In Demand Generation Plan: The Process – Part 2, the mechanics of building an integrated demand generation plan are discussed. Specifically, the topics covered include:
- Elements of a campaign
- The integrated campaign
- The integrated program planning framework
- The target account profile
- Go-to-Market messaging
- Content throughout the funnel
- Journey board
- Demand generation vehicles
- How to support sales
- An integrated demand generation plan timeline
Demand Generation Planning – Elements of a Campaign
In a sense, all campaigns are different, but to another extent, all campaigns have many of the same components. Specifically, an integrated demand generation campaign usually contains:
- A unique selling proposition and relevant sales messaging
- A database of suspects, prospects and or customers
- Validation – i.e. some credibility or proof in the form of an endorsement, review, analyst review, influencer recommendation, etc.
- Demand generation vehicles – the mediums used to carry a message to the target audience
- Go-to market sales tools that a sales representative will use to engage a prospect or customer to move them through the sales cycle
- Waves — the themes, trending topics or current news that analysts, influencers, press and thought leaders are talking about and that prospects and customers are interested in learning about
- Lead management follow-up — the processes applied to responses from an outbound or inbound campaign to qualify a response to a qualified lead
- Offers — the “bait” that are dangled in front of prospects and customers enticing them to divulge information about themselves and their companies
Demand Generation Planning – The Integrated Campaign
Demand generation campaigns should not be something the marketing team dreams up, executes and surprises the rest of the organization with when they are launched as part of the go-to-market strategy.
Integrated demand generation programs are best developed by the go to market team proactively working together. Ideally, this is the same team that was assembled to develop the original offering specifications and drove the concept to general release. The go to market team should be involved in building the integrated demand generation programs.
Specifically the team may include:
- The product marketing team that contributes content, messages, use cases and insights about the market, prospects and customers.
- The market development or demand generation team that is responsible for assembling and executing the integrated demand generation program.
- The sales team which needs to be involved in targeting the program, developing the offer and following up on qualified leads.
- The presales team which serves as the subject matter experts and contributes real-time market, competitive and customer insights. This team also has knowledge of use cases, market dynamics and competitor actions that can be incorporated into campaigns.
- Service and support which needs to be aware of the programs in development — to ratify the offerings’ capabilities and minimize any short comings.
- Sales operations which ensures the sales force automation system is capable of storing, retrieving and reporting information about campaigns and lead follow-up. Sales Ops also provides insights into compensation plans and information on how to best motivate the sales team.
Demand Generation Planning – The Integrated Program Planning Framework
There is a blueprint for assembling the elements that comprise an integrated demand generation program. This integrated program needs to leverage the established brand identity so that style and voice guidelines are followed.
In addition, awareness should be created by leveraging the unique selling proposition and sales messages that exist in the messaging and positioning framework. This is much better than doing it on the fly.
The target audience needs to be documented to ensure alignment of go-to-market messaging.
The content strategy for social media, press, analysts and media needs to be summarized.
An abbreviated buyer behavior model should be constructed that highlights where the campaign will begin with a prospect or customer and where it will leave them. Ideally, the content and the demand generation vehicles to be used will be documented.
Demand Generation Planning – The Target Account Profile
The target account profile, jointly developed by sales and marketing, is a sketch of a prospect with a high propensity to purchase.
The fewer the questions posed the better, but there is theoretically no limit to the number of questions to include as long as they are ranked and categorized. Also, it is important to note that all of the information does not have to be collected all at once. Information can be collected over time and from various mediums: website forms, conference calls or face-to-face meetings. It is best to ask closed ended questions as this helps to facilitate automatic calculations and limit interpretation bias.
As with any good system, the goal is to identify prospects with a high propensity to purchase. For this reason, it is crucial to have a feedback mechanism to add, modify or delete questions to keep the target account profile tight and accurate.
Demand Generation Planning – Go-to-Market Messaging
Go-to-Market Messaging consists of the sales messages that were created from the messaging and positioning framework. This framework is where the unique selling proposition was created as well as key messages.
When building integrated demand generation campaigns, it is necessary to work within the messaging framework to develop sales messages that are relevant to the market, product and audience, hence go-to-market messages.
Starting from the top, it is a good idea to start with a theme for the campaign and leverage that theme for the next quarter, half or fiscal year. Next, summarize the key business issues that are being addressed in order to keep everyone on the same page. Then, the specific solution being offered needs to be documented with the strategic and tactical benefits highlighted. Close with ROI statements, facts, statistics to quantify benefits and to add proof or credibility of the pain of the problem and benefits of the solution.
As go-to-market messages are developed, customized messages should be tailored for each functional area. In addition, it is useful to craft a strategic and functional message for each function so that sales messaging for individual contributors, managers, directors, VP’s and executives is available.
Demand Generation Planning – Content Throughout the Funnel
It is critical to have relevant content throughout the sales funnel to keep prospects and customers engaged and willing to exchange information for content. At each stage of the sales process, there is a different sales goal that ranges from collecting information to making a selection. And, for each stage of the sales process, there is a tactic or program that can be leveraged with relevant, meaningful content to keep prospects and customers engaged and willing to divulge information necessary to the sales process. The goal is to make the right information available, at the right time, to the right person.
