It’s graduation season

And kids everywhere are stepping up in cap and gown and collecting a diploma.

Perfect time to dig this out and share it. It’s my degree in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame. Definitely not a no name marketing degree :)

Any others out there want to share your diploma too?

BBA Marketing, the University of Notre Dame

Emergence of Demand Generation Role Drastically Alters Marketing Landscape

MarketoEarlier today we shared the ugly state of B2B sales and the unfortunate lot of most B2B salespeople. Let’s examine what you can do about this problem.

This article, by the CEO of Marketo, Phil Fernandez is timely. He discusses the growing importance of demand generation in companies today and how that new role is continuing to evolve into a “revenue marketer” role.

We also invite you to learn more about demand generation at this earlier blog post:

3 Superb Ways to Learn B2B demand generation


Emergence of Demand Generation Role Drastically Alters Marketing Landscape

by Phil Fernandez, CEO of Marketo

Today, the role of demand generation as a discrete and increasingly vital part of the marketing function is well accepted amongst corporations (especially B2B companies). It is more and more common these days to see a director of “demand gen’ working alongside of counterparts who manage closely aligned departments such as marketing communications and corporate communications. Indeed, this is exactly the structure we have at my company, Marketo.

But, this was not always the case, even in the relatively recent past. I was talking with a colleague the other day about the emergence of the “demand gen” specialty in marketing departments. Neither of us could pinpoint the exact time-frame when the term started to appear with some regularity. One thing is certain: The demand generation role is a pretty new phenomenon in business and marketing.

Of course there are many things that go into demand gen – data analytics and management, search, webinars, demos, content marketing, customer referral programs, and the like – but probably the central activity of this crucial marketing function is lead generation. Generating more (and better) leads for sales is the most important role of the demand gen team. And, the importance of this role to business growth and success cannot be overestimated.

The emergence of demand gen clearly coincided with the growing recognition of the “Demand Chain” as the less well known (but equally important) half of the business “Value Chain.” The other, better known half is of course the “Supply Chain.”

Before we even started talking about the existence of a Demand Chain, the Supply Chain had already been re-engineered and dramatically improved through technology and signature process analysis strategies such as Six Sigma. The demand side of the business value equation has lagged in the reinvention department, but that is now starting to change, and rapidly so. It’s certainly about time.

Technology Spurs Emergence of Demand Generation

Just as technology has been a critical factor in the reinvention of both the supply and demand chains, it has also been the indispensable catalyst in the emergence of the demand gen function in marketing. So, as my colleague and I debated when (and where) the demand gen term started to be commonly used in the marketing mix, technology provided the clues that helped us narrow down the timing question.

The seeds that eventually grew into the demand gen function were likely planted back in the late eighties. That’s when new technologies such as data-mining and sales force automation (soon to be called CRM), started to make their presence felt in business. Like with so many other nascent technologies, data mining and sales force automation were expensive and complicated in those early years. These functions were so new and complex that companies typically outsourced them to a growing cadre of experts who charged dearly for their “black box” expertise.

Because of this high cost and complexity, data mining and analytics was mainly for the big enterprises back in those days. It would have been essentially impossible for a smaller, growth oriented company to afford the ticket to the marketing benefits created by these sophisticated data tools.

In fact, before co-founding Marketo in 2006, I helped to lead Epiphany, which emerged as the next generation of data mining and marketing analytics companies that expanded on the work of those early players. At Epiphany, most of our customers tended to be large enterprises.

As is usually the case with technology, as the data management, analytics, and CRM capabilities continued to evolve and improve, these technologies became more accessible to more companies. The price also continued to drop, which follows the classic scenario as computing power grows (e.g., Moore’s Law). At that point, the old data management black box was no longer necessary, as companies adopted a broad range of powerful and increasingly affordable technologies in-house.

At the same time, hosted software (soon to be known as Software as a Service/SaaS and eventually Cloud Computing) came into being. That historic computing development rendered the mainframe computer – the ultimate black box – to be yet another relic that was no longer vital in modern business environment.

The Rise of “Left Brain” (AKA Data Driven) Marketing Practitioners

These changes were opening up the possibilities for marketing departments to start to use data and analytics more easily and effectively in managing customer contact data-bases, deploying lead management programs and campaigns, and measuring everything. The old school, “right brain” marketing types (creative and intuitive and, more often than not, focused on brand, communications, and awareness building), were not necessarily well suited to the data- and analytics-driven activities of the emerging demand generation marketing role.

A new generation of “left brain” marketing specialists emerged to fill this need. They were comfortable with the numbers crunching, measurement, and technology that were at the heart of the demand gen function. The “left brainers” saw the fast growing opportunity and jumped into the business to manage the new demand gen programs. A critical new marketing role was born.

The mid-nineties saw the launch of the World Wide Web (remember when we actually called it that?) and the world was forever changed – especially the interconnected worlds of media and marketing. If anything accelerated the shift to a more data- and technology-driven marketing approach, it was the Internet. The web ushered in an age that would put information – the ultimate power in business and marketing – directly into the hands of buyers. These newly empowered buyers no longer needed to rely on the product information that formerly was closely guarded by the sales department (the sales equivalent of the “black box”).

