“It’s one of the major failure points of most organizations,” says Carlos Hidalgo, CEO & Principal at ANNUITAS, “They look at DEMAND GENERATION as simply a marketing exercise, and they don’t take into account the full buying process.”
Hidalgo co-founded ANNUITAS nearly a decade ago and has worked in the fields of lead generation, marketing and DEMAND GENERATION for nearly a decade before that.
While the Inveniology Blog is full of resources on lead generation, outsourced sales and B2B marketing, we wanted to share some industry advice and insight from another DEMAND GENERATION expert. In this first of a three part series on the role of DEMAND GENERATION at enterprise companies, Hidalgo explains why your company’s DEMAND GENERATION approach should be greater than just your sales and marketing efforts combined.
Emma Vas: To start, tell us about what you do at ANNUITAS.
Carlos Hidalgo: “ANNUITAS is a DEMAND GENERATION strategy and change management firm. We help companies transform from a singular, campaign-based approach to a long-term, program-based approach to DEMAND GENERATION.”
Vas: Can you explain the relationship between sales, marketing and demand generation?
Hidalgo: “DEMAND GENERATION involves both sales and marketing. This is where a lot of organizations fail: They believe that DEMAND GENERATION is simply a marketing activity. We’ve done a survey that shows for the majority of firms, the marketing department develops a program or campaign but only informs their sales team as an afterthought.
However, when you take a buyer-centric view of how people purchase, it involves both marketing and sales. According to CEB, 57% of the buying journey is complete before a prospect engages with a sales person. The way buyers interact with your company is through multiple channels – it’s never just one email or a single event, it’s in a variety of ways.
DEMAND GENERATION is about having a one-to-one dialogue with the buyer. You’re providing an awful buyer experience if you engage the prospect with content marketing, but then they feel like they’re starting all over when they first talk to a sales person.
Strategic DEMAND GENERATION brings those two together. Sales and marketing have to be involved in the education and nurturing of the buyer. It’s not just marketing or sales; it’s the two teams working together around how their customers actually buy.
You shouldn’t just set up a campaign or program and then move onto the next one. You need to be constantly looking at your sales metrics and analytics and then optimizing your programs accordingly over the long term. This takes both marketing and sales to do effectively.
Marketing departments think just because a visitor downloads a content offer, the visitor’s information needs to be passed over to their sales team as a lead. But that’s not a lead, that’s a name.
At ANNUITAS, we map the end-to-end dialogue from marketing all the way through to sales to a specific buyer’s journey. We also map the entire customer lifecycle because DEMAND GENERATION should be about maximizing customer lifetime value.”
Vas: What role does marketing automation software play in the DEMAND GENERATION process?
Hidalgo: “Technology is an enabler, but we need to ask what value our marketing and sales teams are getting from these investments. In the ANNUITAS study, only 20% of enterprise companies that use marketing automation say they have been ‘highly effective’ using this level of technology. So overall we’re spending a lot of money with few results.
Technology is not the starting place. Technology, especially marketing automation, is really just an enabler to your strategy.
What we find with a lot of businesses we work with is that their starting point is the marketing automation software. They want to start by building a lead scoring model, setting up nurture tracks and sending off emails – but if you don’t know how your prospect buys, then you’re shooting in the dark.
Without knowing your ideal prospect intimately, you don’t know what their actions on your website actually mean. Is this the beginning of their buying cycle, or is it already in its latter stages?
Strategy should drive technology decisions, not the other way around.”
Look out for the second and third parts of Hidalgo’s interview in the coming weeks. Click here to learn more about Hidalgo’s work at ANNUITAS.
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