Question Page

What are one or two pieces of advice you would give to others who are hoping to become demand gen leaders?

Sruthi Kumar
Sruthi Kumar
Notion Account-Based MarketingAugust 10

This one is going to be simple. Focus on being close to the numbers and be ready to be creative!

I do think there are some foundational pieces to building a demand generation engine. The first is having a balanced program mix, make sure are bringing names in a consistent and steady flow. Being close to the numbers helps understanding what channels are working, which channels to invest more time & money in, and making sure these are the programs that convert to meetings and closed won. 

Once you have that foundational piece, focus on getting creative. At the end of the day, most demand gen teams are running the same types of programs—webinars, emails, etc. It's up to you as the leader of your team to think out of the box. 

Tip: Look at those programs that are converting well and see how you can hypercharge them by adding a gift card incentive for taking a meeting!

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Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Stack Overflow Vice President, Demand GenerationSeptember 7

In order to become a demand gen leader, you need to understand how to empower your team to execute to the best of their ability, and also forge a professional development path for every team member. Sure, there are skills like effective budgeting, managing cost efficiencies of channels, and typical manager-level skills such as performance management and coaching. But ultimately, a demand gen leader has many similarities to a CMO: the people that are on a demand gen team have many disparate disciplines, and you need to at least understand the key success drivers of each of those disciplines. It's common for medium-sized (~10+ full time people) demand gen teams to require smaller sub-teams for marketing operations, campaign management, paid media, events and field marketing. Understanding how to grow each function to meet the needs of the business is table stakes for a demand gen leader.

What helps teams get to the next level is being a demand gen leader that focuses on the professional development and growth of everyone on your team. Ensuring that everyone has clarity into where they want to go next in their career, and giving them the resources they need to create their own specific path from the role they are in today to where they want to go next.

1498 Views
Matt Hummel
Matt Hummel
Demandbase Vice President of MarketingFebruary 1

This is a great question as Demand Gen has so many unique skills, responsibilities, paths, roles, etc. - one could easily go crazy trying to become an expert in every field, or feel inadequately prepared to be a leader if they don't feel qualified across the broad spectrum of DG responsibilities. 

I have good news for you - being a Demand Gen leader isn't easy, but it's not as hard as you may think. I belive if you focus on the following two things you will significantly improve your chances of success - Strategy and Sales Alignment.

Strategy

I can't emphasize this one enough. So many marketers (and non-marketers) get hung up on tactics - webinars, direct mail, Facebook, etc. - these aren't bad, but they are nothing without a strategy. A strategy means you have defined a problem or opportunity and you have a way to solve it. It means knowing what's going on in the market, being able to develop messaging that addresses those needs, and ultimately helping solve that problem once you've established the trust of your buyers. All of your tactics will only be as good as your strategy. If you don't have the right set of accounts, the right messaging, the right content and the right timing, your efforts, no matter how "cool" they may be will likely not amount to much.

I go back and forth on the second one between business acumen and sales alignment. But for my second one I'm going to prioritize sales alignment.

Sales Alignment

I simply can't understate the importance of this one. I've seen the opposite of this, and it's messy. It's not that intentions are bad, or that everybody isn't doing "their job." It's that there is no alignment and strong demand gen (whatever that looks like in your company) simply can't be successful without alignment with sales. Being aligned on the target accounts, the messaging, the lead management process, follow-up, the data, the results ... the list goes on. My brother is a SaaS sales rep, so I can say this pretty confidently. Sales reps and marketers are different. That's not a bad thing. They should be different. And while the lines are blurring in some ways, each job does require some unique skills. But for both to be successful they need each other. And that means being aligned and working to stay that way.

512 Views
Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Counterpart Marketing LeadDecember 2

Aside from mastering the skills in your discipline, two pieces of advice I would give to others who are looking to become demand gen leaders include:

  • Be curious and learn. In this space, you have to be curious and constantly learning. Without this, your knowledge will quickly become outdated due to the velocity of demand gen.
  • Be a leader not just a manager. What is the difference? Leaders inspire, they help elevate others, they lead with empathy. People often (although not always) leave bad managers, not bad companies. This too takes constant growth and refinement.

You’ll notice the common theme for my two pieces of advice include education. I believe this is critical. Without continuing to learn and grow in all aspects such as reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts, etc., you’ll limit your leadership abilities.

327 Views
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