Automate Your Process

automateLead management systems can help marketers increase the productivity of their lead generation programs by automating many processes, while also providing tools for tracking and measuring campaign effectiveness. By implementing lead management systems, marketers can gain huge efficiencies through things like automated landing page creation and lead scoring that identify those leads that are ready to be sent to sales. Such systems also provide automated nurturing processes that can help to develop leads into “sales-ready” prospects over time.

To explain more fully, inquiries or suspects that have not yet entered the buy cycle would be a waste of costly sales resources and would not be welcoming of a salesperson’s phone call. Today’s lead management systems enable marketers to more easily discern when leads are ready to be passed to sales and which leads can benefit from automated nurturing activities such as drip marketing until they are ripe to be worked by sales. This increases the likelihood of leads transforming into closed sales for greater revenue performance.

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Lead Nurturing…the New Wave of the Future

WaveYesterday, I was reading Aberdeen’s new industry analyst report, which discusses the best practices of lead nurturing by exploring the tactics and strategies of top performing organizations. I found it quite interesting that 56% of all respondents surveyed indicated that they lack a formal lead nurturing process.

With 80% of sales closing after the 5th contact, can marketing and sales really afford not to nurture all leads? I think not. It’s time to wise up and realize the importance of lead nurturing and the impact it can have on your organization. By implementing a lead nurturing process, marketing departments can significantly reduce their lead generation budgets and in return maximize their efforts on lead quality instead of lead quantity.

With today’s economic conditions spiraling downward across the globe many organizations are being forced to cut costs and focus on maximizing marketing and sales effectiveness. We can no longer afford to waste money on generating qualified leads to only have them fall through the cracks. So not only is lead nurturing the new Wave of the future, but it is a powerful way that all organizations can help to maximize their lead generation efforts once and for all – finally!

If you’re interested in learning more, download a complimentary copy of Aberdeen’s Lead Nurturing: The Secret to Successful Lead Generation report.

Fifteen years ago, it was okay if you didn’t know who was visiting your website.

Dogs On the InternetBack then, the sales cycle and the buy cycle began at the same time because your sales rep was the broker of your product information. However, today, the buy cycle begins long before the sales cycle with over 80% of all B2B purchases initiated via web search.

As a lead article in the Harvard Business Review points out, the sales cycle is forever changed. In today’s highly competitive “flat world,” you can’t afford not to know who is visiting your website.

Getting prospects to your website is activity – closing business with these individuals is an accomplishment. Without tracking your prospects’ digital fingerprints on your website, you won’t be able to score them properly, and if you can’t score your prospects then you won’t be able to separate the dogs (those who will never buy your products) from the suspects (the people who want to buy your products).

In a recent study by CSO Insights, an industry analyst research firm, found in its 2008 Lead Life Cycle Optimization analysis that there is still a major disconnect between sales and marketing. Sales executives were asked to assess the quality and quantity of the leads they receive from marketing and 51% reported that marketing “needs improvement.” The analysis also revealed that companies who are not implementing a lead management system within their organization could find themselves at a serious competitive disadvantage. With today’s economic downturn, can you really afford not to score and manage your incoming leads for sales?

If you immediately turn over all of your web suspects to your sales organization without having a lead management system in place, you could decrease your revenue per sales rep because you are forcing your sales team to chase the dogs that haven’t hit a certain interest level threshold. This is frustrating to your sales reps and annoying to your prospects. By utilizing a lead management system, you can automatically find the “hot” leads based on your definition (whitepaper downloads, product demos viewed, etc.) and send those leads to your CRM system or sales team. By implementing a lead management system within your organization, you will be able to gain a deeper understanding of how lead scoring can increase your marketing ROI while maximizing your sales resources.

Say No to the Status Quo

Status QuoOver the past several weeks I’ve had some interesting conversations with marketers and it seems to me that some company’s allow status quo to outweigh ROI – why is that?  Most of my discussions have been with marketers that are seeing the value in lead management – especially from a behavior tracking and lead nurturing perspective. But what’s very odd is their ability to redistribute marketing dollars to support a nurturing program. The money is stuck in existing campaigns that the company has executed for years.  What I’m seeing is that certain management would rather stick their head in the sand or do what our competitors do, just because it’s always done that way. Versus those that are analyzing the ROI of marketing expenditures and continuing to readjust as necessary.  In these economic times one would think that there is no money left for that tradeshow “we just have to do”, or that print ad that produces very little but “it’s what we’ve done for years.”  Granted some marketing line items are harder to equate a direct ROI – such as collateral and branding elements, but there should be some way of measuring effectiveness.  And if you are truly going to increase the ratio of marketing dollars spent to sales revenue generated, then the status quo has proven not to work.  If people continued to buy the way they used to before the Internet became so pervasive, this wouldn’t be as big of an issue. However, that has all changed and the number of leads coming to your website to buy from you today is small.  According to statistics, most will buy from someone over the next 24 months.  Most are not buying from you or anyone else today. So, if your lead generation dollars are driving leads to your website or landing page and you are not nurturing, you are wasting money.  There are plenty of statistics out there to drive a business case. Don’t allow the status quo to rob your marketing budget and lead you to fail.