Warning: If you watch only the first few minutes of this webinar, you might get discouraged about the state of marketing today. However, if you watch the webinar through the end, you’re going to be excited about marketing’s potential for driving more revenue than ever before.
At the beginning of the webinar, Jen Doyle, MarketingSherpa Senior Research Manager and Lead Author of the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, revealed that 1,745 marketing organizations are reporting remarkable declines in marketing effectiveness in 2011. But their other responses point to what’s causing this.
While almost all respondents said they’re expert at lead generation:
• 68 percent have not identified their sales and marketing funnels, no less optimized them.
• 61 percent send leads directly to sales.
• 79 percent don’t score leads.
• 65 percent don’t nurture leads.
What does this mean? In essence, they’re not making the most of the leads they’ve become an expert in generating. Watch this webinar and learn the strategy that will transform leads into revenue as efficiently and effectively as possible.
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Use these timestamps to jump to key points fast.
8:20 – Jen compares B2B Benchmark Report responses between 2009, 2010 and 2011. Key findings: It’s increasingly challenging to achieve success. Challenges are growing in pertinence year after year. Marketers are torn between prioritizing more leads vs. better leads.
9:30 – Perceived effectiveness of tactics are declining severely. It’s getting more difficult to get results from the same marketing activities.
10:21 – The 2012 B2B Benchmark Report reveals that regardless of challenges, marketers are still not optimizing their funnels. Jen reviews the percentages: 68 percent haven’t identified sales and marketing funnel. 61 percent send leads directly to sales. 79 percent haven’t established lead scoring. 65 percent don’t nurture leads.
11:30 – Kaci Bower presents a case study on how Postcard Mania, a B2B organization serving small to medium businesses, combined a lead-generation effort with a multi-channel nurturing strategy that optimized their marketing and sales funnel. The goal: to drive more prospects to call them. Why? They could convert 19 percent of those callers into customers.
18:19 – Postcard Mania’s results: Optimizing lead generation efforts with a three-part nurturing funnel increased inbound calls by 69 percent.
19:41 – An explanation of what funnel optimization means.
20:23 – The funnel begins when the lead converts – not when it’s passed along to sales. Some will be ready to talk to sales, many more won’t. But the rest will stay in marketing for nurturing.
21:55 – Benefits of funnel optimization: generate a greater volume of highly qualified sales leads to improve revenues.
23:13 – Lead generation is top priority, but conversion is the greatest challenge according to the B2B Marketing Benchmark report. Both are interdependent. Marketers are prioritizing lead conversion, they know it isn’t only a sales function.
24:51 – Most marketers understand lead generation, but very few have mastered funnel optimization.
25:25 – Overview of a five-step process to optimize the sales and marketing funnel.
25:56 – Step one: Identify the sales and marketing funnel: make it measurable, make sure it holds marketing and sales accountable, make it simple.
27:30 – Brian Carroll explains the key to optimizing financial performance is to understand what your funnel looks like today. Think of yourself as a plumber who’s plugging the leaks in your funnel. Make sure you capture all of your leads and guide them through the funnel without allowing them to slip out.
29:43 – Step two: Establish lead qualification and lead scoring. It begins with determining your universal lead definition and making sure there is agreement. Incorporate demographics and behavior in lead scoring.
31:34 – Brian expands on how to develop a universal lead definition and why it’s so critical that there is alignment between sales and marketing on what a lead means.
32:23 – Questions to ask your team to develop an on-target ULD. “What are the must-have questions we need to answer to be 100 percent certain that you will follow-up on a marketing-generated lead and provide us feedback on it 100 percent of the time?”
35:30 – Identify when a lead is ready to talk to a sales person or when they need to be nurtured by marketing through content or through inside sales. “When you match expectations of customers with expectations of sales person – you’re doing well.” Here’s a meeting guide for developing a Universal Lead Definition: Lead Generation Checklist: Universal Lead Definition.
36:40 – Step three: Nurture non-qualified leads until they’re ready to engage. Nurturing is the process of improving relationships with leads by giving them relevant, ongoing communication to improve relationships, interest and engagement over time.
37:54 – Outreach nurturing collects more information or permission from the leads that you have. Provide them content that’s so valuable that they’ll be willing to provide more information about themselves by filling out another form.
38:44 – Engagement nurturing hones in on early-stage buyers.
39:41 – Brian explains how to set up a nurturing program. Make sure what you’re sharing with your future customer is valuable to them regardless of whether they buy.
40:50 – Set up a nurturing database- put all names into one spot – even if it’s as simple as an excel file. Review your database – what are the titles, what are the companies, what are the roles, where did their interest start?
41:50 – Understand what information would be most relevant to your database. What are questions customers are asking? What issues are they facing? Go to existing customer to find out what they care about.
42:25 – Email them the content, but whatever you do, don’t pitch or they’ll tune you out. The purpose is to generate a click and support a conversation.
43:19 – Follow up with the human touch. When you send content, it provides a valid business reason for you to connect. You can’t rely on email alone, at some point you have to use the human touch.
45:05 – Step four: Continue to nurture through the funnel. This helps sales win deals. Make sure you’re tracking contact to avoid duplication and bombarding leads with too much information.
46:45 – Develop relationships to accelerate leads through the pipeline. Ask sales, “What can we be doing in marketing to help you cultivate a more relevant dialog with your customers?” Leads that haven’t been reviewed by sales in 60 or 90 days should come back to marketing.
48:37 – Case study: 65 percent of leads that were sales ready came from leads that were previously lost, ignored or discarded. Leverage content to position sales people as trusted advisors.
50:24 – Step five: Adapt and optimize because our market and our organization can change. Stay on top of what’s happening in the marketplace and funnel. Check in with sales frequently to make sure you are always providing value.
51:36 – Sales has a pipeline, marketing should, too. Brian outlines how a marketing and sales funnel should connect.
53:26 – Brian explains the critical importance of bringing sales and marketing together to huddle to ensure the funnel is always operating optimally. “The best football teams are the ones that do the best job of huddling between plays. The frequency of your funnel will impact your ROI.”
53:59 – Jen reviews the five key steps to funnel optimization and how it represents an opportunity to be ahead of your industry.
56:05 – Brian reviews key takeaways.