Considering the current business climate, it is hard to fathom that less than 10% of marketers are capitalizing on one of their biggest opportunities to drive new business, but that is the unfortunate reality. We conducted a survey of marketing executives back in December of 2008 and found that only 8% of respondents currently had automated lead nurturing strategies and processes in place.
While it can be argued that the small percentage of organizations using lead nurturing is consistent with the low adoption rate of marketing automation systems, another stat which was even more eye-opening was that only 15% of respondents planned to deploy or expand their automated lead nurturing efforts in 2009. This represents a huge missed opportunity for BtoB organizations as lead nurturing has really become a required part of the selling process in today’s business landscape.
The notion that any prospect that clicks through an email campaign or downloads a white paper is ready for immediate sales follow-up is out of date. For those companies still practicing this uninformed, unresponsive type of outreach, they are hindering their revenue generation and also making a bad first impression on prospects.
Sophisticated BtoB organizations have realized that the buying process has changed dramatically over the past five years. Instances where a single executive will respond to a campaign and then own the vendor selection process all the way through the buying cycle are extremely rare. It is now more common that there are several different areas of an organization involved in the buying cycle—from finance to IT to operations as so on—and smart marketers will have touch points and content that speak to all of their pain points and concerns.
This growing “sphere of influence” over the BtoB buying cycle makes lead nurturing strategies and processes an absolute necessity. Leading research consultancy SiriusDecisions has divided the BtoB buying cycle into six distinct phases and recommends organizations apply marketing resources “across the entire opportunity lifecycle.”
In a presentation at the recent SiriusDecision Summit titled “The Care and Feeding of Leads,” VP of Research Tony Jaros pointed out that lead nurturing “is not a single concept,” but rather a “rollup of three management approaches.” Citing recent data which shows 96% of an average organization’s Marketing Qualified Leads fail to make it closure, Jaros added that “sales participation is vital” if nurturing programs are going to have success.
For organizations that are in the early phases of establishing lead nurturing practices and processes, it is important to keep in mind that there are several different types and forms of nurturing. In fact, SiriusDecisions has defined three flavors of nurturing depending on where a prospect is in the funnel.
For example, a new inquiry will likely require further nurturing in order to qualify that they meet the appropriate criteria to be passed over to sales. Often leads that are passed over to sales are later disqualified because their purchase plans have been delayed. Although they are not immediately ready to buy, these prospects should be kept warm by the marketing department and once their activity reaches a certain level, they may be ready for re-engagement with the sales organization.
Unfortunately, many organizations have abandoned leads that were disqualified, allowing these prospects to leak out of the funnel. SiriusDecisions’ Jaros pointed out that “re-watering” aging leads in a company’s database could represent the most fertile ground for lead nurturing. “In CRM systems around the world, poor, tired, huddled masses of leads are yearning to be free,” Jaros joked.
Over the past few years, digital media and mobility have created new ways to communicate, altering people’s expectations and interactions. Today’s citizens expect access to information whenever and wherever they want.
While most marketers understand their work is changing, marketing tactics and strategies have sometimes been slow to follow suit. Our State of Marketing report, performed by Market Connections, reveals a world in which marketers embrace evolution, incrementally or even hesitantly.
Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey provides insights into how B2B buyers make their decisions. Buyers are waiting longer to engage with sales, but they are more satisfied with the process than in years past. For an in-depth look at this research, download the report now!
Are you armed and ready to meet the marketing challenges of today, tomorrow, and beyond? With technology and the way we live changing rapidly, B2B marketers have so many options and tools that it can be overwhelming. At the 2014 B2B Marketing Forum we will have inspirational speakers presenting on the hottest, smartest topics—giving you the knowledge you need to thrive in 2014, 2015 and beyond. Get ready to bullet-proof your marketing for the future and come out a modern marketing rock star!
Whether you’re a company of five or a Fortune 500, you’re going to learn a lot of innovative ways to improve your business at Dreamforce. With over 1,400 sessions and thousands of live solutions from the world’s largest cloud ecosystem, Dreamforce has tailored content specific to your business size and type, for any role in your company.