Book Notes: Driving Demand — Transforming B2B marketing to meet the needs of the modern buyer
Author Name: Carlos Hidalgo
Author Bio: Carlos Hidalgo is a 25-year business veteran. Over the span of the last two-plus decades, he has held corporate roles, started his own entrepreneurial ventures, and served in non-profits. After leading his first agency to three consecutive Inc 5000 awards, Hidalgo made the decision to branch out from the agency world: co-founding two companies, consulting B2B organizations, executive coaching, and writing multiple books.
Chapter 1: Issues with modern demand generation
Before 1990: Vendors controlled the information across the entire buying journey. There were only 8 channels available for B2B information gathering: Event, fax, direct mail, telephone, television, radio, billboards, print magazines, and newsletters.
Nowadays: There are many new channels and most of the research is done before talking to the sales representative.
A majority of the B2B marketers are failing to keep up with the sophistication of the change in the current buying journey.
Issues with the current demand generation process:
- Tactical and campaign-driven approach: The approach focuses on top of the funnel leads but creates a gap in the middle of the funnel. This is where most leads are lost.
- Marketers lead with technology rather than viewing it as an enabler. Thus, many are not able to achieve the desired ROI from technology purchase.
- Organizations are not truly connecting with the buyer and understanding their entire buyer’s journey, the number of people involved in the purchase process and their information requirements at each stage.
- Siloed organization approach: Organizational stratification within the company (even within the same department) hinders collaboration and limits the ability to effectively create demand and drive pipeline revenue.
- Breadth of skill-set required to succeed in marketing has increased dramatically, to which the organizations are still catching up
- Lack of complete ownership of the entire demand generation process by any one team.
Chapter 2: Leading demand process transformation
Ideal demand process
Practice of aligning people (marketing and sales), process, content, and technology to buyers and their buying process.
It should be:
- Revenue oriented
- Integrated and orchestrated
Benefits: The process views nurturing as a strategic phase in the process and helps remain connected with the buyers and solve their needs for information requests.
Content focus should be based on the buyer’s journey
- Engage: Cover top of mind issues and challenges in an educational way without pushing their brand or product.
- Nurture: Move buyer’ top of mind challenges to solution categories. This stage needs progressive profiling and lead scoring.
- Convert: Helps in final conversions and is driven mainly by sales teams.
How to start
Most effective way to start is to pilot it by selecting a line of business, audience segment or solution area.
Benefits of this approach:
- Allows the business to continue operating as before
- Pilot approach functions as a prototype for change
- Helps in the improvement of demand generation skill and expertise
How to select the right business area for a pilot:
Consider those segments that offer opportunities for improvement and a high potential for win i.e. areas showing lagging sales, low market penetration, poor quality or volume of leads and so on.
Case study: PR Newswire’s Path to Transformation
Addressed 5 key areas in alignment with goals and objectives:
- Technology: Marketing automation was mainly being used as an e-mail engine. They realized that they had to move to a multi-channel approach.
- Data: Implemented a data hygiene policy and the development of governance standards for the management of marketing data.
- Content: Researched and interviewed buyers and created a content architecture to identify information requirements at different stages of the buying journey.
- People: Teams were aligned basis the buyer segments to better support the new process.
- Process: Implemented agile methodology in reporting, optimization, and analysis of the program.
Overcoming potential roadblocks to change:
- Roadblock 1: New process required behavioral change, which caused some hesitation and resistance across the organization from leadership to entry-level.
- Approach to overcome: Pilot program, which increased the leads and conversion rate, thus changing the perception of marketing within the organization along with Evangelizing the vision of becoming a performance-based, accountable, innovative, and buyer-aligned organization.
- Roadblock 2: Gaps in the current skill-set to execute the current demand generation process.
- Approach to overcome: Sought support from an external organization to guide and direct this change.
Chapter 3: Why transformations fail
- Lack of patience: Most marketers want a quick transformation but this change in the process is not a quick fix.
