Is Demand Generation Right for You?
Here’s an assumption: You’re a marketer looking to deliver revenue outcomes for your organization. If that’s true, then you’re likely also weighing where you can have your greatest impact. Is the ABM (account-based marketing) trend for you? Will you have the best results by focusing on customer marketing or maybe partner marketing? Or perhaps, the “old” standby of demand generation will yield the best results. Before we jump into demand generation strategy, let’s establish a shared understanding by introducing you to our Catalyst Marketing Framework, which includes a specific lens by way of a demand generation framework.
As you’ll see in the below illustration, we believe everything starts with Objectives. Those objectives inform your strategy across the organization, and in this context that means marketing and sales. After a deep understanding of your market landscape and buyer, it’s time to determine how to reach that buyer. That’s our Go-To-Market strategy. Then, as you’ll see, after planning for how to execute, we roll into tactics. And again, as you’ll see, those tactics can be a single go-to-market tactic or a combination of several.
With that, let’s dig into our demand generation framework, or subframework. My hope is this will help you clarify your next best steps, to impact more revenue more quickly for your organization.
Leverage the Demand Generation Framework
As you’ll see, the demand generation framework outlines critical dependencies for launching and optimizing demand generation efforts. You’re probably not surprised to see those dependencies start with strategy. To help determine if demand generation strategies will aid your organization’s objectives, start by outlining those objectives. I give some coaching around that process here: Marketing Strategy Decisions: Four Ways to Contribute to Your Company’s Growth. And, as you’ll see, that is the very first piece of the demand generation subframework, below.
Over the next few months we’ll dig into each pillar and discuss in depth how these marketing concepts affect your demand generation efforts. To follow along as we post on the topic, sign up for immediate updates here: Sign-Up for Instant Notifications
But, back to the task at hand, let’s explore the impact of your strategic decision to focus on demand generation, because it’s crucial to your success. Here are four of the most important demand generation strategic elements to explore:
Harness the Incredible Power of Buyer Insights
Your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and Account Profiles focus your target and inform your plans and tactics as to what’s necessary. Perhaps even more telling, they help you quickly determine what isn’t a target. This focus enables your entire team to avoid random acts of marketing, which can waste your budget and hinder your ability to achieve your objectives. These strategic exercises allow you to identify the highest fit and highest value accounts in your total addressable market and what sets them apart from the rest. Furthermore, they prevent you from playing too much to the general market and help you shape your campaigns in a more targeted and effective way. Some organizations skip this step and jump right to buyer personas, but ICPs are every bit as important as a standalone strategic component.
Recognize, and Embrace, Marketing’s Impact on Average Deal Size
I’ve heard marketers, who otherwise have great strategies in place, say that they can’t influence their company’s average deal size. They logic that only sales controls it. But I’ve seen marketers, who, by tying their strategy to business outcomes, absolutely impact deal size. Not only do they impact it, but the result is significantly profitable.
If you’ve ever felt like your hands are tied when it comes to your company’s average deal size, I want to challenge you to reframe your thinking on this. Go back to the beginning. Work to align with your sales team about your collective targeting and make sure those targets have the highest fit and propensity to spend. Then, improve your marketing by targeting the folks in each organization with the highest propensity to buy. Check all those boxes, and you can make a huge splash in average deal size, my friends.
Start with Organizational Alignment
If you caught that in the previous paragraph, I briefly mentioned alignment between sales and marketing. For a long time, people would’ve called that a joke or a pipe dream, but we’ve come a long way since then. Most companies now recognize that alignment is not only possible, but also a catalyst to outstanding results.
The key to making this happen for your organization is to proactively work toward alignment during the strategy phase of the framework. You can bridge the gap in this time period between sales and marketing by discussing – and agreeing upon – what’s a good lead, which accounts you collectively want to target, what makes them qualified and so forth. Achieving alignment during the development of your strategy helps you avoid that common friction between sales and marketing, as well as better agree upon objectives and KPIs.
BTW, if you’re looking alignment tips and tricks, our sales executives, Josh Wagner and Paul Chadwick, along with our CMO, Andrea Lechner-Becker speak on the topic often on LinkedIn. Their videos are entertaining and informative, like this one on how to deepen ties between people on teams using these 36 questions.
Ask for Help
Even marketers who are confident about the accuracy of their buyer personas would agree, there’s almost always room for improvement. That opportunity often comes in the organization’s ability to make personas more tangible, more useful. Our Principal, Jamie Kirmess discusses this very thing in her blog, Buyer Personas Are Useless and Fluffy. But before you start thinking too much about your personas, let’s take a few steps back and focus on your buyers’ process. What is the journey your target accounts and buyers go through as they make a purchase? Do you know the phases of that, and have you aligned your content, sales process, campaigns and calls-to-action to that buyer process?
When we reframe our mindsets to be customer-centric, rather than thinking only in terms of our funnels and our wishes, it can be game changing. So, where do you stand with fleshing out your buyer process, and using it as the baseline to create alignment in all areas of sales and marketing? And are your personas built accordingly?
Often, when marketers take this step back, they find the biases of their internal folks are dramatically tainting the results of the exercises. Even during a recent messaging workshop here at LeadMD, we pulled in a third-party consultant to help check our presumptions. I can’t tell you how impactful that outside voice became to transforming our messaging. It’s self-serving of course, but if you need a sounding board, LeadMD can help.
Conclusion: Demand Generation Framework
I hope this gets your wheels turning about how strategy is connected to demand generation efforts. As I mentioned earlier, in our next posts, we’ll explore each area of process, planning, development and execution. You won’t want to miss this; it’s going to be fun!
Meet JT Bricker
As a strategic marketing leader, J.T. leads teams in helping clients design and execute actionable marketing and sales strategies and impactful execution that drive revenue growth and profitability. He works closely with organizations to develop a strategically grounded approach to marketing and sales with a blend of strategy, analytics, technology and creative to achieve growth objectives. J.T. works with the LeadMD team in advising clients on best practices in revenue growth strategies, strategic sales and marketing alignment, account-based strategies, demand generation, marketing technology, marketing operations, analytics and sales management. Prior to joining LeadMD, J.T. held a variety of marketing leadership and strategic consulting roles including management consultant, marketing operations, pricing and offer management, demand generation and analytics in multiple enterprise organizations.