The Single Most Important Reason Why Demand Generation Managers Fail

the Single Most Important Reason Why Demand Generation Managers Fail

Find out how to hire a demand generation manager even if you don’t work in the field.

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“It’s been three months. Why hasn’t my new demand generation manager done anything?”

Time and time again, I hear the same thing from companies whose demand generation efforts fail. The new hires say they’re familiar with the company’s marketing automation system, yet months go by without progress.

Usually, after those three months are up, that new hire is out of a job. 

Then, the company has to restart its search, perform new interviews, and hopefully get another candidate in the door—and pay for it every step of the way.

But in every single instance I’ve come across, it was never the demand generation manager’s fault. 

There were serious structural problems preventing that new hire from doing their job. If the company expected them to immediately start optimizing campaigns and A/B testing subject lines, they were badly mistaken.

I’d like to share some of the insight I’ve gathered working with companies who found themselves in this position. If you’re looking to hire a demand generation manager (or already have), you need to make sure the new employee can do their job effectively.

Why So Many New Demand Generation Managers Fail

When a company hires a well-qualified demand generation manager, only to fire their new employee a few months later, I start asking questions. In every single instance I’ve investigated, the situation was the same. This is what I found:

A marketing automation system had never been properly synchronized to the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software. The CRM itself was filled with old, mislabeled, and inaccurate data. The sales team was using this low-quality data inconsistently, which led to sales processes becoming disconnected entirely from marketing initiatives. As a result, nobody in the company knew what data to measure success with.

The company’s new demand generation manager would immediately see this and try to curate that data. But that process can be difficult and time-consuming, and it may not be in the demand generation manager’s skill set. After all, the company asked if the new hire was familiar with the system they use—not if they could rebuild a mismanaged one from the ground up.

Demand generation is a marketing effort that depends entirely on high-quality data. Great demand generation managers establish data-driven systems for segmenting and analyzing audiences first, then perform the analyses. Only then can they deploy creative campaigns that appeal to those audiences.

This is why companies looking to hire demand generation managers need to broaden the skills they are looking for in their new hires. At the same time, companies have to establish reasonable time frames before demand generation produces results, especially if their marketing automation initiatives failed in the past.

Three Important Skills Your New Demand Generation Manager Needs

If your company only has room for a single demand generation professional, that employee will have to wear at least three hats. There are three necessary skills that predict long-term success crafting and deploying marketing automation strategies, and your new hire will need them all.

1. Technical skills

Demand generation won’t work if the company’s CRM database is old, disorganized, or filled with inaccurate information. The higher-quality your company’s CRM data is, the more successful your marketing automation initiative will be.

Streamlining your customer database may require changing some elements of your current tech stack. It may involve deploying APIs or other systems to ensure your business applications can speak to each other effectively. It could require implementing a master data management solution that offers a “single point of truth” for resolving discrepancies between databases.

Your new demand generation manager won’t have the authority to make these decisions on their own. They’ll need both guidance and support from leadership. If there’s a technical obstacle between you and marketing automation success, it will fall on your demand generation manager to identify it—and on you to address it. 

Of the three skills in this list, technical implementation is the easiest one to outsource to someone who focuses only on deploying CRM and marketing automation technology. Post-deployment technical skills tend to be easier to learn than analytical or creative ones.

2. Analytical Skills

Demand generation is a data-heavy job. Your marketing automation system relies on the ability to meaningfully measure the impact that marketing has on sales. There is more to that ability than simply knowing how to use a particular marketing automation or CRM software.

Before your demand generation manager can produce results, you’ll have to help your new hire organize and define the best data fields to use for segmenting and understanding your audience. They may have marketing automation know-how, but nobody knows your business better than you do.

By working together, you can pinpoint the best available data for identifying marketing opportunities and revenue-generating strategies in a meaningful way.

3. Creative Skills

Sometimes, a company has all of its systems set up properly but still suffers from ineffective campaigns. If the technical and analytical elements are in place, there could be a creative disconnect at play. This is where demand generation managers rely on creativity to identify and address your audience through well-defined personas.

If neither you nor your marketing team understands the customer journey, you won’t be able to influence it. No technology can fix that because it isn’t a technical problem. However, you must draw on data to create useful buyer personas, so it’s true that bad data will lead to bad results.

This is where you need to capitalize on your demand generation manager’s creative potential. Make sure they have the data and resources necessary to fulfill the creative side of the job.

Demand Generation Managers Combine All Three Skill Sets

It’s true that creative people need to understand how to use your systems. Technical people need to be able to create and run campaigns. Analytical people must be able to spot data deficiencies and address the underlying problems. By truly understanding your company’s needs, you can hire a demand generation manager capable of advancing on all three fronts.

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Susan Martindill

Susan helps small and midsize businesses run measurable and efficient marketing programs through marketing automation system and martech stack optimization.

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