B2B Marketers See Impact in Managing Leads with Marketing Automation

Jan 12, 2010, 06:55 ET from Silverpop

ATLANTA, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- In and out of an economic downturn, companies struggle to keep pipelines filled with sales-ready leads. But a new, commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Silverpop found that B2B marketers who develop consistent, repeatable processes and invest carefully in automation achieve stronger, more qualified sales pipelines.

The study, "How Managing Leads Pays Off in a Stronger, More Qualified Pipeline," identifies the challenges that B2B marketers face when adopting lead management processes, the benefits that come from investing in this discipline, and the factors that lead to success among marketing and sales teams.

In the study Forrester sees demand development growing more challenging as business prospects flock online to investigate products and services and respond less to marketing offers.

The study reveals several key findings, including:

  • Lead management is a marketing discipline moving from early stage to essential
  • Mature lead management pays off in a measurable impact on pipelines, marketing efficiency, and accountability
  • Process development and sales collaboration are essential first steps
  • Successful lead management improves marketing's standing and stature.

"Marketing automation solutions are still gaining maturity in the marketplace, but they are gaining recognition for the real business value they deliver," said Bill Nussey, Silverpop's CEO. "But B2B marketers must understand that lead management programs work only as well  as the strategy upon which they are developed."  

For example, a separate case study conducted by Silverpop found that since implementing Silverpop's marketing automation solution, USA Financial has increased its conversion rate of qualified leads to sales from 23 percent to 43 percent. Additionally, Raeanne Thompson, the company's marketing services vice president, says USA Financial saves from $6,000 to $10,000 each month by only inviting qualified prospects to its sales events.

In analyzing the experiences of early adopters, the Forrester Consulting study concluded that marketers must focus on four main areas to minimize the time spent between initiating lead management improvements and gaining positive, measurable returns. To make lead management efforts pay off, marketers should implement the following practices:

  1. Profiling and targeting. Learn who your best customers are, how they buy from you, and which activities or behaviors increase their propensity to buy. Prioritize what you learn against the new opportunities and audiences you want to pursue.
  2. Lead scoring. Use what you learn from customer profiling to create lead definitions. Sit down with sales to discuss lead quality, select scoring criteria, assign values to each, and model how scores change in response to specific events or triggers.
  3. Content. Map buyers' information needs against the purchase process uncovered in profiling to determine what type of content different audiences need at different stages of decision-making. Match current content assets against this map, and look for gaps to fill.
  4. Nurture early-stage buyers. Answer the questions: "What happens when leads fail to qualify, and how do we get them moving down the path to purchase again?" Use discussions with sales to plan your first simple nurturing campaign based on the activities that engage potential buyers successfully.

For more information on learning the steps to tackling the lead-management process, register to attend a free Webinar hosted by Silverpop and featured guest Forrester's Vice President and Principal Analyst Laura Ramos.

About Silverpop 

Silverpop's Engagement Marketing suite helps turn prospects into customers, and customers into fans. Silverpop's Web-based solutions enable companies worldwide to build relationships with customers and prospects through the creation, automation and delivery of relevant, online messaging. And Silverpop's strategic counsel, service and support helps clients with the precise level of training and advice needed to quickly improve campaign results and ROI. Silverpop makes it easy and affordable for marketers to create, automate and execute campaigns ... from first click to lifetime customer. With offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, Silverpop's engagement marketing technologies are used by industry-leading brands around the globe. Best practices and white papers are available at www.silverpop.com.

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SOURCE Silverpop