Whether your business is B2B or B2C you need new qualified leads to not only survive and continue making payroll but to grow and increase payroll. Today the most powerful lead generation strategies use a fusion of email, content marketing, newsletters, SEO and social media to drive website traffic and increase overall lead building levels. GOOD digital marketing programs ensure that a higher quality and greater number of leads enter your team’s sales funnel.
We’ve all been on the end of BAD digital marketing programs. You know the ones. In return for access to a download, newsletter or webinar we in good faith give an email address only to receive irrelevant email blasts afterwards that are little more than hard sell pitches pushing products or services we’ve never expressed interest in and have nothing to do with our needs. That’s mismanaged lead generation. In fact that’s lead paralysis if not lead killing.
I’ll bet any amount of money those companies show lower quality, lower volume leads and probably because they’ve delegated digital campaign oversight to the wrong department. Management was smart enough to recognize the value and ROI potential of marketing automation but overlooked who should take actual leadership over lead generation strategies.
More often than not, mismanaged digital campaigns have excluded sales teams from the process relying entirely on marketing departments. Now before I tick off every digital marketer reading this let me explain – it’s not that you’re lacking as a marketer, it’s just that you’re not a salesperson. Lead nurturing is a salesperson role, not a marketer’s. And I’m pretty sure you, the marketer, don’t want to hit the street and pound the pavement for your next meal ticket.
Marketing departments are absolutely a component of digital efforts. Without you sales would produce some pretty unattractive lead nurturing emails and newsletters. You’re the icing on our cake and cherry topping the sundae. Most sales professionals aren’t graphic artists. That’s not what they do, that’s not how they’re wired.
Successful sales professionals however do know –
What to say, When to say it and How to say it.
So now I may tick off the other side of the coin (I seem to always tick someone off) by reiterating – it’s true sales aren’t always outstanding at packaging the message and tying it with a pretty bow but without a doubt sales producers are good at crafting it. From the first message to the messages that follow based on engagement or lack thereof, sales intuitively nurtures prospects thru the decision-making process. All through well-timed and well-crafted messages.
Here’s 5 pitfalls that can occur when lead nurturing strategies exclude sales in the process:
1. Unrealistic Expectations:
This happens when marketing focuses on feeding the automation beast vs. doing what they’re best at i.e., marketing.
According to a Wall Street Journal article with statistics from a Spencer Stuart study “the average CMO has ______ months to deliver on marketing automation investments.”
I’m leaving that blank because despite the trend, there’s no cookie cutter answer. The typical organization has unique needs, goals and distinctive moving parts. From integration with existing systems to lead routing, scoring, measurement, testing, user training and more – all of this takes time. Taking the cookie cutter approach CMO’s are on a hot seat while the rest of the C-Suite gets increasingly impatient with wanting to see marketing automation ROI. Marketing’s then in a frenzy to show quick numbers which causes increased email blasts to anyone and everyone in the database. Quality is often sacrificed for quantity at the lead generation altar.
Top producing sales managers recognize that – Yes, quantity is imperative in filling the sales pipeline but quantity should never trump quality. Sales should take part in setting ROI expectations. Absent that, marketing falls back on same ol’, same ol’ – throwing something at the wall, seeing if it’ll stick and hoping beyond hope revenue miraculously materializes (often blaming sales when it doesn’t).
2. Substituting Automation for Process, Planning and Preparation:
An integrated lead-to-revenue model is required for automation success and only possible with sales input.
No automation in the world, no matter how advanced, can produce results without sales contributing knowledge on the necessary touchpoints and their related timing for turning –
revenue potential into real revenue.
3. Recreating the Wheel and Ignoring Proven Touchpoints:
The first step toward automated lead nurturing is matching current sales processes and giving the automation data to execute campaigns then using those outcomes to achieve sales goals. Drip marketing campaigns – specific touch points with prospects based on their behavior (i.e. lead nurturing) is essentially cloning your top sales achievers into their digital derivative. You’re automating the mundane, sometimes tedious sales tasks based on tried and proven real-world sales processes – not recreating the wheel. Use existing successful offline lead nurturing when crafting online programs. Mirror one with the other. And the beauty of digital derivatives is that qualified leads stay warm. Relevant and well-timed e-touchpoints are triggered in real-time based on digital engagement and alert the salesperson of activity along the way. Real-world touchpoints then trigger when automated reporting signals the lead’s at its warmest. Automation nurtures the prospect in tandem and doesn’t miss a beat. Digital derivatives never sleep, have no vacation time or sick days, supporting sales goals 24×7, 365 – warming the leads when planned correctly.
4. Misdirected Assumption that Marketing Automation Will Close More Sales:
It will not. Technology can help make the mundane, tedious processes simple, more efficient, streamlined and reduce human error while saving time and money in the process. But in the end, sales closes sales.
Marketing automation doesn’t replace but compliments real-world sales efforts. There is no magic wand, just replacing gut feelings with sales intelligence based on raw data, giving good salespeople the tools to perform at higher levels.
5. Automated Personalization Misfires:
Since the dawn of marketing as an industry the approach has been blast one-dimension messaging to the masses. Pray and spray is how its always been done. Offline media have little capacity for segmentation but online media has exponential capacity.
People expect personalization. I don’t care who you are – today we all have that expectation and most resent anything less. One size fits all communication doesn’t work in digital. Truth be told one size fits all really doesn’t work effectively anywhere but until recently there was no raw data to prove it and no alternative.
Personalization can’t occur without segmentation. Sales knows how and when to segment messaging to their customer. Think about the alternative. Marketing without sales involvement typically sends the same message to everyone on any given day. Is your company’s sales team handed a daily script to recite, staying in lockstep with one another narrating the same message to every single prospect no matter where each is at in the buying process or how they respond to the message? What a ridiculous suggestion. But guess what? That’s what marketers do with digital campaigns absent sales guidance on message segmentation. The same message is communicated at the same time to everyone with disregard for expressed interest or where someone’s at in their decision-making process. Unless your sales team’s real-world daily interaction is universal and robotically programmed don’t allow that to happen with digital interaction.
Marketing automation can be friend or foe depending on how it’s managed. Far too many companies mistake automated lead generation campaigns with marketing best practice. When working with B2B clients in particular, you’re dealing with an already knowledgeable audience. Delivering useful, relevant content to prospects who know your industry gives you greater freedom to show what you know too and further yourself as an industry thought leader. Building relationships through well-timed touchpoints is what lead generation strategies are all about – offline and online.
Share the worst BAD digital marketing experience you’ve had – I bet there’s some real doozies out there! Have you heard the one about the politician whose team sent up to 3 emails a day with the same message “DONATE NOW”? No matter how the receiver engaged the message, the redundancy never stopped. Not surprisingly that presidential candidate has since dropped out of the race….
Read more on that at Politician Email Marketing Incompetence.
And download these resources to maximize your next digital campaign performance.
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