Demand Gen Report Q&A: Challenges And Solutions For B2B Marketers

Published: July 26, 2012

jim lenskold 150wThis week, the Lenskold Group launched its annual research survey on lead generation marketing performance and ROI. The survey, sponsored by The Pedowitz Group and conducted with support from Demand Gen Report, is designed to help B2B lead generation marketers get insights into current best practices, and how they can use these practices to improve their own performance.

Marketers who participate in the survey will be among the first to receive the survey results, as well as an invitation to a webinar to present the findings.

Demand Gen Report recently spoke with Lenskold Group CEO Jim Lenskold to discuss some of the common problems facing B2B marketers today, and what role technology, strategy, and supporting processes play in solving these problems.

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Demand Gen Report: Many B2B companies are now using marketing automation. Yet industry research suggests that many of these users aren’t taking full advantage of their investments. Why is that?

Jim Lenskold: Companies aren’t realizing the full value of marketing automation because of process and strategy gaps. Marketing organizations tend to bring their existing processes into their new world of automation instead of stepping back and creating new processes that build upon their new, and greater, capabilities.

There’s also a strategic element to this question. Realizing the full value of a marketing automation investment requires fresh strategies that take advantage of the ability to better engage, educate and track buyers.

DGR: Many marketing organizations cite a lack of process and/or appropriate skillsets to accomplish key business objectives. How can a strong sales and marketing alignment strategy help them to solve this problem?

JL: It really begins with a holistic approach to managing the marketing organization that aligns every major element — strategic planning, organizational structure, documented processes, content development, results tracking and technology — to a set of financial objectives. Alignment also demands a clear vision on roles and outcomes.

Then, over time, an organization can refine its strategy by identifying and addressing gaps or weaknesses.

DGR: Integration is emerging as a key component of a successful demand gen strategy. Getting marketing and sales teams on the same page is critical, but companies also must focus on the growing impact of technology. Given this fact, what are the major trends you seeing involving technology integration?

JL: I view the integration of marketing and sales contacts reaching potential buyers as the first priority. Making sure each interaction leads the buyer to the next stage in their decision process is critical; this will drive purchasing activity, and it will also guarantee that you’re generating positive ROI from those contacts.

Technology integration certainly helps organizations to achieve this goal. The emerging trend of connecting marketing and sales automation helps maintain a robust contact history. It also provides continuity from the early stages of education and engagement through to the sales person’s one-to-one dialogue with the prospect. This improves sales conversions, and it has the added benefit of generating robust data to support measurements that improve marketing performance.

DGR: You spoke earlier this year at DGR’s Content2Conversion Conference about the role of measurement and ROI in content marketing. From your perspective, are B2B marketing organizations heeding this message?

JL: Measurement capabilities vary significantly across different companies. Most companies have at least a base level of results tracking measurements in place.

But as I mentioned during my C2C presentation, content marketing requires measurements that go beyond just tracking lead quantity. Marketers must put extra effort into measuring their contribution to lead quality – their impact on increased sales conversion rates and higher customer value.

Additional content marketing investments will impact these outcomes; an organization will see higher-quality leads, and marketing will contribute greater value. But if you can’t measure those contributions, you won’t recognize that contribution. When that happens, a marketing organization will find itself under pressure to curb its content marketing investments, turn back towards low-cost lead sources, and sacrifice the ability to educate and engage with buyers.

Posted in: Demanding Views

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