Matching Wits with a Sales Lead Guru on Live Radio

Have you listened to what your peers (and bosses) say is keeping them up at night? We did.

Today my company is making a podcast available to the public that captures my live, January 19 radio interview with Jim Obermeyer of the Sales Lead Management Association. We discussed my company’s research on lead-to-revenue strategy in the age of digital disruption, plus our 2017 State of the Industry Report: B2B Marketing and Lead-to-Revenue.

I’ve been a public speaker for decades and have been a guest on numerous national and international programs discussing everything from marketing and sales strategies for SaaS software companies to how my local business association can create more jobs in the region. But I’ve rarely enjoyed a chance to communicate more.

Sales Complains, Marketing Disdains?

Jim and I think about and act upon these topics all day, every day. Some of the topics we discussed were hard to talk about, chiefly because they represent the customer pain points that we see over and over again when dealing with B2B marketers. Our new survey research uncovered why these problems are perennial and, frankly, a little bit exhausting to tackle year over year, quarter over quarter (except, of course, when we get to solve them for our clients). Here are some of the chief issues:

  • Only 41% of respondent companies were somewhat or very satisfied with the amount of leads generated by the marketing teams. Why do sales teams complain so much about both lead quantity and quality? And what is preventing marketers from solving this issue once and for all?
  • Why do marketers have to come up with new and even more compelling KPIs to justify their existence? What can we measure (conversion rates, brand awareness) that will actually get us more budget next year instead of less?
  • What can be done to alleviate the “ineffectiveness of lead management” that so many B2B companies are struggling to overcome? Is the solution more technology, better people or more efficient processes (or perhaps all three)?

We were a little surprised about what our survey said people were spending on marketing in relation to revenue—and that it mostly fell in line with industry standards as outlined by Gartner. We also engaged in a discussion about the “red-flag” warnings that tell marketers when they have lead conversion issues that will drive up their costs to acquire customers (CAC). CAC is a common KPI that most research respondents noted was flat or would only rise slightly in the year to come.

I also shared with Jim what was perhaps most disappointing about our research findings: The fact that (as alluded to above) a majority of companies felt that they are lacking in three huge indicators of B2B success: marketplace awareness, sufficient lead flow and sales and marketing alignment.

I was happy to be a part of a broadcast that challenged and galvanized me about the topics that I have spent a lifetime learning to tackle. Although the survey results were a bit discouraging, my plan for 2017 is to challenge myself, our team and our clients to become better and better at what we do. You can now download the podcast and see for yourself how we did. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed participating. Please download a copy of the survey report and let me know your thoughts.

Marketing Technology – Your Best Friend or Nightmare?

Technology NightmareOne of the most important enablers of an effective lead-to-revenue framework is marketing technology, which, combined with CRM and a great website, gives you a powerful platform for growing profitable revenue (always the best kind of revenue). And the good news is that there is a proliferation of solutions available, driven by the need for better planning, execution and tracking. But this can also be a bit of bad news because too many choices can lead to confusion and inaction. Worst of all, it can lead to the digital version of what we used to call “shelfware”; software that was purchased but unused (sitting on a shelf).

The following graphic illustrates the problem.

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The Importance of Processes in Effective Lead-to-Revenue

Process OptimizationComponent 3 in our recent eBook The Essential Guide to Building Your Lead-to-Revenue Machine is optimized marketing and sales processes. You can read lots of articles and white papers about the various technology options – CRM, marketing automation, sales enablement etc., but in my experience, unless you get the processes right,  even the best people and technology will just help you fail faster and more expensively.

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Criteria of Efficient B2B Lead Generation Processes

Lead to Revenue ProcessesMy team and I are always preaching the doctrine of the consistent and predictable lead generation engine as a key part of the Lead-to-Revenue Machine. In my recent book, The Essential Guide to Building Your Lead-to-Revenue (L2R) Machine™, I included a chapter on how to build efficient lead generation processes as a key component of L2R success.

The fact is this: Even the most creative branding and awareness-building program won’t produce the desired results unless you can efficiently work prospects through the system and produce revenue at the other end. But like everything else in marketing, you can’t improve

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Why a Powerful Brand Strategy is Crucial to Your Lead-to-Revenue Plan

How Branding Supports Lead-to-RevenueWhen I published my recent book, The Essential Guide to Building Your Lead-to-Revenue (L2R) Machine™, I chose brand strategy as the first key component of the framework because of its extreme importance to L2R success. Building the rest of your marketing and sales initiatives on top of a weak brand is akin to building a house on a bed of sand. It may work for a while, but will have no chance of sustainable success. We find that clients who focus on the brand early in the process have a much better chance of hitting revenue targets quarter over quarter and year over year. This is why it is so essential to define your brand promise as a guidepost against which you can gauge all of your tactical activities.

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Does Your B2B Sales Model Need an Overhaul or a Tune-up?

When designing a new, or optimizing an existing, sales model, you will be faced with some tough but extremely important decisions. The lifeblood of your business is not only in creating valued products and services, but also the ability to acquire new customers at a low cost relative to the average transaction amount. When you can do this, you get positive attention from the CEO and investors.B2B Sales Models

The adjacent graphic shows the major B2B sales models and how they relate on two important criteria: the cost per transaction and the amount of personal interaction required. When you include hybrids that combine elements from more than one model, there are dozens of possibilities.

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Nine Critical Criteria For Selecting Lead-to-Revenue Technology

B2B Sales MachineMy team and I write lots of content for our B2B clients. We also keep our own content stream flowing with fresh and relevant content related to B2B marketing and sales.  To this end, I started writing a white paper on the Lead-to-Revenue (L2R) strategies we use to help clients meet their revenue objectives. 9,000 words later, the white paper has turned into an eBook, which we expect to have published in early May.

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