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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistMon, Apr 30, 2018 11 min read

Why Your Agency Should Love Demand Generation But Not Be A Demand Generation Agency

demand generation
Your Mission Is Results, Not Labels, Approaches Or Methodology

demand generationI was at a conference last week and asked three different marketing experts from the agency world to describe demand generation. I got three different answers. One talked about awareness, another mentioned leads and the last one was “all-in” on sales opportunities.

We then started talking about the tactics that go into demand generation. Some were mentioned over and over again, with account-based marketing (ABM), paid search, content syndication, email campaigns and lead nurturing seeming to be what most people consider as tactics in a demand gen effort.

Here’s what I wonder: Why wouldn’t a demand generation agency work on your website? Why wouldn’t the agency do organic search engine optimization? Why wouldn’t a demand gen agency be working with you to drive new customers and revenue?

If today’s buyers want a seamless click-to-close marketing and sales experience with your company, why wouldn’t you want a digital agency to help you with everything you need to do to get more people to hire your company?

Here’s why you want your digital agency to do more than just demand gen.

Your Prospects’ Buyer Journey

Your prospects don’t care what agency or agencies you use. Their experience with your company transcends how you configure your marketing and sales delivery. But to make the right decision around the type of agency, you should consider this.

If you think your prospects who you just attempted to connect with from your demand gen agency’s ABM campaign are not going to check out your website to see what you’re all about, you are mistaken. If you think they are not looking on LinkedIn to see what you’re posting, not checking reviews on G2 Crowd, not asking their friends in similar positions and not coming back to your website to see educational content you publish, you are wildly mistaken.

This new prospect journey is highly complicated and has multiple stages. It's driven 95% by marketing and requires tight orchestration at every single touch point. The funnel is no more. The new buyer journey has no gravity pulling prospects down. Due to this complexity, having multiple agencies that only do pieces of the process makes it much more difficult to generate leads, sales opportunities and new customers.

Strategy And Planning

demand generation strategyThe complexity is obvious. Ask any of your prospects and they will tell you. The decision-making processes they’re executing involve more people, take longer and require much more from their chosen partners. This means you’re going to need a more comprehensive strategy across the entire buyer journey delivery.

We see this all of the time when tactics are executed in isolation. For example, the beautiful website that is built and delivered without search and conversion taken into consideration. How would you feel about a $100,000 website that won’t rank or create a single lead? This is not a fantasy; this happens every day. We’ve seen it over and over again.

Wait, there's more! How about the account-based marketing campaign that doesn’t have the prospects’ questions as the basis for the content designed to drive engagement with new contacts? What about the ABM campaign that doesn’t take search into consideration when the content is created?

I could do this all day. How about the pay-per-click (PPC) campaign that doesn’t have conversion strategy on the landing page (don’t ever send a PPC-campaign-generated prospect to your home page)? What about the PPC campaign that doesn’t use the right content offer to drive those new visitors to the landing page?

Looking holistically at the buyer journey demands that you orchestrate your entire marketing and sales execution. Every tactic, every touch point and every story you’re going to tell these prospects needs to be strategically designed, tested, launched, optimized and adjusted on a regular basis. This is hard work and requires experienced executers who have developed methodology and tools to do this work. It's this work, day in and day out, that produces results.

Silos And Agencies

One of the biggest challenges preventing companies from getting revenue results from their marketing and sales efforts is the silos that still exist internally and in agencies. How can any of your marketing work if corporate communications controls your website? How can you influence anyone to feel safe using your company if you can’t create regular content that Google can rank? How can you create a compelling lead nurturing campaign without the right offers and the landing pages to support those offers? You can’t. Your program is going to underperform.

You have to try and break these down, either internally or through your use of agencies. Since most people still report missing their revenue goals, perhaps this is one of the reasons. Stop using multiple agencies and start using all of the tools across the entire buyer journey to help your prospects realize you're the best choice for their specific challenges.

Control And Results

This isn’t about you. This is about us. But by the time we’re done with this section, I hope you see how this might ultimately be about you. We’ve always felt like we should be accountable for results with our clients. Regardless of what they hired us to do, they expected that to generate revenue. It took us some time, but today we do everything we need to do to generate revenue for them.

If your expectations are results and revenue, then you’re going to want an agency that wants to control all aspects of the buyer journey experience. We feel strongly that we can’t be responsible for results if we don’t control all aspects of the effort. You should feel the same. If you want results, you need control and reach into all of the tools in the marketing and sales toolkit.

It's time to stop using labels to define what agencies do. It’s time to stop arguing among ourselves about what is marketing and what is not. It’s time to stop limiting how agencies help clients. It’s time to stop taking the easy road and only doing one or two parts of the puzzle, especially if you want to help transform how your clients generate revenue.

To help make my point, let’s talk about attribution and the challenges associated with it. Everyone wants to know what tactic (and in turn, what dollar) produces that lead, sales opportunity and new customer. But this is the holy grail in marketing. It's difficult to do attribution. Is it the first touch or is it the last touch before conversion? Does it matter? One of the challenges is how your prospects make decisions.

Attribution is so hard because it's rarely one tactic that generated the initial inquiry. Ask a prospect how they heard about you or why they’re converting, and they all report a variety of touches. Again, I ask, does it matter? What you’re seeing is that it takes a portfolio of touches to encourage a prospect to act.

If your demand generation agency only handles some of these touches, how is that optimal? Instead, consider an agency that can generate awareness, use content and web to turn that awareness into leads, nurture those leads into sales opportunities and then work intimately with sales to continue that educational experience so those sales opportunities close quickly and more frequently. This type of agency isn’t going to be satisfied until your company is beating your revenue goals month over month. Isn’t that the type of agency you want on your side?

Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Experience, Methodology And Insights!

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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