Why You Need To Talk About Demand Centers (Before Everyone Else Does)

April 28, 2016
By Andrew Freeman

A blog post on how Demand Centers are crushing the cost curve in switched-on marketing operations. We need to talk about your Demand Center.

Why You Need To Talk About Demand Centers (Before Everyone Else Does)

A Demand Center isn’t a department, or even a team. It’s a function in your business that centralises market listening, inbound marketing and customer outreach for the benefit of all departments. A Demand Center is the embodiment of marketing operations, integrating countless demand generation programmes and technological dependencies into responsive, adaptable processes that smooth the way for efficient and effective marketing delivery, ultimately delivering the goods to Sales.

And if you don’t have a Demand Center yet? We need to talk about that too.

Organisations making full use of Demand Centers are realising the importance they play in business-to-business marketing – not in abstract generalisms, but in hard numbers. Their field sales people save big, halving the time they spend adapting campaigns. Their marketing teams score too: those lacking a global Demand Center have to create 61% more content . . . and so on.

The big benefits? Let us count the ways.

1. It gives bragging rights to Finance.

Demand Centers are often seen as a cost. In fact they’re best thought of as a profit centre.

The core role of a B2B Demand Center is to collate best practices from around the business and integrate them into a **central infrastructure **and mindset – so great processes aren’t limited to the department they were created in, but can be used for the benefit of the whole business.

IBM rolled out a Demand Center not just for divisions, but to external business partners.

And the numbers can be awesome. Imagine your sales and marketing teams saving half the time they spend on the same process . . . Or the amount of content needing to be recreated dropping by over 60% . . . Soon you’re talking real benefits.

2. It empowers Sales.

Finance is not the only winner in the Demand Center scenario. In fact, far from it – the main winners are Sales and Marketing.

For both Sales and Marketing, the buyer’s journey has dramatically altered, from a relatively linear, limited touchpoint process to a multi-touchpoint, multi-channel experience. In this new environment the Demand Center model empowers Sales through the standardisation of technology across both Sales and Marketing, across regions. This standardisation of technology, combined with common measurement and common language, enables Sales to gain in-depth insights into prospects and engage in highly optimised and coordinated pipeline acceleration programmes.

Furthermore, this alignment between regions and departments means that the creation of a Demand Center has a direct impact on revenue. This is due, in the case of Sales, to a combination of the insights gained on prospects and the higher quality of the leads received from Marketing.

3. It enables integrated, optimised Marketing.

Along with Sales, Marketing is one of the main benefactors of Demand Center creation. In a hybrid centralised/decentralised model, Marketing benefits from the ability to leverage key central corporate assets and instigate centralised campaigns which can then be adopted and optimised for regional delivery.

Furthermore, Marketing benefits from the construction of a Demand Center through the standardisation and optimisation of technology. This standardisation of performance metrics enables Marketing to access highly detailed – and more importantly, accurate – insights comparable between regional areas, or even business units – something that is not possible without the centre of excellence and a common operational approach.

Another area in which Marketing benefits from the creation of a Demand Center lies in the development of specialised skills. These skills range from general marketing operations abilities to far more specialised technical skills around lead generation, demand creation, web optimisation and others.

4. It makes competitors quake in their boots.

A Demand Center is a bit like a magnifying glass: it exposes what’s working well in your business, even at small scales. And if you find those successes, leverage them. Orchestrated, disciplined and controlled inbound and outbound marketing can turn local wins into company-wide best practice, before your competition even realises what’s happening.

Sounds like a classic marketing automation benefit? It is. That’s why 22% of organisations with a Demand Center use MA – four times the rate of those without one.

Four times faster to respond to customers. Four times more sensitive to clues that signify an interested prospect. It means you’ll be more agile, better equipped to respond to market changes – keeping you ahead of your peer group.

5. It puts your business plan into warp drive.

The Demand Center has yet another key benefit: it’s future-proof. It lets you constantly test and adapt – providing hard data on what worked and what didn’t. So it prevents old processes ossifying and dragging your business down to mediocrity.

A Demand Center is a **Gold’s Gym for your business. **It stops the fat building up, offers the coolest equipment, keeps your marketing muscles bulging. And in an era when 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing – listening and attracting, not advertising or one-to-one outreach – you can’t afford to miss a single hot prospect.

In short . . .

A Demand Center model can supercharge your sales and marketing activities, providing standardised measurements and coordinated campaign integration across global, regional and local levels. These bring real business benefits to both Sales and Marketing through valuable insights into prospects which are created and the ability to accurately measure campaign success – enabling budget to be allocated or reallocated accordingly.

As the buyer’s journey becomes increasingly complex and diverse, businesses are starting to talk about Demand Centers more and more. Now is your time to get into the conversation early and ensure that you can maintain competitive advantage.

Takeaways:

  • Demand Centers aren’t a cost centre – they’re a profit centre.
  • Integrating a B2B Demand Center keeps your business twice as agile.
  • Implementing a Demand Center turbocharges the whole sales funnel journey.

Begin implementing your Demand Center now – download our free eGuide Developing a Demand Center: Essential Considerations and Key Benefits and get started.

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Developing a Demand Center: Essential Considerations and Key Benefits

Developing a Demand Center: Essential Considerations and Key Benefits

Download our eGuide to Developing a Demand Center.

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