To execute an efficient and effective go-to-market strategy, there are certain must do’s for Demand Generation and Demand Management initiatives. To facilitate the process, it’s important to assess current organizational capabilities, document the desired state and, as a best practice, leverage the Capability Maturity Model framework.
Most organizations usually repeat the following process:
- Execute a webinar
- Send an email with an offer
- Cold call a suspect
- Exhibit at an event
- Participate in a discussion on LinkedIn
- Post a video to YouTube
- Place a presentation on Slideshare
- Schedule tweets
However, the goal is not to execute a number of different marketing strategies. The goal should be outcome-based, and that outcome should be the generation of qualified sales opportunities with a high propensity to result in a deal. An integrated demand generation and demand management plan, built by sales and marketing collaboration and in alignment with the sales process is a great first step to creating an optimized marketing action plan.
The question almost every CEO, CFO, GM and VP Sales invariably asks is, “What value did the marketing effort contribute towards revenue?” There are some organizations that track (manually or through marketing automation) responses, leads, marketing qualified leads, qualified sales opportunities and closed won deals (quantity, value, velocity and conversion rates). While this is a good practice downstream in the demand management process, the question is how can marketers move upstream in the process to gain respect and support from upper management?
Best-in-class organizations run Sales and Marketing to purposely align go to market resources to specific goals in an integrated and holistic manner rather than establish the objectives of marketing through a trial and error process. While the key is synchronization, the question is how to synchronize demand generation and demand management?
Sun Tzu said “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought.” The three keys to synchronizing Sales and Marketing require the mutual construction of a Buyer Behavior Model, Journey Board and relevant Messaging.
Demand Generation and Demand Management – Buyer Behavior Model
A buyer behavior model should be constructed for the personas within an organization which are critical to making a buying decision. A best practice is to start the process with a specific use case in mind (one that is ideally suited for one’s offering). Then, identify the functional areas and roles or titles involved in the buying process. Next, create a matrix that includes strategic and operational viewpoints on the x-axis and function on the y-axis (IT and LOB for example).
Invest the time to develop the value driver for each quadrant (strategic/IT, operational-LOB, etc.) so there is insight and agreement within the organization on what the perceived and realized value will be and is, respectively. While it’s important to include economic value in terms of numbers or percentages, it’s not as important to provide an exact amount as it is to provide a range of value. This range will generate a discussion as to whether the lower or upper end of the range is more appropriate. And this is exactly the discussion the sales team wants to have with the prospect.
The number of stages and names of the stages in the buyer behavior model will vary by organization, industry, size of company, etc. However, the guiding principle is to mimic the customer buying process — not the sales process. The goal is to get inside the head of the prospect and look at the vendor from the lens of the buyer. Try and gain insight into:
- The information they need
- Their motivation
- Why the information is needed
- The source of the information
- The right format for the information
- How the information is shared
Demand Generation and Demand Management – Journey Board
In its simplest form, a journey board is a collection of assets designed to be consumed by prospects to facilitate a buying decision. Journey boards become complex when aligning assets to specific personas and stages in the buying behavior model. Acknowledging and leveraging the fact that different people learn in different ways is a key driver to determine the appropriate format of the information (it’s not good enough to have the right information; it has to be in the right format).
The journey board is the backbone of any nurture path because it documents which assets should be offered up to a prospect to increase the probability of relevance. The journey board format is ideal for visualizing what one’s organization has to support the buying process and equally important, what is lacking. Take the extra step and segment assets by type (collateral, web page, image, video and interactive) and use this to feed into the content plan.
Journey Boards must be constructed collaboratively with Sales and Marketing with the common goal of developing qualified sales opportunities. Once assets are constructed and leveraged via demand generation and demand management efforts, it is critical to track, measure, manage and learn. Specifically, track which assets are most frequently downloaded, the age of assets, the creative, subject lines, landing pages and registration forms for each asset, quantitative feedback from sales development reps, inside sales reps and sales reps. And, most importantly, survey prospects and customers to gain quantitative feedback and conduct one-on-one’s to gain a qualitative assessment of the meaningfulness and relevance of assets.
Demand Generation and Demand Management – Messaging
Messaging is often the most overlooked aspect of any sales and marketing activity. This is because most organizations assume that “we know what we sell.” More often than not there is some truth to that statement, but the issue is that almost no two people will provide the same explanation of what exactly an organization sells — and that is counterproductive to brand building. More importantly, mixed messages do not resonate. Also, when competitors are communicating similar messages (whether or not they are believed to be competitors, substitutes or alternatives), they may be talking to the same audience, with the same/similar message and through the same communication vehicles. In short, prospects will be confused – which does not support building a healthy sales pipeline.
As mentioned earlier, value drivers go a long way to developing messages that are engaging and facilitate action. Remember, one size does not fill all. For example, even if one has a value driver identified for IT, the message still needs to be further refined. Why? Because the CIO or VP of IT is much more aligned to the strategic goals of the business, and a manager of IT may be much more interested in how to implement, train and support a solution. In short, the strategic and operational messages within a function will vary. So, it goes without saying that messages for other business functions will be different.
Demand Generation and Demand Management – An Organization Can Pay Now or Pay Later
All too often an organization will communicate that they do not have time to construct Buyer Behavior Models, Journey Boards and Messaging. The reality is that organizations will address the above implicitly or explicitly. And, implicitly is a far more time consuming and expensive process. Specifically, an organization will exert numerous sales and marketing resources on opportunities only to find that they die later in the sales process. In addition, the frustration of losing later in the sales process will create frustration and tension between Sales and Marketing as the finger pointing commences.
It’s much better to proactively move the organization upstream in the marketing and sales funnel by embracing a Buyer Behavior Model, Journey Board and Messaging that will focus the organization and provide Sales and Marketing with an operating model to fuel growth.