Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Today's Marketer -­‐ Getting to Sales Ready

Marketers are always looking for new, innovative approaches to deliver improved results to their organization.

What if there was a program that could fundamentally shift your sales results and significantly improve your marketing ROI?

Well believe it or not, there is a program that will significantly improve your results and lead to a higher return on marketing investment spent on opportunity development.

If you are like most marketers, the lion share of your marketing budget is being invested in new customer acquisition programs. Yet, for this critical area of opportunity many marketers continue to focus on leads and responses when they should be focused on delivering marketing qualified leads (MQL's) to your organization that continue to be nurtured to Sales Ready.

The reason for this shift will be discussed in more detail below, but the key outcome of this approach is more revenue per lead generated and an overall reduction in the sales cycle.

Isn't that a key deliverable for all of your marketing activities?

This is an important consideration for all marketers because not all leads are created equal. Today, many of the leads you deliver to your sales organization are simply looking for more information to start their assessment of you as a potential provider or they are simply researching information on a potential area of opportunity for the future.

Yet, many marketers are sending these leads directly to the sales team for follow--‐up.
Does that makesense? Is this the right approach given the negative impact on sales productivity?
Let's take a quick look at some of the data that suggests this approach may not be the best course of action.
According to industry data there is a huge gap in the quality of leads marketers deliver to their sales organization. Henry Bruce, President and Founder of Rock Arnard Group said it best, "When I reflect on the state of Marketing automation, three stats paint a very ominous picture."

• 70% of the buy cycle is complete before sales engages with buyers
• Only 50% of a typical sales team achieves quota
• Only 10%-¬‐15% of new leads are considered sales ready

Think about the data reported above...if 70% of the buy cycle is complete before your sales team engages with potential buyers, your ability to convert those leads drops significantly. Additionally, if only 10-¬‐15% of the new leads are sales ready, we are wasting the sales teams time by engaging them at this point in time.
These types of leads need to be nurtured further before sales engagement with these early stage opportunities.
Follow--‐up on leads of this nature will also negatively impact you Marketing ROI and provides a false assessment of your opportunity funnel. Most organizations are blaming sales for their inability to convert leads to sales rather than digging deeper to really |understand the root cause for the results. Since much of a prospects time is spent researching online before they ever contact a prospective company, you need to have an ongoing, lead nurturing program  that starts a dialogue with these prospects well before they realize they are ready to invest in your solution.
As part of your nurturing program, you must leverage all of your marketing response channels in order to connect with the prospect to gain an understanding of why they are inquiring and what information they would like now. By taking this step, you have an opportunity to provide the prospect with high value content and start the nurturing process for future engagements.
Through ongoing engagement with each prospect, you are building their trust, confidence and awareness of your capabilities as a potential provider. As you continue your engagement activities the prospect has an opportunity to guide you on what they are interested in through their actions, such as, the download of high-¬‐ value content, or requesting a free trial. This process, ultimately leads to sales ready lead status.
The  days of one and done marketing programs are gone. Replaced by ongoing, lead nurturing programs that step the prospect through a cycle of high value opportunities to learn more, and provide you critical insight on their current and future needs.
 Once you have built a nurturing and scoring program, you will be able to deliver high quality leads (sales ready) to your sales team and you will be on your way to improved marketing and sales results in all areas.
By taking your existing program and leveraging technology in a more strategic and focused manner, you  can transform your overall program results.
The data suggests that this approach is significantly more effective and as a marketer, it's our responsibility to seek optimized results for every aspect of our marketing. In fact, in a study developed by Forrester Research, they found that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-¬‐ready leads at 33% less cost.
Which leads me to one of my favorite quotes, "effective marketing doesn't cost more, it costs less"
 If you are looking for more information and insight on how to achieve this approach for your organization feel free to contact me at
by Joseph Manos, Executive Vice President, Mind Fire Inc.

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