Jim Obermeyer invited me on to the SLMA radio show last week and we talked about the four critical technology solutions that every marketer needs to be aware of for lead qualification and nurturing.
When I was first invited I pushed back explaining to Jim that I have a contrarian view when it comes to new marketing and sales enablement technology. In fact, I said to Jim on the telephone – and on the show – that “marketing and sales enablement have made it possible to send more poor quality leads to sales faster than ever before.”
It is not that I am techno-phobic. It is just that I have seen tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on black box solutions that don’t work.
Instead of recommending specific technologies I suggested to Jim that we break down marketing’s role into four areas and discuss what is important in each area: Market, Media, Message and Metrics.
On the show, we tackled Market and Media. The important take-aways from those areas are:
Market – there is no such thing as a good list. Testing is critical. Companies forgo 65% of the value of most marketing programs by ignoring non-lead outcomes and do a terrible job of nurturing. Listen to the show and see this blog for more on that topic.
Media – We refer to how we approach a market as multi-touch, multi-media and multi-cycle processes that multiply results. The term that covers this in the market today is cadence. Cadence is very important to effectively work a market. Most companies under-invest on outbound touches because their team has been raised on responding to inbound interest. Weaning inside sales staff (or BDRs) off a diet of inbound to being able to conduct outbound programs – is one of the most difficult things to do. For more, listen to the show.
Message and Metrics
Message – I find that the use of three silver bullets is the key to success in engaging a prospect in in any sales call (live or on the telephone). Some examples: Silver bullets are challenges, problems or concerns that are likely to be on the minds of executives in any given market. In addition to helping to reach common ground with the prospect during your conversation, you can also make sure that you are not wasting their time or yours on a call. For example, a silver bullet for PointClear is that we prefer to work with prospects who “want to directly and measurably impact the revenue of their company.” Subconsciously, many in marketing don’t relish this level of accountability. Some years ago, I had a CMO/client who said “if my CEO told me my job was to generate leads for sales I would quit.” He didn’t have to. He was terminated within a few months of this discussion (to clarify, I had nothing to do with that). Our associates have three of these messaging nuggets—silver bullets—top of mind every time they make a call to guide their conversations. They are part of the call flow for all of our clients (we don’t use scripts).
Just a few minutes ago I had a conversation with a representative of an agency looking for help generating leads from a list of 4,000 suspects provided by their client (including a competitor list (probably scraped off the internet). When I suggested that she recommend to her client that they segment the list (because they are likely to find that not all 4,000 suspects are worth contacting) and develop differentiating messages for each segment, her response was that the client was too desperate for leads and did not need my company to segment the list and create more effective messaging to create a program that generated more opportunities for less money. Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.
Metrics – Marketing is frequently measured on number of leads and cost per lead. In this video blog, I talk about why this is a bad thing. I go into detail about why Cost-per-lead is not the correct metric for measuring marketing initiative success:
- The approach incents volume over quality.
- Cost-per-lead emphasizes cost over ROI value.
- CPL doesn’t deliver high quality, high value, more convertible leads.
- The metric adds cost and creates inaction (and causes much marketing frustration) when sales execs discover the leads don’t meet criteria.
- This way to measure is not actionable in planning and predicting future investments.
Final advice: before buying and implementing new technology (such as Account based Marketing technology), create an effective manual process and then use technology to scale. Automating bad processes is a very expensive way to go-to-market. Account-based Marketing, as an example does not require new technology and does not need to be complex. See this blog for more.