Thought Leadership Interview #16: Fearless Lead Gen from the Fearless Competitor: Jeff Ogden

I don’t know how I got connected with Jeff Ogden, but he’s the author of the hot white paper “How to Find New Customers.”  He asked me to read it and I liked it a lot. There is so much being written about demand generation, but most of it doesn’t make demand gen simple to understand. Ogden’s white paper does just that. That makes it a must-read, and Ogden a “must-interview.”

Ogden’s claim to fame is helping companies acquire customers.  You can get his point of view via his popular blog, Fearless Competitor.  He’s a sales and marketing expert, but also an entrepreneur that has founded two companies.  If you’re going to CMO Club summit, he’ll be there as a thought leader.

Here’s his interview:

1.    What are the three trends you see emerging in 2009?

  • Innovate or die: New companies will emerge and former leaders will fade.
  • Marketing evolves into a leadership role above sales.
  • Customer empowerment: Those who accept it prosper.  Those who don’t go bankrupt.

2.    What are the biggest challenges for 2009?

  • A study of military history reveals that all wars begin by fighting the last war; the United States Civil War, for example, used Revolutionary War tactics. Fast German Panzer tanks enabled Germany to defeat the Allies, who were using World War I tactics, in the early part of World War II. Similarly, marketers today are mainly fighting the battles of the last war. The biggest challenge is to turn around that archaic mindset.
  • Economic fears and cuts: Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to take market share, most execs are cutting too deeply and in the wrong places.
  • Lack of process: There’s too much focus on tactics. Buying is a process.

3.    What are three metrics that B2B marketers should care about and why?

  • Number of qualified sales opportunities being generated
  • Marketing spend vs. revenue delivered
  • Percentage of leads delivered vs. closed

4.    What are the top oversights marketers are making regarding lead generation?

  • Lead nurturing: This is the biggest problem because customers are in control.  Lead nurturing must be personalized and interactive; as behavior changes, nurturing needs to change.
  • Customer personas: To sell to me, you must know me. Not just superficially, but very deeply.
  • No one cares about your product but you. The focus must be on business results.  But too many marketers focus on what their company offers.
  • Failure to understand the buying cycle: A deep understanding of how people buy helps companies sell.

5.    What will you prescribe to marketers to carry out effective lead generation?

That they read my white paper, “How to Find New Customers: The Definitive Guide to Driving Demand for Your Company’s Products and Services,” and apply its lessons.

6. What three Web 2.0 applications,  cutting-edge technologies or lead generation sources do marketers HAVE to consider to be successful?

  • Customer persona and techniques with services firms like  Bulldog Solutions
  • Marketing automation like Marketo
  • Trigger event knowledge like InsideView

7.    What do you hope for in B2B sales and marketing for the new year?

  • Marketing and sales become one. From product development through long-term support – it is one continuous process.  Break down the walls.
  • The customer is in charge. We begin to listen by using social networks.
  • Patience. The era of 90-day startups is over.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • I think Jeff Ogden’s whitepaper is excellent and this interview is as well. I want to comment on several items in here.

    Item #7 — it is unlikely marketing and sales will ever become one; they have very different time horizons. A customer of mine told me: “marketing is looking for Mr. Right; sales is looking for Mr. Right Now.” (see: What can, and should, happen is what Jeff is postulating here — a continuous cycle moving a suspect to a prospect to a customer to a client. This involves discipline, incentive alignment (for sellers and marketers), content, and systems that support the continuum. This the exact problem my company (Prolifiq Software) has solved for our customers.

    #4 — marketers will NEVER know individual customers as intimately as salespeople will or do. Few marketers are willing to admit this and then construct processes that support this notion. Why not create the content, the “plays” and the systems to allow the salespeople to do what they do best — talk with their customers. The salespeople know: the buying cycle, the personas, and the business impact of the product to the customer.

    Too many marketers dismiss the value of the salesperson, and their intimate knowledge, in the equation.