Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Applied Research, MECLABS, has stated that a central problem for many B2B marketers lies in their data. A marketer often has a list of contacts that may not be as valid as it should be. “Everything connects to your data,” Carroll said. “Your data represents relationships, and that’s the hub.” In other words, effective and valid data increases the potential of optimizing lead generation.
Carroll touched on this issue at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco this week. He described how seven of the most common problems that B2B marketers face trace back to poor data. I have listed these below:
Problem #1: Sales capabilities
Many marketers, Carroll noted, struggle with a feeling that some salespeople are incapable of converting the leads they generate. They wish they could give all their leads to a few select salespeople and avoid the others.
However, one of the most common reasons a salesperson cannot close a sale is that they do not have enough data about the lead, Carroll said. They cannot optimize where they spend time and energy because there is no data to direct them.
This problem can be alleviated when data has been qualified and verified prior to passing it along to the salespeople. The potential for any member of the sales force to convert the lead should be equal when this is the case.
Challenge #2: Relevant content
“The challenge is how we progress people from early interest to purchase intent. Content is one of the ways of doing that,” Carroll said.
This is a common challenge for marketers, even though most understand that content is an extremely effective tool. Additional research and examination may be necessary in order to uncover what is relevant content and subsequently further validate the lead.
Challenge #3: Technology
Carroll asked the Summit audience, “How many of you have problems with people updating your CRM?” Many attendees raised their hands, and the point was clear. Your CRM cannot be effective until the problems surrounding its data — which many times have nothing to do with a technology or platform — are solved.
OnTarget Partners has solved this problem by allowing limited administrative access to our CRM. This way we can avoid many instances of “dirty data.” Only valid, effective data is loaded into the database which optimizes each individual marketing campaign we manage.
Challenge #4: Internal processes
According to Adam T. Sutton, a senior reporter for MarketingSherpa, “Too many marketers have not sat down with their sales team to hammer out a specific definition for a sales-ready lead. “
The VP of Delivery Operations for OnTarget Partners, Scott Bratcher, has found it imperative to meet with our clients when kicking off a campaign so as to avoid this challenge. That way he knows and understands from the very beginning of the campaign which leads we need to research, prospect, and nurture. This results in higher percentages of optimized lead generation and conversions. Once again, an important component is producing valid data early in the process.
Challenge #5: Lead capturing
Capturing leads is probably one of the most important pieces of your company’s website. Data can be used to determine which landing pages are weak, as well as sufficiently analyze from where your better leads are originating.
Jennifer Hanford is Director of Social Media for OnTarget Partners. She can be reached at jhanford@OnTargetPartners.com.