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September 30, 2015
In Search Of: Demand Generation Explained
 
Is your company in the process of considering, creating, improving, or growing a Demand Generation Center? Or are you wondering what it is that Demand Generation professionals do to bring in all those leads? You are not alone. This specialized, data-driven sales engine (typically residing in the marketing department) did not even exist 10 years ago.

Wikipedia describes DG as “the marriage of marketing programs coupled with a structured sales process.” Demand Generation is not focused on simply obtaining as many leads as possible to send over to the sales department. It is a sophisticated, multi-pronged, data-driven, rapidly evolving discipline that relies on the successful integration of people, technology, processes, and real-time data. In short, it is a strategic data-driven customer acquisition tactic with a focus on long term.

Nikos Karavitis, the Americas Demand Generation Lead at Motorola Solutions in Chicago, gives us his insight into b2b demand generation strategies that convert prospects into customers and casual consumers into deeply loyal customer relationships. His experience within the field encompasses both the science behind demand generation, including tools such as digital marketing, marketing automation, and CRM, as well as the art of best practices and the methodologies behind customer lifecycle management and sales enablement through to customer advocacy. 

1. How would you describe the profile of company that can most benefit from having a Demand Generation professional or department?  
I believe any company that wants to move away from the batching and blasting method to a smarter, more customer-centric and data-centric model should invest in a Demand Center. Think of the demand center as a group of specialists that understand your customers’ or prospects’ journey through data, analytics, and tying all this together with the right communication strategy.
 
The new era of marketing (2015 and beyond), is shifting to a more personalized, behavior-driven messaging model. A Demand Center with the right group of talent can deliver this.

2. What in your opinion is sometimes misunderstood about Demand Generation, Nikos?  
Many people confuse Demand Generation with the idea of simple tactics and siloed communications. The truth is that Demand Generation is a far more complex science. It involves building continuous conversations through many channels, including:

Inbound: Ad retargeting tactics, social media, company website

Outbound: Email (marketing automation), sales enablement tools, live events, virtual events, geo targeting, and mobile.

A demand generation specialist knows how to tie all these tactics together and aim toward a common goal. They also know that a customer or prospect may be in multiple channels…not just one. So how do you lead score them and move them along their journey? This is where data-driven modeling comes into play, and you need a sharp team that is able to assess this data and make educated decisions for future campaigns.

3. When is it better to outsource this function versus hiring a team or vice versa?  
From experience: We used the outsourcing model since it was needed when we were first onboarding our new marketing automation and CRM systems. After two years, we started to insource much of this talent. This included hiring a full-time social media manager, graphics/HTML, and copyrighting and also insourcing our call center for inside sales for better pipeline management. Together these teams crunched cycle times and increased go-to-market programs by 60%.

4. Do you see the job evolving? If so, how?  
The Demand Generation marketer role is definitely evolving. The traditional campaign manager that only does content and copy and relies on agencies to build and execute campaigns doesn’t cut it anymore. You need a marketing team that is completely hands-on and can comprehend the concept of behavior-driven marketing. The ultimate goal is to deliver targeted, personal communications at the right time. To do this you need to hire the right talent that truly understands how to study customer data from the original inquiry all the way through the sales cycle.
 
The next step of demand gen evolution is mobile. With almost everyone having a smartphone, mobile engagement and delivering a great mobile experience to your customer/prospect base are the keys to keeping your marketing skills up-to-par.
 
5. When hiring a Demand Generation professional, Nikos recommends looking for these traits and/or experience:
Make sure they have hands-on experience working in marketing automation, CRM, and social platforms. (Susie shouldn’t be calling Sandy to find out what programs got executed and asking for weekly reports and analytics). Today’s modern marketer has automated dashboards for that.

6. How quickly can a company expect to see results from their new Demand Generation engine?
Overall…you need to let your prospects go through their customer journey at their own speed. Not everyone that fills out a form is a “Hot Lead,” and this is the wrong way to approach any inquiry (unless you are promoting a quick-sale or a transactional product.) With that said…it takes a good 12–16 months to get your Demand Gen team warmed up and to better understand their lead scoring models, to update content, and to better engage in behavior-driven marketing.
 
This is the first in a series of articles in which we highlight compelling positions by interviewing an expert. Our goal is to gain and share insights about the developments, challenges, and opportunities for both the person in the role and for the company hiring someone for the position. If you have a suggestion for a job you would like to see profiled, please email me at margot@avondlesearch.com.

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Margot Finley is in her 20th year specializing in the recruitment of sales & marketing professionals for solution providers within the Human Capital/HR Solutions sector, for example vendors providing Talent Management, Performance Management, Learning, Leadership Development, and Workforce Analytics solutions. She's President at Avondale Search International, Inc.

After beginning her executive search career in London in 1993, she moved back to the US and now resides with her two boys and big black dog in St. Augustine, Florida. When not working or spending time with her sons, she enjoys reading, running and photography.

Please visit her site at http://www.avondalesearch.com.
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