In the years since I established Purple Salix, I’ve been fortunate to work with CMOs and marketing leaders of large global companies through to small startups, and across the tech sector and multiple industry sectors beyond – including Finance, Oil, and Green chemicals manufacturing. However, irrespective of size and industry, the areas of challenge are remarkably consistent. Without wishing to betray any client confidences, here are 4 of the questions that every marketing director most frequently asks me to help them address.
It’s taken me a couple of weeks, but I’ve finally posted my presentation from the B2B Marketing Magazine seminar on Demand Generation/Lead Nurturing onto Slideshare. I hope you find it useful. It contains 10 areas to focus on to improve the yield on your marketing campaigns.
You can also find the deck from Will Schnabel at Silverpop here
Yesterday I spoke at a seminar organised by B2B Marketing magazine. Rather than use the traditional analogies of dating/marriage that we all use to describe the nurturing approach, I used the topic of vegetable gardening (it’s the new rock’n’roll!).
Marketing campaigns produce seedlings, but that’s only the start – we need to feed, weed, water, prick out etc at the appropriate time. We also need to ensure that the sales teams want to eat vegetables and are not just red meat eaters. You get the picture?
So my 9 tips for a bumper marketing crop have now become:
- Grow the right stuff (Align marketing activity with Sales)
- What’s growing and What isn’t (Record all your Responses in a client contact-centric view)
- Follow the instructions on the Seed Packet (Develop “nurturing blueprints” of standardised processes to develop a relationship from an initial response)
- Apply the right Feed at the right time (Align your nurturing content to the stages of the buying cycle)
- Are the nutrients being absorbed? (Implement activity-based scoring)
- Make it easier with a little machinery (Automate the most appropriate processes)
- Share your knowledge (Integrate your marketing insights with the CRM system)
- Monitor Progress Regularly (Measure key indicators)
- Apply plenty of Mulch (Refine and keep learning)
You can find the complete presentation on Slideshare.
Flickr Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tico_bassie/120810354/
Catching up on some reading today I came across this article from the ITSMA – an interview with the excellent Brian Carroll. It offers the following common sense advice to improve your lead management:
- Create a marketing funnel
- Create a universal definition of a lead
- Use the phone
- Ask about goals – don’t sell
- Define lead nurturing – and the right people to nurture
All good stuff – you can read the full article here.
Yesterday I was invited to present to around 70 UK B2B marketers at a breakfast seminar organised by Fox Parrack Singapour in Berkshire, UK. It was a great event with lots of thought-provoking content.
David Fox opened the session with an overview of market trends around lead generation in the age of the empowered consumer. Lots of good data from Marketing Sherpa, Google and several others around the shifts to pull-based marketing and the impact that will have on us all as marketers, as well as consumers.
Zina Manda from Mardev (the database marketing division of Reed Elsevier) then did a super job looking at some of the challenges around getting an appropriate balance between Push and Pull marketing
I’ve posted my talk called From Click to Cash. Here I tried to provide a “warts and all” overview of the journey I’m on in IBM to improve the yield from campaigns. As you’ll see from the deck I’ve boiled the challenge down into 7 key focus areas
- Developing a Service Level Agreement with the sales organisation to ensure they are hungry for what your planning to serve them
- Capturing all the campaign responses into a single view, whether produced online or offline
- Aligning your nurturing offers with the buying process
- Scoring the consumers of your nurturing offers according to their activity
- Developing a set of “blueprints” for each response type to help you plan the key nurturing steps from initial response to sales-ready lead
- Ensuring the salesforce have visibility of all the valuable insight that’s been gathered through your nurturing, and not just the basic contact info
- Establishing a set of end-to-end measurements from response to closed sale (and beyond) to allow you to identify improvement areas
The material seemed to be well received and I’d really welcome any additonal comments here, as I passionately believe this is an area that all of us in marketing need to focus on MUCH more.
A couple of further observations. I referred to some of the research sources, blogs etc that I’d been using to develop my thinking. Spookily both I and the preceding speaker referred to some of the excellent work being done by Brian Carroll in his publications and B2B Lead Generation blog. It was great to find a fellow marketer who had been similarly influenced by his thinking. I suspect Brian may see a small uptick in hits to his blog from the UK in the next week or so, since none of the rest of the audience were familiar with that work.
It also re-inforced that within the marketing community we are not using the resources that are freely available in the Blogosphere (hate that term) sufficiently. And furthermore only a handful of yesterday’s audience had yet recognised the practical assistance that tools such as RSS readers can provide to us. I’ll make this a topic for my next post.
Here are some of the key documents, blogs and websites that I have used recently that have really helped me get an insight into the issues and potential challenges surrounding lead nurturing and progression:
I found that googling Laura Ramos at Forrester unearthed a number of insightful pieces including a paper titled– How mature is B2B Lead Management in which they had benchmarked 252 B2B companies and established that only 9% were at best practice. For most of us, we were creating leads that we were passing onto the sales teams (usually too early), and the sales teams were tending to cherry-pick those that they felt they could close quickly. All the rest was leaking out of the buying funnel. There is also a Forrester Marketing Blog that Laura and a number of her colleagues contribute to.
Another name that keeps on popping up is Brian Carroll, CEO of Intouch. His ebook Start with a Lead offers some practical pointers that help remind us that nuturing a client from initial interest through to sale takes a sustained effort, not just a series of disconnected tactics. Brian maintains a regular B2B Lead Generation blog.
Another great resource to dive into is Jon Miller’s Modern B2B Marketing blog. Of special note here is the Big List of B2B Marketing Blogs where you will find the opportunity to learn from and engage with good, bad and ugly truth-seekers in this arena.
That’s where I started on this journey – along with a few a few vendor websites such as Marketing Advocate and Vtrenz and a handful of newsletters from the likes of MarketingSherpa and MarketingProfs.
There’s so much information out there that’s just a click away – and most of it is free. On its own this won’t solve your lead management challenges of course, but at least you’ll sense that there’s some others who are thinking along similar lines as yourself.
What free sources do you use for inspiration on the topic of B2B lead nurturing? Please post a comment and let me know.
And Finally – and for not obvious reason whatsoever, each post will be headlined by a an extract from a song. The only prize is your own smug satisfaction. Post #1 was pretty obvious – Start! By the Jam. Today’s is much more obscure, but also from the Jam – News of the World.
My challenge is one that faces most marketing departments, I believe. How do we ensure that the business gets a better return from our marketing investments. Specifically I’m focussing myself on improving our marketing peformance in 3 areas
· Establishing a framework for nurturing prospects that are not yet ready to engage with our sales force, yet have a real business issue that that needs exploring
· Ensuring that the lead management processes deliver – so that opportunities are handed off to the sales force at the appropriate point, and that the opportunities are highly valued and followed through to successful closure
· Exploit the use of Web2.0 and other pull-based digital techniques to enhance prospect/client dialogues – not to get caught up in the hype, but to deliver real value
I’ll explore the themes in future postings – we all have a day job so I don’t expect a new post every day. But if this is an area that interests you I look forward to hearing from you and learning from you.
In my next posts I’ll share with you some useful articles that I’ve found around this topic on the web. Stay tuned…