5 Key Take-Aways
- Rather than conducting discrete campaigns, execute perpetual demand generation processes relying on unique, buyer-centric content for each persona at each stage (Engage, Nurture, & Convert)
- To stay aligned, marketing and sales need not only service level agreements, but also (at least some) shared KPIs as well as (at least) quarterly dialogue to educate each other and exchange feedback
- Craft foundational (toolkits) and prescriptive (how-to) content that is interactive/visual
- Enhance data using humans and machines since (a) 50% of people admit to lying when they fill out forms (b) contact information ages rapidly.
- Set an Active Interest Threshold (AIT) lead score to prevent contacting people with inbound inquiries too early. If a person requests a demo, quote, or to speak to sales person, then route quickly.
Overall, this was a worthwhile and valuable read.
- The “strategic demand generation” philosophy of perpetual rather than discrete campaigns
- Plenty of concrete, actionable advice – esp. with respect to sales & marketing alignment
- Well edited with limited redundancy
- Strong fact base of case studies and surveys
- Good demand process maturity framework
- Frequent mentions of the author’s consulting firm (though tolerable since he mixed examples of successful and unsuccessful engagements)
- Excessive focus on change management (yes, it is critically important, but felt redundant at times and slowed the momentum at the end of the book)
- Cursory and insufficiently structured chapter on KPIs (decent, but as a reader, I wanted more)
- Rather than executing discrete campaigns around one or more content assets, companies should engage in “strategic demand generation,” a perpetual process / dialogue to Engage, Nurture, and Convert prospects in each buying role, leveraging people (marketing & sales), processes, content, and technology. Develop unique content for each persona aligned to the Engage & Nurture stages; content for the Convert stage need not be individualized since it reflects a shared vision. (Example: LENOX Industrial Metal Cutting Resource Center)
- Take an outside, buyer-centric view (not a company / product-centric view) informed by interviewing ideal prospects to understand / validate their (a) content consumption preferences, (b) purchase process, (c) problems they are looking to solve. Buyers want content that educates them and enables them to make a more informed purchase.
- Organizations need a planned approach and a common set of KPIs that allow for a distributed span of control over demand generation across marketing and sales.
- Personas should focus less on demographics and more on buying triggers, challenges, and roles in the decision-making process.
- Demand generation should be focused on maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV) rather than on lead volume.
- Content in the Engage stage must focus on the buyers’ top-of-mind issues. At this stage, buyers are looking educational content that answer their questions and addresses their challenges. Content in the Nurturing stage is designed to move from the buyers’ top-of-mind challenges to solution categories; Content for the Convert stage is driven in large part by the sales team.
- Manage email cadences to prevent spamming customers
- Marketing must educate sales on the details of marketing programs.
- Marketing departments should have both lead and revenue quota goals.
- Marketing needs to continually inform sales about the program’s overall performance, get feedback from sales on the quality of leads, and educate sales teams on any changes that have been made to the program as a result of the optimization. These meetings should take place on a quarterly basis and will serve not only to further educate sales teams, but also go a long way toward building a collaborative approach to demand generation in the company.
- Given that demand generation is about educating in addition to qualifying, it is vital that sales teams become proficient in the use of social media and in this way help add value to their buyers;
- If CMOs are going to be change catalysts in their organizations and lead the necessary transformation, the first and most important relationship they need to forge is the one with their CEO.
- Too many organizations confuse a content calendar with their content architecture. A content architecture maps out the content that aligns to the Buyer Dialogue Logic and the corresponding purchase path.
- The most important part of content development is understanding the themes that will resonate with buyers. When developing content, organizations should consider the following questions: (a) Does our content educate the buyers and speak to their pain points and challenges? (b) Does our Engage content focus too heavily on our product, services, and brand? (c) Is our content written from the perspective of a subject matter expert or from our position as a vendor?
- 91 percent of B2B buyers agree or strongly agree that they prefer “more interactive/visual content that they can access on demand.” Moreover, they prefer foundational content (blueprints, toolkits, RFP templates, selection guides, etc.) and prescriptive content (how-to in the form of case studies, whitepapers, etc.).
