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TOPO Demand Generation Council Event #3 – Recap

TOPO Demand Generation Council Event #3 took place on Friday and was huge a success. Our Demand Generation Council Events bring together demand generation practitioners to listen to presentations from TOPO Analysts and demand generation leaders. The room is filled with some of the best demand generation leaders in the business and the conversations are lively. This event had 35 attendees who shared best practices on high growth demand generation strategies, ranging from account-based marketing to working with sales development.

Some of the highlights from the event include:

  • There were 35 marketing VPs, demand generation managers, and directors in attendance.
  • Companies like VMware, SAP, NetSuite, Gigamon, OpenGov, and RingCentral were represented.
  • Our three speakers were: Jon Miller formerly of Marketo and currently preparing for his next venture; Courtland Smith from Open DNS, and TOPO’s Chief Analyst Craig Rosenberg.
  • Our sponsors Insightpool, LeadMD, and InsideSalesTeam partnered with TOPO to underwrite the event.
  • The Rosewood Sand Hill provided us with a world class venue in a convenient, beautiful setting.

jon miller

Key Demand Generation Trends

While it is impossible to reduce all of content and discussions to a few bullet points, three notable trends jumped out. First, account based marketing is red hot. Second, hiring high quality demand generation employees is hard. Third, sales development is critical to the success of demand generation.

  1. Account based marketing will continue to grow in 2015 and beyond – Without prompting, several attendees named account based marketing as their top priority right now. Then, Jon Miller stepped took the stage to deliver an outstanding presentation on account based marketing. Since leaving Marketo, Jon has been intensely studying account based marketing. His presentation focused on what he’s learned and a lively conversation ensued. In a nutshell, Jon believes that account based marketing today is where lead nurturing was in 2006. In Jon’s words, “It’s all cold calling and steak dinners right now”. Jon believes that’s going to change and TOPO agrees. We are about to enter a period where ABM becomes more scalable, predictable, and controllable.
  2. Identifying qualified demand generation employees is challenging – Demand generation leaders are really struggling to find high quality employees. Today’s meeting did take place in the Bay Area, a job market that is particularly challenging for employers, but the general consensus was the finding people with the skills required to drive demand was extremely challenging. Courtland Smith of OpenDNS shared how he uses an overall demand model to drive hiring decisions in particular skill areas.
  3. The interface between demand generation and sales development is a real priority – Craig Rosenberg lead a discussion on how demand generation and sales development interface with each other. There was heated debate on whether sales or marketing should own sales development. TOPO’s data shows that over 90% of sales development organizations now report to sales. In general, the sales organization provides a better “cultural” fit for SDRs. Marketing, however, often provides a better framework for a repeatable, scalable sales development organization. In fact, our data suggests that the small number sales development teams reporting to marketing tend to outperform their counterparts in sales. Of course, much of that success comes down to having a marketing leader that’s capable of running sales development.

Council members continue to realize tremendous value from these events as they learn from leading demand generation practitioners and dig into specific scenarios in a roundtable format. The continued success of the councils has us hard at work on our next council events. Look for the next Demand Gen Council meeting in April. We’ll also be holding a Sales Development Council meeting in April.

About the author: Craig Rosenberg is a co-founder and Chief Analyst at TOPO and blogger on the Funnelholic sales and marketing blog. Follow him on Twitter.

  • mattdyor

    Sounds like it was a great event. From your discussions, are employers most focused on demand generation leads (ie-managers), demand generation story-tellers/creatives, or demand generation engineers?

    • Matt, the data we collect suggests that companies are more focused on hiring experienced demand generation leaders and marketing ops/technologists . While creative thinkers and good storytellers are also in demand, the other two roles are a priority right now for a few simple reasons. First, most companies look to their demand gen leaders for creative ideas, stories, programs. Second, high growth companies believe that marketing technology is a real point of leverage and scale for their businesses. Third, with a good marketing tech stack in place, companies will run more programs./campaigns and let the numbers tell them what works (at least in theory, as this approach has its flaws).

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