October 11, 2011
“If you think demand management and lead nurturing is just automating your process to create, track and passing leads over to sales — you’d be wrong.”
This is an edict from Kosten Metreweli, CMO of Zeus Technology*, during a presentation he gave to a group of CMOs and VPs of marketing in Forrester’s Technology Marketing Council regarding his approach to generating demand and lead nurturing. For those who don’t know Zeus — the organization is now part of Riverbed Technology and is a cloud-based elastic application solution that helps IT organizations deliver fast, secure, and scalable web applications with the economics of cloud (ex: BBC, Disney, and Domino’s Pizza).
Kosten acknowledges the importance of a solid marketing automation infrastructure, but emphasized that effective technology marketing professionals also need to:
· Take ownership for ALL revenues (yes, all)
· Have tight alignment with sales (not just the leadership)
· Study, define, and evangelize the target personas (don’t admire them just within your office)
· Map the content strategy to the funnel — from prospect — to deal — to customer success (oh, and by persona too)
· Build effective “sales plays”, not collateral or presentations (yes, really)
· Track, track, and evangelize progress (with all stakeholders)
You’re already doing this? Great, keep at it! If you’re not, here are three keys to his (and Zeus’) success that Kosten shared with us:
· Really own the revenue with sales (not just part). To have any credibility with sales and other executives, Kosten believes that smart CMOs shouldn’t be afraid to wager their pay on the performance of the company. If they don’t, they stay as VPs of marketing and don’t get the opportunity to truly have a seat at the executive table.
· Know who you’re targeting and why. As a cloud-based solution, Kosten acknowledges that the buyers he’s targeting are different than traditional hardware-focused enterprise teams. His advice to CMOs marketing cloud-based solutions: Be brave. Model personas for the ideal buyer at the “center of influence and decision-making” for cloud decisions, and don’t be afraid to base the messaging around them. It’s tempting to tack toward your competition’s messaging, but that will only dilute your own. Know that those target buyers won’t likely look like your current set of customers. Buyers seeking cloud solutions want their business problems solved and can care little about their corporate IT road map.
· Train your salespeople to avoid the product/feature “kung fu.” As an outcome of his persona work, Kosten trained the Zeus sale force to use “sales plays,” not collateral or presentations. These sales plays were conversational dialogues the sales team uses to engage in intelligent and meaningful discussions with customers. The sales plays emphasize listening and problem solving over tactical product and feature “kung fu”. Also, instead arming the sales team with brochures and PowerPoint slides, he gives them a whiteboard pen and situational fluency to have conversations around business challenges, not just the technology. Customers expecting canned pitches and whitepapers instead are getting a business partner looking to co-create business solutions, not just selling the latest release. The real payback — Zeus is seeing larger and healthier deals, which is something on the wish list of every business head, CMO, and head of sales these days. Looking to crack the “conversational” code with customers — ditch PowerPoint and train your salespeople to talk and present at a whiteboard.
So as you take stock of where you are with your demand generation and lead nurturing efforts, ask yourself: Are you taking enough ownership for revenue? Are you certain your buyers and the influencers you’re targeting are still the same? Are you doing all you can to help your sales force focus on solving your client’s business problems versus driving smaller technology-specific transactions?
* Riverbed Technology announced its acquisition of Zeus Technology in July, 2011.