With dedicated demand marketing teams and increasing amounts of data flowing through digital, CRM and marketing automation (MA) tools, marketing’s ability to contribute to customer acquisition and revenue has never been greater.
Nor has the bar and expectations ever been higher. In fact, the #1 skill CEOs want from CMOs and B2B marketers is the ability to drive demand that translates to growth.
Deploying CRM and marketing automation, and connecting them to your website, are standard fare today. The next challenge in front of us is connecting the data sources and processes generating traffic and leads that fuel these systems. This challenge is exacerbated by the one-off, manual nature of “top of funnel” efforts; that is, the efforts to identify and generate new leads via a mix of B2B initiatives such as events, webinars, content marketing syndication, tele-prospecting and search marketing programs.
This often overlooked, top-funnel area is hamstringing the ability to scale business. Marketing orgs in aggregate are spending billions on media and prospect data annually to drive demand. However, all this media investment remains disjointed, requiring a Herculean effort and substantial time to piece together all the disparate data sources and understand what investments are working.
The bottom line is this un-orchestrated top-funnel demand effort is inefficient. It’s wasting precious budget, resources and time. Most importantly it’s holding many marketers back from consistently hitting their pipeline and revenue targets.
It’s time for marketing to address Demand Orchestration – the next critical, missing piece of their growth engine.
Demand Orchestration: The Next Critical Focus for B2B Marketers
Demand Orchestration is a logical next area of focus to advance marketing’s growth mandate. A decade-plus ago, CRM came on the scene and now empowers sales and marketing to manage the customer lifecycle. This is a foundational customer database and system of record. Next, we added marketing automation (MA) – the tools to engage, nurture and qualify leads, and turn them into opportunities and prospects. Connected and fully utilized in concert with your website, sales process and customer journey, these are powerful, foundational components of demand marketing.
What hasn’t been addressed, however, is the significant amount of budget and resources being invested in media and demand gen tactics to generate prospect data and leads. This is disconcerting when you consider annual media spend usually amounts to 10-20x the MA and CRM investment discussed above.
To further illustrate the need, many of the valuable insights gained from MA- and CRM-enabled lower-funnel activities (lead nurturing and scoring, website personalization, conversion tracking, predictive analytics, etc.) aren’t actionable due to the lack of integration between these activities and top-funnel lead generation. Marketers simply can’t make their insights pay off when the funnel’s data sources remain disconnected.
The Road to Demand Orchestration Starts Now
As the next critical layer residing on top of MA and CRM, Demand Orchestration seamlessly applies process automation, systems integration, program execution and data governance to efficiently generate leads, feed pipeline and create customers.
This effort first and foremost involves centralizing management of your inbound and outbound lead sources (search, content syndication, events, webinars, etc.) so that you can adeptly coordinate the many moving pieces and more precisely target and reach the right prospects. This includes executing tactics such as segmentation, personalization, account-based marketing and predictive marketing.
Demand Orchestration also assures you automate wherever possible, eliminating the many time-consuming, one-off manual tasks that debilitate marketing orgs. This continuously increasing list of tasks include finding and managing individual lead sources, setting up campaigns, processing, cleansing and uploading lead lists via spreadsheets, and cobbling together individual campaign and prospect data to make the right optimization decisions.
Demand Orchestration integrates top-of-funnel efforts with lower-funnel activities, connecting the entire customer, sales and marketing process. This means you can enable real-time analysis to optimize, forecast and hit pipeline and revenue goals.
The Demand Orchestration Maturity Model – What’s Your Roadmap?
To know where you need to go next, you must first know where you currently stand on the demand marketing journey. Think of this as a maturity model that helps you assess your current state. Once understood, you can plot the next level(s) of achievement and the steps to get there. This isn’t something that can happen overnight, nor can we wave a magic wand to make it happen. It takes discipline, talent, tools, testing and a commitment to continuous improvement.
To help you assess your current state, below are key indicators of your current reality and where you aspire to be along the Demand Orchestration sophistication curve. This process isn’t an exact science. Rather, it provides key milestones to guide your team’s progress.
So what are the key milestones on the road to Demand Orchestration?
Lead Generation – Marketing teams at this stage are primarily focused and evaluated on volume – the quantity of leads generated. All leads go directly into sales’ hands quickly and/or are used to build their database. Batch and blast email (versus segmentation and nurturing) as a follow-up mechanism is the norm. Manual data processing and the use of spreadsheets to manage prospect and campaign data is the standard. Reporting is done to measure marketing activities.
Demand Generation – Marketing automation is being put to good use and seamlessly connected to CRM. Demand fundamentals such as lead scoring and basic nurturing tracks are in place as a regular process. SLAs and roles and responsibilities are established with sales. Efforts are focused on generating marketing-qualified and sales-qualified leads to create opportunities for sales. This is the main success metric: conversions.
Demand Marketing – As you move into the demand marketing phase, the focus and goal is on creating a scalable pipeline that can be tracked and measured to revenue. This means inbound and outbound marketing programs and their lead and data sources are integrated into your systems, processes and measurement. Database segmentation and more precise targeting – like account-based marketing – is becoming standard. Marketing and media investments are made based on best performance, because they can be tracked, and the mindset is to “let the data decide” the best channels.
Demand Orchestration – For a large majority of marketers, this is an aspirational state. It incorporates demand marketing practices with a significant focus on the ability to predict and control revenue based on the investment. Real-time analytics are available to optimize and make adjustments to forecast and hit revenue goals. All systems, processes and data sourced are integrated so data is accurate and actionable enabling personalized communications and an ability to map and deliver customer journeys.
The road to Demand Orchestration is a process that doesn’t happen overnight or even within a year. There’s rarely the “big bang” moment. You must stay at it, and keep making progress. Getting the fundamentals in place – sales alignment, integrated systems, automated processes, accurate and actionable data – is key.
Moreover, Demand Orchestration requirements will drive the next wave of marketing tech growth. The collective, tech-enabled orchestration effort will enable marketers to increase the scalability and predictability required to hit customer acquisition and revenue targets. This is how demand marketers will make continuous improvement to deliver the growth engine that CEOs covet and reward.