How is the relationship between marketing and the CEO? C-Suite executives outside of the marketing organization often operate under the false assumption that marketing cannot drive pipeline. And CMOs that are comfortably “hitting their numbers” without tying their activity-based efforts to pipeline and revenue are not motivated to close the loop between their campaigns and pipeline. In order to bridge this gap and truly drive growth, we created the CEO’s Guide to Strategic Demand Marketing.
Marketers, traditionally responsible for brand awareness, are struggling with the transition to revenue-based KPIs. The reality is that when a CMO can’t make the transition to revenue-focused KPIs, sales will often take steps to generate demand themselves – distracting them from selling and leading to misalignment between the two organizations. Some teams will flock to solutions like Account-Based Marketing (ABM) or invest in technology platforms to “drive demand” without truly understanding Demand Process or repairing fundamental problems with lead management or content strategy which could derail new projects before they start.
Here are 12 things that the CEO needs to know before authorizing investment in new marketing tools or technologies.
1. Deciding on Tactics is Not a Strategy
Strategic Demand Marketing should be one of the key growth strategies that is funded by an organization as it provides better buying experience and also is a key driver in customer expansion and retention. Funding for marketing tactics and programs should not be approved without insight into their place in an overall strategy. Many organizations fall into the trap of “random acts of marketing” and continuously run campaigns without focusing on outcomes. That type of tactical approach makes it impossible to drive sustainable growth. We recommend reading this blog post to find out if you’re committing random acts of marketing.
2. Increasing Budget Doesn’t Always Equal More Leads
There comes a point that spending more money on a tactic simply won’t drive any more demand. For example, increasing spend in pay-per-click doesn’t increase the number of people searching on key terms. Tactically-driven demand generation is expensive and eventually runs out of room to grow. Knowing how to optimize investments against sales outcomes is key to achieving sustainable growth, but is a challenge for most organizations. Read: Why Can’t Marketing Answer the ROI Question? To find out more.
3. Volume Is Not Always the Answer
When sales demands more leads, marketing might ask for more budget. It’s easy to generate a large volume of unqualified leads, but don’t be surprised if increased volume doesn’t translate into more pipeline. Make sure that the lead qualification requirements are in sync between sales and marketing, because quality (not quantity) might be the issue.
4. Technology Is Not a Strategy
Regardless of what you may hear from your marketing department, Strategic Demand Marketing is not about marketing automation. Strategic Demand Marketing should be a strategy that Engages, Nurtures and Converts your buyers—marketing automation is simply a tool that, when used effectively, can drive engagement. Unfortunately, most organizations are using their MarTech tools to blast outbound emails – not orchestrate engagement. Find out if that’s what you’re doing by reading this article.
5. Strategic Demand Marketing Is Perpetual
Strategic Demand Marketing ensures that you are always responding to the needs of your buyers while educating them with good content and qualifying them by monitoring engagement and response. It should adapt to the buyer’s interests as those interests evolve. In fact, it should foster evolution of interest by nurturing them through each stage of their journey. Marketing should create a dialogue with the buyer, not rely on them to listen to your monologue.
6. Invest in Your People
There is a very good chance your marketing team will need additional training and skills development in order to implement a Strategic Demand Marketing approach. It is one of the best investments you can make. We think that special attention should be paid to marketing technology roles, and dig deeper into that topic in the post, “The Secret Ingredients to the Perfect Demand Technologist
7. It Is Not Just About Marketing
Sales has to play a big role in this and there must be alignment around the buyer from marketing and sales in order for it to be successful. Discrete steps in the buyer’s journey should be researched and identified, and marketing and sales should come to consensus on those steps. Steps that lead to qualification are especially important for this consensus, as well as the process for the handling of leads once they are passed to sales.
8. It Will Require Change
Change management is key to implementing and adopting a Strategic Demand Marketing mindset. You will most likely need to change the skill-set of your personnel, the reward structure based on changes in goals and performance metrics, the organizational structure to align to the buyers purchase path and the traditional way of thinking of both marketing and sales. Not everyone will think the system is broken, and there may be some resistance to change. You will need to make sure everyone is aligned around the same goal. This can be a tricky task to manage, so we offer some helpful advice in this piece about stakeholder alignment for demand marketing initiatives.
9. Your Buyer Does Not Care About Your Products or Services
What they need to know is can your company help them to improve performance or solve their problems. Do not be so adamant about marketing pushing your products and features — learn about your buyer’s needs and pain points and message to those first. Earn their trust by proving that you understand their pains and priorities, then tell them about your solutions when they tell you they are ready. And make sure that you’re following these four steps before launching any new content.
10. Your Success Metrics Might Be Wrong
Strategic Demand Marketing is an outcome-driven discipline. This is much more than opens and clicks that you typically see reported from marketing. It’s about pipeline contribution, customer lifetime value and increasing market share. If you’re not sure what metrics you should be measuring, we recommend reading the article, “Demand Marketing KPIs and Metrics You Need to Monitor.”
11. Change Does Not Happen Overnight
Moving your organization to a Strategic Demand Marketing state takes time and effort. Be patient but continue to drive for results. There are successes you will achieve along the way, but true demand process maturity does not happen overnight. Take a phased approach to transformation and chart discrete goals along the way so that you can celebrate every success.
12. It Takes Leadership and Support Across the Organization
Change is hard, and people will resist—your buyers, marketing personnel and sales team need your support and leadership in order to make Strategic Demand Marketing pay off.
Most B2B Enterprises have trouble shifting from a tactical approach to a strategic one. A clear, defined Demand Marketing strategy is what changes marketing from a cost center to a growth driver. We hope that the CEO’s Guide to Strategic Demand Marketing will help you get there. Learn more about how ANNUITAS can help you transform Demand Marketing. Let’s Connect.
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