Demand Creation Planning: Make the First Step the Right Step
Written by Larry Fleischman | August 18, 2010
(This is the first in series of Televerde Best Practice Reports on the 10 stages within an integrated, optimized demand creation strategy.)
At Televerde, we’re always engaged in a process of trying to put the right context on optimized approaches to demand creation. But since everyone has a slightly different view of the world, it’s a little like herding stray cats. Fortunately, the Televerde cats are a little different – we have a home we always come back to so we’re not really strays. And we tend to “self-herd.” However, we do sometimes take different routes to return home. But then, a little diversity in input and mapping is never a bad thing if it gets you to the right place.
We’ve all recently glommed onto an idea – actual a number of ideas – that resulted in the creation of a map all of us can understand and use to get home. And hopefully to get our clients home too. We call it our “Integrated Approach to Optimizing Demand Creation & Discovery.” It’s really more of a strategy, but let’s think of it as a map so I can keep my little analogy intact for the purposes of this blog.
The Integrated Approach map is comprised of 10 mileposts if you will. Not enough space in one blog entry to tell you about all 10, but I’ll commit to telling you about each of them in a series of posts over the next few weeks. I’ll start with milepost #1, which is developing a sound “Go-to-Market Strategy”. For those of you interested in knowing all 10, below is the complete list to give you some context of what’s to come and how the GTM strategy milepost fits into the bigger map. (If you’d like to see the actual map and learn about how our services and solutions are aligned to it, contact us and we’ll be pleased to share it with you.)
Integrated Approach Mileposts:
- Go-to-Market Strategy
- Data Analysis, Maintenance & Management
- Market Research & Analysis
- Demand Creation & Discovery
- Integrated Nurture
- Sales Support & Optimization
- Open Opportunity Analysis
- Closed Opportunity Analysis
- Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty
- Data & Insight (#10 is less of a milepost and more of a circular path, but more about that in a future blog entry)
Those of you who know something about us know that we’ve been helping B2B technology companies to discover net new sales demand, improve the performance of their sales pipelines, and accelerate top-line revenue growth. We offer an integrated approach to optimizing demand creation, which is different from how many other outsourced providers and in-house teams do it. This approach lends itself to the need for comprehensive management of the lifecycle of a sales opportunity.
We believe that the first stage of the integrated approach should always be about strategy and planning. And this begins with a discussion and consultation around the GTM strategy specifically. It’s a critical first step because the outcomes here provide the framework and knowledge that are necessary to bring to life the most appropriate and optimized integrated demand creation strategy and programs.
The GTM consultation and discussion goes like this…
Target Market Identification: This is a discussion and a group of decisions around markets you want to pursue. It’s important to know – really know – the reasons you’re targeting them. Understand where you have had or perhaps have not had success in the past. Leverage insight about your targeted markets. When we’re part of the discussion with clients, insight can be leveraged based on our collective experiences too. We’ll dialogue around market challenges and opportunities for successful entry.
Positioning & Messaging: Once core understandings are in place about target markets, the dialogue then turns to your products, services, value propositions and brand. This is where it’s critical to have an understanding about your alignment in these markets and the messaging that will most strongly resonate to effectively position you.
Customer Analysis: A critical element of this dialogue should also include assessments of current customer perceptions and experiences. This assessment is a required reality check because findings from current customers often produce revelations about what you think your positioning is vs. what actual customers have to say about it. These discussions can lead to required corrections or new directions in the GTM plan.
Sales & Marketing Enablement: Discussions about your sales and marketing tools and training materials happens here. This focus is on your library of assets and sales toolbox, including essential elements like case studies, white papers, webinars, articles, videos, research documents, and web sites. The goal here is to ensure that the sales and marketing teams are enabled and equipped with the information they’ll need to start and sustain the dialogue with your future clients.
Sales & Marketing Alignment: This step is about the essential agreements that are needed between sales and marketing to ensure that lead criteria are well-defined and that the right kind of leads will be targeted, delivered and supported. Review the lead handoff process to ensure that it’s manageable and optimized. The main idea is to eliminate any gaps that can stand in the way of success.
Demand Creation & Discovery: At the end of the day, it’s about results. So demand discovery and creation programs must be developed that can yield the results you’re seeking. There are a variety of methods to create and discover demand. So leverage your experiences (and ours) to develop programs that are based on the objectives you want to achieve. Explore integrated GTM approaches (by this we mean dialogue-based and digital-based programs) that not only identify new opportunities, but also accommodate nurturing them over the time they need to mature to a sales-ready stage. This ensures that no qualified opportunities are left behind or at risk to fall out of the pipeline.
The GTM strategy planning is the first milestone on your route to the place you want to be at the end of the journey. (Not to imply that the journey ever really ends but, again, it works for story-telling purposes.) Plan this initial milepost thoughtfully and thoroughly so you start out on the right path.
The path is scenic and it includes nine more mileposts. Next up… Data Analysis, Maintenance & Management.