A Decade in Demand Generation: I’ve Been Doing it Wrong The Entire Time + What I am Doing About It
Director of Demand Generation
My roles have included demand generation for over a decade.
I’ve been doing it wrong the entire time.
Okay, now that I’ve made that conclusion public, it’s time to save face a little.
I know you're in marketing, but for those who aren't, the #1 goal of anyone in demand generation is to get a lead to their digital asset, a website or landing page, etc. to have them fill out a form.
My success as a marketer was tied to the number of leads produced. I’ve focused all my efforts on learning the different ways I can create a flywheel to produce the most leads possible.
It wasn’t always quantity over quality, we highly targeted our audience to produce the best leads possible for our sales team to close. But, it was a numbers game, we had to find a way to produce the right number of leads because we knew our conversion metrics.
This is where I’ve been doing it wrong all this time.
The Demand Generation World
For more than a decade I’ve focused on a demand generation strategy. I’ve refined my acquisition strategies to understand social media - yeah, I go back to before social media - podcasts and all the different options in between.
I’ve spent considerable time understanding data acquisition, data management, and using data to drive the marketing machine.
I’ve focused on marketing automation solutions that pump out lead scoring campaigns to nurture leads.
I’ve studied the benefits of Pay Per Click ads and Search Engine Optimization to build awareness for brands. I’ve tried to force the square peg into the round hole and teach myself copywriting. I still struggle with copywriting.
I’ve focused on learning category design and niche building. I’ve read a ton of leadership books since I really enjoy learning about leadership.
These are all the things leaders have to understand in the demand generation space.
But, as I’ve said. I’ve been doing it wrong the entire time.
Where I Went Wrong
All along I’ve focused on acquisition strategy and understanding my customers so I can write the right copy to engage them. Once they’re engaged, I need to covert them or get them to provide me with their data so I can dump them into a nurturing campaign.
In that nurturing campaign, I am betting that at some point they’ll “raise their hands” to engage our sales team.
If they don’t, the lead scoring methodology will assign them a score based on their actions. Once they open enough emails, click enough links, or read enough blog posts their score will grow and they’ll be handed off to our sales team as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).
Wondering what is wrong with that?
All of the efforts in our nurturing campaign relied on one medium, emails.
If the lead opens our emails and engages our content, we’re good.
If not, well, we have to find another lead. Thus, the flywheel perspective.
So, no matter how good my acquisition strategies were the rest was really out of my control. As my leads inboxes started filling up, I either had to produce more content to email them or hope they saw enough value in our previous content to come to my website on their own accord when it was time for their decision.
That is so wrong.
I've spoon-fed content into an email for too long.
I have to produce a massive amount of content to engage leads only to send them more content via a medium that they can just delete rather than open.
I know, with a solid subject line strategy I can improve my odds that they open the email.
I can write the most engaging initial paragraph to entice them.
But, what if it is just the medium?
What if there was another way?
A Better Way
Okay, part of why I’ve been doing it wrong for so long is there wasn’t a better way.
True, social media and other platforms provide another angle to get leads attention. But, if they’re not looking to talk to our sales teams right now they're not going to follow our content. Plus, there are algorithms. Need I say more.
We cannot just hope they come back to our social handles to read the engaging anecdotes we have to actually push market them to try to get their attention.
Luckily, another way has been created.
Yep, text messaging.
It is time to start making it mandatory for a lead to provide you with their cell phone number right along with their name and email address. Stop making your forms fluffy.
I know what you’re probably thinking - yeah right no one wants to give you their phone number.
You’d also be surprised to know people do it. We're close to 2 million conversations with our customers using messaging as the medium.
It's work so well we’ve even started using it for our lead generation efforts.
The Gold: Old Leads
Let’s further dig into this new concept with a use case I know you have.
You’re in marketing, you have 10’s of thousands of leads that came in through your fantastic marketing efforts only to not mature through your lead score. That is so common, I can jump to the conclusion you have this problem.
Those leads were highly targeted and appeared to be a perfect lead. Only, they didn’t want to learn more now. They didn’t want to talk to sales.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have an opportunity to engage them again?
We thought that too, so we did something about it.
We reached out to our leads who failed to engage our marketing in more than 90 days.
These are the leads who didn’t visit our website, open an email, or take any action with us.
The most dead of a dead lead.
Yet, now, we have 7 closed transactions from this list.
We had 30 demos in under two weeks.
Our RESPONSE rate was over 50%.
A Good Chatbot
That is where a good chatbot comes in.
If you’ve been reading our content lately you’ve likely noticed we hate #Badchatbots. They are mostly the popup-on-your-website rule-based chatbots that make you go through a multiple-choice test before just giving them the same information you would in a form.
This is not our chatbot.
Aisa, our chatbot, is a sales assistant that engages, nurtures, and qualifies online leads through messaging.
She is a chatbot, but she uses conversational AI to engage with your leads and she does it with empathy, emojis, and even an intentional typo to make her more humanlike. She is the difference between what I’ve done for the past 10 years and what I’ll do going forward.
I now also have another data source to strengthen my understanding of our ideal customers.
Yes, I will still have to create the content to engage leads to get them into my flywheel. But, what I won’t have to do is rely on one medium any longer. Now, I have Aisa to help qualify the leads I hand off to our sales team.
It is not just old leads, Aisa will work with brand new leads to engage them within two minutes to nurture and qualify. She can do the heavy lifting for our sales team so they can focus on what they do best, close.