Last month I had the opportunity to be alongside our CEO, Christopher Doran, as we presented the webinar “How to Craft a Strategic Demand Gen Plan for Pardot.” My favorite part of presenting on any webinar is the Q&A. It is where you get to interact with the audience and I believe it is valuable for all who listen as many have similar questions and all are trying to improve their approach to demand generation and drive more value from their Pardot investment.
This webinar was no different and we had so many questions come in that we ran out of time to get to them all. However, we did let the audience know that we would be responding to their questions in a blog post which has led me to write this post.
If by chance you missed the webinar and want to view it before you read on, you can find it here. If after sitting through the webinar you find that you have some questions of your own, feel free to email them to me at email@example.com and I will be happy to reply and who knows, it may turn into another demand generation blog post.
With the background of today’s post now explained, here are a few of the questions that came in during the webinar and my answers to them.
Q. What is the difference between a time-based email and a nurture-based email?
A. This question was in response to me saying that “true nurturing is not a time-based email, it is based on the behavior of the buyer”. I made this statement as I hear many marketers who describe their lead nurturing in time-based increments i.e. “We send a nurture email every two weeks”.
The difference lies in what we are looking to accomplish. In demand generation, we are looking to create a discussion or dialogue with our buyers. The way this is done is through behavior or trigger-based nurturing programs which do not operate on a predefined timeline. These nurtures operate based on the behavior of the buyer. If the buyer takes an action (downloads content, fills out a webform, attends an event) you reply with a follow-up email or outreach, thus creating the dialogue.
You cannot create a dialogue by only emailing once every one or two weeks as there is a long gap in the conversation and it does not engage the buyer(s) as they are moving through their buyer’s journey.
Q. How similar is demand generation strategy and buyer persona strategy?
A. It will be extremely difficult if not impossible to have a successful demand generation strategy without buyer personas. Personas are necessary as it creates an archetype of the ideal buyer of your product and service. Your personas should be an accurate description of:
- Their corporate role and the role they play in the buying process
- Their buying motivations & buying objectives (what issues they are trying to solve)
- How they interact with other committee members
- Their content and channel preferences
In addition to defining personas, defining the buyer’s journey and their role throughout is also necessary.
These two things are foundational for a demand generation strategy for Pardot, but their own personas are not a strategy. In addition to personas and a defined journey, a demand generation strategy also includes:
- A buyer aligned content architecture
- Lead management definitions and processes
- A common set of defined metrics
- Continual optimization
So to answer the question directly, personas are foundational to the strategy but on their own do not create a demand generation strategy.
Q. Are personas the same as sales targets?
A. I believe that in most organizations they are not the same, but they should be. Far too often marketing creates personas with little to no input from sales and it is a big failure point. As part of the persona development process, sales needs to be involved and should be a key source that marketing looks to for insight.
When developing account-based marketing (ABM) approach, it is imperative that sales be involved in the account selection process as they play an active role in any ABM program.
If you really want to see success in your demand generation program with Pardot, involve sales and ensure that they are part of the persona development process and the personas align with their targets. It will be on the things that help drive alignment.
I enjoyed the opportunity here and on the webinar to answer the questions as I love seeing marketers succeed. If you have questions about your demand generation strategy or how to implement Pardot, I would be happy to chat with you. Rather than email, use this link to put some time on my calendar and bring your team along with all of their questions. I hope to connect with you soon.