By Erich Flynn, TreeHouse Interactive
If you struggle with lead generation, you’re not alone. A recent study on Lead Management and Social Engagement, by research firm CSO Insights, found that poor data quality for both prospects and customers — and the fact that sales personnel feel they don’t receive the right tools from marketing that they need to close sales — topped the list of sales and marketing pain points in 2014.
How can companies turn these problems around and reach their top marketing objectives of capturing new accounts, optimizing cross-sell/up-sell and new product introductions, and improving renewal rates? While web design and content, data quality management, and social media were reportedly the three top areas where companies plan to increase lead generation investments over the next year, the study found that email marketing campaigns were the most effective method for engaging prospects, delivering both the highest quality and quantity of sales and marketing leads. In fact, almost 55% of leading companies surveyed discovered a surge in lead conversions when they used lead nurturing.
These findings support the case for integrating a marketing automation platform (MAP) solution to improve lead management and social engagement. Integrating this technology within existing enterprise environments allows you to automate manual processes, improve data quality, facilitate the creation and delivery of sales tools, support content and social media marketing campaigns, nurture leads, and ultimately increase conversion rates.
With these points in mind, here are five ways to improve your lead generation strategy:
Commit To Lead Generation Management. More than 40% of companies have already implemented a lead generation management system. If you’re not among them, do so now. It will be considerably more difficult — if not impossible — to meet your long-term demand generation objectives without MAP technology.
Formalize Content Marketing, Lead Scoring And Nurturing. If your lead generation management and/or MAP solution is already in place, make the most of it. Formalize your processes, metrics and calendar for content marketing, lead scoring and nurturing, leveraging your applications to implement these programs.
Convert Interest To Orders. Don’t stop at demand creation — generating interest is meaningless if you can’t close the deal. To optimize lead generation, be sure to provide sales with the tools they need to convert interest to orders. Many materials like case studies, success stories, ROI calculators and white papers can be used as part of a content marketing program “as is” or with minor modifications, which should also be priority.
Base Your ROI On Metrics. Your lead generation, marketing automation, and customer relationship management (CRM) applications should be configured to provide timely and accurate data on all leads. In order to maximize your return and understand where to best invest resources, you must use metrics, not hunches. Make sure your MAP tool is sending appropriate campaign data to your CRM and vice versa.
Realize You're Never Done. As soon as you fix one problem, there will be another to solve. Content, technology and market factors are constantly changing; your nurturing programs, scoring and content marketing campaigns will have to be modified accordingly.
Using these five simple tips, your company will be well on its way to building lead generation programs that will provide more leads and allow you to better determine which campaigns are giving you the best return on your investment.
Erich Flynn is CEO of TreeHouse Interactive, a provider of marketing automation platform (MAP) solutions.