Poor Lead Management? It Can End In Decapitation

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteI don't really know what is shocking. When you tell the story of a man who is beheaded, you have to show how they cut off his head. If you don't, it's like telling a dirty joke and leaving out the punch line.

-- Roman Polanski

Get_off_my_back Neolane is a multi-channel, open platform, enterprise marketing software provider. In light of the recession, it has published a very apropos white paper called "Show Me the Money: How B2B Marketers Can Defend Their Budgets Through Better Lead Management".

The paper indicates that the arrival of second-generation lead management solutions will produce for the CMO enough evidence of value-add so that the Sales VP and CEO won't be able to gang up on Marketing and cut off its head.

It's not a bad argument but, like everything I care about, putting the argument into practice is what really matters.

The paper shares some valuable statistics. For example, it shows that Aberdeen Group learned that the integration of B2B marketing and sales technologies typically lead to a 49% year-to-year improvement in revenue, a 33% improvement in ROMI and 21% improvement in the conversion of leads to sales. Not bad.

But what's involved in this process of integration? To hear Neolane put it, this integration effort attempts to build a single platform that unifies the marketing and sales operations such that demand generation, lead tracking and performance measurement can be accomplish out a singular marketing database. I couldn't agree more!

To be able to trigger multi-channel events for online and offline campaigns that impact the complex sale, characterized by a long sales cycle, the system must base these marketing events on behavioral data from contacts in the marketing database.

All measurable behavior must be captured and stored in a single repository able to interact with operation systems that manage the campaign and the lead flow. This is known as workflow management, and it is what machines automate. First-generation solutions were too simplistic and constraining in the way they modeled these workflows. But according to Neolane:

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteSecond-generation solutions were designed to manage more sophisticated workflows and allow marketers to optimize the process of lead management — to help determine which programs and tactics are most effective so that they can spend money wisely and strike the right balance between lead quality and quantity.

But the automation of workflow, whether first or second-generation, must depend ultimately on a central marketing database, because reliable data is what keeps any machine purposeful. As Neolane rightly states:

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteLead management optimization is predicated on good data — typically a central marketing data mart containing customer and prospect information gathered from multiple channels that is updated automatically with new transactions and touches.

This single up-to-date system of record for lead, prospect and customer data is the basis from which all marketing initiatives evolve — the springboard for segmentation, targeting and personalization.

It also enables closed-loop marketing, where responses are captured, results analyzed, and analysis used to help to improve the next program. Research firms such as Forrester have identified having a marketing data mart as a must-have for successful lead management and measurement.

So if you wish to "gauge the impact that marketing programs have on generating high-quality leads that progress through the pipeline and convert to customers," now you know what will make the entire system tick, particularly if you wish to save the CMO from decapitation.

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