The key to Demand Creation lies not in a definition. It’s about understanding it from a “how to” sales point of view. Most sellers know the difference between servicing demand and creating it. That is, responding to RFPs where the customer needs are defined, the buying process is in place, and the budget is allocated. Creating Demand, on the other hand, is often about new innovation, perhaps based upon new technology or the repackaging of an existing solution. It’s about bringing new thinking to the right account where the potential exists to actually create an opportunity that currently doesn’t exist. Different from servicing demand:
· You may not have customer references, particularly with new technology
· There’s no budget for what the customer doesn’t know exists
· You get to demonstrate thought leadership and influence the buying process
· Competitive advantage is built into the Demand Creation campaign.
But, this is an over simplification, as there are three classes of Demand Creation with sales significance resident in each Class:
CLASS 1 – the customer understands the new technology and can see its business value, which is tangible and quantitatively expressed.
CLASS 2 – the customer doesn’t understand the new technology, but can see its business value.
CLASS 3- the customer doesn’t understand the technology and cannot see the business value.
There is a common sales denominator. Awareness of the customer political landscape and aligning with a fox are a necessity across the entire Class 1 – 3 spectrum. So too is the requirement for seller conviction, boldness, and intellect, as new technology, especially the disruptive kind, requires the ability to see and believe the value you can create for the customer, often in the absence of proof. That brings us to the need for a supplier Client-Centric Culture, as it promotes thought leadership and protects against an inward company focus that is insensitive to customer needs. These factors create the foundation to a Demand Creation campaign.
What does change across the Class 1 – 3 continuum is business development expense that ranges from outrageous in a Class 3 situation to beyond reasonable in Class 1. Similarly, sales cycle times go from forever, due to the required educational process in Class 3, to relatively short in Class 1.
So, what drives the sales campaign in each of these Demand Creation Classes? In Class 3, it’s time with excessive amounts required – often an indication that the seller is not working with the right customer contact who can make the jump from new technology to business value. In Class 2, it’s credibility. Even though the customer doesn’t really get the technology, they see the value and they trust you and your company. In Class 1, it’s speed. It’s here that a bias for action and milestone stacking rule, as each Demand Creation campaign builds a sales dynamic with a finite half-life.
Bottom line – need more deals in your pipeline? Go create them!