Demand generation is the science of stimulating latent demand.  A definition of latent demand is a prospect is unaware of a problem.  When the prospect becomes aware of the problem, you win a sale. Why? Because this problem is one you can solve better than anyone else.  The cost of solving the problem is less than the benefit of doing so.

 

Your marketing department must be skilled at stimulating latent demand. My bet is your marketing department is terrible at this.

 

Why?

Two reasons:

 

  1. They are focused on selling to active demand. Active demand is when a prospect is going to buy something.  The prospect’s task is to determine who to buy from. Should they buy from you or the other vendor?
  2. They have become dependent on outsourcing.  Instead of doing the job themselves, they hire agencies.  These are  PR firms, social media consultants, advertising agencies-you name it. B2B marketing service providers are not very good at this.

 

Why CEOs should care?

 

  • There is only so much active demand in a given market. You, and your competitors, are all over it.  Focusing only on active demand will result in missing the number. There is not enough to go around. For example, Newsweek announced it is no longer going to print its magazine.  The magazine focused on active demand for way too long and almost died.  Brands no longer want to buy print ads.  They want to buy online advertisements.  Newsweek should have stimulated this latent demand in the mid 1990’s. If they had, maybe they would have been as successful as The Huffington Post.
  • Outsourcing the stimulation of latent demand does not work.  Relying on external service providers will result in missing the number. Stimulating latent demand requires the creation of provocative content.  Outsourcers will never know your customers, competitors, markets, and products, like you do.  By relying on them, you will not produce enough content to stimulate latent demand.  The content the outsourcers produce won’t create net new needs for your products. Here is an example of 5 terrible content campaigns produced by outsourced marketing providers.  Did you buy any Kentucky Grilled Chicken?  Neither did I.

 

internal content marketing agency ceo

 

What is the solution?

The solution to this problem is the creation of a new department.  This new department is a called an Internal Content Marketing Agency. An internal content marketing agency helps a company generate demand through customer content production.  This department produces content in enough quantity and quality to stimulate latent demand.   

 

How does a CEO create an Internal Content Marketing Agency?

3 Steps.

 

Step #1  Department Strategy

The CEO needs to make several strategic decisions.  For example, how much demand do you need to create to make the number? Which target audiences do you want to pursue? What are the trigger events you can manufacture that propel prospects into the market? Our firm answers 20 strategic questions when we build this for CEOs.

 

Step #2 Department Design

You need an org chart, headcount plan, compensation plans, and role descriptions for this department.  CEO’s need to determine how much they want to invest in this new department.  For example, should these be full time or part time jobs?  How many copywriters, art directors, editors, SEO experts, social media team members, etc.? SBI builds out 14 department design elements when executing this for CEOS.

 

Step #3 Department Execution

The output of this department will be public so it better be good. CEOs need to tell this department what he/she wants to see.  How many of each of these do you need: blog posts, webinars, ebooks, white papers, case studies, infographics, etc?  The list is endless.  What is best for you? Our firm scores 17 forms of content against its ability to stimulate latent demand.

 

An 8 Step CEO Call to Action

 

  • Determine if you can hit the number servicing active demand only.
  • If not, use this tool from the Make The Number seminars to calculate how much stimulated latent demand you need.
  • Get a fresh copy of the marketing budget.
  • Reallocate dollars being spent with marketing service providers towards  an Internal Content Marketing Agency.
  • Get an updated copy of the marketing department’s org chart.
  • Calculate how many people are working on tasks other than stimulating latent demand.
  • Reallocate these people to the new Internal Content Marketing Agency.
  • With your people and money resources now identified, execute steps 1-3 above.

 

If you are doing this for the first time, email me at greg.alexander@salesbenchmarkindex.com. You probably have many questions. For instance, do I need to re-org? Or, can I use the staff I have today? Or, how disruptive will this be?  Don’t panic.  This is doable.  There is an answer to every question. There is no reason to pay dumb taxes here.  We can help you pull this off for you and stay budget neutral. This is a reallocation exercise.

 

CEO Demand Generation

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.

 

He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.

 

Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.

 

He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.

 

Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.

 

He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.

 

Video:

 

Transforming the Sales Organization inside Fortune 500 Companies

Greg Alexander and John Gleason, Chief Sales Officer of Ryder, talk about the unique challenges of transforming a sales team inside of very large enterprises.

 

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Greg Alexander and Tony Capucille, Chief Sales Officer at Heartland Payment Systems, discuss the pros and cons of the 7 B2B sales organizational models.

 

Build a team of A Players Inside the Sales Organization

Greg Alexander and Todd Cione, Chief Revenue Officer at Rackspace, talk about hiring, onboarding, and developing exceptional sales talent.

 

Articles

 

Fill Every Role on Your Team with an A Player

In this article, Greg Alexander makes the case for applying the TopGrading methodology to the sales team, and outlines how to do so.

 

What CEOs Need to Know About Their Marketing Strategies

In this article, Greg Alexander and Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, discuss the role the CEO plays in crafting a company’s marketing strategy.

 

What CEOs are Looking for in a Sales Leader

In this article, Greg Alexander and George Norton, leader of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Sales Officer practice, discuss what CEOs need in the chief sales officer role.

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