Last night I heard a few sound bites in Obama's State of the Union Address that brought to mind what I hear from sales and marketing folks daily. So here are a few interpretations had the president been talking about Demand Gen.
"We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit."
This is about Sales and Marketing Alignment. Without constant attention to this challenge, marketers will continue to struggle. Don't just live with division of goals; create a contract with what both parties expect from one another -- a formal Service Level Agreement (SLA). Tie incentives to it. Measure it.
"For every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from"
Have your lead gen teams wake up and understand that pay-for-performance is what their jobs are about. One hundred fifty years ago in this great country, factory workers were paid for the parts they manufactured. Today, in demand gen, we need to get paid on the leads generated and appointments set. Let's go back to basics and get paid for performance.
"But remember this: I never suggested that change would be easy or that I could do it alone."
Times have changed in the world of outbound marketing. Prospects pick up their phones less. They use email more. They sometimes don't even have a desk phone. As demand gen experts, we have to change. Use the tools available to us. Use the numerous online data sources at your disposal (Jigsaw, Netprospex, Google, LinkedIn, Inbound Lists!). Dial more strategically. Specific times per day are important. Don't just bang the phone like a stamping machine. Work the prime time with tools like autodialers and ConnectAndSell.
"... after two years of recession, the economy is growing again."
I hear "woe is me" time and time again, but if it's any indicator that things are changing, our business tripled in 2009. Since our business is all about growing the top line, the future of companies' bottom lines looks promising. We hear fewer objections that "the economy has us on budget hold." If you get one, turn it around with "I understand, but it really is turning. Most of the prospects I talk with are actually in rebound mode and researching new ideas for when the budgets free up again." Frankly, this is most likely a brushoff anyway. Overcome it.
"We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are."
Don't get fat and happy in the areas you've been successful in. Keep them healthy and growing, but get creative and look for other expansion areas. A client of mine, very successful selling to software developers at the enterprise level, got a surprise order last year from a device manufacturer and realized its tools were just as applicable to an iPhone software developer and a medical device manufacturer as it was to a Salesforce.com developer. The client opened up the market with an aggressive appointment setting campaign and and an inbound lead gen effort of whitepapers, blogs and webinars. Now it is forecasting that 30% of its revenues this year will come from that sector. Listen to the market, and listen to your frontline eyes and ears ... the inside and outside sales team and your outsourced demand gen teams. They hear it all day.
Sales or Marketing, we all have the same goals -- lead gen, pipeline, and revenue. Let's get unified, both inbound and outbound, and close some business.
Hear any quotes that resonated with you?