have noticed a disturbing trend in working with digital marketing agencies. Their lead generation campaigns utilizing in-bound marketing techniques and solid marketing automation tools are highly successful in generating leads, but sometimes the campaigns and their services are being cancelled. No, it is not a lead quality issue -- the leads generated meet exactly the criteria set by the sales managers. Nor is it the quantity of leads, in some cases the number of leads generated have exceed expectations.
The issue that causes the program to be cancelled is that the sales reps are not following up on the leads provided. Amazing isn’t it, that in today’s environment, qualified leads would go untouched? We are not just talking a handful of leads; I have seen cases where over a hundred leads go to waste.
How can this possibly happen? Often, there is no CRM system. Without one, no one has insight into what work is being done on a lead and there is no way to measure outcomes – lead-to-quote ratio or lead-to-close sale. This lack of quantitative results makes it very easy for all parties to hide behind old excuses and point accusing fingers at each other.
How can the wasted resources of generated leads and loss of these potential opportunities be fixed?
There are three overriding principles that must be in place for a marketing automation lead generation program to be successful. First, there must be a realization that in today’s world, sales and marketing must be joined at the hip, with a common language, shared goals and with undisputed joint measurements. This can’t be accomplished without a CRM system in place. I have never seen the passing around of Excel files work past the first couple of weeks.
Second, the new ecosystem of connected Marketing Automation and CRM only works when definable and written marketing and sales processes are waved throughout the technologies. Let’s get real; if you can’t flowchart how a lead flows from an inquiry (or from some other call-to-action response) through qualification, nurturing, and to quoting, then you don’t really have a process.
Third, it’s about leadership. Every aspect of finding more customers like your best ones is far too important to leave to inadequate data and lack of measurements or accountability of both the sales and marketing teams.
Leads are potential assets of the company -- future customers. The fundamentals of finding more good customers, keeping the ones you want, and turning transactions among them requires attention at the highest level. Studies continue to show that marketing is generating half of the leads needed, while sales continues to find the other half. Who is making sure that both sides are playing nicely together so that not one of those leads is wasted? Not one sales opportunity is missed?