Focusing on Operations for a Successful Demand Gen Strategy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Lesley Crews talks with Judy Sheriff, VP of Demand at Refine Labs, on the importance of operations in a demand gen strategy.

Yeah, welcome back to GDP growth. I'm Leslie Cruise with sweet fish media. If you are new here we are currently reaching the tail end of our deep dive into demand generation today. I am so excited to talk with judy Sheriff VP of demand over at refined labs judy thanks so much for coming on the show today. Thank you so much for having me. Super happy to be here. Yeah, I'm so excited for you to be here. I'm so excited to talk all things to me and jen and I love talking to anyone from refined labs because you guys have such a specific, you know, you guys are so great in that category and you guys are so big in that category escape us on lengthen. Never ever impossible. So the first question I always ask and I'm really excited to hear your answer since you've kind of been working in this industry in the space for quite a while now is how do you, in your own words define demand generation. Yeah, great question. And honestly I was like thinking about this, what is demand generation? Because the name itself is kind of self explanatory if you break it down. Like ultimately to me, I think of it as any type of marketing that's creating new interest for your product, new interest demand. So you know, the variety of marketing tactics, but it's something that's going to generate that awareness and demand for whatever it is that you're offering our fine labs. We really focus on B two B SAs. So typically what I'm thinking of as demand gen is how are we generating demand for your software product and how are we creating more users who want to use your product? You know, I think when I maybe first got into demand gen, I was actually just called online marketing or digital marketing but it really was a lot of the components of demand gen bucket id into a broader marketing marketing role. I've seen that become more specifically broken out. There are people now with demand gen titles at companies instead of just being a digital marketer. But I also think maybe people conflate demand gen and lead gen. And historically when you think about demand gen or maybe the types of campaigns I was running early on in my career when I was first getting into demand gen were really lead generation campaigns and I think that's evolved especially in recent years to there's a clear differentiation between sourcing a lead. It's really contact information and creating demand for someone who really wants to use your product because of the marketing that you've done. So in a nutshell, that's how I think about demand gen. Yeah, I love that. And I love that you mentioned in your previous roles because I was going to ask like how your definition now has kind of changed over time, as you've grown in your role and when you started doing demand gen, you know, you said it was really more legion, so kind of back then, how did you define this new thing? You know, emerging thing and what has shaped the way you define it now? Yeah, I think, You know, I started moving and working in the B2B space in 2014, so about about seven years ago and a lot of the campaigns and just the goals that the marketing team was focused on and what like the sea level would judge our success on were very top of funnel goals, very focused on what is that...

...volume of net new names that are coming into our contact database. So really it's how many email addresses were recapturing and I think the longer I worked in the space and the more I was running those types of campaigns, you notice there's a big difference between getting someone's name and getting someone who actually wants to use your product. So there's not necessarily a lot of intent behind leave, jen, I think a lot of marketers have encountered this, but it's hard to break out of that cycle of wanting to hit your leave numbers, you know, your gold on certain things. It's easy to get lead numbers compared to sourcing people who genuinely want to use the product. That's a harder, it's a harder sell. So I think for me it was that realization like what I'm doing isn't necessarily driving the business outcomes that we'd like to be having. You know, just getting gated e book leads coming in from a campaign on linkedin is not turning into net new revenue for the, for the business. And that's where this shift to focus on. How do we genuinely create more interest in the product? How do we make people aware of what the product does and make them want to come use it so that they're coming inbound, really qualified to us and we're truly sourcing demand and not sourcing leads. So I think a lot of it is just seeing what, what didn't work and how we can pivot away from that, which this is a big part of what we do. A refined labs is helping companies shift to that mindset. Absolutely. And kind of shifting right into that. Do you mind sharing like some simple practices that refine labs is doing with their clientele um, in these demanding strategies that kind of makes you stand out among those competitors? Yeah, we really think about demand gen is like a two pronged approach. We want to make sure that for the existing demand that's out there for our clients or for anybody that has a software company, people that I know of you and know they need you. It's very easy for them to convert. And so we really want to market to people in those high intent channels, make their conversion funnel on the website. Super. Optimized. Make sure anyone coming in direct or searching your brand name or converting on google paid ads on a direct response campaign. Going to get all those people for sure. But we have this other half to the marketing that is creating net new demand in your in your keep your ideal customer profile. And for that we really want to help our clients showcase themselves as the leader in the industry and create this ah ha moment for their prospect in their I. C. P. That's like oh I have that problem. I didn't know this software could solve that problem and now that I do I want to learn more about it. So I think a lot of people focus more on capturing the existing intent and existing demand and forget to focus on generating net new demand. So a lot of what we're doing with the net new is awareness channels like facebook and linkedin having a lot of product focused ads. Uh product marketing ads showing values and future benefits how they solve pain points or more content campaigns that...

