DemandGen Report Outlook Comments

Written by Rockannand on February 3, 2010 – 4:33 pm -

I was recently asked by Andrew Gaffney, Editor/Publisher of the DemandGen Report, to comment on trends impacting marketing automation adoption. Some of my comments along with other industry experts were published on December 15th “Industry Analysts Predict Increased Adoption, Sophistication For Automation In 2010″.

This is an important topic for B2B marketers and their bosses to consider when establishing budgets and program strategies for 2010. I have posted the questions and all my answers to assist in the dialogue.

DemandGen Report: What changes do you anticipate in marketing budgets heading into next year? Continued emphasis on demand generation investments?
I see overall spending slightly up over 2009. But emphasis will clearly be on demand gen tactics and programs that have shown a clear ROI. Expect to see less spend in traditional industry trade shows and more in one day virtual conferences. I see more emphasis in lead nurturing and developing/re-purposing content for use in those campaigns.

DemandGen Report: Adoption rates for marketing automation remained pretty low through 2009. Do you see that picking up steam in 2010?
Yes to some extent, but I think it is more the case of many companies needing to work on doing more with less, especially when it comes to executing more multi-channel, multi-tactic campaigns for smaller segmented groups of prospects and existing clients.

DemandGen Report: What shifts are going to have to take place within B2B organizations to get them to prioritize the investment in the solutions and processes required to effectively drive demand generation?

Not enough companies have a good handle on what it costs to generate a qualified lead that is accepted by sales. CEOs and CFOs will be demanding metrics that show clear ROI before making the bigger investments. What many companies are starting to realize it’s not just the costs of the tools, but the resource costs involved in process change and development that often is the stumbling block towards realizing the value.

DemandGen Report: Have automation tools and other investments in demand generation proven themselves as a competitive differentiator for the early adopters?
Yes. No question, as every case study I read showing increases in lead quality and quantity has marketing automation as a key driver. The automation investment alone though is not what creates the competitive differentiation, but how the tools are used to drive better marketing and lead management processes. In every successful project I’ve participated, the common thread was marketing’s ability to change from simply generating “hand-raiser” leads for sales to become lead qualifiers. The impact on sales performance is significant as sales spends less time with prospects who are not sales-ready. During 2009, the companies that were still closing deals were more focused on the high probability opportunities as marketing used automation to manage and develop qualified leads before turning over to sales.

DemandGen Report: Assuming awareness and sophistication around demand generation practices are increasing, what do you expect to be the key areas of focus for leading B2B organizations in 2010?
As I have mentioned above, improving lead management processes to optimize and realize the value of automation will be a big focus with my clients. Before trying something new, my clients are researching and asking how they can enhance what they are already doing. I expect to see more focus on behavior-based segmentation in driving more personalized/customized content for each campaign. It’s more work, but the studies show much greater results.

DemandGen Report:  What other trends do you see emerging in 2010 within the demand generation/marketing automation space, i.e.?
2009 saw a significant jump in the use of telesales for 1st step lead follow-up. I believe 2010 will see marketing working even more closely with sales to define campaigns for very targeted groups of prospects. Using more online prospect intelligence (e.g., zoominfo, jigsaw) campaigns will be executed for prospect groups of 25-50 with a very specific call-to-action that sales/inside sales calls on within 48-72 hours for follow up. I have been executing a number of these type campaigns over the past few months with very strong results. Depending on sales force size, we can process hundreds of prospects in a matter of weeks or 1-2 months and generate a significant number of sales-ready opportunities. An added bonus is that we “freshen” our marketing database with the status on accounts that can now be intelligently slotted into lead nurturing campaigns based on expressed interest. In this case, marketing automation keeps the ones that are not sales-ready in lead management processes that continually test for readiness in the months ahead.

As always your comments and reactions are most welcome.

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