Demand Generation Managers are responsible for finding and executing the program mix that is going to drive revenue for their organization. This includes selecting programs that are going to identify new leads and campaigns that are going to cause current leads in the system to move farther down the funnel. Demand generation managers typically work on a monthly, quarterly, or annual schedule and often tie their campaigns to particular initiatives developed by the corporate marketing or product marketing teams.
To many, developing a program mix seems like simply buying a bunch of leads, though true demand generation managers know that this takes a lot of skill to get the proper mix of programs right. Some of the key factors I use when developing my program mix include:
- Target Line of Business: Many companies sell to multiple lines of business, with sales efforts dedicated to enterprise clients, mid-market clients, and small business clients (and potentially many segments in between). Super star demand gen managers know how to create the proper mix of demand by each line of business to ensure happy sales teams.
- Target Role: The roles you sell to is often critical, as each may participate in different types of programs or desire different types of content. At Marketo we sell to the C-Suite, Marketing Executives, Sales Management, and Marketing practitioners. If all of our programs were dedicated to just one of these roles we would alienate a huge chunk of our prospects and see overall less successful results.
- Types of Programs: Let’s say you could reach your sales lead objectives by running webinars all day every day. Why not? Well, you may have the budget to create these, and they may drive the right leads, but they may also only drive certain types of prospects and you may not have enough time to develop all the content. Instead, you must have a mix of programs from webinars to direct mail to trade shows to display advertising to ensure you reach everyone in your target market while making maximum use of resources.
- Offers: Using the same offers over and over again in your programs may cause weak results, but trying to create a new offer for every program can be exhausting. Demand Gen pros know how to get the most out of the content they have, without oversending the same offers to their target demographic.
- Time of month or quarter: Let’s say your company works on quarterly budgeting and planning cycles. This means you could spend all your budget and drive all your leads in the last few days of that cycle and still hit your targets. Unfortunately, this approach will not sustain proper lead flow for your sales team. Ensuring a consistent flow of campaigns is mandatory for program mix success.
- Billing terms: Many companies are very conscious of the amount of money they have in the bank at any time. Because of this, many demand gen managers must go beyond negotiating on price, and also negotiate payment terms. Working with vendors that are flexible with these payment terms may be something a demand generation manager must keep in mind when creating their program mix.
- New, nurture or upsell: Some programs will create new leads, while others will nurture leads or cause current customers to buy more. Putting a campaign mix together that maximizes all of these is critical for long term demand generation success.
- Long tail effect of program: Some programs will end the day you stop paying for the program (like pay-per-lead programs), while others will continue to acquire more leads post event (like when you post a recording of a webinar up on your website).
- How fast the programs will create revenue: When we run a demo or test drive campaigns, leads turn quickly to opportunities, but when we acquire leads through virtual events or social media they take much longer. Top demand gen pros ensure their mix is filled with fast movers and slower leads to ensure their sales team has the right opportunities at the right time.
I’d like to reiterate here that without paying attention to most (if not all) of these elements you are likely not getting the most out of your programs. Further, if these are important elements, but you are not taking the time to document your planning, things are probably falling through the cracks. I truly believe that a lot of demand generation success comes from experience and common sense, but this only brings you part of the way.
For me personally, I use a simple document that notes each of these program mix components. At the end of the period, I compare the actual results to the plan to ensure we achieved what we expect (using Marketo program functionality). I also share the results with vendors so they know how we performed. This may all sound pretty basic, but I couldn’t find any other blog posts, white papers, or webinars that share how an organization develops their program strategy. What do you think? Is this how you do it, or do you have a different process?