Seeding and harvesting the sales pipeline – the process of acquiring, capturing, qualifying and converting business opportunities – is essential to the growth and profitability of B2B marketers across every industry and geographic sector. Customer demand generation is a mission-critical process in which companies invest heavily, but generally, are dissatisfied with the results. Put positively, it is a business process ripe for performance improvement.
Lead leveraging through integrated marketing and sales execution represents an essential but under-managed discipline in today’s commercial enterprise. Top executives, as well as sales, marketing and channel management professionals, are dissatisfied with the effectiveness with which they acquire new customers, as measured by either close rates or return on investment across the selling cycle.
While they consider new customer acquisition to be essential to the growth of their companies, few have implemented formal processes or standards to optimize results, return and compliance. One might surmise that the lack of formal processes is based less on a desire to improve business performance and more on a lack of understanding about how to formalize, measure and improve those processes.
It is also clear that companies do not manage business leads in a way that optimizes their quality or value. After spending large sums on their initial acquisition through costly media campaigns and multi-channel content marketing programs, only a small percentage of companies effectively act on, nurture, convert, close, recover, or re-qualify leads over time. In other words, many new business leads that could result in sales are discarded or become obsolete without any effort to refresh them. Companies must focus greater management attention on the issue of performance improvement in sales lead optimization and yield management.
Companies are investing a significant percentage of their revenues in activities directed at lead acquisition, but most do not optimize those investments by developing formal processes for qualifying, certifying and validating new business opportunities. By their own admission, companies surveyed by the CMO Council say they are wasting time, money and valuable business leads – leaving big money on the table every quarter.