The Results Are In…And They’re Not Pretty

Over the last week Demand Gen Report & Televerde published reports which reviewed the performance of B2B marketing and sales teams.  The results are far from attractive and show that many companies are still lagging far behind.   A few highlights from the two studies include:

  • 40% of the respondents did not know their conversion metrics or indicated that their metrics were not applicable or calculable
  • 61% of the respondents recognize lead leakage as a problem within their organizations
  • 89% recognize contact data challenges in their organization, with 43% indicating that their data is not cleansed, updated or enriched

While these reports were published separately, there were some common themes in both studies that explained the Why, the Who and the What behind the numbers:

Why?

  • The changing and evolving B2B buyer has been the main catalyst to expose the knowledge and skills gap that exists in organizations as they struggle to shift and adapt.
  • In spite of adopting and implementing technology (Marketing Automation, CRM, etc,) to support connecting with the buyer, neither marketing or sales is getting it right.

Who?

  • Both reports indicate that while there is indeed a skills gap within marketing organizations, the same exists in sales as well.

What?

So what is the impact that this gap is having on organizations?  The impact is lost revenue:

  • Approximately two-thirds of the respondents indicated that lead leakage (i.e., lost leads that are neither acted upon nor followed up on) exists within their organizations with a combined 6% quantifying an annual estimated revenue loss at between $500,000 and $5 million-plus.
  • According to IDC – B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, or as an example, $100 million for a billion-dollar company.

While these totals are staggering, they are not necessarily surprising.  Technology alone has never been able to drive change within organizations.   To truly get the most from these technologies it takes the right process (see the IDC quote above) and the right people.

To develop the process and people needed for generating more revenue, here are a few myths you should bust:

1.  All I Need is Lead Scoring & Nurturing to Improve Engagement with my Buyer

While scoring and nurturing are certainly important components to your overall process, they are not enough.  To truly develop a closed-loop process you must develop a full Process Framework that includes:

  • Data
  • Lead Planning
  • Lead Routing
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Lead Qualification (this includes the scoring)
  • Content Blueprint
  • Metrics

Without these individual processes working together, you will not have the necessary foundation in place to achieve a greater return on your marketing and sales investments.

2.  My People Will Be Just Fine

While you may have smart and capable people in marketing and sales roles, they still require continuing education and cannot be expected to learn new skills on their own.  According to SiriusDecisions, the average company spends less than $1,000 per year on training their marketing personnel.  The numbers are not much higher for sales training.  Organizations have a responsibility to properly equip and enable their revenue engine by enabling their people.  There are many places where this education and skills development can be achieved. One that we recently joined is The Marketing Automation Institute which was founded specifically to address this gap.

3.  Take An Honest Look

We once had a meeting with a VP of marketing to discuss their lead management issue.  Quite defiantly, he folded his arms and stated, “We don’t have that problem here.”  After some number crunching on the white board, we showed him that his organization was leaving $22 million on the table because of their lack of process.  They are now one of our best clients.

Reviewing numbers that indicate a loss is not a fun exercise, but it’s a necessity.  You can’t begin to fix something if you do not know where or how badly it is broken.  Begin to assess the damage in your organization, analyze the impact it’s having on buyer engagement & revenue, and begin to fix it.

4.  We Can Address This Quickly

The issues that exist in organizations did not occur overnight. Unfortunately neither will the fixes.  Too many organizations want a quick fix, and some are being told they can get one. The reality is, changing and developing processes and people takes time.   Throughout this process, be realistic and set achievable milestones so you can measure your progress.  Patience is a must!

5.  We Can Do This By Ourselves

As highlighted above, the issues of revenue, skills and process are not just marketing’s problems.  They are just as much a sales issue.  The good news in that is that the teams can work together to address the problem.  You want alignment?  Work together to begin the development and implementation of process.  If necessary, bring in outside help.  The consultative, objective “third party” can create efficiency in the change management process.

The current state of B2B marketing and sales is one of underachievement.  However, the solutions to the problems are there for the taking.  Organizations that want to improve their revenues and gain market share will be the ones that move forward and begin addressing these needs.  Those who don’t will continue to struggle.