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from the top is necessary along with a recognition that the model of expecting sales to manage all communications is outdated and, in today’s marketplace, less productive.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.