How to Build a Rock Solid Demand Generation Engine – Part 2


This is the part 2 of the two part blog series called “How to build a rock solid demand generation engine”. You can read the part 1 here or click the links below for each steps.

Here is a list of the key fundamentals of building a solid demand generation engine covered in this series:

Fundamental #1. Customer centricity (link to part 1)

Fundamental# 2. Phases of demand generation (link to part 1)

Fundamental #3. Building the right team

Fundamental #4. Infrastructure and tools

Fundamental #5. Analytics and data integration

So let’s get started..

Fundamental #3. Building the right team: If someone were to ask me what is the single most influential factor for my success, I will not hesitate to say my teams. Building the right team is the key to success for almost all great companies. Think Sergey and Larry from Google or Ub Iwerks (Mickey Mouse create) and Roy Disney. There are many courses and trainings available on building effective teams, but my favorite one is John Maxwell’s “17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork“. John Maxwell in this puts it very well: “individuals play the game but teams win championships.”

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Building the right team starts with hiring the right people. I follow a simple three-part formula when hiring people for my team:

  • They have a story to tell: We all have many stories to tell but only few can effectively communicate or make others part of our story. Winners understand this unique skill set and use it to their advantage. The ability to tell stories improves the chance of converting dreams to reality. This may sound philosophical, but it is time tested as you read about great leaders and learn how stories make them different.
  • They are a culture fit: Every organization has a unique work culture. Some organizations are colorful, some put strong efforts on employee development and some are plain corporate. Individuals who enjoy free flowing autonomy will not be able to survive too long in a rigid process driven organization. Similarly, individuals who enjoy corporate culture will feel overwhelmed and helpless in a fast-paced startup. It doesn’t matter how competent the individual is if he or she doesn’t have an affinity to the culture of the company they are interviewing for. The same rule applies for those seeking jobs.
  • They possess leadership potential (team or domain leadership): Leadership simply is the ability to influence others. Individuals who can influence peers, direct reports and leaders are bound to be more successful. These individuals drive new initiatives, deliver faster results and are strong change managers.

Once you hire the right people you want to make sure you answer the following questions to increase engagement and results:

  • Have you given them enough information about their role and responsibilities?
  • Have you set the right expectations on their quarterly or annual goals, objectives and deliverables?
  • Do they have a fair understanding of the company vision, objectives, protocols and organization structure?
  • Do they have autonomy to grow their programs?
  • Do you take time to recognize performance and provide realtime feedback?
  • Have you provided them ideas or information on the career growth?

Fundamental #4. Infrastructure and tools

A marketer cannot function without the tools, and tools play an important role in a demand leader’s life. I think before we dive into the tool discussion we need to talk about the marketing operation infrastructure.

In larger organizations, the marketing operations or technology team is responsible for the infrastructure. In smaller organization, the demand generation team owns the responsibility. There will always be a dotted line connection to the Business Intelligence (BI) group so storage and retrieval of the data.

As a demand generation leader, you must first identify the needs and objectives of your organization and work with the marketing operations and other groups to build the infrastructure to solve this needs.

When I started my first demand gen project at my former employer (about 7 years ago) there were barely any tools outside of CRM and web analytics. So I went on to build a business case and aligned it to my marketing and analytics tools wish list. I made sure I got support of my peers and leaders from other departments in marketing as this always works.

Some of the questions to address when thinking about marketing tools are:

  • What are the biggest opportunity areas in your organizations? i.e. quantification of conversion, improvement in sales/orders, incremental revenue.
  • Do you understand your customers across all channels, devices and journeys?
  • Do you have the luxury to build your own marketing cloud or will it be easier to buy it? What are the key components of your marketing cloud and what’s missing?
  • What additional capabilities will you have to improve business outcomes with the new tools?
  • How can you improve your customer experience across all demand generation assets?
  • Does the vendor offer integration capabilities with your existing services?

When you answer these questions, you will have more clarity on the needs and want, which will help you with prioritization.

I don’t have insight on your organizations needs but here is a typical category of tools you may need to build your marketing cloud:

  • Digital Analytics (formerly known as web analytics)
  • Marketing automation
  • Landing page testing or ab testing
  • Customer experience analytics
  • Search marketing tools
  • Media management
  • Data integration hub
  • Predictive and big data analytics capabilities (SPSS, SAP HANA, R programming, Hadoop)
  • CMS

Fundamental #5. Analytics and data integration

Analytics is one of my most favorite topics, and this blog has hundreds of posts on analytics and data which you can refer. Analytics and data is a core ingredient of the demand generation success.

Today, there is no shortage of data, and it comes in all shapes and size. We have digital analytics, CRM, finance, lead scoring, commerce, social, search and variety of other data sources. It is important for those pursuing to become demand generation leaders to learn and own the demand gen analytics.

Econsultancy, a leading research agency reports 70%+ of US buying decisions include the digital footprints (mobile and social is included). Which means the data and the analytics responsibility extends well beyond the pure digital transactions. They also have to play a key role in helping understand the buying process of non digital transactions.


Source: IBM C-Suite Study – CMO Infographic

As per the CMO study conducted by IBM, 94% of CMOs believe advanced analytics will play a significant role in helping them reach their goals, yet 82% say their organizations are under prepared to capitalize on this data explosion. This validates the importance of data for business and specifically for marketing.

This puts an additional pressure on the demand gen teams to advance their analytics capabilities from descriptive to predictive and ultimately to be prescriptive.

What do I mean by these terms? Let’s quickly review these terms in the analytics maturity model.


Analytics maturity model (Source: IBM)

Descriptive Analytics: This is the baseline analysis which covers most basic analytics activities such as digital analytics, customer experience analytics, customer segmentation, simple ROI analysis and basic marketing attribution (click based credit assignment).

Predictive Analytics: Using existing data to predict future values or outcomes fall under the predictive analysis. Predictive analytics can be as simple as using linear regression to predicting marketing budget (dependent variable) based on sales and conversion data (independent variables). It can also be complex such as predicting customer churn or growth rate.

Prescriptive Analytics: Prescriptive piece is where the output from analytics is put to work in real time. For example: product or content recommendation engines can use data from customer behavior and commerce tools to provide relevant and timely recommendations. Real time customer engagement tools such as mobile app can be customized using analytics output.

To summarize, demand generation is a big undertaking, but if you have a plan in place and follow the steps above the chances of success increases dramatically.

Now, its your turn to put this in action and provide feedback.

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