The D3 Methodology

Overview: Learn how the D3 Methodology can provide structure and direction to your demand generation.

About the speaker: For more than 20 years, David focused on being an innovator in digital marketing technology and methodologies. He’s been fortunate to oversee marketing for some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology companies and DemandGen has helped over 400 clients become marketing heroes by transforming their marketing teams into high-performance Demand Factories outputting growth and revenue.


Hi, my name is David Lewis. I’m the founder and CEO of Demand Gen and I want to thank you for joining me today. Today we are going to take a look at the d3 methodology. It’s a methodology that we developed for you to help you with your growth initiatives. Today’s Modern Marketing organizations are under constant pressure to deliver. Year over year, double digit revenue growth. While at the same time you must provide a frictionless customer experience and grow revenue from your existing customer base. Consistent go to market innovation is critical to outsell and out deliver your competition. 

When you think about it. 2020 ushered in additional challenges for organizations across industries and sectors requiring immediate. And in some cases, drastic changes to business operations. The supply chain and customer communications. Contactless buying experience became an essential priority for all businesses around the globe. And as a result, digital transformation is now a business imperative. And we’ve developed a holistic methodology for you to help you lead the organization through this transformation. A lot has changed with marketing over the last couple decades.

Changes in Marketing

And I think for context, before we dive into the methodology, let’s take a look at some of those changes. For one thing, our relationship with sales has dramatically changed over the years, where we used to be a support department for sales, helping them with marketing collateral and sales, collateral and even with their engagement with prospects. These days, our relationship with our buyer is front and center. In fact, the entire organization is now focused on revenue growth, and delivering a phenomenal customer experience. So to help our clients and to help all of you, we develop the d3 methodology to give you a way to understand and identify all the initiatives that are needed for growth. So let’s take a look at it. 

D3 Methodology

It is based on a metaphor that we think is really well suited for explaining the benefits of the methodology. As well as some of the challenges. And the picture that you’re seeing right here. Well, that is a planetary gear system. If you’re like me. Well, you didn’t probably know much about a planetary gear system until this was introduced. But it is an engine. And it’s a wonderful metaphor to really represent the engine that we need to build within marketing and sales to drive revenue growth. So what makes a planetary gear system such a phenomenal visual metaphor for maximizing revenue across marketing, sales and customer service? Well, quite simply, it provides an accurate depiction of all of the key components and the role they play in driving revenue output.

Planetary gear system

So let me break it down for you. A planetary gear system is comprised of an outer housing ring, a bracket, several interconnected planetary gears, and a middle sun gear, which is where power is output. The whole system is incredibly strong, durable and powerful. behind those is a bracket. It’s a deceptively simple gray bracket, but it connects everything together. And it represents the tight integration needed between sales, marketing and customer service. For revenue engine function. The sun gear in green at the center of this system symbolizes revenue output. In actual planetary gear systems. The sun gear is the output mechanism and can do things like turn blades on a helicopter or wheels on a car, the inner planetary gears the blue ones represent each phase of demand generation. In order to maximize revenue output, you have to maximize all three.

The Three Gears

Demand creation. Well, this is how you engage with new prospects to drive top line engagement and create demand for your product or service. The second gear demand management, that’s where you’re continuing the engagement with prospects to convert as many as possible into customers. And there’s demand expansion, the third planetary gear where you’re expanding customer lifetime value through onboarding, retention, cross sell and upsell efforts. The outer ring which is that orange and red area represents the foundational elements essential for any high functioning, demand generation engine, people technology, data and analytics. It surrounds and encases the entire planetary gear system.  

The planetary gear system perfectly symbolizes the connectivity and integration needed between sales, marketing and customer service. It also visually represents the underlying dependencies on people, technology, data and analytics. Everything must work together to keep the engine humming. So there you have it. In one simple yet powerful and sophisticated engine, you have the perfect visual representation of what’s needed for high performance revenue growth.   

There is one thing that you should keep in mind about a planetary gear system. and how it relates to this metaphor. And that is, this is a very powerful engine that requires a lot of lubrication. Or to say it another way, there can’t be any friction in the system. So in terms of you driving growth in your organization, you really need to have almost a warlike viewpoint, on getting friction out of your customer experience, and certainly out of your buying process, so make sure that you look across your organization, and see where that friction occurs. 

Demand Creation

Let’s start off by taking a look at the first planetary gear, which is the demand creation. Demand creation encompasses initiatives for creating awareness and engagement with a core focus on lead and account acquisition. It’s the phase in which you find establish and begin to build a strong relationship with your next prospective customer by providing relevant content and adding value.  

