The Missing Link in B2B Demand Generation

*This post was first published July 2013 via the ANNUITAS blog.

Most marketing measurement efforts lack strategic vision.  Marketing analysts (especially those from a direct marketing or internet marketing background) are really good at tracking campaign results and even predicting future response.  But their responsibilities are often to maximize individual program performance rather than measure the influence of marketing across their firm’s strategic goals.  Marketers should develop sophisticated program measurement schemes, but without losing sight of higher level, company objectives, like growing market share or increasing margin.”

The excerpt above is pulled from a blog post from Forrester on The Reality of Marketing Metrics written by Shar VanBoskirk. I think most in marketing would agree that marketing measurement needs to be more strategic and show more business impact.  The key call out from this blog post is it is seven years old –  this post was written in April 2006.

Missing-link-first-graphic-July-2-300x262There is no doubt that B2B marketing has changed dramatically over the last 5-10 years.  We have seen changes in how our Buyers buy, technology to enable our demand generation, more data, the rise of content marketing and the list goes on.  However, with all of these changes, the real question is why are marketers making so little gains in addressing our challenges?

Look back over the last four years at this research from Marketing Sherpa, B2B Magazine and eMarketer – see some similarities?

The challenges year in and year out continue to be the same, meanwhile our Buyers continue to evolve, change and grow increasingly dissatisfied with the vendors approach to meeting their needs.

Missing-link-second-graphic-July-2-300x292So what’s the real problem?

As a whole, most marketing leaders have missed the point that in order to adapt to the new buying process, their organizations need to change.  CMO’s need to embrace the fundamental principles of change management if they want to ensure their marketing teams are making the impacts needed.  Change management is needed at the behavioral level.  It is not enough to know things are broken and that you need to change. Today’s CMO’s need to actually lead and drive the change in their organizations, not just talk about it.

In a Forbes article of July of last year, David Cooperstein states the following – “…. most of the CMOs and senior marketers I speak to want to change and adapt. But they have a tough time understanding how to change.”

Here are a few of the how’s that need to be done immediately:

1.     Change Your Organizational Make-Up

Many marketing organizations are still aligned around tactical silos –  field marketing, email marketing, web, events, etc.  The Buyer does not buy according to a series of events.  Design your marketing organization so you are able to respond better to the Buyers needs.  To do this you may need new roles and functions.  You most likely will have to train people in new skills, but it needs to be done as the current make-up of most marketing organization does nothing to enable strategic Demand Generation.

2.     Learn the language of business

Too many CMO’s are on the outside looking in on the C-suite simply because they have failed to realize that Demand Generation is a business need and function, not just a marketing mission.  If marketing leadership is tasked with defending their value to the CEO, they are not viewed as crucial to the business.  I know of no other role – CFO, CIO, SVP of Sales, SVP of HR, Legal, who are spending time trying to justify their existence to the CEO.

Demand Generation is about maximizing lifetime value and creating a perpetual engine for demand of your organizations products and services.  This is a role that impacts the lifeblood of your organization – revenue.  If you cannot articulate this value via quantitative analysis, financial models and by demonstrating the impact to a P&L, you are not effectively managing the business of marketing.  Learn the language of the business and learn how to demonstrate the financial impact you are having on the organization.

3.     Implement the Right Process

Technology does not drive change, however, process can if done the right way.  Adopting and implementing a Demand Process℠ that truly starts with the Buyer and address the needs of your People, Process, Technology and Content is the key to driving effective change.  This is an organizational approach (think beyond just marketing) to how your Buyers and their buying process will be managed.  It must be done in order for marketing to become an effectual revenue component of the business.

The aspect of change management in today’s B2B marketing environment is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.  The time for action is now – CMO’s must move and move quickly to begin to initiate a culture of change.

Author: Carlos Hidalgo @cahidalgo CEO and Principal, ANNUITAS

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