Fergus Gloster, managing director of revenue performance management specialists, Marketo:
Marketing automation is one of the greatest inventions of the last 20 years and probably the best thing that’s happened to the lead-generation process. Marketing automation lets you connect faster and more efficiently with your prospects, understand your campaign’s lead generation effectiveness, and leverage drip lead nurturing techniques. With technology and tactics changing rapidly, it’s worth reminding ourselves of some golden guidelines for successful lead management.
No matter what you do, don’t pass leads directly to the sales team
You can run the best integrated campaign, but you will fail if you have not built a lead-qualification process that includes both a crack lead-qualification team and a marketing automation program. Cultivate and qualify leads with lead scoring and lead nurturing techniques so that your sales team is working sales-ready opportunities. They will love you for it.
Follow the metrics
Make sure the leads are the right ones. While ROI is the end game, it can’t drive your every move in developing your campaign. Early on you should be focused on impression-to-registration conversion rates (for landing pages) and leads-to-sales opportunities. ROI needs to be realised over a longer period of time. (Prepare to give it a year — or more in some cases — especially when you are leveraging marketing automation.) Follow the metrics you can control and optimise against.
Test and optimise
You are doing yourself a tremendous disservice if you expect to hit your campaign out of the ball park immediately. Prepare to optimise the program as it progresses. Test your landing pages and creative. Don’t underestimate something as simple as changing the font size on a registration form and seeing higher conversion rates. Work with publishers who are syndicating your white papers on their sites. Test 100 leads, but during the process, don’t simply shrug and say “these leads aren’t working.” Say: “how can we improve and optimise this programme”? Watch white paper syndication programs improve as you collectively optimise each of your sites. Whatever your campaign is, allow yourself the ability to make it better as it progresses.
Unlike traditional programs that throw any lead over the wall to sales, it is about qualifying and prioritising prospects, nurturing a steady crop of qualified leads that want to engage with sales, aligning marketing with sales, and measuring and optimising the results over time.