- Content must also be aligned to the lead qualification model in order to provide the necessary insights into the buyers stage in their purchase process.
- Key lead management processes: Lead scoring; lead routing incl. “turn back”; lead qualification; lead definition and designation (as warm or hot); progressive profiling; service level agreements; lead handoff from marketing to sales
- Since more than 50 percent of B2B buyers will lie on web forms when asked for custom information, human and machine data enhancement are critical.
- Do not route leads to sales too early in the buying cycle. Instead, set an Active Interest Threshold (AIT) by scoring on behavioral-, personal demographic-, and account demographic- elements. Scoring should also have regressive / decay factors to pull leads back, for instance with lapses in activity.
- Hot leads: request for a demo, a request for a quote, or a request to speak to the sales department.
- Profile progressively, starting only with email and name.
- CMOs should either have their own data analyst or leverage an appropriate resource in Finance
- Organizations must also establish the data hygiene and append process. On average a B2B marketing database will go bad at a rate of 30 percent annually. There are many vendors, such as Oceanos, and technologies such as DemandBase or ReachForce, that can provide this as an automated service.
- Engagement performance (by channel)
- Number of prospect impressions
- Number Engaged leads
- Prospect-to-Engaged ratio (# Engaged leads / # of impressions)
- Engage stage cost: (a) total, (b) per impression, (c) per Engaged lead, and (d) as a percentage of total revenue
- Content performance (by content offer)
- # content downloads
- Submit rate (content downloads / # impressions)
- Lead stage elasticity (# leads created at or converted to a given stage / # content downloads)
- Lead stage velocity (time between download and creation of or conversion to a lead at a given stage)
- Cost: (a) Production cost (b) as a percentage of attributed revenue
- Nurturing e-mail performance
- # sent
- Open rate (vs # sent)
- Click rate (vs # sent)
- Hard bounce rate
- Soft bounce rate
- Lead management performance (by stage)
- # buyers
- Conversion rate (inquiry to MQL to SAL)
- Velocity (time to move from one stage to the next)
- Growth rate (% increase in number of prospects at each stage)
- Nurture database size
- Revenue performance (by stage)
- Pipeline value & growth rate
- Closed revenue value & growth rate
- Win rate
- Return on investment performance (NPV of LTV)
Assessing Demand Process Maturity
- People: What is the state of collaboration between marketing and sales teams? What are the defined roles of marketing and sales teams regarding demand generation? Are there clear SLAs between marketing and sales departments? Does the sales team appropriately follow up on qualified leads? (appropriate would be within 48 hours) How does the structure of the marketing organization hurt or help sales alignment?
- Processes: Is there a clear definition of a qualified lead? Do the lead definitions map to an ideal customer profile or persona? Is there a clearly defined lead-to-revenue process that has been documented? Are there defined routing rules to ensure qualified leads are sent to the sales team in a timely manner? Do marketing and sales teams work with one set of metrics across the funnel and agree on ideal conversion stages? Is there an established target for the percentage of marketing’s revenue contribution to the pipeline? What are the obstacles to achieving this?
- Buyer insights and content: Is mapping the buying process and defining the buyer dialogue a part of the demand generation program’s design? Are there specific content offers to cover every stage of your targeted buyer’s journey as part of your demand generation strategy? Is there a multichannel (both inbound and outbound) approach to your demand generation? What is the current mix of inbound and outbound channels? Is nurturing part of your holistic demand generation strategy or is it treated as a separate campaign? Are sales teams involved in developing the demand generation strategy? Do the demand generation programs focus on new customer acquisition and on cross-selling and retention of your current customer base? (Demand generation should be designed for both purposes.)
- Technology systems and data: Do data and technology enable closed-loop demand generation? Do you have the right systems for the execution of strategic demand generation? What are the other major systems that play a role in demand generation and how are they contributing? What is the state of marketing, sales, and executive dashboards for marketing programs?