Supporting the marketing/sales organizations, operations folks are constantly meeting various demands while balancing the theoretical vs. practical.   In the foray, we struggle find the opportunity to step back and regroup to understand the changing buying process.  The newest book Balancing the Demand Equation, by Adam Needles, Chief Strategy Officer @ Left Brain DGA serves as a guide to do this.

A bit of a disclaimer:  In my search for as much B2B marketing advice as I could find, I followed Adam through his blog “Propelling Brands” then had the pleasure of working with him at Silverpop, an Email Marketing Automation firm.

Balancing the Demand Equation is about the changing B2B environment where relevancy and efficiency matter most, but marketers are currently unable to deliver.

Adam discusses two themes:  1) focus on the buyer and 2) a holistic view of a sustainable operational process.   These are driven by a greater shift in buyers approach to selection.  He then illustrates how/why successful companies need to match relevant content marketing with effective lead management to deliver the right message at the right time. This intersection is described as Demand Process Integration.

A siloed approach of evaluating success in demand management is no longer viable.   Instead, it requires evaluating and tweaking the entire pipeline (incoming channels, data integrity, progressive profiling, nurturing) and  valves (scoring, routing).

As someone in the trenches, some thoughts after reading the book:

  1. More Than Just the Technology - Marketing/Sales technology sometimes do not live up to their ROI.  Sure there are always bugs in technology, however we’ve see  companies push forward with success Why?   People, process and content need to be part of the equation. Don’t be afraid to look for help through an agency, consultancy or hire an expert.  Investing in these types of relationships can yield time and revenue dividends over time.
     
  2. Data, Data, Data – If you find data to be boring, then go hire someone who loves it.   Marketing rocks today because  data drives everything from lead generation, prospect nurturing and customer feedback.  Understanding the personas of your buyers and collecting the information behind them will help you deliver resonating material.
     
  3. About the Individual -  Adam goes through a nice background on the changing B2B marketing approach.   It further supports that marketers need to focus not the traditional firmographics of an organization, but the individuals that it comprises.
     

For new B2B marketers, Balancing the Demand Equation is great resource on the background on buyer shifts and provide a how to approach lead management. For a veteran, the book articulates and supports, through lots of supporting research, many of the ideas you know that were nagging you, but you were too busy playing the role of an octopus.

Balancing the Demand Equation is a great read and chock full of resources from thought leaders and research in the space.  I highly encourage you to get a copy.

UPDATE (10/7/2011) – In case you are unable to order from amazon, please go ahead and order from Barnes and Noble