Traditionally, B2B marketers use a variety of tools to execute lead generation efforts. This process includes multiple departments — IT, sales, engineering and account management, among others. It typically is inefficient and wasteful.
A January 2015 Conductor survey of marketing executives found that 65% planned to increase their marketing technology investment during 2015, with 28% planning to spend “significantly” more. IDC predicts that marketing technology spending will hit $32.3 billion by 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 12.4%.
There is a clear need for new tools to improve efficiency and results. B2B marketers are putting their money where their mouths are, but still struggle to integrate the new tools into existing marketing stacks.The difficulty with this integration is likely the cause of the disappointing lead-to-sales conversion rates we’ve seen in recent years. Approximately 90% of leads don’t convert or die on the vine. In fact, many marketers won’t allow a campaign to go live until they can verify that leads can be delivered into their own lead-nurturing platform.
Typically, there are four departments involved in lead generation:
Sales. Sales teams must understand what volume and quality of leads they can deliver in order to know what to pitch. They should know who has visited your site and what kinds of audiences it attracts. You may want to sell to IBM, but if your content doesn’t cater to the business professionals who use IBM’s products, then you’re out of luck. A solid understanding of site traffic and target audience segments is what will help your sales teams close more deals.
Account Management. Once the sale is closed, it’s up to account management to set up the campaign and its content (webinars, whitepapers, case studies). While the campaign runs, they must constantly track the flow of leads, monitor benchmarks, validate and verify leads, ensure the data submitted for those leads is appropriate and relevant, and finally deliver those leads back to the client in whatever format they prefer. This is where they often run into friction, because it’s difficult and costly for a publisher to supply the tools to accommodate every platform. Every CRM system is a little different and it can be expensive to do custom integrations.
IT/Engineering. It is then up to the IT department to define the scope of your site and build out the various components required to capture customer contact information, and make ongoing adjustments as needed. Of course, this process takes time and that reduces your speed-to-market or response to any client’s request. Many companies try to solve for this problem by building their own content management system, but again, this takes time and technology evolves so quickly that often the system is outdated by the time it’s finished.
Audience Development. The audience development team (for some B2B marketers, it’s the email team) must decide if enough qualified email addresses have been collected. Finally, they must track that performance and feed it back to both sales and account management, so that all teams can evaluate success and make the necessary tweaks throughout the process.
This is the basic sales cycle, and it’s a bumpy one. Each department often uses their own set of tools that don’t integrate with each other’s tools. Disparate departments that are working toward the same goal are most effective when they have insight into each other’s processes and statuses. Interdepartmental siloes only increase lead-time and ultimately waste a tremendous amount of time and financial resources.
Further, there are already issues with integration in any campaign, but there is no certainty that even the basic elements of that campaign are solid or that they will not change. You may need to adjust certain messaging or content in order to support a product launch or if existing content isn’t resonating with target audiences. Platforms may be added or removed from the mix, requiring further adjustments and integration efforts. Swaths of data may be collected and then deemed unqualified. Ultimately, success is not guaranteed. Teams must be nimble and adaptable, ready to quickly switch course if lead generation initiatives are to be successful.
In short, to take control of your lead generation, you must streamline interdepartmental operations with data that works across platforms, make the process more efficient, lower operational costs, and allow teams to take on more clients and take control of their campaigns.
As Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Audience Development at Madison Logic, Turk is responsible for creating strategic data partnerships as well as guiding and growing the company’s leading Business Intent initiatives. Vin brings over a decade of expertise in strategy and design of digital media platforms.