...are educating the buyer problem, awareness blogs. Case studies of how other companies have solved the same problem using this software. A lot of these messages that are going to follow the users around as we're cold targeting them on facebook or on Lincoln and really keep the company's top of mind for them so that when they are ready to purchase, that's the first company they're gonna think of. Yeah, I think that's our general approach to demand gen. Obviously there's tips and tricks within each channel and some of that's proprietary but that's how we're overall thinking about it and really focusing on the inbound funnel as a whole and not necessarily what is being attributed to marketing maybe in the crm or attributed to a specific paid channel. But how are we looking at overall inbound growth? How is that increasing over time? How are your conversion rates improving as we're driving better quality traffic and better quality I. C. P. Fits into your funnel. Looking at total inbound verse outbound instead of just what's may be attributed to pay because we know that so much of the campaigns that were running impact, organic and direct traffic, the awareness, the word of mouth plays that are harder to measure from a attribution standpoint. Absolutely. What are some things that you feel marketers tend to kind of get wrong in this space? Yeah, that's a good question. You know, I audit lots of different B2B marketers, accounts add accounts, their their crm. Is there marquee animation platforms? I definitely see some commonalities for sure. I think one area that I often see a gap in is really thinking about marketing operations as it relates to demand gen. I think people will often operate in silos and there's a lot of operational best practices to get in place that make demand gen so much easier. Even things just like having a really clear understanding of what your funnel is. What are the stages that you want a buyer to move through. Being aligned with sales, on that, being able to measure that in salesforce, having a timestamp field when your opportunity, status change, stage changes from open to qualified and you're able to measure how many new opportunities were qualified each month. Like those pieces of being able to tell the full story of your funnel, I think often get missed. Um, I'll see sort of operational issues around not having your marketing automation in your crm system integrated correctly. Maybe there's source reporting in your hubspot, but it's not mapping into salesforce. You can't report on opportunities by source. There's these components that make it harder for the demand gen, marketers to really show the influence of the campaigns are running and be able to tell that story. And I think oftentimes they'll focus a lot on the front end metrics of like how is the campaign performing? How much am I spending? What clicks am I getting But without having the operations really tied in to see that all the way through the funnel into their crm. I see that as a big mess. Um, another mistake I think...

...people, people do often is not taking full advantage of some of the resources out there that are free, like the google suite. As often see clients that are potential clients that don't have google analytics set up and tracking correctly. Tag manager isn't on all of their domains by pixels are not firing correctly. Still, conversion tracking is often platforms, these foundational best practices that once those are in place, just put you in a good position to be able to scale up from a demand gen paid perspective as a marketer, you're probably brainstorming outside the box ideas to engage your prospects and customers working remotely. And you've probably thought about sending them direct mail to break through the zoom fatigue. But how do you ship personalized gifts to remote decision makers When you have no idea where they're sitting at B two B growth, we use the craft and platform to send hyper personalized gifts to anyone working from anywhere. Crafting, makes it easy for your prospects and customers to pick and personalize their own gift in real time and offers highly secure data capture. So decision makers feel comfortable submitting their home addresses for shipping purposes to get your own personalized craft and gift. Go to craft um dot io slash growth to schedule a demo and receive a complimentary personalized gift from craft um to claim your personalized gift, go to craft um dot io slash growth. Absolutely. And I want to dive a little bit more into into marketing ops because I think that's something that a lot of people don't ever focus on in the demand in strategy, because it's more, I mean really it's like an organizational thing, right? So it's not, people are thinking, oh, like my strategy, my strategy, but really it's like, let's take a step back and let's look at the organization as a whole and kind of see how they, how they communicate. So what are some key things that marketers can kind of focus on in their operations? I know you mentioned a couple, but maybe like some examples to have a more successful demands on strategy. Yeah, I mean, I think the basics, you want to have a functioning marketing automation platform and crm together. So I think hubspot is a great one if you're just starting out and you want to have it kind of combined into one. Obviously I'm a big fan of Salesforce, big fan of marquette 02 I think there's a lot of good tools out there, but you know, getting your basics of your integration together. I think like I mentioned taking advantage of the google suite tag manager, google analytics, search console, getting everything sink in there, linking your analytics and your google ads together, so you're able to report on all of that and google analytics. It's really one of the best free tools out there. I think that marketers, fingertips and people are really under used. There's a lot of powerful things you can do with google analytics, I think maybe less kind of tactically on the tool side of things, but really into operations is just that alignment with sales and making sure that you guys feel really good about the flow of a new leader prospect coming in, if a demo comes in, how is that going to be tracked, measured? Who's following up with it? How are we seeing which opportunities are coming from those demo requests? The sales aligned with qualification and what...