- Lack of leadership: Organizations think that this transformation is restricted to the marketing team and that IT and Sales shouldn’t be aligned. This leads to resistance from the other departments and at the first line of resistance, most leaders quickly back down and resort to earlier processes.
- Fear of change: Even though leaders admit that there is a need to change, most are not ready to embark on the journey or do the work necessary to succeed.
- Pride of ownership: When presented with gaps in the current process, many marketers become defensive.
- Lack of vision: Change rarely lasts if there is no buy-in at every level of the organization. The initiator should take the step of casting the vision and sharing how the new vision will impact the organization.
- Not fully committing to the full extent of change: Many marketers just want to take incremental steps to change by targeting just one role, instead of adopting a strategic pilot.
Chapter 4: Actions does not equal change
- According to multiple surveys, most marketers are doing more and spending more. However, despite all the activity, marketers claim they are not effective in meeting their goals.
- Organizations need a demand process blueprint to federate the success of the pilot program across the organization and ensure that the changes become permanent.
What makes up a blueprint for change:
- Define the nuances of the buyer and the buying journey
- Develop a demand process framework and governance, content marketing model, approach to developing the conversation with the buyers, lead management process, data policies, lead qualification standards, lead routing flows, and the establishment of SLAs between sales and marketing.
- Align sales and marketing
- Define roles and responsibilities with respect to the management of technology
- Lay down standard KPIs
- Set-up a demand generation center of excellence that is responsible for overseeing the entire program strategy and implementation and having content and process that is mapped to the buyer’s journey.
Chapter 5: Changing the market and sales mindset
In this modern buying era, the sales team also needs to adopt a new approach to sell but they show even greater resistance to change.
Moving from mindset to alignment
- Current challenges: Sales and marketing have different objectives and means of measurement.
- There is a need to have at least some common objectives that binds both the teams. Instead of one group serving the other, it is important that both groups should serve the buyer.
The new sales enablement: education
- Marketing should educate the sales on the buying journey and the various content being consumed by the buyer. It should also enable them to customize their pitches to create a seamless and cohesive buying experience.
Managing the CEO relationship
- CMOs need to understand the CEOs vision in the first few months and then focus towards driving that to elevate their position in the organization.
Focus on the CIO
- Top barriers to marketing technology success: Inefficient process, no strategy or plan, and lack of governance.
- Marketers can work with IT to address these challenges.
- Marketers need to work with the CFOs and converse in terms of business value addition provided by them.
Working with the HR
- It is important to get the HR on board in case of transformational changes in the way a department functions.
Chapter 6: Aligning content to your buyer
According to CEB, vendors today only achieve 12% mind share with their buyers throughout the entire purchase process. This happens because they are not able to build a meaningful dialogue with them.
How to create a dialogue:
- Understand the buyer’s dialogue logic i.e. the key triggers that lead to finding a solution.
- Identify the discrete steps that buyers take in the course of the buying process along with the information required at each phase. (Key is to be as nuanced as possible so as to not leave any gaps)
- Define the individual personas in the overall buying journey (Most purchases are done by committees)
- Know that one size does not fit all. Each offering / target group / geography might have a different purchase path.
- First focus on the content messaging, then focus on the channel
- Qualify basis engagement on each content
- Focus on continuous optimization of content
Develop the content architecture
Chapter 7: Adapting the lead management process
Lead management: Process by which leads are qualified, scored and managed throughout the buying process.
It includes the following:
- Lead routing definitions
- Lead qualification model
- Lead scoring model
- Progressive profile model
- Service level agreements
Why is it important: Defined lead management process binds the content strategy and organizational structure and allows better use of technology.
Current approach followed by companies
Automated lead qualification and routing to the sales team.
Challenge with this approach:
- Lack of defined strategy and alignment between the teams.
- Excessive focus on technology with no human intervention. It restricts the ability of the organization to have a deeper engagement with the buyers.
- Single-touch sales process by the inside sales team to qualify and hand-over the leads to field sales even at the start of the buying process.
Best practice for lead management:
Have a turn back option so that if a lead is not ready for qualification, it can be sent back to nurturing.
