Inside Sales and Demand Generation Managers probably feel this pain a lot and, on the surface, it may be understandable.  You have a demand generation program in place; email marketing, teleprospecting, social networking sites, etc…The C-level employees in your organization want to discuss why they haven’t seen an increase in closed business and immediately target their demand generation program as the root of the issue.  As the manager of that team or program, you must take offense to the idea that you and your team are not being productive with the responsibilities you’ve been assigned.  Could there be other issues at play responsible for the lack of closed business.

Your programs have hit all the KPI’s you have installed and in many instances you may have exceeded expectations.  Connectivity, response rates, social engagement, and passed qualified opportunities are all on pace or above what you and your organization would perceive as a successful program.  So again, what could be the cause for this thinking that your demand generation program is in need of CPR?

There are two major areas that will factor into the lack of closed business and could be the first place your organization looks to as opposed to immediately determining it is a demand generation problem.

Your Product

Instead of assuming that the business development team is responsible for the lack of quality and closed business, shouldn’t you be looking at your product and its place in the market you are targeting?  I understand this could be thinking outside of the box, but could it be as simple as your product either isn’t a fit in that target market, doesn’t work as well as you thought it did, or it doesn’t address the business pains like you thought it should.  I realize your organization has committed a lot of resources to the production of your product, but that doesn’t mean it should have a seamless transition into the marketplace.  Take a look at the feedback you are getting from all those deals that aren’t closing and maybe you will see that the opportunities are there, your organization just has a bad approach or product that doesn’t fit.

Your Sales Team

The business development team you have in place has been producing a steady amount of “qualified” opportunities for your sales reps, the meetings are occurring and even moving on to next steps.  At that point, shouldn’t your demand generation program be viewed as a success?  Once an opportunity has moved on in your sales pipeline, it’s been forecasted out and has a dollar amount attached to it, it is no longer the responsibility of your business development rep and all responsibility should fall on the shoulders of your sales team.  The better question to ask regarding “why” is, “why isn’t the sales team closing more business?” as opposed to “why isn’t our demand generation program creating more closed business opportunities?”

It’s unfortunate that demand generation programs are often left as the scapegoat and are usually the first place that gets cut or addressed when expectations are falling short regarding closed business.  Now, I’m not saying that demand generation is always free of responsibility, but in most cases, you will find there may be some other, higher priority areas of your organization that requires the attention first.