“We need to be ‘world-class’ in demand generation”


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Recently had a long chat with the Chief Marketing Officer of a $100MM software firm, Saba Software, who said those very words to me. (Editor’s Note: This CMO was dismissed recently.)

A laudable goal, no doubt. Many CMOs and CEOs say the same thing. Everyone wants to be THE best. But it also caused me to do some deep thinking. If so many have a goal of being world-class, why do over 9 out 10 come up short?

Here are some stats that show how bad it is.

  • 64% of marketers with lead nurturing are dissatisfied with results
  • Sales quota achievement is at the lowest level ever measured (CSO Insights)
  • Without lead nurturing, 79% of leads never turn into sales opportunities

(From presentation by Ardath Albee of MarketingInteractions)

What’s going on here? If they all want to be the best, why are they performing so poorly? And why aren’t more salespeople making quota? For another experts take on the problem, please read The Unspoken ‘Real State’ of Modern B2B Demand Generation 2 of 4: Technology, Alone, Is Not Enough

In my mind, it’s because so many companies look for the easy fix and skip the hard stuff. The article above points out that companies do the bare minimum to get marketing automation working, but not enough to provide an adequate flow of qualifed sales leads.

It seems everyone wants a quick fix. Just buy marketing automation. Hire a product marketing person. Invest in search marketing. Hire some salepeople.

Nothing wrong with those ideas. But to become the best, you need to make a BIG commitment. You need to invest serious sweat and patience in the foundation of demand generation:

  • Value proposition development – Specific business outcomes that result from the use of your products and services
  • Ideal customer profiles – Who are the best prospective customers for us?
  • Buyer personas — What makes them tick?  What do they really care about?  Where do they turn for information? (See Personas are critical, Mr./Ms. CEO for more)
  • Problem to Solution story-telling – How can we tell a story about their problems and keep their attention as we show them how to solve their problems? As Ardath Albee said “We need to answer the What’s In It For Them? question.” You also need to leverage Catch Factors to get attention and use Cliff-Hangers to hold attention(editor’s note: Credit Ardath for these terms)  (See How to Use Great Story-Telling for Lead Nurturing as well as Ardath’s great book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale for more.)

Only by really working hard on understanding buyers, their issues, their problems, etc. will you have the insights to craft a world-class demand generation program. Don’t short cut this process. Nothing in life is easy.

What do you think? Why don’t most firms have a world-class demand generation program?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeff Ogden
Jeff Ogden (http://jeff-ogden.brandyourself.com) is President of the Tampa based Find New Customers demand generation agency. http://www.findnewcustomers.com .


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