Bring your 'A Game' to Demand Generation – 12 Best Practices

May 7, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Is your team struggling to drive inquiries into the top of the funnel?  Too many companies blindly pursue their lead generation programs absent a structured best practice approach.  World-class firms don’t wing it.  World-class firms embrace best practices to remarkably increase top of the funnel success.  The path to success is in reach. 

 Demand Generation Best Practices

Demand Generation Defined

Demand Generation is the generation of inquiries into the top of the funnel. This is performed through a series of Inbound marketing activities (SEO, PPC, blogging) and Outbound marketing activities (Trade shows, email, teleprospecting) that generate Inquiries to fill the top of the demand funnel.

One-trick Pony?

The most common area of improvement in Demand Generation is the ‘one-trick pony’ reliance on house email to drive the majority of inquiries.  Single-threaded approaches limits success by not leveraging basic principles of combined efforts to boost results.   This is a single example of how best practices are not leveraged.  Enhance your email campaigns by adapting your email strategy with persona-driven messaging and integrated media efforts.

Invest in Demand Generation Best Practices

Success requires adoption of best practices.  Perform an assessment of your Lead Generation team’s demand gen capabilities.  Download the assessment tool and references the descriptions below for further information.  Identify the strengths and gaps.  Begin closing the gaps by tackling the lowest hanging fruit first.

Demand Generation Best Practices – Download PowerPoint Assessment Tool

Demand Generation Best Practice assessment

Prepare a comprehensive annual media plan based on scorecard evaluation – The demand generation activity should be supported with an annual plan that maps out the tactics, media sources, modes (email, direct mail, online, social, etc.) timing, and budget.  A scorecard is used as a tool to select media sources based on criteria that are right for your company.  For example, scorecard elements for media selection may include 1 – 10 ratings on the following; past performance, audience fit to ICP, cost, flexibility/responsiveness, value-added opportunities, and ability to scale. 

Embrace Integrated media campaigns to increase response – It is a known fact that using multiple modes of media in coordination at the same time increases the overall response rate.  Demand Generation campaigns don’t just rely on email, but rather leverage a series of coordinated marketing activities.  A/B testing discipline is used to fine-tune program roll-outs.

Implement creative brief process for campaign creative – Developing creative assets involves a deliberate creative process with documented goal of the creative element, audience segment targeting insights, current beliefs, and the desired response.  The most important element of a brief is the ‘What’s in it for me’ direction to understand the audience.

Consistency of brand voice and visual representation – The series of marketing activities depict a central brand that is reinforced across all campaigns and efforts.

Leverage SME’s for content – Content is developed and/or reviewed by Subject Matter Experts from product marketing, product development, and anywhere in the company to ensure the value and accuracy of content.  The demand generation team’s role is to shape the content to be concise and attractive to read.

Leverage creative talent for direct communication headlines, landing page CTA’s, and persuasive writing – A professional copy writer should be leveraged for high impact content lines.  Ideally the writer helps copy edit 100% of the content, but at the very least is involved in producing headlines that capture attention and drive results.

Audience buyer Persona exist for each core product – A documented buyer Persona is developed to guide content development, lead nurturing activities, and lead development by Lead Development Representatives.

Persona-driven messaging – Key messages in campaign elements (outbound calls, promotion emails, landing pages, website call-to-action, etc.) a crafted based on documented buyer personas.  It’s not enough to just create a Persona, the persona must become an integral foundation of creative development.

Coordinate and sequence campaign timing, including ‘ideal’ and ‘maximum’ touch frequency – There are major differences in the accepted frequency of communications based on whether the audience is passive (Someone you are targeting to respond) or active in their pursuit of information about your company.  Rules of thumb exist to for the maximum frequency before the prospect becomes irritated, and the minimum frequency to be successful in demand generation.

Map out the buying triggers/seasons by product – Work with sales and product marketing to document the precise triggers that typically drive the desire for change to purchase, as well as natural seasons of business activity or timing that produce the most fertile ground.

Performance is captured in a ProForma closed-loop tracking framework – The performance of all Demand Generation tactics are planned and tracked within a single framework that projects and captures click metrics, success rates,  as well as revenue contribution metrics. 

Response activities are tracked and analyzed based on the collective impact – Particularly in a complex sales environment, successful acquisition is done through a series of interactions to produce the result.  The interactions should be analyzed to understand the collective impact rather than corrupted thinking that zeroes in on the single tactic that drove the initial form field submission that started the chain of events.

Review and download Lead Management best practices to perform a comprehensive funnel assessment.

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Vince Koehler

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Topics: Lead Generation

Posted by Vince Koehler

Vince Koehler
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