Sales Productivity Solutions

Archive for the ‘drip marketing’ Category

The Trouble With Demand Generation


Monday, January 31st, 2011

Demand Generation as defined by Wikipedia is:  “Demand Generation is a holistic approach to marketing and sales cohesiveness within the company”. So, in order to  implement a Demand Generation process within an organization, the organization must have the marketing and sales teams work together for two primary purposes: (1) to increase awareness of the organization [product or service] within the marketplace, and (2) to nurture both leads and customers to maximize revenue opportunities.  So far, so good?  Now, let’s peel the onion a bit more.

Effective nurturing of prospective or existing clients requires tools and skills - specifically, the core of a Demand Generation process is a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) that is used to manage multiple messages (email or direct mail), web traffic, landing pages, web-forms, work flow and lead scoring models.  And, since most of the MA platforms control multiple tracks of communications across a variety of campaigns, the content for all the messages, landing pages and the like must be developed in advance of launching the first campaign.  This is where most companies fall short.  The time and energy required to implement nurturing process is significant and can be expensive.  As defined, one of the core attributes of an effective demand generation process is the alignment of sales and marketing resources.  This is necessary for marketing to understand and incorporate part of the sales process and lead scoring criteria into the campaigns and for sales to embrace a more active role by marketing in the day-to-day sales communications.  This is typically another trouble spot as most sales professionals do not want to hand off any direct communications.  Therefore, a commitment from the top is necessary along with a recognition that the model of expecting sales to manage all communications is outdated and, in today’s marketplace, less productive.  And, at the risk of offending a few, investments in CRM programs as a means to improve sales productivity will only go so far, and could actually be counter-productive.

Improving your business development processes is critical.  Demand Generation does offer significant improvements in this regard and can greatly increase the revenue opportunities of a company.  But, for the reasons stated above, and the fact it is not fully understood, it can be difficult to implement.  That’s why we are seen new companies offering new services focused on the various components of the process - the most notable of which is content.   What is your experience?  How are opportunities managed in your organization?  Just like the web, new processes like Demand Generation are not going away.  The longer an organization uses the traditional sales-person only approach, the more the organization will spend in lost opportunity.

Drip Marketing


Monday, March 16th, 2009

You know that when you specialize in something, you become familiar with the jargon of that specialty.  This can create communication issues as you may take for granted that others understand the jargon and know what you’re talking about.  Well, recently I’ve realized that I’ve been taking for granted that some prospects I’m talking with understand what many readers may be very familiar with - Drip Marketing.  This caught me by surprise.  I assumed (and we all know what ASSUME means) just about everyone knows what drip marketing is.  Well, now I know better.  So, I thought I would attempt a little blog education.

Drip marketing is a systematic way to stay in touch with both prospects and customers.  It involves a series of sequential “touches” with one or more marketing channels.  Typically, it involves direct mail and email, as these are the easiest to implement.  And, most drip marketing campaigns are part of database marketing.  But, many drip marketing programs or campaigns are not structured or managed well.  Effective drip marketing requires much more than sending a series of messages or a monthly newsletter.  It should consider the unique interests of each recipient, it should consider how they behave or react to each message, it should consider the frequency of each message and there should be a specific strategy behind the campaign, including offers and calls to action.  In addition, technology comes into play. There are many programs that allow you to build drip marketing campaigns - some are simple and send only emails, some will allow you to send emails and direct mail and, at the high end, there are programs that have features that allow you to more fully automate the messages that take into account the behavior of the recipient.

Whatever the size of an organization, there is much to be gained by implementing drip marketing.  Done properly, drip marketing can be a tremendous boost to the productivity of a sales team.  Leads can be nurtured and qualified before a sales rep gets involved.  Using effective drip marketing will extend the reach of a sales team.  In today’s tough marketplace, you need every edge and drip marketing can be very effective.
So, hopefully I’ve learned my lesson on jargon and perhaps a few readers now know a little more about drip marketing.  I always welcome what your thoughts may be.

Advertising or Virtual Negotiation


Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I was reading an article the other day about clutter, both online and offline.  There’s so much demand for our attention today, the art and science of capturing that attention is getting very sophisticated.  The article addressed the topic of offers and how critical it is in Demand Generation to get them right - to get the prospect to take action.  I personally feel there are degrees of offers.  Specifically, high risk offers and low risk offers.  A high risk offer would be one that does not match or align the need of the prospect to the interest of the seller.  For example, having an offer that invites the prospect to talk with a salesperson to early in the buying cycle.  With today’s access to information online, buyers now engage with sellers later in the buying cycle.  So, in this example, engaging with a seller too early in the buying cycle will likely create anxiety.  Just as you’re greeted in a retail store and say “no thanks, just looking”.  A low risk offer is the opposite.  It creates a comfortable way to move a prospect though a buying stage.  This is very important to master in order to maximize conversion rates - at each step of the buying cycle.

This brought me to another thought - virtual negotiations.  In reality, as we compete for mind share, we are in a sense negotiating.  Our offer is accepted or it isn’t - just as in any negotiation.  And, negotiations represent a series of back and forth offers - not a one time take it or leave it offer.  So, perhaps it may be a better mind set for marketers to think of offers in terms of steps in a negotiation, designed to move a prospect, over time, closer to their desired outcome.  And, these offers must be appealing in terms of all options visible (not necessarily all available) to the prospect.  For me, thinking of offers (and all aspects of the message or campaign) helps to orient my thoughts more in terms of the prospect.

Does this virtual negotiation concept make sense?  I’d be interested in your thoughts…