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The Future of Demand Gen with Kaylee Edmondson

Demand gen has long been a hot topic in marketing and for marketing departments but where does the future of it lie?

Coasting along doing the same things over and over again won’t cut it as demand gen continues to evolve, from techniques through to ways to measure your success.

In this episode, we spoke to Kaylee Edmondson is Senior Director of Demand Gen at Chili Piper, on where the marketing playbook is going and what B2B SaaS companies should be preparing for in the future.

Here are the highlights to dip into if you don’t have time for all of it right now 🤩👇


What does demand gen actually mean?

1:55 — Jump to the Podcast.

Kaylee made it clear that it encompasses a wide variety of activity in your company when she said it should be everything your business is doing to leverage demand whether its creating, converting, capturing, any of the things in between.”

Not only that, when it comes to the funnel:

“...where I see demand gen fitting in a marketing funnel is really quite holistic so top of the funnel activities, middle of the funnel activities where you’re actually getting to know people one on one, you’ve captured who they are, they’re in your CRM or marketing automation platform etc, but even on the other side of the funnel when it gets to customer engagement or retention campaigns, demand gen should own all of those technically acquisition activities.”


What is the dark funnel?

7:02 — Jump to the Podcast.

Understanding the dark funnel is vital in future marketing activities but how did Kaylee define it?

  • “Communities and online are becoming a huge place that people are going, and operating, and educating each other.”
  • “If somebody comes to your website from a Slack community you will never know”
  • “People are willing and able to buy products based on what their friend texted them, recommended to them, Slacked them, LinkedIn DMed them, whatever.”

Those are all areas of dark funnel - where people are actively communicating, engaging, having conversations, learning about new products and you as the marketer, the salesperson, the business person on the other end will never know that’s where it came from,” she added.


What does the dark funnel mean in terms of the demand gen playbook?

9:50 — Jump to the Podcast.

Chili Piper have adapted to address the challenges of the dark funnel but what exactly are they doing.

  • “We (Chili Piper) hired a dedicated in-house person to help us be represented across communities because we understand that’s where a huge % of our persona is hanging out these days.”
  • “Using an open text field asking ‘How did you hear about us?’ with no dropdown so as not to bias the answers.”
  • “We started a podcast this year” to serve our gen community
  • Micro-scale events held across multiple cities

There’s a lot more detail in the full episode like an opinion on native attribution,  where that can help and where it falls down in these cases.


How, as a marketer, do you get buy-in for this playbook from senior leadership in your company?

15:49 — Jump to the Podcast.

Kaylee went into fascinating detail here on the Decision Memo process at Chili Pipi for pitching new ideas to their senior management team and how that helps create data-backed progress for new ideas.

I do understand that this is probably quite terrifying, not only for CEOs but also specifically for CFOs who really want that like direct ROI so when they’re building your growth model for the year, or your business plan, they can say ‘Ok, we’re going to give marketing $2million and they’re going to give us back $6million.

So changing the playbook doesn’t mean you can’t still get internal buy-in without using solid data to make your point.


What does success look like for Chili Piper’s demand gen team?

21:50 — Jump to the Podcast.

“We call them QHMs which stands for Qualified Held Meeting… once that account executive gets on a call and conducts the demo there are no other lingering random misqualifications… they don’t have the budget, they’re not really in buying mode, it's going to be a legal thing or security thing etc… all those boxes are checked and its actually a viable buyer… I’m pretty sure the rest of the industry is going to consider that an SQL but that’s what, not only Demand Gen, but all of marketing at Chili Piper is goaled on.”


What skills do you think demand gen marketers should be investing in so they’re ready to operate in a dark funnel world?

25:28 — Jump to the Podcast.

Kaylee broke this down into three core areas, two of which she wished she’d known in advance!

  1. Product marketing. Make friends with your product marketer and learn from them!
  2. Marketing ops. Creating demand without conversion means lost opportunities.
  3. The obvious one is digital marketing


To learn more, listen to the full episode!


What should you do next?

If you liked what you heard and would like to know more, you should subscribe to the Growth Hub Podcast on your preferred podcast platform. ❤️

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Links to check out

Chili Piper >>

Obviously Awesome by April Dunford >>…bviously-awesome


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