With significant market penetration and SiriusDecisions predicting a 50% growth in Marketing Automation adoption by next year, there’s little doubt automated lead management is headed for the tipping point. And rightly so if you also buy Forrester’s assessment that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% less cost.
For those who have yet to experience the kind of powerful results Forrester identifies, here are five things we consistently see that hold companies back and pose real threats to reaching a best-in-class position. They are:
- Lack of an in-place and disciplined data integrity strategy. While we all talk about the need to maintain up to date information on prospects, it seems that developing the long-term discipline and resource commitment to keep lists complete, scrubbed and useful remains a challenge. According to NetProspex “State of Marketing Data” benchmark report, which is based on an analysis of 61million records, 84% of marketing databases are “barely functional” with 88% lacking basic firmagraphic information. With email response rates more a challenge than ever before, having a steady stream of clean, segmented data to build opt-ins is no longer a nice to have, it’s essential.
- Restricting your MA tool to email distribution. The automation platforms we work with all do an amazing job distributing and reporting on emails. But many stop there, neglecting to combine the other channel touchpoints; i.e. search, social, live events, web, etc. into one combined automated approach. Following this strategy effectively turns your powerful automation engine into a one-cylinder moped. It may get you where you are going, eventually, but you’re not likely to be happy along the way.
- Lack of true persona information. Segmentation is critical to marketing success today and knowing not just what keeps your prospect awake at night but how they describe that pain can make the difference when it comes to engagement or indifference. When was the last time you surveyed new customers or prospects to identify how they go about purchasing solutions like yours and what factors go into the process? If that’s been longer than a year, give serious consideration to adding this as a priority.
- Confusing lead nurture campaigns and demand generation campaigns. Let’s take a step back. Lead nurturing, by design, is not the same as an instantly gratifying demand generation effort. If you need an immediate fire hose of leads to satisfy hungry sales reps, do yourself a favor, don’t look to your recently established lead nurture campaigns for vast volumes. Lead nurture programs WILL generate leads and WILL produce higher quality, faster closing leads OVER TIME. It’s just not a quick fix. Ramping up search, expanding telemarketing, attending events and thoughtful retargeting may give the immediate result needed to keep the wolves away until the nurturing efforts catch fire.
- Keeping your sales team at arm’s length. At the end of the day, the job of most BtoB marketing organizations, when it comes to demand generation, is to feed quality leads to the Sales organization to transform into revenue gold. This is unlikely to happen if: Marketing and Sales don’t agree on lead definition, don’t share the same process and goals, don’t follow the same lead management workflow or end up at odds with each other over results. Marketing Automation has been touted as the great equalizer that will bring Sales and Marketing organizations together under a common set of goals and activities to collectively achieve greater performance and efficiency. So far, not so much. As is the case with much of the sub-optimized performance, it’s not the software that’s to blame. Make sure Sales is involved and on board before embarking on any type of long term lead nurture process.
These aren’t the only things that can derail a well-intentioned lead management strategy. But focus on these can help avoid some serious mis-steps. I’d be thrilled to hear your own experiences and if you have any additional pitfalls to add to the list. Drop us a note.