It can be completely overwhelming to get started with a demand gen practice when all you’ve ever done is traditional marketing.  Often when I start a new client engagement, they are just at the stage of having purchased a marketing automation system and don’t have any plans beyond getting it implemented.  So we usually start out with a little strategy review and development of an action plan.  It’s likely that the action plan will need to be revised a few months down the road once we really get into the meat of the project, but it’s a good starting point and provides some direction.

For those of your just getting started on your action plans, here are some thoughts:

  • Get the basics in place first.  Make sure you have a CRM that is linked to your marketing automation system for closed-loop reporting.  Set up lead scoring and routing.  Give sales a feedback loop to let you know what’s working and what’s not.
  • Then tackle your data – make sure you have a data cleansing and provisioning plan in place.  Setup metrics, reports and dashboards to monitor your progress.
  • Next work on your content.  You can do this in conjunction with creating your first few demand gen campaigns – after all, you are going to need some assets to promote.  Create a content plan based on buy cycle stages and personas (create the stages and personas if you haven’t already).
  • Once you have those things in place, focus on lead nurturing.  Set up some programs that help step your targets through your funnel.  All the while, you should be keeping an eye on your lead scoring program to make sure it is working and getting feedback from your sales team to make your demand gen efforts stronger.
  • After getting all of these basic building blocks up and running, then you can start getting more sophisticated with how you segment and personalize your emails, expanding your use of different channels and refining your process.