...we're considering a qualified demo versus unqualified. So really more of that team alignment component. And then I think the bigger thing is, I mean it's related to team alignment, but within a marketing or I think there can be ways to actually structure operations and demand gen together under the same marketing leader or two teams that are working very closely together so that they're not measuring up to different goals or they're very much aligned on the same outcome. So that demand gen feels really comfortable going to ops and saying we need help getting this program running this specific way and we want to make sure this is all tracked and it's all working towards the same end goal instead of being done in two disparate groups. Absolutely. So if someone's listening to this and they're thinking, you know, I'm a small business, maybe a business of one person, they don't have a lot of people on their team and they're wanting to kind of start implementing demand generation into their organization. What are some specific tools of specific advice that you would offer to someone who's in that kind of a situation? Yeah, that's great. Like I mentioned before, getting your operations straight, even if you're a team of one, just figuring out what is it that I want to make sure I can measure from whatever my first demand gen campaign is going to be. So, you know, I think typically people probably are going to start with a google presence first. If you're thinking about paid demand because organic searches huge, everybody uses google and there's likely some keywords that's going to drive high intent for whatever your software is, you can really orient around uh figuring out from like that specific channel. If I'm launching my first campaign and I have my key words set and I have my ads built out and I want someone to request the demo. How am I going to measure that? Am I going to have a demo form on my website that they're going to fill out, making sure your pixels gonna fire on the back end, like mapping all of that out before you start. So you can see what is the main end goal that I want to be working towards and make sure you're gonna be able to measure it. Like a a team of one perspective. I think there's a lot of great tools out there that are actually pretty low cost to, to kind of round out your marketing. Obviously google suite is free. There's cool things to the like canvas, an awesome tool. If you're trying to get your ads created on your, on your own, you don't have a designer in house and you want to just build out some creative for social. There's some great tools for your website, like hot jars, a website optimization tool that's free that would let you track the keep maps of if someone's coming in from paid where they're landing on your site, where they're going next. That user behaviors, there's some good resources out there. But I think the main thing is that you want to get down is how much budget do you have to play with and which channel makes the most sense for you right off the bat? Typically see google as a nice starting place and then facebook instagram often even in B two B, because it's so much more cost effective than Lincoln if you're going to be launching for the first time and you're really trying to put your name...

...out there about your product, B two B marketers are still on social media, even if maybe they're not consuming tons of business content and those channels there there and you're going to get their eyeballs and it's a great channel for being able to test different creatives, different messages, figuring out what's resonating with your audience in a way that is more cost effective than running those same type of experiments that work on Lincoln. So I would recommend if you're going into the testing phase of figuring out like what is my audience even going to respond to? Do they like people in the images, Do they care about color? Do they want anything that's gonna be video or more emotion focused? Like once you get those down, take what's working and then you can build that out on linkedin or some of the more premium channels that you don't want to waste your spend on by running experiments and then just making sure that whatever you're doing from a paid perspective, you're measuring your full funnel, you're looking at everything that's coming in and bound regardless of if it looks like it's organic or it looks like it's direct, you know, so much of the types of campaigns that you and we run, marketers run on really any of the channels is not always going to be attributable. There's a lot of, a lot of association just from being able to view an ad and that brand recall and having the eyeballs on it and cross device as well. People are going to engage on mobile from facebook and linkedin. Probably most of your clicks are going to be on mobile, but they're not going to necessarily come back and sign up for a free trial or request a demo on their phone and that's gonna look like a later organic or direct visit that's coming in on, on desktop and you're never going to see that attribution. So just always encourage new demand marketers to look at their full inbound funnel regardless of if it looks like it's coming from paid or not because there's a lot that can be missed. Absolutely. I love that you mentioned testing out different, different socials and different things because personally it's like, it seems like everybody's like, oh everything's on linkedin, it's all linked in. But it's not like you said, B two B marketers are still on social media personally. When I'm scrolling through, Tiktok, if I see a business Tiktok, I get so excited because I'm like, oh, that is so rare and I want to go and follow this person and see what they're doing and see, I mean what they're talking about because it's so interesting to me. That's exciting. Yeah, totally. I, I love that you, you mentioned Ticktock, not a channel. We currently are doing much on a refined lines, but interesting to see where the potential will go with that for me to be. But I feel the same way just as a marketer on instagram, probably the main social media that I scroll through and maybe I'm not going to click through and like buy a product. But rippling is an HR software. That is a great example of this myself and a couple other people that refine labs saw their ads for, I don't know, nine months before we finally purchased with them and they were just in the cold targeting and then I think eventually retargeting from them. But they were in my instagram all the time, just constantly on my feet. And then when I was like, oh we need an HR software is the first one we thought of. So I think there's, you can think of examples in your own life of how you would like how you shop, how you would engage. That's not necessarily going to be click on...

