An Introduction to Strategic Demand Generation Planning

Let’s face it. Demand generation is a big topic. It is also vital to the lifeblood of your organization’s growth. It is the place where all of the players in the marketing department come together. Communications, branding, operations. It is also the place where tools like Pardot and Salesforce shine. But when marketing departments are asked what the hardest part of demand generation is the answer usually starts with…

Planning and executing to that plan.

That doesn’t mean that some organizations don’t plan well and others are pretty darn good at executing. This is true in our private lives too. We may do a great job of creating our annual goals on January 1st and then going at it hard in Q1. By Q2 we are running hard but rarely reviewing our annual goals. If for some reason our management team asks us how we are performing to our annual goals in, let’s say, October, it leaves us scrambling to pull data out of Salesforce and Pardot to support our results.

I firmly believe in a 5 step process that you may find laborious at some point but I believe they are the keys to success. Again, not just in your business endeavors.

ANALYZE -> PLAN -> EXECUTE -> REVIEW -> REPEAT

This may not be earth-shattering to you. You may have heard it in many different formats. But how are you doing with it? What does this look like on paper and in practice for your endeavors? Does everyone in your department or your organization have a clear vision of exactly what this looks like?

In future posts in this series, we will dig into the details and the steps in each of these but for now, the key is to lock these in and keep them simple. If you build out each of these pieces and have trouble remembering which spreadsheet or slide deck certain data is on then I would propose you are doing it wrong. If you can’t articulate it without visual aids then you might need to go back to the drawing board.

What do I propose are involved with each step? Here are my down and dirty;

Analyze

  • What do our customers say is the value we bring to them?
  • Where do our customers currently come from?
  • What does our customer journey look like?
  • What do we need to do to be successful?

Plan

  • How we generate leads
  • How we nurture leads
  • How we convert those leads
  • What content and activities are involved in doing those three things?
  • What are we doing to keep current customers engaged and maximizing revenue?

Execute

  • Doing the “How’s”
  • Daily and weekly tactical planning to knock things off of the list, strategically
  • Coordinating with all stakeholders to be on the same page
  • Actually doing the work, creating the content, setting up Pardot landing pages, Pardot email templates, and Pardot Engagement Studio programs

Review

  • Being strategic about our reporting; measuring what matters
  • Put mechanisms in place to review the reporting and drive action from it
  • Share results, promote the victories, assess the failures
  • Ask the question, are we improving ROI?

Repeat

  • Continually review new trends in technology and processes
  • Implement what will help, laugh and the ones that are silly
  • Keep doing the good things, daily – new is cool but continuing to do the stuff that works = $$
  • Look for areas to expand and repeat what is working there

Lots to think about, right? It takes time and effort, focus, and passion to dig into these things. None of it is done overnight and none is done without the effort of the whole team and outside sources. If you are struggling with where to start or struggling with keeping it going it may be time to bring in outside help. Let us know if we can be that resource. As Pardot consultants, we can help in setting up Pardot and implementing your marketing automation campaigns.

Next time: Analyze – Where do we start – How do we know when we are done?