The B2B landscape in its inherent form is a complex jar of beans primarily because the initial connection needs lots of nurturing with the right mix of appropriate communication to ensure the “best weather” for sales interaction. Marketers not only have to measure outcomes right up to revenue but also find the “sweet spot” for marketing and sales to drum up the right notes.
The year 2009 and the first half of 2010 saw a marked shift towards marketing automation worldwide. All of this has helped channelize information and reach out to prospects better, yet it is pertinent to note the today’s internet savvy prospect is also armed with qualifying information about your brand, your products and your competitors as never before. To get inside the mind of the B2B buyer, marketers not only need to understand his intent from his digital body language but also ensure that automated lead generation processes in place scale up in terms of the following pertinent factors at any point of time.
- Are lead recycling programs in place for not-sales-ready leads?
- Has social media, inbound marketing and marketing automation been integrated seamlessly?
- Is your marketing communication supported by buyer-centric collaterals that help the buyer decide in your favor?
- Has your data been data washed and scrubbed clean?
- Does your web metrics provide actionable information for user profiling and conversion?
- Are sales and marketing on the same latitude to proving your prospect the best buying experience?
- Does your Social media spin influence the markets conversation about your brand effectively?
- Is your opt-in list getting fresh brew in the form of persuasive communication and supporting newsletter value?
- Is your marketing funnel measurable and process definitions flexible to innovation?
- How effective is your conversation model, does it ensure that you are at top of mind when prospects decide to bite the bait?
- Are you able to capitalize on marketing automation’s great benefit – reporting effectively and use it as a strategic tool?
- Does your data-centric marketing plans lead the way for greater customer intelligence since value of data will not be a constant ?
The above are just a few important cogs that can make or break your lead generation wheel. As marketers brace themselves to capitalize on marketing automation to enhance pipeline opportunities, trends all point to an explosive growth in marketing automation adoption. It is highly imperative that automation vendors provide more sophisticated reporting, better sales engagement processes and social media integration.
To help marketing efficiently separate the wheat from the chaff, marketing automation should not just serve as a driver of operational efficiency but more importantly enhance continuity of dialogue with prospects throughout the decision making/buying cycle at all relevant touch points.
Ultimately it is all about the harvest – the pipeline and revenue, the executive leadership would not mind how you do it.