically appear. They have to be generated by marketing. Marketing generates leads by using content and marketing tactics to engage with people and businesses.

Marketing essentially exists for two reasons: one is the aforementioned task of lead generation, and the other is for demand generation. Demand generation can be defined as the underlying activities and tactics used to build brand awareness. There is no chicken and egg scenario here — if there is no awareness, there are no leads. From this perspective, it’s clear to see that lead generation activities can be separate and distinct from demand generation activities.

Call it “Brand Awareness +”

Whether you call it demand generation or “building brand awareness,” the results are the same and focus on increasing the response rate for lead generation activities. Table 1 below highlights the differences between lead generation and demand generation activities.

Table 1

Lead GenerationDemand Generation
Developer community advertisingDeveloper community advertising
Developer contestDeveloper community survey
Webinar or podcastBrand advertising campaigns
Tradeshow or conferenceWebsite promotion
Gated contentUngated content
Product trialSEO and keyword optimization
Product-specific advertisingCross-selling promotions
Product training*Sales training*

*A key distinction can be made here, since salespeople are the physical manifestation of your brand and your company. While product training enables salespeople to sell products, sales training enables salespeople to sell your brand.

Advertising plays an important role in both lead generation and demand generation — and when advertising to the developer community, it’s important to consider how you are going to address your target audience. The Advertising Guide from DeveloperMedia is a handy reference to make sure that you are on the right track and making effective use of your resources.

Where Do They Fit?

A key part of a marketing strategy is determining the balance between lead generation and demand generation campaigns. Both types of campaigns can be run in parallel, and both should be resourced appropriately. In many companies, demand generation campaigns are run from a separate “corporate” budget, since demand generation benefits the corporation as a whole. Lead generation campaigns are typically budgeted to a division, region, brand, or product line. It is important that demand and lead generation campaigns are coordinated so there is no confusion in messaging or branding. To learn more about specific developer- focused lead generation and demand generation strategies and tactics, check out the resources available at DeveloperMedia.


Definition of a sales lead – Hubspot –

Demand Marketing – New Breed Revenue –

Types of Sales Leads –

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