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Ever wonder what it’s like to be the one who industry leaders come to for advice? We were lucky enough to interview, Jason Hekl, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions, the preeminent analyst firm focusing on B2B sales and marketing recently on Leadspace Radio. Take a look at what Jason shared with us on everything from why demand generation is so difficult these days to the role telesales plays in demand gen.

LS: Why is demand generation so hard?

JH: I think it is hard because quite frankly, my view on it is that we have so much more information available to us today and sometimes having all the information complicates things. I mean I think back when I started my career, I started as an enterprise software salesperson. I was selling policy production systems to insurance companies.

As a salesperson I actually visited some of these companies. I went one time to a company in Florida, they actually had in their lobby, a sign welcoming me to their offices because I was the person who had the information that they needed right?

So it’s not like that anymore. People go online, they have access to so much information. You just do not see that type of interaction so it makes it harder and harder for us as marketers to get through to our target audience. And as consumers or buyers on the other side, we just have so much more options. It’s not just a simple as going in to In and out Burger and having three things on the menu. You have way too much information to process so it’s more complex.

It’s both enablement and a lot more access but a lot more complex at the same time.

LS: How does the phone fits into today’s modern B2B demand gen organization? We know you have some thoughts on this.

JH:  I may be a little bit biased because it is where I started my career as a salesperson. But my point of view is of being a buyer in a B2B context where you are spending money on behalf of your organization that the work for, that’s not an aspirational buy.

If I go to the store and I buy the latest iPhone, I can do that and I can make that decision completely on my own. When you are spending money on behalf of the company, you typically have risk mitigation working into your thought process. And a lot of times you are reaching that decision to spend the company’s money in collaboration with different people, that’s a very different buying cycle if you will.

But in enterprise space, in a lot of B2B environments, a lot of the transactions do not occur online. And I don’t think you ever get to the point where they all do. There is always going to be an environment where you have sales people. So ultimately in B2B, people will buy from people they like and then like people who help them and to have that work, there’s usually some type of direct dialogue that’s required. So I am a big believer in utilizing the phone as part of your demand creation and sales efforts.

LS: What advice would you give a new CMO? What should they do for their first 30-60-90 days?

JH: It’s interesting, particularly that we are coming up into planning season. This is very much top of mind for a lot of the marketing leaders that I’m speaking to. And when they think about the demand part of their job, a lot of what all companies will do is they are going to model this against – we have our demand waterfall. Other companies may have variations on the theme that the funnel. But they would actually go through a modeling exercise and they will say, “Okay, here is our historical conversion rates based on that and our cost per unit and the leads we generate and the opportunities we generate and turn it back into what types of programs and tactics they need to run to generate that demand at the top of the funnel.

And it’s an important exercise to do from a marketing and planning some point. What I would encourage a new CMO to do is to kind of challenge the assumptions behind the models and not only that but several different scenarios against that model.

Want more advice from Jason on B2B sales and marketing best practices? Catch the full radio program here.




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