Why Discipline is Critical for Successful Demand Generation


At a recent PWB staff meeting, we sidetracked, as we often do, into a discussion of what makes for a successful demand generation program. It dawned on me that a common characteristic was various forms of discipline, so here are some thoughts on the disciplines of successful demand generation.

A Disciplined Point of View

First and foremost, successful demand generation require one to take and maintain a point of view that looks at the whole marketing and sales process, not just individual efforts or programs. Look at how it all fits together (or doesn’t) from the customer’s point of view, and in terms of your goal.

The Discipline to Work Together

Many companies have serious discontinuity between marketing and sales. Often they don’t ever talk, let alone work cooperatively. Demand Generation requires mutual respect and a disciplined commitment to work together to achieve common goals. Sometimes this can be solved structurally, by having both functions report to the same person.

The Discipline to Test

The secret to success is often just to stop doing things that don‚Äôt work, or as we say here at PWB, “stop doing stupid stuff!” This easier said than done, as many companies can’t tell what things in their program are stupid. Sometimes they’re just standing too close to see it (which is where PWB’s outside perspective can help a lot). Sometimes it’s because there are too many variables. It takes discipline to stop doing the things we’ve always done even though they’re outlived their usefulness. It takes discipline to focus on one variable at a time so you can determine its impact. You have to be willing to fail to be willing to test, and then be willing to pay attention and act on the results of the test.

The Discipline to Make the Results Visible

I had the privilege of working in an organization with a very well developed and disciplined demand generation process. I was responsible for the entire marketing and sales effort, so I could control the whole process — from spot TV buys to telesales commission systems. At the time I didn’t like it, but hindsight showed me the value. We had quarterly Board Meetings were I had to stand up, share what we did that quarter, and show how it compared to plan. Having those facts out there for God and everyone to see was a big motivating factor for me and my team. It also made it possible for a bunch of smart people to see the whole process, and help me improve it. What you measure, you motivate!

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