New pressures for marketers
Today’s marketers are under mounting pressure to demonstrate the direct connection between marketing programs and sales impact. While Measuring return on marketing investment is not easy task.
Marketers need to show a positive link between outreach activities and bottom-line metrics such as new customer acquisition and sales revenue. But for many companies, deficient
lead management practices keep getting in the way. The landscape of business-to-business marketing has profoundly changed.
Marketers face the formidable challenge of tracking leads from an ever-expanding array of channels in an increasingly complex purchase-decision process. In the past, marketing teams
focused largely on raising brand awareness through creative work, but this is no longer true. Marketing departments now must be able to show—proof-positive—that their efforts directly contribute to new leads, customer acquisitions, sales, and revenue growth.
Marketers working in the new landscape of business-to-business marketing face yet another challenge: how to manage an ongoing digital dialog with prospective customers. Because today’s buyers use social media extensively, marketers need to be agile enough to keep them engaged and informed—not just in the early stages, but throughout the marketing and sales lifecycle.
New solutions: a holistic approach
What’s the answer to these challenges? Marketing automation software, which automates the process of moving leads through the sales funnel, can be part of this solution but clearly technology alone cannot make the difference. The solution lies in synchronizing processes and technology to better align marketing and sales and improve lead management.
Marketing operations offers a way to coordinate people, processes, and tools. Marketing operations principles offer a holistic approach to optimizing lead management and provide
a clear path from marketing spend to revenue through realized sales—one that examines how people, processes, and tools come together throughout the marketing and sales lifecycle.
It prioritizes staff training and development, defines lead handoff and followup
mechanisms, and evaluates software tools for improving both marketing and sales force automation.
By taking steps to coordinate people, processes, and tools to manage leads, marketing leaders can more accurately measure and maximize return on marketing investment. The holistic approach focuses on three key activities:
- Synchronize the efforts of cross-functional teams
- Optimize lead management workflows
- Close critical gaps in software systems
Need to synchronize team efforts
Marketing and sales teams often are not aligned in their processes and goals. Lack of alignment between marketing tactics and sales objectives magnifies the difficulty of measuring performance.
Marketing staff contend with the pressure of keeping the sales pipeline primed with leads. At the same time, sales personnel routinely clamor for more efficient lead routing and better insight into the value that each opportunity represents.
To win support for ongoing marketing investment, marketing leaders need to be able to show the direct impact of expenditures on tangible business outcomes, such as growth in market share, increased sales, greater customer value, and increased profitability.
Deficient lead-management practices, often related to the growing complexity of marketing campaigns, are a common source of misalignment between marketing and sales. Today’s marketers typically need to mine and monitor responses from numerous channels while navigating a labyrinth of workflows to distribute leads to sales staff.
Marketing is evolving
Spotlight on leads: what goes wrong?
Lead management lies at the heart of the issue. It encompasses the methodology, organizational roles, processes, and technologies dedicated to providing sales teams with qualified prospective customer information. This critical function dictates how customer inquiries are captured, how leads are ranked, and what communications tactics are applied to leads at each phase in the purchasing process.
The main bridge between the marketing and sales teams is lead management. Yet, for many enterprises—despite its obvious strategic importance—lead management is in desperate need of fixing. In some cases, companies lack any means for scoring leads or nurturing prospects that are not yet ready to buy. As a result, they lose a significant number of leads each year to neglect.
Marketers face pressure to continuously feed the demand pipeline.
As a result, marketing teams tend to focus on quickly pushing leads to sales contacts in high volumes, rather than evaluating and classifying responses in a more systematic way. Predictably, in this scenario, sales personnel cherry-pick the most promising leads and
overlook the others, resulting in high lead-churn rates and wasted opportunities. Marketers need standardized processes for lead qualification, routing, and nurturing. Using marketing operations principles, they can classify opportunities, engage prospects with appropriate follow-up communications, and close the loop with sales teams to measure campaign performance.
How do you fix it?
The way to build an opportunity pipeline that generates higher conversion rates, more closed deals, and increased profitability is to fix lead management first. By focusing squarely on aligning people, processes, and tools, you can optimize and quickly scale lead-management workflows. With an enhanced ability to track leads throughout the purchase-decision process, you can close the loop with sales to evaluate and take steps to maximize return on marketing investment.pact of such an
- Determine gaps. Perform a high-level capabilities assessment that evaluates the staffing resources, process flows, and technology assets that support lead management.
- Assure data quality. Consolidate and cleanse lead-tracking data sources to enable streamlined, consistent performance measurement.
- Optimize processes. Define simple, repeatable processes and automated workflows to govern lead capture, qualification, and off, and performance tracking tasks. Provide ongoing staff training on these processes and adopt a strategy of continuous improvement.
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