All of these changes hastened the shift toward corporations treating lead and demand generation as actual processes. This was a deceptively big shift in business strategy and management. Companies finally understood that the demand side of the value chain could be improved and optimized just like the supply chain, manufacturing, and finance were in the past.

In just a couple of decades an important and influential new marketing role was created to capitalize on and drive the powerful new technologies and methodologies that were revolutionizing sales and marketing as we had come to know them. Even more significant, the rise of demand gen represented an historic shift in the way that companies went about the business of creating, managing, and accelerating revenue.

Where does demand gen go from here? Just as the more traditional lead generation evolved into the more robust demand gen approach, the next generation role encompasses an even broader, more integrated view of the entire revenue process. This new role, which is focused on Revenue Performance Management, is well positioned to deliver even stronger results for the companies that are embracing it in growing numbers

In many ways, the advent of this re-imagined and expanded marketing role has helped to catalyze and inspire the revenue revolution that is just now starting to take hold in corporations across the globe. That is a milestone worth noting – and celebrating.


Thanks for a great and cogent article, Phil. We agree with you than Marketing needs to step up its game and foster the “revenue revolution” of which you write.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. He’s presenting at the 140 Social Media Conference on Long Island on May 26th and appearing on Sales Lead Management Radio on June 9th.

Find New Customers helps companies (with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses) to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to expert lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

My interview of the content marketing expert, Jim Burns of Avitage, Part 2

B2B Lead Generation | Using Video in B2B Marketing

Last Wednesday I shared part one of my interview of the content marketing expert Jim Burns of Avitage. (Click underlined words if you missed it.)

Jim Burns

Jim Burns

In part 2, Jim sits down again with Jeff Ogden, President of Find New Customers  again to discuss the power of video in b2b marketing today.

I ask Jim about opportunities for using video and whether or not video can play a role in the actual sales conversation.

Read my blog on Kindle

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. He’s presenting at the 140 Social Media Conference on Long Island on May 26th and appearing on Sales Lead Management Radio on June 9th.

We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

Conclusions from study: Sales Speaks - Perceptions and Ponderings on Marketing Leads

B2B salespeople struggle mightily today. Are we willing to help?

Stressed Out Woman

According to SiriusDecisions, over the last 4 years, sales quotas increased 33%, while quota achievement dropped by 25%.

Only 50% of salesreps made quota in 2010 and in 42% of companies, fewer than 1/2 made quota.

Conclusion: B2B sales is a lousy job today - at least in most companies

This is why the role of demand generation in marketing is growing by leaps and bounds. And it is why companies reach out to B2B demand generation experts like Find New Customers.

Sales desperately needs help from marketing to open doors, build trust and engage prospective buyers.

(Jill Konrath has a great eBook entitled How Marketing Radically Affects Sales. I agree with Jill 100%.)

The State of B2B Sales

Vorsight and The Bridge Group Inc. recently completed a study of over 1,150 B2B Sales reps on what they think about sales leads. We invite you to download the full study here. Thanks to Trish Bertuzzi for this great study.

I’d like to summarize this study for our readers. (Down the full study from the link above.) Before we begin, let’s look at a profile of the B2B sales study participants, so you can see where the data came from.

Here are the conclusions of the study, along with our recommendations. If you want to read the full study, click the link above.

Conclusion 1: Most leads stink

On average, only 3 out of 10 leads are in profile. 7 out of 10 have a low probability of purchase. Not only does this reduce win rates, it burns expensive cycles too.

Action item: Focus on lead quality. Make sure you have a clearly defined Ideal Customer Profile so you can get rid of bad “leads.” Reduce the flow of unqualified leads to sales.

Conclusion 2: Most leads target the wrong executives

Only 12% said 3 out of 4 or more are decision makers.

Action Item: Train Sales to focus on qualifying companies, not just contacts. Devise a process and use it.

Conclusion 3: Prospects are So-so at providing accurate data

4 out of 10 say data is accurate or very accurate. Not bad. But even that means over half is not accurate.  SiriusDecisions found that most companies have 25-30% inaccurate prospect data, while bad records are only 5% at best-in-class companies.

Action Item: Focus on data cleanliness and quality. Commit to weekly tuning. In addition, set up process to prevent SPAM. For instance, instead of taking directly to a link to content (they fill out the form and get the content), email a link for the content to them. This ensures they use a valid email address - they don’t get the content without it. While you’ll still get a bad record, they will not get your content.

Conclusion 4: Companies by and large are doing a terrible job of qualifying leads using lead scoring

4 out of 10 companies are doing no lead scoring at all.  Less than 2 out of 10 have scoring systems one can describe as “accurate.” According to the study “Sales Reps are grading lead scoring in its infancy.”

Action Item: Learn about lead scoring and get going on it ASAP.

Companies still rely on salespeople to generate most leads

65% of salespeople - more than half - generate their own leads. This is despite the fact that it is harder than ever to get in the door of a decision maker.  And the fact that demand generation (in marketing) is a hot topic. Note sales expert, Jill Konrath, says this number is shocking and encourages marketing to step up.

Action Item: Learn about B2B Lead Generation (Our white paper, How to Find New Customers; Our Education page, or the book eMarketing for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee.)

How to Find New Customers

How to Find New Customers

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers.

We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.