Scaling Demand Generation
Highlights from this Episode
In this episode of the Green & Greene Show, the LeadCrunch B2B podcast, two seasoned marketing and sales experts talk about the challenges of creating a demand generation strategy that scales.
Hosts: Dave Green and Jonathan Greene
Topic: Demand Gen
Subtopic: Scaling Demand Gen
Duration: 19 minutes
Green & Greene Background: Who Are These Guys?
What is Demand Generation?
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
On Content Marketing & Quality Leads: A Disagreement
Quantity vs. Quality: Why Sales Teams are Leery of Your Leads
Challenges in Scaling Demand Generation Programs
[0:00:14.2] JG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. This is Jonathan Greene and Dave Green here with you and we’re going to be talking about all things demand generation, including scaling demand generation here on the Green & Greene show.
Dave, thanks for being with me. It’s really a pleasure to have you on.
[0:00:29.8] DG: Thanks, Jonathan. I really love being here.
[0:00:32.7] JG: This is going to be our thing, man. I feel like we should take a minute and tell people what we’re trying to do here. From my perspective, I’ve been in demand generation and lead generation for a really long time. Predominantly, my experience has been in the B2C market. When I came to work for LeadCrunch and with you, I had a really steep learning curve in terms of generating demand and ultimately scaling demand in the B2B things. This is very new for me.
My heart here, I think, is to share some of those pain points and things that we’ve been through and help our audience scale up their demand generation. I do have 15 odd years of experience at the B2C stuff. We’re not under-qualified, but we are trying to find a way forward in an increasingly complex landscape. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for us to segue and capture some of these learning curves and growing pains as we go through them and read people into that. How do you feel about that thing?
[0:01:36.9] DG: Jonathan, you’re being way too modest. I’ve known Jonathan for, I don’t know, about six years. We both worked at another company before that. That was a digital agency. My first knowledge of Jonathan came from a small e-book he had written about Facebook marketing. It was completely brilliant. It totally anticipated the look-alike audience power that Facebook ultimately developed. He saw that very quickly.
The second thing I learned about him after that was he’d come up with a heuristic to test tone and voice, which was also totally brilliant. I thought, “I’m want to get to know this guy. He’s pretty sharp.” Yeah, he struggled a lot with demand gen. In about two weeks, he’d gotten to a $15 lead for a complex solution to a niche audience. Pretty quick learning curve, Jonathan.
I also want to say one thing really quickly. When I was young in my career, I really shied away from a lot of consumer marketing stuff B2C because I thought it wasn’t really germane. This is so different. It’s much smaller, it’s more complex and there’s no question. There are lots and lots of differences, but the thing I’ve come to understand is that B2C is about a million years ahead of B2B. There are a lot of transferrable principles which, if you open yourself to it, you can learn from. I think you’re going to make a lot of contribution here.
[0:03:14.0] JG: Well, thanks. Why don’t you tell them briefly about your background? I know you’ve done some insane things in the B2B space and in the demand generation space, including something I heard about a billion-dollar pipeline. Why don’t you tell us about that?
From No Marketing Team to a Billion Dollar Pipeline
[0:03:26.2] DG: Probably one of my great successes was some years back when I was a consultant. I helped somebody at a company recruit a team and build out and get a budget, recruit the vendors, and implement a methodology which I wrote about in a book some time back. We actually went from absolutely nothing to a billion-dollar pipeline in 20 months from an absolute standing start. I’m very proud of that. I’m good friends with a lot of people who were part of that team, even to this day.
[0:04:01.0] JG: I can tell you, certifiably, that’s insanity. If you don’t know, that’s not an easy thing to do. Let’s jump in. We want to try to keep these as bite-sized as possible. Let me briefly describe what we’re going to get through today, hopefully. We want to talk, first of all, about a very high-level definition of demand generation.
Then we want to discuss the difference between lead gen and demand gen. I think there probably is a significant conversation that we can have there. Finally, what is scale in demand and what does that entail? I feel if we can get those three things, we will have done our good deed for the day.
Starting from the beginning, Dave. What is demand generation?
What is Demand Generation?
[0:04:43.6] DG: I actually had to think about that question a little bit. In my mind, demand generation is a whole set of activities that would encompass things like the buying behavioral research that you need to do to really tune in to your audience, organizational things that you need to do to make sure that marketing is working well as a team and working well together with sales and products. It’s scaling things up, which is one of the themes of this course. It’s measurement analysis, it’s martech.
There are all kinds of programs that come out of that, like outbound and inbound and ABM and customer marketing and weed management. Then, there are core building blocks, like targeting and messaging and content marketing and the channels you deliver those things through which make programs possible. It’s putting all of that together into a coherent framework. That would be my high-level definition. What’s yours?
