While analysts point to the growing need for an intimate, more personalized approach to lead and demand generation, OEMs and VARs alike are struggling to crack the communication code.
Whether it’s social media, content collateral or “teleprospecting,” developing a clear, concise strategy that addresses buyer pain points is key. During a recent Q&A, Louis Foong, President and CEO of The ALEA Group, Inc., shared a selection of his top demand generation resolutions for 2012. Foong also discusses why so many channel marketers are missing the mark on demand generation tools and tactics, and how they can make a quick turnaround.
CMR: Overall, what are the top challenges for channel marketers in planning and rolling out demand generation programs?
Foong: I think the biggest challenge we see channel marketers struggling with in their demand generation efforts is the absence of a defined strategy. Organizations tend to get so caught up in tactical plays and what I call “spike marketing,” that their demand generation lacks discipline and consistency. This leads to inconsistent output and a lead funnel that is neither predictable nor sustainable. There is no defined process and therefore, no way to monitor and measure success.
A few other key challenges channel marketers face in planning and rolling out demand generation programs are:
CMR: What are some basic tips and best practices in terms of lead generation? What are the proper steps to determining clear objectives and go-to-market strategies?
Foong: If there is ever a time when the “KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle should be applied to lead generation, this is certainly it.
Here is a quick list of things to remember:
CMR: In the competitive channel landscape, how can channel marketers compel prospects to interact with their brand? Furthermore, how can they ensure inbound marketing materials are consistent and compelling?
Foong: The number-one thing that buyers look for is value. Channel marketers can try every trick in the book to attract prospects, and add every possible tactic to increase brand visibility, but if potential customers don’t see real value, they will not engage with a brand to the point of conversion. The most important actions channel marketers need to take are:
All of these will add up to help show value and drive customer conversion.
CMR: How can channel marketers make sure their inbound marketing is consistent and compelling?
Foong: Channel marketers must ensure that their go-to-market strategy is a collaborative effort where Sales and Marketing are aligned and integrated under one umbrella. Both parties, as well as individuals, must be diligent about customer profiling and account mapping.
Some other important items include:
CMR: What top rules of engagement should channel marketers keep an eye out for during 2012? What strategies will help ensure demand generation success?
Foong: A key thing for channel marketers to remember is practice active listening. Be proactive and take positive action based on what you hear and see in your social media conversations with your prospects and customers. Marketers also must be consistent with inbound marketing; whether it’s social media, “teleprospecting,” it is important to create a compelling “pull” factor that increases awareness, brand penetration and enhances customer loyalty. Overall, it is vital to keep in mind that your technology/solution is only an enabler; people are a marketing organization’s greatest assets. Ensure that you have knowledgeable, skilled and enthusiastic sales people aided by the right technology to generate leads and enhance conversion.
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of the ALEA Group Inc, one of North America’s most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. As a thought leader with more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis guides his team and ALEA’s clients through the dynamic, evolving lead generation landscape.
His clients include companies in the technology, telecommunications, software, healthcare and professional services industries.
Prior to starting the ALEA Group, Louis Foong has held various senior executive positions within corporate America. Foong is a published blogger and among the top authors on CustomerThink, a global online community of business leaders.