After speaking at the Integrated Marketing Summit last week, I attended sessions on the burgeoning field of demand generation, marketing automation and CRM, something I’ve been studying for awhile but was brought home for me in a big way during talks by James W. Obermayer and Debbie Qaqish. I’ve been tracking ROI on marketing spend for a long time, but the tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing marketing professionals to monitor and take action on the “digital body language” of leads we acquire from various marketing and communications programs. By collaborating with sales to score leads and undertaking segmentation and nurturing campaigns to communicate with them effectively through CRM programs, there has never been a more opportune time for marketing to earn its place at the revenue table.
James W. Obermayer, executive director of the Sales Lead Management Association, began his talk with a simple question: “Isn’t it time you take credit for the wealth you’re creating in your corporation?” We as marketing professionals are the most creative minds in our organizations. If we are not accountable to sales, if we do not know the revenue goals of our organizations and the quotas of the sales teams we serve, how in the world can we know the number of inquiries necessary to achieve success?
According to Obermayer, good performance marketing managers know their goals, create demand, count every inquiry (and every dollar), manage data (CRM), qualify and nurture leads (by channel), repeat wins and remove losers, and they read and follow James D. Lenskold’s book “Marketing ROI.”
He also offers four ways to ensure that CRM programs do not fail:
1) Management has to want it
2) Sale mangers must be on board
3) Sales people need to be trained
4) Marketing has to use the system
Debbie Qaqish of The Pedowitz Group was equally inspiring. Her premise: the role of marketing changes radically with marketing automation tools. It will take a few years and maybe even creation of new analytical roles within your organization, but when sales and marketing partner to deliver qualified leads which are scored, nurtured and closed based on reading the digital body language of our prospects, marketing will be better respected and more highly valued among the ranks of sales leadership and executive management.
10 Best Practices for Demand Generation Marketing
1. Map the Buying Process
a. Crosses marketing and sales. Line up assets to meet how people buy. Buyers do research online, long before a sales person is even remotely engaged.
2. Track and report on “metrics that matter”
a. Conversion and revenue
b. Not “cost per lead”
c. Act and sound like a VP sales
3. Build a Marketing Funnel System
a. Similar to a sales funnel
b. See CSO Insights report
4. Build a common language of leads
a. No fuzzy definitions – lead scoring
b. Quantify definition of a high quality lead
5. Build a common lead management process
a. Life of a lead is everybody’s job
i. Each step is a conversion point we’re trying to improve up to closing
b. How does a marketing qualified lead get passed from marketing to sales?
i. Follow up within x hours or it’s going to another sales person
6. Institute Service Level Agreements
a. A seat at the revenue table is not done in isolation. One process, respected by sales through an agreement.
7. Involve Sales
a. Build Sales Champions for the lead management program
b. Build field focused campaigns
c. Are leads qualified? Are they ready to buy?
8. Create a regular communication cycle and feedback loop
9. Trending, Tweaking, Trying
10. Educate, educate, educate
Change the conversation with your executive team. Think marketing operations. You are a lead production house contributing to revenue. The structure of marketing team will change. You need analytical people – somebody thinking about the campaigns and how to improve upon them daily. Testing is key, and like database work, the job is never done. Just keep at it.