- Driving more opportunity into the top of the Marketing and Sales funnel is counterproductive unless the sales funnel is tight and conversion rates in the pipeline exceed industry averages.
- The synchronization of Sales and Marketing can not occur unless there is a managed and repeatable process to create leads, convert leads and close leads, efficiently and effectively.
- Demand Creation needs to focus on Outcome-Based Marketing by targeting prospects with a high propensity to find value in your solution versus simply generating volumes of hand-raisers.
Demand Creation – The Function
Because Demand Creation is the function within Marketing that should be most closely aligned to revenue since it is part of the sales process. Demand Creation acts as an early warning indicator as to the health of the sales pipeline. The sole focus of the demand creation function should be to provide the fuel (the creation of qualified leads with a high propensity to become qualified sales opportunities). In addition, Demand Creation creates a qualified pipeline for sales at the right level (multiple of quota) and at the right time (a consistent, digestible flow), to meet or exceed the sales quota.
If a company operates in ways counter-intuitive to its demand creation initiatives the company could experience unintended consequences which are detrimental to the business such as:
- A wedge between Marketing and Sales
- Spending money to target non-qualified prospects
- Increasing the length of the sales cycle
- Increasing the cost of sale and/or
- Priming prospects for the competitions consumption
Demand Creation – The Process
Demand Creation is the front-end of the sales process (the top of the sales funnel) and it needs to be fully integrated into the sales process. This requires goal alignment, common terminology, clear roles and responsibilities, common systems, a team approach and a singular focus on generating revenue, not leads. If there is friction between Sales and Marketing in the organization, there is a high probability that the Demand Creation function is at the center of it.
Demand Creation should not be a series of one-off events–a random webcast, the occasional email blast, a blog post, banner ad or some effort to generate some likes or retweets. The Demand Creation team should not be a centralized group of marketers not embedded into the sales process nor aligned with the territory plans for each distribution channel. Demand Creation needs to empower Field Marketing teams to build revenue generating plans incorporating the right revenue generating channel to the right resources, at the appropriate stage in the sales cycle, in the right format and with the right focus.
Demand Creation – Best Practices
The most effective Demand Creation efforts result when marketers and sales leaders jointly develop an integrated demand creation plan that is geography, solution, industry, channel, new business and installed base business-specific. A best-in-class Demand Creation function will need to leverage the go-to-market foundational building blocks that outline the use case, differentiation, personas and value drivers to deliver programs and content that are meaningful and relevant.
Basic Demand Creation fundamentals include the reverse engineering of lead targets from bookings targets, the incorporation of lags times, the formulation of the appropriate demand creation strategy, the implementation of the supporting systems and processes and the documentation of roles and responsibilities. Next, the appropriate demand creation strategy that aligns with the sales territory plan needs to be mutually created and agreed to. Then, the identification of the targeted companies and contacts need to occur and the key personas identified and profiled. A buyer Behavior Model should then be constructed to provide the insight into the steps or phases of the customer buying process. This model will guide the content that needs to be created and delivered to support value conversations. The development of a content message map will then be required as it provides the direction for the specific content that needs to be developed, in what format, in what timeframe and by whom (resources could be inside or outside the organization), in order to engage with prospects in a meaningful and relevant way.
Examples of Our Projects Include:
- Content Plan
- Building Personas
- Target Account Profile
- Creating Buyer Behavior Models
- Integration With Demand Management
- Documenting Customer Journey Boards
- Establishing the Demand Creation Strategy
- Constructing Marketing Plans That Fuel Sales Plans
- Building Integrated and Sustained Marketing Campaigns
- Outlining the Demand Creation Waterfall and Metrics, Dashboards and KPIs