26 January 2010

Assessment before Action - Otherwise Failure Ahead

With short deadlines, tight budgets, and a limited number of leads out there, there is often a desire to "get'r done" mentality in demand generation - basically, hit the ground running, do corrective actions real-time, and 80% done is better than 100% planned.

I'm not disputing that as a reality - especially when sales managers and upper management want to see high volume lead flow NOW. However, for the smart demand generation folks, there should be a component of assessment taken before you start spending dollars, time, and resources.

A thorough assessment can include a variety of areas: amount and quality of content, delivery channels, barriers to market or successful delivery, competitive landscape, buyer personas, and previous ROI/tactics taken and results netted.

There have been some monumental demand generation failures in history - the arrival of New Coke, Chevy Tahoe "viral video" debacle, Windows98 failing at its debut - but there are other ways to fail: rogue email campaigns, bad URLs (or poor choice in URLs), 1-800# choices that lead you to "adult" telephone numbers, etc. In other words, once you've alienated your customers once, they see you in a not so flattering light - and it is that much harder to overcome their skepticism.

It is imperative to understand what the benchmarks are for success with sales management and the timeframe in which you are to achieve these goals....and every demand generation person should speak up if the goal is not realistic. Sure, a company can increase their lead funnel overnight from 100-10,000 - but the quality of the funnel will mathematically be reduced.

Once you've got the agreed up goal, you can then assess how to get there - and that does require one to be constructively critical about one's own organizational shortcomings. Mixing a couple of metaphors - you may point out that the baby is ugly, but you are not proposing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  • For instance, is there limited product marketing resources? If so, then hiring outside consultants to assist in preparing enough content for a rich demand generation campaign may be needed.
  • Are your business development folks not asking the right questions? You may have to invest in some new enablement to have them be up to-task.
  • Are your target email lists on the wimpy side? Invest in sponsorship packages with vendor-agnostic content sites that your buyers frequent.
  • Do you even know why someone chose your solution (and therefore a good buyer persona)? How about asking them after their purchase - and quantifying that data set?
Without that assessment step in your demand generation plan, you can pour your money, time, and resources down the drain - just like consumers did to New Coke.

The KISS Question is "what have you done to assess your company's threats to successful demand generation?"

No comments:

Post a Comment