B2B Marketing and Lead Generation Challenges – “The Q Continuum”

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One of my all-time favourite television shows was Star Trek – the whole gamut of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. For those of you who didn’t fancy it or can’t remember trivial details like I do (am not ashamed to admit it!), let me remind you about the Q Continuum – an extra-dimensional plane of existence inhabited by a race of extremely powerful, hyper-intelligent beings known as the Q. They typically display indifference to most non-Q beings but have a deep interest in the development and progress of humanity. The Q character, often played by John de Lancie is all powerful – he can apparently stop death, create life, travel through time, stop time, multitask/create multiple versions of himself and create entire worlds effortlessly. He can change a person’s mind or make them take any action.

So what is my ramble about and why on earth am I going off into space (or a spaceship)? Because of the Q Continuum, where Q stands for “Quality”. This single factor has remained the biggest influence in the world of B2B marketing and lead generation. It overrides quantity / volume, brand awareness, product differentiation and everything else that marketers aim to improve and increase. Quality is the power that makes people change their minds or makes them take any action, just like the fictional character Q.

Generating High-quality Leads Remains the #1 Challenge for the B2B Marketing Industry

My core team and I have just devoured the MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report and drawn some key insights from it. Right at the very beginning of the report, in the 2-page Executive Summary , we are told that generating high-quality leads remains the #1 challenge for the B2B marketing industry.

B2B Marketing Challenges

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And why am I not surprised at this? I’m really not, even though it appears the “pertinence” of this key challenge has dropped from 78% in 2010 to 74% in 2011. Not significant in my opinion, because the next challenge on the list (generating a high volume of leads) still lags way behind at 49%. Lead quality is still the omnipotent factor that can make or break an organization’s success chart.

Further on in the report, a chart shows the Closing Rate of Qualified Leads vs. Total Lead Volume.

B2B - Closing Rate of Qualified Leads

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Again, across all industries, the overall closing rate for qualified leads is higher. For sales departments and occupants of the Board Room, this can be intimidating but marketers have a very strong case here in this data. By ensuring lead qualification and only passing on the best quality leads to sales teams, marketing can validate its strategic and invaluable existence. Notably, in the software sector, the closing rate of only qualified leads is three times greater than the closing rate of all leads; not twice as much, but three times. Are you listening Mr. Sales Automation benefactor?

I repeat what I have been saying, technology and innovative CRM tools are great enablers, but they cannot take the place of an involved, engaged, person-driven lead nurturing, lead qualification and lead conversion process. You can program a system or software to gauge certain criteria of lead qualification. It takes a real, live person to carry the torch of quality and keep it aflame. Volume is good as long it keeps aloft the Q Continuum.

“Starship Enterprise – do you read me?”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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