How do you build better relationships with demand generation?
These days, it's hard not to agree that Demand Generation is one of the most metrics driven teams focused on pipeline creation, whether it’s Marketing Demand Generation or BDR/SDR teams. Over the past 3-4 years, I would argue that Marketing Operations consistently dives even deeper than Sales Operations when it comes to early-stage funnel analysis. Understanding that Demand Gen has become truly data driven, with potentially more complex data access requirements, is one of the keys to building and maintaining a successful partnership. Working with BDRs and SDRs, similarly, requires an understanding of what success metrics looks like and how the team is measured to be able to partner effectively. Instead of making assumptions, taking time to understand what's important to each team is a must that can't be overlooked. Most importantly, when you’re not sure, take time to ask questions – you’ll be surprised how much someone is willing to teach you about something they’re passionate about (and you might learn a thing or two along the way).
- When to align: While it may sound obvious, the busier teams are, the more it pays off to check in and make sure all parties are aligned, with the same expectations up front.
- Shared Goals: Discuss, agree on, and set shared goals that help each team make progress toward their respective team goals. What’s important to Demand Generation may be important to your team too. Does the same outcome spell success for each team? Write it down, make it public, measure it, and share the results across the company.
- Context matters: When Demand Generation asks a question or makes a request, before reacting, take the opportunity to understand and ask for more context (i.e. "Thanks - what will that tell you? or “what will you do next with that information?”). Asking for context isn't about being nosy or slowing the process down. On the contrary, diving a deeper for context shows that you care enough to make the best use of everyone's time, to get aligned and respond with the best, more appropriate information possible.
- What time is it?: Every team has a timeline to meet with a schedule in mind. When taking time to align on expectations and ask questions, take another moment to confirm the priority of the request. Before committing to a delivery date, don't be shy about circling back with your own team to prioritize the ask alongside other existing action items first (and if it's a truly urgent request, be ready to reprioritize accordingly, asking your leaders for their input as needed).
- Do what you say: Be sure to meet deadlines (the moment you think the date may slip is the time to communicate that risk – don’t wait). Include the content agreed to for all deliverables (if a portion can’t be fulfilled, communicate the update as soon as it surfaces). If a status update is scheduled, share it on time (if the update will be late…take a guess…communicate when it will be released). Everyone needs to plan and Demand Generation is no different – respect the relationship and communicate on a regular cadence.
It helps that I used to do Demand Generation and have a deep understanding for how challenging and fast paced it can be. One of the best things you can do to improve your relationship with Demand Generation is to partner with them to improve their alignment and connection with Sales. As a “neutral” party, RevOps can be the glue between Sales and Marketing – help champion Demand Gen programs with Sales and help bridge miscommunications or misperceptions about Demand Gen programs.
Another effective strategy for us has been listening sessions with Demand Gen. Marketers have a lot of ideas and can come to RevOps late in the game to execute them. This can lead to tension between the two groups. But if you spend time with Demand Gen to understand what are the things they are thinking about for the future, and how might you partner with them to evaluate solutions for those — you’ll start to position RevOps as a thought-partner instead of an execution arm.
To stay aligned ongoing, our RevOps team shares monthly priorities with Demand Gen and we give Demand Gen an opportunity to weigh in on those priorities. Having this visibility opens the door for healthy debate in a constructive / contained way.
This is an age old adage - more often than not, Rev Ops & Demand Gen teams tend to have friction. I think the root of the cause usually stems from a handful different items
Data Standardization - Most ops and demand gen teams view the same data differently, and have different sources of truth for how they report on KPIs. Promoting data standardization practices within the demand generation/ops teams helps create a common starting point. Encouraging the use of standardized data formats, naming conventions, and data hygiene practices. Ensuring consistent and accurate data can improve the effectiveness of campaigns, analysis, reporting, and help build a better relationship and closer alignment
Accountability - There are usually different forums where Demand Gen & Ops teams report on performance, key trends or insights. Establish an accountability framework that clearly expectations for the demand generation team during the initial planning session. This includes setting clear goals, outlining metrics for success, and establishing regular reporting mechanisms.
Shared KPIs - Collaborate with demand generation teams to establish unified KPIs that align with overall business objectives. Identify the key metrics that will be tracked and reported on, ensuring that they reflect the shared goals of the team. This enables everyone to work towards a common set of performance indicators and facilitates better alignment and understanding of success.