About 15-years ago, I was at lunch with a guy who told me that within weeks I could be making in one month what I was currently making annually. He proceeded to tell me that he was making $70,000 per month through a new multi-level marketing company and that I had an opportunity to get in on the ground floor. He continued, telling me that this was the easiest money I would ever make. In fact if I took advantage of this opportunity, I wouldn’t even feel like I was working. Then our conversation came to a screeching halt when I asked “If this money is so easy how come every one isn’t doing this?” Check please! (Yes, he paid for lunch. After all he was making $70k per month).
Promises of exponential riches, rapid weight loss and real estate fortunes will continue to come and go throughout our lives. And most of us are smart enough to smile and politely say, “No, thank you”. Yet, it seems that the promise of “gold at the end of the rainbow” is picking up steam with many in the B2B marketing space. And many marketers in search of El Dorado are being drawn like lemmings to the sea.
Just this past month, we’ve seen offers such as “guarantee of significant business impact in less than 60-days”; or “a detailed understanding of where you’re deficient in your automation strategy in less than 10-days”; or even “100% increase in qualified leads to sales”. Sounds great! But if it’s this easy, then why isn’t everyone doing this? Maybe because it’s not so easy.
If you truly want to revolutionize your B2B marketing organization, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Quick Does not Equal Effective
We live in an instant gratification society. But that doesn’t work in B2B organizations. Defining new processes, developing and implementing new strategies and aligning marketing and sales teams is not something that can be done overnight. Yes, strides can be made quickly, and initial milestones can be reached in relatively short time. But expecting to arrive at best-in-class status or having a comprehensive understanding of ALL your business issues in a matter of days is not realistic. Yes, quick wins are great. But lasting, effective wins do not come quickly. They take time. Anything else is just cutting corners.
2. There is more to B2B Marketing Than Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is getting quite a bit of attention from multiple vendors. Many vendors and consultants are developing “quick hit” programs focused on helping organizations develop and launch lead nurturing campaigns.
Lead nurturing is certainly a vital component of a demand generation strategy, however, there is much that needs to be addressed to ensure that your nurturing will be effective. If your goal is to produce an effective lead nurturing program that has tangible results (qualified leads that convert to sales) you must ensure the following components are in place:
- A data management process
- Lead qualification process (hard to know how to nurture them, if you don’t know how qualified they are)
- A defined lead routing process
- Content mapping
Most companies need significant work done in these areas. All of these processes take time to review and develop. Not developing them will produce lack luster results.
3. It’s Not The Technology, It’s You
Not getting what you want from your marketing automation platform? It is surely the fault of the technology right? Think again.
Yes it is true that many organizations are striving to get more value from their automation solution. But determining value based on which features and functions are or are not being used is not the way to determine value.
In order to improve the value of your return on technology investments look internally at your operations, your demand generation strategy and your process. Identify your gaps, make the fixes, and develop the strategy to fill the gaps. Only then are you ready to consider how the technology will allow you to execute that strategy. As much as automation can provide, it should be one of the last things you consider when looking to transform your organization.
The B2B landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years. As a result organizations need to transform their approach. A quick fix is not the answer. Be realistic in your approach and remember patience is key. Consistency over time wins the day.