Demand Generation interview with Ahmed Taleb of Bulldog Solutions

Ahmed TalebI had the pleasure of interviewing Bulldog Solution’s expert on B2B demand generation, Mr. Ahmed Taleb, today — which I share with my readers.

Main Point: Marketing Needs to Go Back to the Basics and Rebuild the Fundamentals.

The Interview:

  • In the absence of a quality demand generation program, how is a company adversely impacted?

During strong times, a feast if you will, we have a large number of “accidental” sales.  But in during broad marketing conditions like we have now or with strong competitive pressures, companies need to become more conscientious in their demand generation efforts.   Too many companies rely on “spray and pray” without knowing the fundamentals about why they are doing what they are doing or understanding their discrete market fit.

  • What is the difference between traditional lead generation and demand generation?

Lead generation is based on a fixed point in the process — where a qualified opportunity is handed to sales.  Demand generation looks at the entire process of building relationships, nurturing them, qualifying them, handing off to sales, selling the deal, closing it and supporting the client.  A company should look at the entire customer life cycle.

  • How does a company align marketing content with customer needs, media consumption and buying cycles?

I think most companies think inside out and that is a problem.  They need to be thinking outside in — replacing sales process with buyer need.   What is driving business decisions now for the prospect?

  • Tell me about the lead scoring/handoff to sales.  Why is it important?

It depends on several variables, which must be defined between sales and marketing.  You can use your marketing software for this.  There are both quantitative (title, size of company, budget) and qualitative (time to purchase, frequency of visits, particular pages visited).  This is called “Digital Body Language” by our business partner.  It is important that marketing works closely with sales to define how sales views a qualified opportunity.

  • What about social networks and other inbound marketing techniques?

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and the like have some value but do not yet get a lot of traction in the B2B complex sale world.  However, organic search, aka Search Engine Optimization is “table stakes.”  You simply must do it.  SEM or Pay per Click has a lot of value too, but not as much as SEO.  The questions all marketers ask is “How can I get the value?” and “How can I prove the value?”

  • Bulldog Solutions emphasizes Audience Development.  Could you please explain what that means?

Companies ought to place a major focus on hypothesis testing.  They should ask:

  1. What are the specific things we should do?
  2. What are the specific results we  should see?

Most companies have no idea.  Too often they drill down so far in the data they lose sight of the big picture.  They need to realize that inconclusive data is a failure while conclusive data is a win — plus no reaction is a failure.  If an email gets a positive response from 10, a negative response from 5 and no response from 1 — you have 10 positive and 6 negative.

Companies should do a lot of A/B Split testing — I recommend a sample size of at least 5,000 minimum.  Send the A email to 1/2 and the B email to the other 1/2.  You need to see a significant difference, say 10% or more, to justify a change.

At Bulldog we help facilitate agreement between marketing and sales, so we can cross-pollinate ideas.  I often ask companies how much they spend on attracting customers.  The numbers are huge.  But then I ask how much they spending on understanding their audience.  I generally get blank stares.  They must “get inside the head” of the people who buy the products and services.  They also need to understand differences by company size, type, etc.

To wrap up, Jeff, I’d like to tell you about my interest in Formula One racing.  Sometimes you have to go slower to go faster.  After extensive testing and work, racing teams reach a point where any change slows the car.  What do they do?  The only thing to do is strip the car down all the way and start over.  That is what marketers ought to be doing.

For companies looking for best practices in b2b lead generation who wish to improve the way they acquire new customersFind New Customers is the place to go.  CSO Insights says companies need to improve the way they generate leads and implement processes for business to business lead generation.

eff Ogden is President of Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple” Check out the online show every Friday at 11am ET, “Laugh and Learn with the Fearless Competitor.” Find New Customers is one of few lead generation companies in New York. Follow Jeff on Twitter or download the free white paper on B2B lead generation.

How to Find New Customers

Find New Customers helps companies like yours (with 150 to 5,000 employees and complex products) implement lead generation programs to improve the way you find and acquire high quality sales leads using best practices in online lead generation. Quality leads matter. In fact, a recent study found that sales teams with fewer, high quality sales leads closed more than sales teams with more leads of dubious quality.

If you wish to do sales lead generation online, contact the B2B lead generation experts at Find New Customers. Use the form below to send me a personal note or Leave a Reply to post a permanent comment on this article.

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