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3 Critical Requirements To Achieve Optimized Lead Nurturing Program Performance

bryan_300dp_croppediBy Bryan Ehrenfreund, VP, Digital Strategies, Televerde

As a subject matter expert on digital marketing in the B2B demand creation space, clients frequently ask for my opinion and recommendations on how best to optimize their lead nurturing program performance. It’s complex stuff, which is why many organizations typically struggle with it. Not to sound clichéd, but there isn’t a silver bullet.

bryan_300dp_croppediBy Bryan Ehrenfreund, VP, Digital Strategies, Televerde

As a subject matter expert on digital marketing in the B2B demand creation space, clients frequently ask for my opinion and recommendations on how best to optimize their lead nurturing program performance. It’s complex stuff, which is why many organizations typically struggle with it. Not to sound clichéd, but there isn’t a silver bullet.

Demand creation programs and tactics are relatively easy to implement, but truly optimizing demand creation is challenging. With budgets tighter than ever, every dollar spent must achieve maximum ROI.

Research shows that integrated, multi-touch B2B demand creation programs, powered by high quality contact data and a disciplined approach to marketing, produce stronger revenue performance. But many marketers don’t feel that they’re ready to deploy these types of advanced programs, and those who are implementing integrated practices don’t feel like they’re optimizing them.

With this in mind let’s examine three critical areas related to achieving optimized lead nurturing program performance, including high quality contact data, the discipline of marketing automation, and using the integrated practices of world-class outbound calling in order to maximize results. It’s what we at Televerde refer to as our “3D Approach” – Data, Digital and Dialogue.

Let’s start with the first “D” – Data. According to SiriusDecisions, between 10-25% of B2B marketing database contacts contain errors. Organizations must shift their focus from one-time data cleansing to ongoing data maintenance to reverse this course.

As time passes, incorrect information costs more to correct. Data managers often talk about the 1-10-100 rule. This rule says it can cost $1 to verify a record as it is being entered. It takes $10 to manage duplicates and clean existing data. However, if you do nothing to correct bad B2B data, it can cost you $100 per record. Bad data that never gets cleaned keeps adding costs every time you use it. When you put the fallout from just one bad record into monetary terms, you can easily see how expensive it is to maintain bad B2B data and the overall impact it will have on your lead nurturing program performance.

To ensure the best quality data, I recommend developing internal processes from the start. With good procedures in place, you can rely on better data and fewer data-cleansing projects. It’s also far more economical to build these data quality processes into your entire marketing program.

So look to create a comprehensive data hygiene and remediation process. If you don’t have the expertise and knowledge to do it yourself (many of the organizations I speak with don’t), then look outside your company for help. It will be money well spent!

The second of our "3Ds" is Digital. Buying has changed, but the process of selling has not. What I mean by this is that it’s important to understand that your selling and marketing practices need to change in response to the ways buyers engage solution providers these days, primarily through online research at their own pace.

With today's marketing automation software we’re now able to align our communications and content with where the prospect is in the buyer’s journey. You’re able to deliver relevant content (with the emphasis on relevant) at the right time to keep the prospect engaged. When they are ready to buy you have already established credibility and a relationship, thus increasing the prospect's velocity after they’re handed off to sales.

The last of our "3Ds" is Dialogue. I hope that it’s well-understood by now that marketing automation on its own is not the magic recipe for advancing your lead generation and nurturing practices. It’s critical to blend telemarketing and teleprospecting – or as what I like to refer to it “Dialogue-Based or Human Touch-Based Marketing” – into your digital marketing workflow to get the strongest performance lift. Use the "Human Touch" to validate digital behaviors early in the lead nurturing process -- first to correct your workflow, if necessary, and second to identify any low-hanging fruit (hot opportunities) to pass onto sales.

Now it’s your turn. Has your company integrated the "3Ds?" How are you adding a human touch to your demand creation and lead nurturing process? What results are you experiencing, and what are you learning?     

Bryan Ehrenfreund serves as Vice President of Digital Strategies at Televerde. He’s responsible for the strategic leadership, development, growth and implementation of Televerde’s digital marketing automation practice. Follow Bryan on Twitter @ehrenfreund.