When it comes to building your demand generation program, questions we get all the time from our clients are — “Why aren’t our demand gen efforts working?” “How can we make our demand generation efforts more effective?” As Fractional CMO for our clients, we tackle this challenge on the regular.
Demand gen can be a tough nut to crack, and one that we know lots of B2B companies struggle with. To try to answer it, we went straight to the Growth Street A Team’s Demand Generation Expert, Meagan French. We talked about the pitfalls and what she sees as the number one thing companies are doing wrong and how to fix it. Let’s dig into the interview.
So Meagan, what is the number one demand generation pitfall that you see clients face? How do they fix it?
The number one demand generation pitfall, by far, is under-investing in brand. In the last 5-10 years, we’ve seen the pendulum shift to demand attribution. You know — the “if you can’t track it or calculate the ROI on it, don’t do it,” that kind of thing.
In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of companies — both with strong and weak brands. For the strong brands, what I have found is that the brand is the “why.” Why should we trust your company to deliver on what it says it’s going to, and why should we buy from you?
If you’re in a crowded market, the question is “how do you differentiate yourself from all of your competitors?” If you’re in an innovative and disruptive market, it’s “why should we buy your service or your software as opposed to doing the status quo, why should we trust you?”
Early in my career, I worked with a SaaS project management system company. If you didn’t know, project management is a very defined space with a lot of competitors. We invested a lot in traditional demand generation — that meant lots of AdWords ads, lots of SEO, and basically lots of stuff that we could very easily track the ROI of. But the feedback that we got from the sales team was essentially this: “No one knows who we are. We’re not even in the conversation for project management at all! People know who our competitors are, they might click on an ad for us, but they don’t know why they should trust us.” Ultimately, that company didn’t do great. Why? Because we under-invested at the very top of the funnel, and under-invested in brand and building trust over time.
Now, I think that there needs to be such a balance between brand and demand generating activities. I’ve also found that when you have a strong brand, it’s like the wind is at your back. Customers already know you, so the sales team doesn’t have to work so very hard to build trust during the sales process, because people already trust you. And if you have a very weak brand, it’s the opposite. The wind is going to be in your face the whole time, and your sales team is going to be reinventing the wheel with every single conversation that they have with potential customers.
So, basically, investment in brand is definitely very, very important in the demand generation process!
The Bottom Line
The role of brand in your demand gen strategy is fundamental. Your go-to-market strategy is all about creating efficiency. That’s what brand is here to do — create differentiation and efficiency and consistency. All that should translate into marketing, and then efficiency going into the market.
Many thanks to Meagan for sharing her expertise and helping us think about demand gen pitfalls and how to fix them! We can’t wait to come back with more chats with A Team members about our clients’ most pressing challenges and how we’re solving them as Fractional CMO and, in some cases, the full-stack marketing team.