[0:05:46.2] JG: I think I come from the more traditional lead generation perspective. I see it almost in terms of lead generation with other capabilities and disciplines layered on top of it.
For instance, lead generation, in my mind, stops at the capture of a contact, or the optimization of the follow-up to that. Demand generation expands far beyond those main capabilities. It incorporates branding. It incorporates shaping the perspective of the consumer. It incorporates the engagement to a greater extent. All of these things are very obvious differences to me, and it’s much more nuanced. I think you have to be a much more well-rounded marketer to be very successful at demand generation.
[0:06:39.1] DG: I agree. I think there are some elements that are clearly outside of lead generation, no matter how broadly you define lead generation. In my career, I think people have defined it more broadly than it was originally in B2B. I don’t think anybody would say that influencer marketing is part of lead gen. I don’t think you’d say that PR and analyst relations are part of lead gen, but they are part of demand gen, just as a couple of simple examples. I agree with you. I think lead gen is an aspect of demand gen.
Lead Generation & Demand Generation – What Are the Differences?
[0:07:14.4] JG: What do you think are the main differences between lead generation and demand generation? I definitely think that that’s one of them. With demand generation, I think there’s a much greater impetus on education. A lot of times, when you’re generating demand, you have to do so into a vacuum where either the solution has never been offered before, or it’s not been adopted by the mass market. Whereas, I think lead generation is like, “Okay, I’m a realtor. There are 10 million realtors trying to get real estate leads.” Nobody needs to explain real estate to people for the most part.
If you’re talking about some new technology, like in the case of LeadCrunch, we’re dealing with artificial intelligence that produces a look-alike audience for account-based marketing and B2B marketing. Well, people don’t really know what that is, and they don’t know how it works. They probably didn’t even know that it existed, so we said something. There’s an educational component to this that goes really far afield of just generic lead gen. That would be one of the main differences, in my opinion.
[0:08:22.8] DG: In my career, I think people who were doing lead generation, the best ones, began to understand that effective lead generation was more than just the immediate capture of a lead. I think the whole thought leadership movement, for example, and trying to build relationships and have a connection that would have a funnel, that would start at the top of the funnel with something free like a blog, or an infographic, or something like this that people don’t have to register for you’re just building relationships, has become part and parcel, in some people’s minds, of lead generation.
I would say lead management is part of that, but there are still lots of things outside of those boundaries. You mentioned one of them, which is branding. Anybody who’s ever had the opportunity to market a well-known brand knows without question that you get a lot of advantage from that versus if you’re smaller and people don’t know who you are. It’s definitely one of the considerations that I think is squarely outside of lead gen.
On Content Marketing & Quality Leads
[0:09:32.2] JG: What do you think? Are there additional differences in terms of product awareness and the increasing audience reach and engagement that they probably fall outside the purview of traditional lead generation?
[0:09:47.6] DG: You know what? You brought that up and, just so the audience knows, we’re totally okay with disagreeing because I think disagreement and looking at things differently usually is more helpful than not. Instead, there’s one absolute answer and we know what it is. In my mind, lead generation was always something more than just the capture of the lead. It would include doing content marketing to try to attract an audience and having a consistent way to get them from there to sharing their identity. It’s just a path on the journey.
I think the more sophisticated people doing lead generation understand that and look more holistically at what they’re doing. Whereas, in my experience, a lot of people doing brand and awareness advertising, don’t necessarily see that funnel connection and the life cycle. I think the construal concept of buying behavior that we’ll talk about one of the later programs.
[0:10:51.1] JG: Do you think that the nuance in demand generation goes beyond sometimes? For instance, in lead generation, I might focus on delivering a quantity of leads, and in demand generation, I think I need to be much more concerned with the overall quality of them. Then, in lead generation, I might focus on satisfying the quota of marketing qualified leads that I’m handing out to sales, or sales qualified leads as it may be. I think in demand generation, I actually have a focus more on alignment and the intangibles. Do you find that to be true?
Why Sales Teams are Leery of Your Leads
[0:11:30.3] DG: Yeah. First of all, I think the word “lead” has gotten such a bad reputation that people were looking for other words to elevate what they were doing to be more broadly accepted by leadership and other parts of the organization. The reason it’s gotten such a bad rep is so darn many marketers throw absolute junk leads over to the salespeople who then don’t want to follow up on them and it creates a lot of friction.
In some ways, and this happened where we generated a billion- dollar pipeline, we named the department “e-demand”, because we didn’t want it to be the lead gen department for the very reason that we’re talking about. I think part of it is just messaging, but certainly I do think that demand gen is a more holistic discipline that encompasses a lot more stuff. I think of lead gen in a more holistic way than I believe others do.
