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 fact, campaign-based activity is an ineffective and short-lived tactical effort that some brand-focused executives consider to be strategic in nature. But plotting a year’s worth of campaign activity is not strategic.
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 the CEO needs to know before authorizing investment in new marketing tools or technologies.
- Deciding on Tactics is Not a Strategy
Strategic Demand Generation 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- People, Process and Content Come Before Technology
Demand Generation is a strategy that Engages, Nurtures and Converts your buyers—marketing automation is simply a tool that, when used effectively, can drive engagement.
Regardless of what you may hear from your marketing department, Demand Generation is not about marketing automation. Demand Generation is a strategy that Engages, Nurtures and Converts your buyers—marketing automation is simply a tool that, when used effectively, can drive engagement.
- Demand Generation Is Perpetual
Strategic Demand Generation 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.
- 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 Generation approach. It is one of the best investments you can make.
- 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.
- It Will Require Change
Campaign-based activity is an ineffective and short-lived tactical effort that some brand-focused executives consider to be strategic in nature. But plotting a year’s worth of campaign activity is not strategic.
Change management is key to implementing and adopting a Strategic Demand Generation 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.
- 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 your understand their pains and priorities, then tell them about your solutions when they tell you they are ready.
- Your Success Metrics Might Be Wrong
Strategic Demand Generation 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.
- Change Does Not Happen Overnight
Most B2B Enterprises have trouble shifting from a tactical approach to a strategic one. A clear, defined Demand Generation strategy is what changes Marketing from a Cost Center to a Revenue Center.
Moving your organization to a Strategic Demand Generation approach 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. Chart our discrete goals along the way and celebrate every success.
- 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 Generation pay off.
Most B2B Enterprises have trouble shifting from a tactical approach to a strategic one. A clear, defined Demand Generation strategy is what changes Marketing from a Cost Center to a Revenue Center. We hope these 12 things the CEO and CFO need to know about Demand Generation help drive strategy and change management. Learn more about how ANNUITAS can help you Transform Demand Generation. Let’s Connect.
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