Demand Generation Planning – The Journey Board
The journey board is basically a linear representation of all of the available content for a prospect or customer to consume during the buying process. This representation is aligned in a logical progression from topical to offering-specific.
The journey board can be thought of as a controlled environment to introduce each and every piece of content to a customer or prospect in a linear format. Granted, this is not a typical scenario, but it is a great format to use to build a model that can be used with the marketing automation system.
In this example, there are three primary segments: prospect, lead and close. Each of these three segments has two sub-segments. Under each sub-segment, an asset is documented that has been designed to align with a prospect at that moment in the sales or buying process. Obviously, this is a living document and is updated with additions, deletions and modifications based on relevancy and effectiveness.
Demand Generation Planning – Demand Generation Vehicles
Demand generation vehicles, or the mediums that marketers use to connect with prospects and customers, are rich and evolve continuously with time.
A key to remember is that with an integrated approach, there is not one silver bullet. Often CEOs and CFOs want to rank programs and “kill the programs with the lowest ROI and increase program spend on those programs with the greatest ROI”. While the spirit of the comment is logical, there are a number of issues with this type of thinking.
First, ROI numbers are dependent upon how the metrics are set up in the marketing automation system. Do all programs that touch a closed won deal receive credit for the deal? Does the first touch or last touch? Or is it simply prorated? Regardless of the choices made, all approaches have pluses and minuses, and it is quite difficult for someone who is unfamiliar with all of the nuances to make a blanket judgment.
Secondly, programs that are focused further downstream in the sales funnel typically have a higher correlation to closed won deals. However, without a continuous feed of responses, qualified leads and qualified opportunities, it is not possible to have a steady run rate for closed won deals. Eliminating upstream programs will decrease the ROI of downstream programs in the long run.
The last point is that different programs resonate with different audiences because people learn and consume information differently. Some like to read, watch, listen, talk or do. Not having a touch point in all areas will alienate some audiences and impact ROI.
As a result, it is necessary to include branding, the website, referrals, direct mail, email, PR, social media, events, online marketing and phone calls for efficient and effective demand generation. Marketing is part art and part science, and when a non-marketer tires to swing the pendulum it will disrupt the balance created by a savvy marketer. Unfortunately, because of the time lag on programs and the pipeline, it could take three months or longer to impact the pipeline but eventually it will definitely negatively impact revenue.
Demand Generation Planning – How Marketing Supports Sales
In many organizations, the distribution model can be complex. For example, the sales organization may include global accounts, named accounts and general territories. There are specific plans that can be harnessed to penetrate strategic accounts. For example, if a sales rep has four strategic accounts, what are the things marketing can do to support this strategic rep? In short, marketing supports strategic accounts by providing account intelligence and account evangelism.
Account evangelism is when marketing resources are provided to a strategic account champion. These resources help the champion, for example, publish newsletters and blogs, sponsor lunch and learns, hold events or build micro sites. Also, marketing can tweet on the champion’s behalf and promote the champion for external speaking opportunities. These are just a few of the marketing programs that can be delivered.
In terms of account intelligence, marketing can provide line of business and information technology organizational charts with full contact information. Highlighting business issues, internal projects and providing social media and sales force automation (SFA) tools are additional deliverables that marketing can supply to the strategic account rep.
Demand Generation Planning – An Integrated Campaign Timeline
Integrated campaigns are campaigns that span a considerable time period. They also contain content that is leveraged and packaged for multiple formats and delivery mechanisms to accommodate the consumption preferences of the individuals in the target audience.
For example, the climax of a demand generation program may be a webcast with an analyst. However, there are a number of steps and events before and after the webcast that should be planned and executed to optimize results. Specifically, these steps include:
- Content on the website can be added and optimized for SEO.
- A press release can be issued about the content, speakers, results or business impact that will be addressed in the webcast.
- Google or Facebook PPC (pay per click) may be an appropriate venue for deliverables that can be packaged and formatted for the webcast or to drive attendance.
- The social media plan can release content from the webcast can be sneaked through SlideShare, tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube. And, the content can be packaged up in a lead nurture path.
- A survey can be incorporated during the webcast and results broadcasted through a press release, infographic or research note.
- Case studies, white papers, blog posts and research notes can be developed from the webcast content and posted in high traffic venues for the target audience.
- The webcast can be posted on YouTube with a call to action.
- A custom nurture path can be developed for those that attended the webcast and those that did not.
- It is possible to starburst the audience by expanding out to peers of webcast attendees.
- Finally, the webcast can be packaged up and made available on demand.
This post details the specifics needed to create an integrated demand generation plan that will build a pipeline full of qualified opportunities for sales to meet or exceed their revenue targets.
The process outlined for building an effective demand generation plan that produces qualified leads has been tested at Fortune 1000 companies and start-ups. In fact, this content serves as the backbone of an advanced marketing class taught at the executive MBA level.
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