10 Things Your CEO Needs to Know Now about B2B Demand Generation
I love salespeople. Are you one?
I feel for your suffering and want to help you. But to help you, you have to help me set proper expectations with your company’s leaders. That’s the theme of this post.
Why do I feel for struggling salespeople? First and foremost, I carried a bag for over two decades, so I know how your feel. I carried a quota. I was you.
Recent experience bears it out too. A beleaguered salesperson recently reached out to me and said “I’ve called EVERYONE in our Salesforce.com database and I have zero prospects! What can I do? My prospects are hiding under rocks!” He begged me for advice, which I gave for free.
This man badly needs the help of a marketing leader well versed in B2B demand generation, who can create a program to fill sales funnels with warm leads. However, setting proper expectations is important, because warm leads don’t simply appear – it’s a lot of work and it takes considerable time. This is why you need support from your leadership – otherwise he expects too much too soon.
I hope this post helps you get that support and I’ll even offer to send a free book for your CEO below.
Why don’t you share this post with your CEO?
Read it, print it and put in on his desk.
Here are 10 things your CEO needs to know about B2B demand generation.
- There ain’t no magic
No doubt your CEO would like results right away. But there’s no magic formula. Sales lead generation is hard work done over time that delivers results. B2B demand generation is like the big merry-go-round pictured here. Let’s assume the power goes out and you have to push it. It’s really heavy, so it’s hard to push, but if you keep pushing, it starts to turn – slowly, and then faster and faster. It may take a long time, but eventually the speed gets faster and faster. B2B demand generation works the same way. It startes slowly and momentum builds over time. Ensure he or she gives you at least 18 months.
- It’s not free – in fact, it’s quite expensive
You need software, content, programs and new processes. That’s not free. Get ready to spend some real money on people, software, consultants (like Find New Customers) and more. For instance, Marketo invested over a quarter of a million dollars in a social media testing program. In the Eloqua/Kapost ebook (click link to get the ebook) they estimated monthly spend on personnel, content and tools to be just under $12,000 per month for a medium sized firm and almost $33,000 a month for a larger firm – that’s $144,000 a year in a small firm and almost $400,000 per year in a larger firm. Your CEO needs to budget for this spend.
- It’s going to take a LONG time to get good results
In a study of content marketing vs. PPC ads by Kapost recently, the break-even point was 18 months out – where content marketing outperformed Pay Per Click ads (PPC). The cost per lead dropped by 80% in five months, but you need to wait for five months to see real results and 18 months just to break even. (Please note: 18 months and beyond is nirvana! Content marketing kills PPC!) Spending at the start is high – especially the first 90 days. You need a two year horizon to deliver results and most of those results come in the final 6 months.
- Software won’t fix everything
Vendors of marketing software will promise you the moon, but the simple fact is the act of licensing software will not change your business one iota. Contact one of those revenue performance management companies and give them a credit card number. Done. You have software. But did your business improve? No. It takes a LOT more than software to deliver a world class B2B demand generation program. It takes planning, processes, people, content, metrics and more.
- The more you plan ahead, the better the results
The more time you spend building the foundation, the better your results. Buyer personas, universal lead definitions, ideal customer profiles, mapping content to buyer roles, aligning Sales and Marketing and buying process – those are things you simply must do BEFORE you start B2B demand generation. The more planning you do, the better the downsteam results.
- Start small and build over time
Let’s say you want to set up a lead nurturing program.(Click to download our free 7 Keys to Successful Lead Nurturing) Do you need a 15 step program with content and Calls to Action? No! Start with 3 or 4 lead nurturing steps and build over time.
- You need to measure things
One of the things that differentiates best in class marketers is their determination to measure and define key metrics which drive business results. We recommend VisionEdge Marketing to help with this. In addition, The Lenskold Group is terrific too – and Jim Lenskold just appeared on Marketing Made Simple TV too – publishing soon.
- Content marketing is a good idea, but….
It’s not going to be easy. How can you create bite-sized content mapped to buyer personas, stage of buying process, product interest, etc? The top problem marketers say they have is creating engaging content. As Joe Pulizzi of The Content Marketing Institute says “Content fuels everything in marketing today – lead nurturing, pay per click ads, email campaigns, etc. We recommend you talk to Avitage for this.
- You need a sense of humor
Everyone sounds alike in B2B marketing today. Dry, boring product content. You need to Let Your Freak Flag Fly and have fun. Want to see a good example of having fun with content? Check out the Suitemates series by Kinaxis – a real tongue-in-cheek send up of enterprise software firms.
- Setting proper expectations delivers job security
Think of all the things you need - money, time, creativity, software and more. Unless you set those expectations properly and get the support of the leadership of the company, you won’t be long in that job.
I suggest you print this list and leave it on your CEO’s desk. And I’m happy to send your CEO a copy of Dan McDade’s book, The Truth About Leads if you wish. Just send a note to sales at findnewcustomers.com to request a book.
What do you think? Do you have anything to add or suggest anything I got wrong? We love to read your comments and appreciate those who share our blog posts on social media.
Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is an award-winning marketing expert and President of the sales lead generation company Find New Customers, and he’s a two-time winner of the prestigious award Top 50 Influencer in Sales Lead Management by the Sales Lead Management Association. He’s also the creator of the very popular TV on the Web show, Marketing Made Simple TV.
News: In just two days, Marketing Made Simple TV will do a LIVE show with @hubspot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella. You can watch and ask your questions on the Marketing Made Simple TV Facebook page. This show premiers at 2:00pm ET/11am PT on May 22nd.