Recently, Donald Neske featured a blog post titled Is It Time to Rethink Your Demand Creation Plans? YES!) in his Demand Guru Blog. While he makes a number of good points in this post, the key take-away for me is that B2B demand generation programs for complex solutions are not a quick fix for a sales team trying to close opportunities immediately or in the current quarter. Developing a lead generation effort to build an efficient pipeline is a process that takes proper planning and time, and the process needs to begin (and be running) ahead of the need of the sales team.
From a teleprospecting standpoint, one goal is to shorten the sales cycle as much as possible by uncovering prospects with a current need or evaluation. That said, when planning a program for a client with a complex solution, it is important to understand the need to prepare for both short term and long term opportunities, as both will be uncovered. While the short term leads can help meet the immediate needs of the sales team, it is the long term leads that establish future success. It is not uncommon to see the long terms leads actually convert better over time – as the sales team has the time to start a relationship early in the sales process and better understand the prospects need, rather than being a second or third party to engage on an existing evaluation.
The article is a reminder that marketing and sales teams should consider and plan for the