...linkedin, fill out form, immediately convert on website right away. Like that's just not how people buy. Yeah, it's crazy. Advertising is so crazy now. It's like you think of something and there it is like you think I need to buy dog food and it's like, oh I get six ads for it. I mean they're definitely listening. I don't have proof, but I have proof from the ads that I'm receiving were probably I'm probably gonna get some ads just from our conversation now from my phone eavesdropping on me. Absolutely. Oh man, you talked a little bit about attribution and your last answer and I want to hit on that. You know when optimizing for the customer journey. I feel like there's a lot of Controversy around this in this space. Do you think the attribution is important or do you think it's something that needs to be left like in 2010? Yeah, it's attribution is such a hot topic right now. The data nerd in me like with my office background, I love attribution. It's so cool. You can see all this history of what people have done, but I think people lean weigh too heavily into it. It does not tell the whole story and there's a lot of things that the decisions that marketers make that are skewed because they're trying to get attribution um in a prior role, we use an attribution software is able to look at marketing campaigns prior to an opportunity closing. And it was really great as a marketer to be able to see like, oh look at all these touchpoints, but what's not there is the the word of mouth referrals, the conversations that people have, like offline. And then, like I was talking about before, sort of the the brand awareness component of any marketing campaigns that are being run that's not going to be tracked. So I think a lot of times marketers will lean heavily into campaigns that give them attribution. That's why gated content has gotten so huge. It's easy to put an e book on linkedin, get a ton of leads from it. If one of those leads is that a company that happens to close, you're going to get that attribution called out on that deal. It's gonna look like someone from that deal down all of this content. These it's not to say the content doesn't help the deal, but if they consume that content without the gate, maybe they probably would have closed anyways. It's the fact that we put the form in front of them and have their name associated to it is not necessarily the reason that the deal was closed. And more than likely most people downloading the books are not going to convert. And there's not a lot of buying intent behind it, but it makes it easy for records to say, I don't want to run this campaign because I'm not gonna be able to tie this attribution back into whatever that paid effort was. You know, my management wants to see trials directly associated with facebook and the in realistically, it's probably not going to happen. I mean you're going to have a couple of direct conversions maybe, but most of it's gonna show up as organic or direct because people are not gonna click through being the facebook browser, I frame on their phone and go through a whole form fill when they're signing up for a business product, they're gonna maybe click through, read a blurb blurb about a case study or take five tips on how your software can help them generally improving their job even if they're not a customer and that's like the...

...beneficial component of it. But when they come back and convert, you're not gonna get any attribution on that content piece. So I guess if I was going to sum it up, I think attribution is cool data, it's cool visibility for when you have it. But it should not be like an end all be all, it should not be what you make, all of your decisions off of because think if you just think about it from a common sense perspective and like we were talking about how we buy, we're not buying to give someone attribution, you're buying a good user experience for the prospect. Absolutely awesome judy. This has been so great, so insightful for me. Thank you so much. And if listeners want to hear more from you or learn more about refined labs, um where can they find you online? You can find me on linkedin linkedin dot com slash judy moon. Yes, Moon is my middle name. I have healthy parents grew up on an island in the woods, love it. Yeah, but love to connect with new people on linkedin. And like I said before, once you start following us, you're going to see your fine. Let's content all over the place. So get ready. Absolutely. I love it was fantastic. Thank you again so much for joining me here on beautiful growth. Yeah, thank you for having me. Are you on linkedin? That's a stupid question. Of course. You're on linkedin here. Sweet fish. We've gone all in on the platform. Multiple people from our team are creating content there. Sometimes it's a funny gift for me. Other times it's a micro video or a slide deck and sometimes it's just a regular old status update that shares Their unique point of view on B two B marketing leadership or their job function. We're posting this content through their personal profile, not our company page and it would warm my heart and soul if you connected with each of our evangelists, we'll be adding more down the road. But for now you should connect with Bill Read our Ceo Kelcy Montgomery, our creative director, dan Sanchez, our director of audience growth Logan Lyles, our director of partnerships and me, James Carberry. We're having a whole lot of fun on linkedin pretty much every single day and we'd love for you to be a part of it. Yeah.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1753)