Improving the quantity and quality of B2B leads isn’t a simple task, ask any sales or marketing leader and they will tell you that! However, a 2011 Aberdeen Group study entitled “Optimizing The Marketing To Sales Lead Lifecycle” proves there is great value in making the effort to do so. Their study shows how investing in demand generation optimization and KPI’s to measure the quantity of leads converted to forecasted pipeline pays great dividends.
Aberdeen surveyed 4,141 marketing and sales executives worldwide to identify key trends and initiatives designed to improve lead management and sales effectiveness. The results from the survey were not totally surprising, but the performance differences between laggard companies and best in class performing companies was significant!
- Best-in-class companies forecasted sales pipeline from leads generated by marketing to be 50% versus 2% from laggard organizations
- Best-in-class companies closed 48% of marketing generated leads versus 2% for laggard organizations
- Best-in-class companies experienced a 20% YOY growth compared to a 3% decline among laggards.
Moving from a laggard to a best-in-class status requires investment and can’t be done overnight. It will require close collaboration between sales and marketing, a process that has been difficult if not impossible for some organizations. To get started with this transformation it’s best to assume that your firm falls into the laggard category. As a first step, Aberdeen suggests that there are 3 key steps to success for laggards to move up the scale.
Steps for Improving B2B Lead Generation Success
Test your marketing content
36% of industry average companies test their messages to determine what motivate prospects to respond. Testing allows you to quickly zero in on those messages that resonate with buyers and allows for more consistent delivery of the “right messages”.
Review and track campaign performance
Reviewing key performance indicators may seem like basic blocking and tackling but according to this study only 27% of laggards fully review campaign performance versus 60% of best-in-class companies. Take the time to determine key success factors for your firm and build a simple KPI dashboard to track your performance.
Rank and score inbound leads
Building a lead scoring methodology will help you determine which leads should be turned over to sales and which leads need continued nurturing. One of the chief complaints voiced by sales teams is that the leads provided by marketing are not qualified. Marketing and sales need to agree on what constitutes a qualified lead and if a lead provided to sales is determined to be not fully qualified the sales team has an obligation to return it to marketing for further nurturing. Only 29% of laggard organizations have in place a lead scoring process, significant room for improvement is possible.
Moving from a laggard to industry average position will yield better results that you are achieving now. Once these steps are implemented and you feel comfortable with the process you can take the next steps to moving to best-in-class status. Our next post will focus on the key steps that need to be taken by industry average companies in their quest for best-in-class status.