Friday, May 20, 2011

Generating Sales-Ready Leads is Essential

How do you define "sales ready" leads?

An inquiry does not equal a lead, nor does a suspect or prospect.

An early stage lead is marketing accepted, but needs nurturing before it can be "sales ready".

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Business And Basketball Are Similar

Business And Basketball Are Similar
We're well into this year's NBA playoffs.  This got me to thinking about the similarities between leading a basketball team and leading a business.

You need a great coach, manager and architect with the vision to structure the team and design a style of play that integrates cohesive rhythm on offense with intensive continuity on defense through players who work as a seamless unit and execute through teamwork and communication.

Ensure understanding by breaking down the play [not the same as micro-managing] and use candor to translate goals into a set of individual responsibilities and a series of specific steps.

You're always recruiting multidimensional, dexterous, skilled players that fit the same style of play each season.  They must have strong fundamentals: shooting, passing, dribbling, instinctively create balance on the floor, move the ball, move without the ball, exploit mismatches, know when to dish and when to take high percentage shots.

Super stars share the spotlight with complementary role players e.g. defensive stopper.  The right approach to practice optimizes the chances to win through timely hoops at the end of the game.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Demand Generation" is a Misnomer

Why do marketers call it "demand generation"? They're not creating demand.

Check your microeconomics text to be reminded of the difference between a "change in demand" Vs. a "change in the quantity demanded".  This has nothing to do with what the marketing automation vendors are espousing.

Instead, they should be calling it "lead generation".  That's the best they can hope for. Either of two situations determines demand and the quantity demanded.
  1. The environment [social, economic, governmental regulations, technology, and competition] is what drives and enables demand for commodity products for buyers who are employing traditional deductive problem solving techniques e.g. here's the pain caused by my problem and here's the root cause of the pain.  After evaluating potential solutions, they find the best price/performance fit. Marketers influence the quantity demanded based on their pricing and campaign tactics.
  2. For those companies who are lucky enough to have a new paradigm e.g. Apple iPad, potential customers can be persuaded to find the funding to purchase them based on deductive reasoning e.g. here's a new idea or product; what can I do with it to improve my current position?  Pricing is probably elastic and producers can associate their capacity with the quantity demanded based on how they price the product.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Demand Generation Crates New Categories

New ideas become reality through effective demand generation programs.  Entrepreneurs introduce their products to early adopters who find the financial, human and complementary resources to "make it happen".

If their idea catches on, they generate early stage demand for a new category of products.  Then, when it looks like the coast is clear, companies who employ a "category marketing" strategy add their own versions to the category.  This helps the category to grow faster than if innovators try to do it all themselves.

Consider what happened in the early 80's. The Apple II jump started the PC market to reach critical mass and then the IBM PC created a mega-category through its captive corporate market. Tektronix kept its proprietary hi-res graphics technology to itself. Both Apple and Tektronix eventually lost their introductory stage, share leading position of relatively small categories to "standards" applied by everyone else in the growth stage of their respective mega-categories.

Tablet computing is a recent example.  After false starts by many tech companies, Apple finally found the key to success.  As its iPad moves from introduction to growth stage, it opens the door to versions from other companies.  It remains to be seen as to whether Apple retains leadership in this new category.

As a category evolves, total demand shifts to the right as "early majority" pragmatists justify their investments on ROI and TCO benefits.

Once a category is created, however, companies hire sales teams to ensure that they are filling up their capacity with orders.  This is when "demand generation becomes a misnomer".

Thanks for reading.

INTAgLIO Business Solutions
John J. Bernardi
BizD Change Agent
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