Demand creation is aimed at creating engagement and filling the top of the demand funnel. It includes things like multi touch, multi channel campaigns that engage prospects to relevant and timely content. It also includes a variety of inbound and outbound content, using channels that align with your audience. You’ll also need an engaging website to support your demand creation initiatives within depth, educational information, and additional content about your solutions. And then, of course, you’ll need ways for your customers and prospects to engage with you, such as contact forums, calls or chat or a demo request. 

Demand creation aspect of your business growth is all about driving net new engagement with prospects. And people that you’re not currently doing business with. There’s a whole set of initiatives that you need to take a look at in terms of really maximizing your contribution. When it comes to demand creation. You need to know who your buyer is. You need to identify content. And deliver that content in a way that is engaging and educational, and informative. And as you look across this entire graphic. You’ll see those key areas. The key components that are going to be need to address for you to maximize the creation of net new interest in your products and services.   

Demand Management

Once you generate that demand and you create it, you need to manage it. And so the second gear is demand management. Whereas demand creation focuses on filling the top of the funnel with net new engage prospects. demand management focuses on the middle of the funnel, where both sales and marketing teams work synergistically to convert prospects into customers. demand management is accomplished when you design, implement and optimize your lead management framework across sales and marketing. Doing so is of paramount importance because it ensures that departments are well aligned. In this way the most qualified and engaged leads will receive the attention they require at the right time. 

Additionally, demand management is where organizations continue to expand the relationship with would be buyers through lead nurturing. Which ensures more qualified leads and accounts are routed to the sales team. Demand management deepens the relationship between you and your qualified prospects through active intentional. And often automated engagement. Done well your lead mat has been framework can produce high win rates. And enable marketing and sales to ensure your prospects receive a consistent flow of personalized content that educates them. And helps them make informed decisions and improving sales conversion rates.  

In demand management. You have things like your demand management strategy, lead scoring, lead nurturing operationalizing, a demand funnel, and many other aspects including account base, go to market strategy. So demand management are all the initiatives that tightly integrate sales and marketing together and serve to take the interest that you’re creating and turn them into new customers. But closed one doesn’t equal close done. And that’s where demand expansion comes in.   

Demand Expansion

Demand expansion is that third planetary gear. And it represents engagement and growth you need to do with your install base. Demand expansion is the third dimension to effective demand generation because it helps you achieve year over year sustained revenue growth. Whereas demand creation and demand management require integration between marketing and sales in demand expansion. Marketing partners with customer success. To onboard delight and expand the customer relationship. Top performing companies understand the importance of customer success teams. And often designate different resources to focus on customer acquisition and some on customer expansion.

The two dimensions must be tackled simultaneously and synergistically for optimal revenue growth. There are just like the others several different key components that you need to address to maximize the lifetime value. And the relationship with your customer. You can see them here.    

Four Foundational Elements

All right, now let’s take a look at the outer ring gear and the four foundational elements. Together demand creation, demand management and demand expansion represent the core of the d3 methodology. And it’s those three gears surrounding revenue growth, where the d3 methodology gets its name. But no methodology is stable without a solid foundation. The d3 methodology is supported by four foundational elements that enable organizations to realize the greatest value from their demand generation investments. They are people, technology, data, and analytics.   

Of course, any good marketing in any good organization is based on having a great team and great people. And so there are yes components that you need to take a look at, like your organizational structure, the strategic skills of the team, the technical skills of the team, as well as having a marketing operations function, and a sales operations function. No high performing demand generation team relies solely on internal expertise and home built tools to achieve its revenue growth targets.  

Strategic and Technical Skills

A well defined organizational structure that supports both strategic and operational resources is vital to your success. You and your team need both strategic and technical skills, along with a strong integrated marketing and sales operations component. In many of our clients and larger organizations, they’ve converted that those two functions to a revenue operations function, but either way, either separate or as one integrated unit, it’s very important for you to have the right people with the right skill set, and then to have a focus on revenue generation.  


Next is your technology. And technology. As you know, today, in terms of digital transformation, there are plenty of tools and technologies. And so making sure that you have the right marketing automation platform, the right CRM system and properly integrating those systems. Maybe you’ve had those systems for some time, and need to assess them and determine if they are still right for your organization and working properly in terms of their impact on the business. But it doesn’t stop there their sales technology you need as well as customer experience technology.  

And so in today’s modern marketing organization, and modern organization across sales, marketing customer success, you’re going to need a lot of different technology and put those tools to work for you. the right technology stack for sales, marketing and service is essential to enable high performance demand generation, the stack must be well integrated and include key programs and processes for demand creation, demand management and demand expansion.   


The next foundational element is your data. And data is essential. In these days, we have far more data than we could ever possibly manage and deal with. So it is essential that we practice good data hygiene and know how to use that data effectively. And again, you can see some of the key components. You’ll need to address with your data so that you can maximize your revenue growth. And maximize the relationships that you have with your customers. Your customer data is essential for growing your relationship with customers. Helping you deliver the right content to the right leads at the best place and time. In fact, your marketing success hinges on your ability to capture and maintain high integrity, consistent data.  

