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According to Forrester Research, the companies who excel at B2B lead generation will produce 50% more sales ready leads while spending 33% less than their competitors.The B2B demand generation process and how companies cultivate and manage their leads has the potential to impact both profits and the costs of a given marketing and sales campaign.
One of the biggest hindrances of successful lead cultivation is the lack of alignment between marketers and salespeople. An estimated 87 percent of the terms used by professionals in these two camps to describe the other party are negative, yet companies who manage to successfully align them can see up to a 20 percent jump in annual revenue growth. When companies can get these two teams to work together, the demand generation process can see incredible growth and improved conversion rates.
Improving lead processing
One of the biggest discrepancies between sales professionals and marketing professionals is the quality of leads. According to marketers, sales teams do not take enough time to cultivate the sales leads into conversions. Sales, on the other hand, claims that marketers do not pass along quality leads. Often, the problem can be reduced to miscommunication on what qualifies as a sales-ready lead.
The marketing team and the sales team should work together to define their respective roles and how to define leads. Identifying what part of the sales funnel belongs to the marketing team and which part to the sales team will create more clearly defined roles that everyone can accept. What qualifies as a sales-ready lead should also be outlined. The sales team should also provide the marketing team with a definitive guide to what they will be doing with each lead that comes across their desk, including how often they will attempt content and in what context. Not only will this help to alleviate miscommunication, but it will also give the teams something to consult should disagreements arise in the future.
The role of marketing and sales automation software
Marketing and sales automation software play major roles in improving lead generation, including both the monitoring of the contact a particular lead has with the company and the automation of particular aspects of the lead cultivation process.
Both sales and marketing should have concrete ideas of the interaction a particular lead has had with the company. Marketing automation software can indicate where the lead has converted, the communication the person has had with the company website, and the pages they have been most interested in. The business development representative can also fill in information about the buyer persona the lead falls into, their respective challenges, and information the sales team might need when approaching the lead.
The sales team can then monitor and measure conversion rates and how various leads perform and the efforts that were made to convert them. The information can be passed back and forth between the two groups to provide lead intelligence, provide measurable information about how the teams are performing and living up to the previously outline arrangements, and feedback about how to improve.
In addition to monitoring lead engagement, the marketing automation technology can also be used to automatically generate emails and other sales oriented communications when the person visits particular pages on a site or clicks on CTAs. By understanding where the leads are in the buyer’s journey and what the buyer is looking for before they will convert, the sales and marketing professionals can together nurture the lead and make contact when the lead is most likely ready to buy. Considering that between 35 and 50 percent of leads go to the vendor who contacts the lead first, timing can be everything.
Improving the demand generation process can help companies improve their revenue and help their brand work together more seamlessly. By encouraging sales and marketing teams to view themselves as part of the same team, the organization will see considerable improvement and growth.