Marketing Sherpa released this chart today about the processes B2B marketers are using to manage prospects across their buying cycles. What concerns me is the percentage of marketers who've labeled these processes as non-priority items and assigned them to purgatory.
In my opinion, these marketers may well be the next to experience purgatory.
Let's take a look at why a few priorities need to shift:
- Collaborate with Sales to define sales-ready leads.
This one always leaves me a bit perplexed. In essence, one of marketing's most important jobs is to generate and qualify leads worthy of sales pursuit. Yet they don't seem to care what sales people consider to be a qualified lead. Thankfully, 20% are planning to change this but 35% don't seem to think it matters enough to make it a priority. I'm sorry, I just don't get it.
- Measure lead generation contribution to revenue.
In the age of increased demand for marketing accountability, it makes zero sense not to be able to account for marketing program contribution to revenues. Nada, zilch. For all the marketers out there whining about your budgets, start measuring this metric. If marketing is wants to be considered a contributor to driving the strategic direction of the company, they need to start learning how to prove their impact to business objectives.
- Have system for rating "qualified" and "warm" leads.
If you want to keep that divide between marketing and sales nice and healthy then keep tossing contacts over the wall to sales. As it is now, salespeople spend more time on administrative tasks and research than they do on selling. This is not the best use of their time. And yes, marketers, this one's on you. Salespeople need help prioritizing leads so that their selling time can be maximized for best results. Spinning their wheels trying to talk to prospects not ready to talk with them isn't productive and it just irritates your prospects.
- Have a process for nurturing leads not sales ready.
Considering that only about 20% of leads generated are ready for a sales conversation—if you're lucky—this means that 38% of marketers are fine with wasting 80% of their lead generation budgets. That just does not make good business sense. With buyers in control of their buying process, the growth in self-education opportunities and the increasing complexity of the problems they're charged with solving, the need for nurturing has never been higher. But, never fear, if you don't do it, your competitors will be glad to take those future buyers off your hands.
- Closed-loop tracking from source to conclusion.
This one goes back to measuring lead generation contribution to revenues. But, beyond that, it also means discovering which sources provide the highest quality leads and which you should eliminate due to poor quality leads that don't convert. Given that 43% of marketers say this is not a priority added to the 31% that said they don't track lead gen to revenues, 74% of marketers don't think that monitoring what happens over the entire course of the buying process is important. Considering how much farther across the buying process marketers must now reach to get sales people in the game, this could be one of the biggest mistakes being made today.
- Have a process for handing leads back to marketing.
The fact that 53% of marketers think that once they toss leads to sales they have been absolved of any further responsibility in the buying process is just frightening. If you tie this result with the 38% of marketers who don't have a nurturing process for leads not sales ready, it gets to be a really scary statistic of 91% of marketers who are not engaged in facilitating the entirety of the buying process.