Current challenges with lead scoring:
- Direct jumping to lead scoring without establishing a lead management and qualification framework.
- Outdated approach to lead scoring: Most of the organizations follow the BANT model but it could be false.
- Many marketers score leads purely on one-dimension: either by demographic or behavior, but not necessarily both.
- Scoring on assets rather than active interest threshold.
Best practices for lead scoring and qualification:
- Progressively profile based on buying stage
- Decide whether to gate or not based on the buying stage
- Establish service level agreements for qualification and reach-out
Chapter 8: Measuring for success
Many B2B marketers find it challenging to measure their efforts, despite demand generation being an outcome-oriented discipline.
Best practices for setting up measurement:
- Start with the end in mind with respect to average deal size and clearly define goals at each stage of the buying process.
- Manage and measure across the buying journey.
Core demand generation KPIs
- Engagement performance: Impressions, engagement, conversion and cost per conversion.
- Content performance: Downloads, lead stage elasticity and velocity, cost, attributed revenue and cost per attributed revenue.
- Nurturing e-mail performance: E-mail cadence, open rate and click rate
- Lead management performance: Number of buyers by lead stage, conversion rate by lead stage, velocity by lead stage, growth rate by lead stage and nurture database size.
- Revenue performance: Pipeline value, closed revenue value, pipeline growth rate, closed revenue growth rate and win rate.
- ROI performance
As part of the growth and development of the demand generation practice in marketing, CMOs should look to create a position of data analyst as part of their organization.
Chapter 9: Optimizing data and technology
- Many organizations are limiting the success of their programs due to incomplete data, inadequate technology governance, and insufficient optimization.
- Major reason: Lack of governance and alignment and integration of systems
Some relevant data governance best practices:
- Determine access and edit rights
- Identify systems that capture the data and define integration requirements
- Establish data hygiene and append process
- Define input sources
- Marketing automation systems should have bi-directional integration with the CRM systems and be configured to support the ongoing dialogue with the buyer.
Defining the technology charter and span of control:
- Marketing automation technology should be at the center around which marketers should look to create the value chain.
- Prior to purchase, it is important to define the purpose and use of technology. It helps in setting the right expectations.
Example of purposes:
- Manage e-mail deliverability processes and policies
- Inbound lead capture and web behavior tracking
- Repository of new engaged leads
- Execute email nurturing
- Manage lead qualification
- Manage end to end demand generation
Organizations must also define the various access rights of technology.
Chapter 10: Creating an outcome: Accountable culture
- The need for B2B marketers to show business outcomes and be accountable for these outcomes is more urgent now than ever before.
- Change required from marketing: Drive quality leads that make a direct contribution to pipeline and revenue.
- Key focus: Cultural change, which is the most difficult since it involves an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes, and assumptions.
How to change the culture:
- Empower people and allow them to take risks while driving accountability
- Remove the fear and uncertainty
- Make them feel part of something
- Measure what counts: One of the reasons why marketing is not able to track the results is a lack of skills. CMOs agree that the skills required to succeed in marketing have increased dramatically.
Chapter 11: Managing people through change
People view change as intimidating and scary. It is important to change the culture before innovation.
Influencing attitudes: Improve the value of change by re-assigning weights and value to information:
- Increase the weight and value of a piece of existing information that supports the desired attitude
- Decrease the weight and value of a piece of existing information that opposes the desired attitude
- Offer a new piece of favorable information
- Remind the audience about a forgotten piece of favorable information
- Identify the bright spots in the team and use these as a springboard for further transformation.
- Celebrate the wins as a team
- Focus on agile and iterative learning
Five characteristics that agile individuals possess:
- Not defending
Chapter 12: Need for change
- Buyers require it: They control the whole buying journey and demand a more personalized, logical, and relevant response from vendors in terms of content.
- Organizations need it to make marketing more accountable for every dollar spend
- Demand generation professionals are better equipped to do it with better technology and budgets.
Chapter 13: Change ahead
Demand process maturity model
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