Optimizing Lead Management From Campaign to Close

In June and August of 2010, Aberdeen surveyed more than 453 executives regarding their 2011 Marketing Executive’s Agenda.

The results regarding their most significant challenges were compelling: 61 percent of all companies stated that the difficult economic environment was the top pressure facing their marketing programs. As a result, nearly half of the Best-in-Class companies have used technology to automate their campaigns and measure their results, while nearly 40 percent of all other Best-in-Class respondents are planning to deploy solutions within the next 12 months as a central, core component of a multi-channel, multi-touch marketing lead management strategy to directly impact financial results.

Lead management and marketing automation technologies enable organizations to integrate key prospect/customer information with marketing campaigns to create and prioritize the most “qualified” opportunities. In fact, Aberdeen’s research from the July 2009 report “Lead Lifecycle Management: Building a Pipeline that Never Leaks” revealed that top performing organizations are three-times more likely than all other companies to leverage a lead management solution with automated lead scoring capabilities to prioritize “sales-ready” opportunities.

Business Context

Given the turbulent changes to the global economy over the past 36 months, companies are intensely focused on marketing programs and channels that effectively reach customers to speed the marketing to sales lead lifecycle and positively impact top-line revenue. Simultaneously, companies are tightly managing marketing costs that were previously viewed as discretionary spending while requiring marketing organizations to deliver greater tangible returns to the business.

Aberdeen’s July 2010 research, “Accessing and Understanding Customer Experience Data Means Life or Death,” showed that automating marketing programs and measuring their results, in combination with other strategic capabilities, is being used by 47 percent of Best-in-Class marketing organizations to deliver quantifiable results on key performance metrics (KPIs) such as annual company revenue, greater contribution to the sales team’s forecasted pipeline, and improved lead conversion rates. This metric — growth in company revenue — gains further importance considering that 59 percent of Best-in-Class indicate that they are under pressure to operate with fewer dollars and headcount.

The performance improvements achieved by Best-in-Class companies demonstrates, without exception, why Best-in-Class companies have automated marketing programs and the management of leads at a significantly greater rate and project substantive increases in their spending on these technologies in coming months.

From the end user’s perspective, the key benefits of automated marketing and lead management technologies are the opportunity to execute and accomplish the following key marketing initiatives:

  • Improve marketing’s impact on business’ objectives by integrating multi-touch, multi-channel marketing programs across regions, business units and products.
  • Track and monitor campaign performance through analytics to measure marketing results that influence on sales activities.
  • Deliver “data-driven” marketing programs based on customer/prospect information to improve campaign results and lead conversions.
  • Integrate lead scoring and nurturing programs with marketing campaign results.

Upcoming Aberdeen Research

Automated marketing and lead management technologies are utilized to support an organization’s ability to create and execute marketing campaigns, score and route those leads with the greatest likelihood to close, and measure/track campaign results.

However, automating the marketing activities such and program development and lead management involves far more than technology deployment and/or adoption. Technology is only effective if supporting processes and capabilities are in place to deploy an automated solution. Best-in-Class organizations have developed leading practices and competencies involving organizational structure, knowledge management, and performance measurement processes that differentiate them from their peers.

This upcoming Aberdeen research that will be used in different ways including a benchmark report, will demonstrate and prove how the Best-in-Class marketing organizations deploy and optimize campaign management, lead generation, scoring and nurturing solutions to deliver effective marketing programs that support sales with a quantifiable measure of lead conversions, growth of the sales forecast pipeline, and top-line revenue generated from marketing programs.

Chris Houpis is a senior research analyst in Aberdeen's Marketing Strategy and Effectiveness Practice. Click here to take the 15-minute survey to participate in this research study "Optimizing the Marketing-to-Sales Lead Lifecycle." In appreciation of your participation before March 20, Aberdeen Group will provide you with the final research results upon publishing after April 2011.

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