7 steps to implementing an effective Demand Center

Lucy Mitchell Demand Generation

Creating a Demand Center model within your marketing team can deliver significant benefits, but there isn’t a one-size-fits all model that will work for everyone. The approach you take will depend on your sector, global footprint, company structure and even your company culture.

As we often help clients to set-up new Demand Centers here are the first 7 steps to consider before you start:

Step 1: Start with the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and build from there.

List the core aspects sufficient to deploy the service that you would like your Demand Center to deliver and then build from there. This will allow you to test and adjust elements in a more agile and cost-effective way.

Step 2: Roles and responsibilities.

Clearly define the parameters, role of the Demand Center and its internal stakeholders to make sure that marketing needs are met effectively. The roles and responsibilities will depend on; the extent to which you will centralize your Demand Center, which aspects will be completed by regional and local teams.

Step 3: Define a roadmap.

Once you have outlined the MVP, clearly define your Demand Center roadmap incorporating milestones and stakeholder feedback points. This will help to set expectations and make sure that everyone is onboard.

Step 4: Communicate and get buy-in.

Effective communication is a key element for the success of any Demand Center implementation. Include initial communication sessions, training/education session as well as feedback sessions within the roadmap you’ve created for step 3. Break things down into small bite-sized chunks and keep it short and simple. When managing organizational change, the unknown scares people, affecting morale and productivity. A transparent process that puts communication as top priority will help you to transition while safeguarding your company culture.

Remember to communicate relevant information to all stakeholders including teams such as IT, Web, Tech, Sales and anyone who may need to provide support from both an infrastructure and service delivery point of view.

Step 5: Allow enough time to standardize infrastructure and prepare for teething problems.

Standardised marketing infrastructure can help you make exceptional efficiency savings, but it can also complicate the process. For e.g. standardizing elements within your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) such as Eloqua and Marketo is not always as simple as you’d think considering multiple stakeholders, translations, in-country social media channels, and regional language variations.

Ensure that all the departments required are engaged and buys into the Demand Center model, this will enable a smoother implementation process. This will enable you to get the right access to the right systems so that fixes identified during UAT testing can be implemented effectively.

Allow enough time, triple check everything, start with the MVP and build from there. Think of your infrastructure standardization in the same way as you would software development, allow time for Quality Assurance, UAT testing and expect teething problems that will need to be addressed.

Step 6: Identify and adopt tools that will help to streamline delivery.

Alongside your MAP platform identify any tools that will help you to simplify how the Demand Center will operate, such as tools to help you standardize email templates, gating assets, improve communication and visibility, managing documents and file name standards, user guides and documentation, inbound management, all the way through to performance management using appropriate reporting platforms.

Step 7: Be flexible, but define the parameters.

The Demand Center’s purpose should be to streamline your marketing processes, reduce cost per lead and be more effective overall. You should focus on making thing easier for in-country and regional teams to ensure an overall positive return on investment. In order to achieve this, it’s important to remain flexible especially at the start of the journey as a regimented process will frustrate field teams, pushing them to get demotivated or to become rogue agents who do as they please locally – either out of frustration or through lack of understanding. Global teams are difficult to monitor, and you can definitely not please everyone, but buy-in can make or break your Demand Center implementation.

Being agile is important both in terms of the ability to respond to request, and adapt to technology changes.

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