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Automating Demand Generation

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Post Automating Demand Generation   Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:54 am

Today's business-to-business companies face serious challenges. Marketing channels are becoming increasingly saturated, suspects and prospects are more difficult to reach, and the competition for the attention of buyers, influencers and even users has never been greater.

Where can the battle be won? According to a report by Sirius Decisions, it is at the top of the classic sales funnel. It is here - where suspects are identified, interest is captured, demand is generated, and leads are nurtured - that marketers have the greatest influence on sales results. Conversion rates further down the funnel, in such areas as appointment setting, proposal presenting, and closing vary remarkably little.

It is imperative for b-to-b marketers to be able to clearly see the opportunities and impediments in their demand generation processes, so they can break the bottlenecks, eliminate waste, and strategically allocate resources to produce results. They need to view demand generation, not as a series of disjointed activities and hit-or-miss campaigns, but as a unified set of processes - a specialized kind of factory - that consistently and predictably "manufacturers" demand.

As Tony Jaros, VP and Research Director for Sirius Decisions says, "In any functional area of business, set processes help us to determine what materials should be used to create something, by whom, in what time and at what cost. But the absences of true processes in sales are costing companies across the globe millions of dollars in lost revenue, increased costs and missed forecasts each year."

This paper discusses how leading companies are using "Factory Thinking" to optimize and accelerate demand generation. The results? Lower costs, repeatability, higher sales - sooner, and, in many cases, a significant competitive advantage.

In this whitepaper we take a closer look at how factory thinking works; the limits of this analogy; what management techniques from manufacturing can be applied to sales and marketing; the steps to take; and real-world examples of how companies are benefiting.

True, demand generation can never reach the "well-oiled machine" status of an efficient manufacturing plant - but by leveraging the right technologies and expertise, it can come remarkably close.

The Benefits of Visibility

In sales and marketing, it can be difficult to connect the dots between the end product you are trying to generate (a lead, an appointment, a sale) and the series of events that preceded it (a direct mail response, a website visit). This creates an impediment to Factory Thinking because, if you cannot see what is happening, how can you optimize the process?

As discussed later in this paper, technology now exists that clears the fog and allows you to accurately see and analyze what is going on. For example, it is now possible to know - in real time - who visits your website, what marketing event prompted this interest, and which of your products and services the prospect is learning about.

You can even set up automated and live responses - again, in real time - to strike on the sales opportunity "while the iron's hot.

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