In the conversations I’ve had with people I would say are more mature lead generation people, they understand that and look at more of the big picture than the more narrow, “It’s my job to get a bunch of leads.”
[0:12:45.3] JG: That being said, let’s talk briefly about what it means to scale demand. I’m going to put up this graphic that you provide a course here and put that on screen.
[0:12:56.6] DG: Sure.
[0:12:57.4] JG: Why don’t you talk us through this real quick?
[0:13:01.1] DG: This, by the way, is how we’re thinking about this educational series that we’re going to do. These are the buckets. The very first one will be about buying behavior, because I’ve always found in marketing, the more you can really understand the job that your customers are trying to do and the problems that they have, the better you can do at building out marketing programs.
Organizational would be things like sales and marketing alignment, or alignment of your team, alignment with the product team. Obviously, measurement has become extremely important, because I think it’s not enough to generate a volume of leads. You have to actually move the needle from a revenue standpoint and get down into all of that. The whole endless challenge of attribution that you know very well, Martech has become a major force in scaling all of this, so that’s a topic unto itself.
Then, in the middle of that are the building blocks. There’s targeting, messaging and content, and channels like e-mail or search. Those things get grouped together under outbound marketing, or inbound marketing, account-based marketing, customer marketing if you have a large install base and lead management.
[0:14:28.7] JG: All right. It totally makes sense to me. I think that’s a really great framework. I think that’s what people can expect from this series as they follow along with this. We’ll take a deep dive into each one of those things. Did you have any thoughts, high-level, on just outlining a few of the challenges people face when they try to scale demand generation that you wanted to go into?
Common Challenges in Scaling Demand Generation Programs
[0:14:52.8] DG: You and I are faced in this, right? We’re a small team of two people and a couple of part-timers through contracts. There are literally about 7,000 things that we both know we need to have done by tomorrow. Of course, we don’t have the ability to do those. The discipline of picking and prioritizing the few things, I think, is one of the big pain points that marketers have.
Years ago, I was sitting with the CMO, and he pulled up some spreadsheet which had all the projects that everybody had had globally. This is a pretty big billion-dollar-type company. He was like, “I just know we’re doing too much.” I don’t remember what the number of projects were, or the campaigns, but it was it was a huge number. He wondered rightly how many of these we really needed to do. I think that’s question one of scaling and challenge.
I think the other gargantuan challenge with marketers that I have experienced is the eternal struggle to align with sales. The bigger the sales team, the harder it is. Even in a small sales team, it can be difficult, and trying to get alignment with the sales team is complex. The final one is getting credibility, which has to do with revenue attribution and really measuring what you’re doing and the whole process improvement part of this. It’s complicated, it’s hard, it’s an endless fight. Those, to me, are the three really big pains that I’m aware of.
[0:16:38.1] JG: I think especially the problem of knowing what to do is a particularly human problem. Sit back and think about the fact that Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have the same number of hours in a day that we do. I think what it comes down to is they have identified the things that are the highest return on their personal investment, the best use of their time and effort and energy, and they have created processes out of that. The result is obviously highly successful business citizen and very effective use of time.
I think that’s a very human problem, but it applies particularly well to demand generation in terms of trying to scale. I think we can probably contribute to that. I stay tuned. I promise we’ll do some HIPAA theme mapping. We’ll do some Pareto analysis. We’ll do some things that will help you figure out what to do and what to leave behind. I think that’ll be extremely valuable for the industry at large, so I’m very happy to jump into that.
Great thoughts, Dave. Any parting thoughts before we wrap up this inaugural edition of the Green & Greene show?
[0:17:51.6] DG: I know that everybody is wondering, since this is the Green & Greene Show, if we’re related. Of course, you guys should know that Jonathan’s my son. No, I’m just joking. He has an “E” on the end of his name and I don’t, and that is a massive difference between us. No, I’m looking forward to it. I hope we have a lot of fun. I hope people learn a lot.
Most importantly, we don’t know everything. If anybody feels they have an insight and they’d like to contribute and come on the show, we’re happy to have guests, happy to put a platform together and let them share their knowledge with the marketing community and give back.
[0:18:32.8] JG: Yeah, right on. All right, thanks a lot for being here, Dave. Thanks everybody for watching and this has been the inaugural edition of the Green & Greene show. We can’t wait to do it again next time and look forward to unpacking all that we know and all that we’re learning about scaling demand generation operations in a B2B environment. Hopefully, that’ll be valuable for you.
Until next time, toodles. Everybody, have a great weekend.
[0:18:58.2] DG: Bye, everybody.
[0:18:59.0] JG: Yeah, we’ll see you next time.[END]