In reviewing the results from the B2B Marketing Skills Survey conducted by Genius.com and BtoB Magazine, I saw a few disconnects that should be flags for concern. Let's talk about two of them.
Driving qualified leads is seen as the most important mission of the marketing department.
Lead nurturing is seen as the least important marketing role.
How does marketing drive qualified leads for a complex sale without nurturing? We know buyers have taken control of their purchasing processes. In fact, Genius.com and DemandGen report did a B2B buyer survey a few months back that showed the value of consistent content from the buyers' perspective.
I just don't see how one is done without the other. It's the "qualified" part that eludes me. How the heck would marketers know?
According to the Custom Content Council, 32% of marketing budgets are now dedicated to content marketing. So, if marketers are not creating nurturing content, what are they creating?
What might be interesting to note is that lead nurturing is not confined to email campaigns sent to your lead database. If B2B marketers are embracing a content strategy, every content asset will be designed as a nurturing piece – regardless of where it's displayed or shared.
Over on Focus.com, I answered a question about the definition of lead nurturing with:
Lead Nurturing: The process of engaging prospects by providing the
information and dialogue they need at each stage of their buying process
to position your company as the best choice to help them achieve their
Nowhere in there does it say that lead nurturing can only be conducted with opt-in lead lists. This said, if you have leads and you're not nurturing, you're content to let them languish? Or are marketers still pushing sales offers?
58% of marketers believe that marketing's involvement doesn't end when the lead is transferred to sales.
However, nearly 1 in 10 marketers admit to never meeting with the sales team.
The report also finds that the sharing of information between the two departments is lacking. If marketers are not talking or sharing with salespeople (or sales isn't talking to them), exactly how is marketing staying involved with transferred leads with any sort of effectiveness that produces a consistent experience?
If marketing never meets with the sales team, how do they know if leads are truly qualified or even learn about ways they could be improving the lead's disposition? What data and insights are they using to improve their marketing programs?
If the marketing-to-sales process has a big, black hole of disconnect in the middle, how will it ever evolve into a seamless end-to-end process?
From the two contradictions above, it seems to me that marketers are compartmentalizing how they think about the components of demand generation and prospect engagement. With the rise of digital marketing there are a lot of moving parts. The thing is that they don't move separately, but rather work best when integrated through an eMarketing strategy to achieve the best outcomes.
It's not that I think marketers are lacking in skills. I think a new way of thinking is required to shift from the way things were done in the past to what will be effective in the future. Happily, I'm beginning to receive calls from companies that have recognized this and are truly interested in learning how to apply a new way of thinking to accomplish bigger goals with measurable outcomes.
Why do you think these contradictions exist?