Yet the majority of organizations allow customer data to decay. Developing a data driven culture enables you though to bring on data operations and expertise to support your digital transformation journey, there’s a good chance your database looks like an episode of hoarders. Clean it up and established a data driven culture within marketing.


And then lastly, but not least, it’s about analytics. It’s about knowing the impact that you’re having on the business, and just how well your marketing investments are paying off. Those components, as you can see, have to start and be based off an analytics strategy, you need to have some planning in terms of what you’re going to be measuring. You need to know how your channels are performing. You also need to know what kind of campaign attribution models you’re going to deploy.  

And make sure that the data and your attribution modeling is a high level of integrity so that you know what’s working and what’s not working. demand generation programs are never set it and forget it. programs must be fine tuned and optimized on a continuous basis to deliver on projected pipeline and revenue. By implementing a set of KPIs that measure program performance and contribution of pipeline and revenue. organizations can ensure programs are contributing to business growth. It’s essential that marketing is focused on revenue and pipeline reporting.  

Sales and Marketing

You know why sales gets recognition because attribution is easy. they close the deal and they get the credit, but it takes careful analysis of market Getting data and activities to show marketing’s contribution to pipeline and revenue. Your ability to measure and report on marketing’s impact on revenue is essential to change the perception of marketing from a cost center to a revenue engine. You’re probably going to want to manage and track your demand funnel. Those your increase in marketing qualified leads all the way through to pipeline and closed one business.  


And then finally, you need to do revenue reporting. There’s far more information that you can collect and have at your fingertips. But distilling that information down to the most important KPIs is what your executive team needs to see. They don’t need to know about how many people have visited your website. They want to know how your marketing investments are contributing to pipeline and revenue growth. So have that in mind when you approach analytics. That it’s all about revenue and revenue growth. But your department may need much more tactical measurements to help you know what’s working, and what’s not. 

So why should you apply this methodology for growth, Modern Marketing organizations are under intense pressure from across the organization. Not only must you continuously generate high qualified leads for sales in a dynamic, fast paced, and extremely competitive marketplace. But you’re supporting internal comms HR programs. While at the same time, you need to meet the demands as a growth driver for the organization. The d3 methodology provides structure and direction to fuel those efforts. This primer is just the beginning of your learning and how to apply within your organization encourage you to access the additional materials we have available for you. 

D3 Methodology and more resources

Well, there you have it, that is the d3 methodology at a very high level. And what it takes for you to maximize your revenue growth are a number of things. First of all, you must have a shared vision across your leadership team, you really have to have a data driven and revenue driven mindset. You also need to make sure that your marketing and sales teams are not just aligned, but integrated. Along with marketing and customer success for your install base. Want to make sure that your investments in resources are sufficient. That you have enough people and the right technology, and certainly adequate budget for growth.  

And I recommend that you have a more agile model to how you work in today’s day and age. Because agility is more important than perfection.

Then lastly, this is not overnight. These initiatives, there’s a commitment to the journey that you and the rest of the organization need to have. Keep that in mind and set that vision from the very beginning. That if you’re going through digital transformation. It’s not an overnight success.

As I said, this resource is available to you so you can spend more time with it. But I also have several other resources that you might find helpful. For one, there’s my book on lead management called manufacturing demand. You can go to demand Gen calm and go into our resources area. And you’ll find a free download that entire book if you’d like to read it digitally. If you’d like to get a hard copy. You can go to Amazon or wherever you buy books these days, and purchase a hard copy of it. But I welcome you and encourage you to download the electronic version. It doesn’t have anything left out. And it’s a great way for you to get familiar with the content. But again, if you’d rather have a hard copy, you can certainly get one.   

Demand Gen Podcast

We also have the Demand Gen Radio Podcast where we release episodes for you every single week. The demand Gen Radio Podcast features Marketing Leaders, marketing practitioners. As well as I interview marketing technology and sales technology companies to help discuss the methods and technologies for driving growth. So be sure to look for demand Gen radio on your favorite podcast app. Or you can go to demand Gen and listen to the episodes online.

On our website at demand Gen comm we have a resources hub that is chock full of information for you. You can find all this information about the d3 methodology. And we will continue to publish more and more resources for you. So that there is not just the materials that you have today. But there is a complete toolkit that you can leverage and help you identify these initiatives. And work towards accomplishing them. And then lastly, we have Demand Gen TV.  

If you go to YouTube and search for demand Gen or go to demand You can find all of our video content. These are short form videos like the one you’re watching that will help you understand. And see the methods and technologies for driving growth. I want to thank you very much for joining me and I hope you have a lot of great questions. I look forward to talking to you and to hearing the questions that you have. Thanks and have a great day.