Measurement & Instrumentation

How to revitalize your demand management process

by Austin Pullmann 19 Mar 2012
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It’s the rare B2B marketer who hasn’t had to listen to sales reps complain about the quality of leads being provided. And sales forces tend to be underwhelmed by the volume of leads too. So what to do? Ramping up demand generation efforts makes little sense if the lead management process (i.e., what happens to it when it comes in the door) is fundamentally broken. Conversely, refining lead scoring and assignment won’t help much if demand generation is based on anaemic contacts database.

Sometimes getting more of the right leads to Sales necessitates starting anew. The Growth Team Membership™ (GTM) recently profiled Kronos, Inc., a workforce management software and services company, on its overhaul of demand management. Here are some key lessons we learned from Kronos:

  • It’s a (big) team sport: It is common sense to set up a cross-functional team when dealing with major initiatives, and fixing demand management is no exception. You need to think beyond including the obvious groups such as Marketing and Sales. Demand management touches multiple functions in one way or another, and involving them is crucial to identifying and root causing the challenges. Finance, IT and web teams were key parts of the taskforce Kronos established
  • Speak the Same Language: Ever tried to Google some of the following terms: demand management, lead generation, or marketing automation? The great diversity in definitions you find is indicative of the confusion over terminology that often occurs within companies and between the functions involved. It is absolutely imperative for all stakeholders to examine their demand management lexicon and establish a shared set of definitions moving forward. Kronos defined demand management as the process of identifying and engaging prospects, converting them to leads, and moving them through the sales pipeline
  • What Matters Most: It is not always obvious what issues you need to tackle first. Some marketers focus on technology and while there is invariably some new technology that appears to be the solution, ignoring process is quite a risky move. The better approach is to employ a comprehensive framework to assess where you have performance gaps today and then determine what your desired state is—this then drives your technology requirements amongst other things. Kronos used a simple people, process, technology framework to guide its evaluation of the lead management system
  • Improve Lead Velocity: Even the best lead in the world degrades quickly, so it is imperative to get it into the hands of sales quickly. Marketers have to determine how process, technology and the hand off to Sales will work in concert to deliver leads promptly. Employing Marketing Automation Platforms will speed lead processing. Lead development (going from a Marketing Captured Lead to a Marketing Qualified Lead) is often bedevilled by issues that undermine the whole system. To solve this, Kronos created a lead development group that qualifies the leads. Employing service level agreements helps set expectations for this group
  • Right Content, Right Time: Prospects exist at all stages of the buying cycle, so Marketing needs to create the right mix of content/offers to capture them. Prospects at the beginning stage of the buying cycle tend to behave more passively (e.g., downloading white papers or case studies), whereas later-stage prospects are more active (e.g., will participate in live events). You need to develop a content strategy that spans across the buying cycle, as well as being tailored to your target segments

Revisiting your demand management approach with these principles in mind is no easy task, but marketing leadership ignores the function’s contribution to the sales pipeline at its own peril.

Learn how Kronos revitalized demand management

Kronos’ Corporate Marketing faced the core challenge we outlined at the outset: the need to provide sales with higher quality and higher volume of leads. Accordingly, marketing led a thorough overhaul of demand generation and lead management.

  • Attend our webinar on Tuesday, March 27 featuring Kronos’ best practice and Q&A with Steve Gray, VP of Corporate Marketing, and Director for Corporate Marketing Operations, Susan Paugh
  • Download a three-page excerpt from GTM’s 14-page Best Practice Guidebook, Implementing an Effective Demand Management Process

Contact the authors: Austin Pullmann ( and Keith O’Brien (

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