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Salesforce Executive Talks Demand Gen Evolution, Top Channels

Nate Skinner Headshot 1 1In an exclusive interview with Demand Gen Report, Nate Skinner, VP of Marketing for Salesforce Pardot, shares his thoughts on the evolution of demand generation, top channels for success and more. This interview is part of the What's Working In Demand Generation In 2019 Special Report.

Demand Gen Report: How do you think demand generation has evolved over the past few years? Where do you see it going in 2019 and beyond?

Nate Skinner: Now more than ever, marketers are being pressured to prove ROI to help justify marketing budget and spend. According to Gartner, we've reached a point where marketing has more money for technology than any other department and with that comes a shift from quantitative marketing (getting the most clicks) to qualitative marketing (getting the right clicks).

Teams must get smarter about demand generation by testing what’s working. With bigger budgets comes higher expectations for ROI. Historically, marketing has had a bad rep for the spray-and-pray strategy — targeting all people versus the
few qualified leads. Successful demand generation is now about getting the most qualified leads to your website to engage with the brand in a meaningful way. Savvy marketers will always be able to create favorable numbers, but today's teams want to know how many leads were converted and how.

ABM is one of the hottest growing trends, and it happens to be the antithesis of a spray-and-pray approach. The future of marketing is a more personal approach towards leads to create more genuine and impactful interactions with prospects. AI is another emerging technology for demand generation, helping to automate segmentation and drive insights around campaigns to determine the best next steps to convert leads.

DGR: What is important for demand gen success from an organization/process standpoint?

Skinner: Integrated team collaboration and transparency are critical factors in demand generation success. Sales and marketing teams need to be aligned to effectively communicate and empower each department to succeed.

Most organizations understand the importance of both departments needing to be in sync on what metrics to track and measure to drive successful demand generation, but they often haven't agreed on how to define those metrics — how does each department define a qualified lead or conversion? Is it someone who has clicked on the website, or someone that has consistently engaged with several pieces of content? If marketing and sales have different interpretations of what makes a qualified lead, then one of two things will happen: teams may be missing out on qualified leads or creating a bottleneck by capturing too many leads. While technology can augment demand generation, it can only go so far. It’s imperative that cross-collaborative teams actually interact, discuss measurement and define success in order to optimize for the organization's success as a whole.

DGR: What are some of your top tactics/channels for demand generation?

Skinner: I believe the top five tactics or channels for demand generation right now include SEO, email, direct mail, review sites and content marketing.

A stellar SEO strategy helps drive visibility in search engines when prospective customers are looking to solve specific challenges. It's an important top-of-funnel strategy for your business to rank well for keywords your target buyer is searching for.

Though blasting emails no longer works to engage your prospects, email is not dead. The right email sent at the right time to the right buyer is a great approach that nurtures leads through the funnel when done thoughtfully and strategically.

Direct mail, while a more seasoned demand generation strategy, still works in B2B because it can stand out from the noise and overload of information online.

Review sites are a great channel to build credibility and trust in your brand. People look to others for reviews and experiences for lots of purchases, and technology purchases are no different. People also trust experts that evaluate products and services on review sites for objective insight into a brand’s credibility and best fit. However, be aware that converting customers to reviewers can be costly, but worthwhile.

Lastly, content marketing is a critical tactic for driving demand generation. When done effectively, strong content helps educate and inform prospective customers. One way to do this is by creating authentic content that shows the “how to” for buyers and showcases your brand as a helpful resource and thought leader.

DGR: How do you think marketers can enhance their demand generation with ABM?

Skinner: Those same tactics I mentioned earlier are still relevant but can be done with an account-first approach. An account-based strategy helps focus a tailored and high-value approach to demand generation. Coupled with AI, marketers can get automatic insights into more accounts that are also likely to be strategic to focus on — for example, AI can tell you that these additional 20 accounts look very similar to your top 10 accounts, so let's add these to your priorities — providing white space awareness around your account-based strategy. Coupling these approaches can help scale and make your team aware of trends you weren't previously aware of.

DGR: Is there anything else marketers should know?

Skinner: Marketing and sales are better together, and data is the tie that binds these two teams. We're going to continue seeing the shift to one platform, a common data set and having customers at the center.

To learn more about the demand generation channels and tactics marketers plan to prioritize in 2019, download the full report.


What’s Working In Demand Generation In 2019?

Fearless Marketers Rethink Traditional Channels, Test New Tactics To Boost Buyer Interest

As buyers grow more selective with their content consumption and time, generating and maintaining demand is becoming a more elusive task for B2B brands. But fearless marketers are plowing ahead, experimenting with different channels and investing in demand generation to kickstart conversations with potential customers.

This special report will explore what's working in demand generation and spotlight success stories from companies such as Radius, Bottomline Technologies, SAP Concur and more.

Download the report to learn about:

  • The growing role of ABM in demand generation;
  • The reemergence of direct mail as a top-tier strategy;
  • How marketers are refreshing webinars with new approaches, such as panels and interactivity;
  • How influencers can extend content reach and credibility; and
  • Why more B2B companies are turning to review sites in their demand gen process.

Complete the form below to download:

  • Published in Reports

B2B Marketers Take A Full-Funnel Approach To Webinars

Webinars continue to be a hot lead generation tool. According to DGR’s 2015 Content Preferences Survey, webinars remain among the top three types of content that buyers use to research purchases, with 75% saying they have viewed a webinar in the past 12 months.

Webinars are also one of the most productive content types when it comes to generating leads for B2B marketers. Approximately two-thirds (66%) of B2B marketers rank webinars as effective, according to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Webinars rank second to in-person events, which were cited as useful by 75% of marketers.

Check out the full report now!

  • Published in Reports

As ABM Moves To A “Must-Have” Tactic, Marketers Begin To Ramp Up Their Skills

Account-based marketing (ABM) is gaining serious traction as more than 90% of B2B organizations consider it a “must-have” tactic, according to SiriusDecisions’ 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Study. Wider adoption is anticipated; nearly two-thirds (60%)of marketers expect to invest in ABM technology in the next 12 months, the study revealed.

While ABM requires a shift in mindset and dedicated resources, the potential payoff is significant. According to research from ITSMA, a marketing trade association, more than 80% of companies say that ABM delivers greater ROI than other marketing initiatives.

Check out the full report now!

  • Published in Reports
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