Top 10 Things The Chief Sales Officer Needs to Know About Demand Generation

Marketing Success as a Sales Responsibility

Most B2B Enterprises and high-growth companies have trouble shifting from a tactical marketing approach to a strategic one, especially when the call from sales is to simply drive more leads. If volume is the requirement, it is simply too easy to focus on tactics that emphasize quantity over quality. A clear, defined Demand Generation strategy is what changes Marketing from a Cost Center to a Revenue Center, but without sales support (or sometimes sales sponsorship) it isn’t going to happen. We hope these 10 things sales needs to know about Demand Generation are helpful.

  1. Demand Generation Is Not Just A Marketing Function

Strategic Demand Generation includes Engage, Nurture and Conversion stages.  In order to nurture and convert, sales must be part of the conversation and be empowered to take part in the conversation with their buyers.

  1. Think Quality, Not Quantity

One of the goals of Demand Generation is to produce highly qualified and informed leads to the sales force.  Instead of asking for more leads, a better strategy is to work with Marketing on lead qualification criteria and on target account lists to create better leads. 

  1. Not Everyone Wants to Talk To Sales

Buyers are more informed today than ever before and the role of sales in the buying process has changed dramatically.  Buyers will research and collect their own information outside of sales, when they are ready, they will engage.  Pushing sales too early in the game can derail a potential prospect.

  1. It’s Not Easy

Somewhere along the line people began to think that marketing was easy – in today’s complex buying environment nothing could be further from the truth.  Developing a buyer-centric, strategic Demand Generation engine will not happen instantly, but the time and investment are worth the payback.

  1. It May Require New Skills For The Sales Team

As the buyers purchase path has shifted, so have the roles of sales.  Successful sales people today have embraced the new buying dynamic and adapted to be “social selling” sources of information, educators and trusted advisors. More sales people need to learn these skills in order to be successful . . .It is the responsibility of the CSO to provide a way to learn these new skills.

  1. It’s Not About You

What salespeople say and what a buyer wants to hear are often very different.  A buyer usually doesn’t want to see your product as a first step of engagement, they simply want to know if you understand their challenges and pain points. When you speak to those you earn the trust of your buyer.

  1. Forget the Funnel and Sales Stages

The lead funnel and sales stages are good for internal measurement and forecasting, but don’t make the mistake of thinking buyers approach their purchases in that linear of a fashion — they don’t. The Pipeline is not as straight as it used to be.

  1. It’s Not Just For Customer Acquisition

Many salespeople don’t want Marketing to touch their accounts, but Demand Generation programs should also be targeted at your current customer base for retention, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.  There is a significant opportunity to generate more revenue from your current customer base with strategic Demand Generation programs.

  1. Sales Is Not Alone

It is true that sales has a very unique view of their buyers, but so does Product Management, Marketing, Customer Support and Product Marketing.  Work across the organization to collect as much insight into the buyers and this will inform the Demand Generation Programs of the organization.

  1. It Is All About The Revenue

Strategic Demand Generation is about building sustainable revenue and maximizing customer lifetime value.  Work with Marketing to create shared pipeline and revenue goals instead of being rewarded on different KPIs. Executing on this will have bottom line impact and make sales more successful.

If you enjoyed this list, check out the CEO’s Guide to Demand Generation.

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