Changing buyer behaviors require B2B marketers to communicate with prospects and customers in new ways, by delivering content that is personalized to their needs, role, level of interest, and stage of problem solving. This has made marketing automation a mission-critical system for B2B marketers, but too many marketing leaders head down the automation path without fully realizing what they are getting into. They need to prepare for the use of the technology by having:
- A lead-to-revenue process model to automate
- Content to support the message and responses
- A marketing organization that is ready to support the technology
“B2B Marketers Must Better Prepare for Marketing Automation,” Forrester
Best-in-class sales organizations are very good at finding, creating and qualifying leads into their sales funnel.
The reality is this stage, and what precedes it, is highly influential in terms of setting the sales organization up for success. Not enough qualified leads Above the Funnel dooms the sales team to missing the number. It’s that simple. How do you get better at managing it? We suggest three steps.
1. Creating a B2B Sales Lead Process.
- Establish specific stages of a Lead pipeline.
- Define the exact criteria that allow a lead to progress from one stage to the next.
- Set goals for the number of leads in each of these stages. Measure and report against these goals weekly.
2. Formalize and assign the responsibility of Lead Creation.
- Today’s recognized best-practice is for marketing to own Lead Management -from targeting and identification through the qualification stage where leads are promoted to sales. If this is possible with your organization, work now to make this happen.
- Apply goals and metrics for how many qualified leads are needed each month to adequately load the top of the sales funnel. You need to create enough leads at the top so there enough opportunities reaching the final pipeline stages to allow the company to achieve its revenue target.
- Download our Do I Have Enough Leads Calculator to help you determine this number.
3. Create a Lead Lifecycle Management program built on Marketing Automation.
- To create a sustained volume of qualified leads you need a multi-channel, diverse combination of out-bound and in-bound marketing built on lots of value add content, events, social media and other activities.
- Marketing Automation, combined with other best practices such as segmentation will enable automated lead nurturing, web-site tracking, lead scoring, personalized communications and lead stage tracking.
- Download the white paper Increasing Sales Effectiveness with Marketing Automation for lessons learned, tips, checklists and more to make your MA program a success.
This is a lot of work! Remind me the benefits.
Applying the same “pipeline” rigor to leads and providing visibility to the process is the way to improving the number and quality of your leads. Better leads also result in improved Sales Effectiveness when the sales team can focus their full efforts on qualified opportunities.