Part 1: How to get there
The answer is quite simple. An overflow of not just leads, but qualified leads. At the moment, not many organizations are at that point. Over the next 5-10 years, I believe it will become the new normal for any organization that is serious about doing business in the current (and future) times.
Does that answer sound impossible for you and your organization? You’re not alone and we’ve tried hard to understand why organizations are feeling that way. Our best answer, based on conversations and past experiences is that organizations want to be so perfect with the process that it becomes paralyzing. That’s why JP&C has taken the stance that getting started is more important than the result. If it’s going to take years to perfect, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to get there overnight.
Part of the problem is the perception of how Digital Marketing works and what it needs to do. It’s often sold as the end all be all for sales efforts when first starting.
Reaching Digital Marketing Maturity starts with setting the right expectations. When starting, it needs to be made known that it’s not replacing other tried & true sales and marketing efforts. It’s supplementing them and creating an additional channel. It also has to be voluntary in the beginning. When has forcing someone to do something ever worked? Even if it does, the resentment will have to be dealt with later down the road. Good luck trying to get other stuff done if you’ve already burned large groups of people once (and probably twice or more).
The key is getting your colleagues to pay attention to what Digital Marketing can do and encourage them to give it a chance. The example I always use to get them engaged on the topic of Digital Marketing is that sales should let marketing generate a few quick wins and just see what happens. For instance, Marketing can get their hands on customer lists or create some simple inbound processes that will generate leads. That could be a case study or a newsletter. In the beginning, they could just send the form submissions or e-mail clicks to sales and say something along the lines of, “We know these people have engaged with our content, you might consider checking them out.” Most will go untouched or unnoticed, but a few will likely hit. All you need to build momentum is a few wins like that. Once that takes hold, there is a solid chance that whatever Digital Marketing process you’ve put together will start generating leads.
The next conversation from your sales teams or sales/marketing efforts will be, “stop giving me so many leads. Stop giving me garbage leads. Only give me leads that are good fits.” If you come across that, it’s a wonderful thing. You’re gaining traction.
From there, the capital (in more ways than one) you need to hone in on qualification efforts will likely be there and once you get that dialed in, you’ll pretty much be able to calculate how much you need to spend to get a certain amount of qualified leads. Honestly, it will take you 2-3 years to get there. Like most new things, change is slow. That doesn’t mean it can’t be slow, but sure, though.
Part 2: So what happens next?
At this point, you’ll need a CRM solution to manage all the qualified leads and track whether or not they are turning into revenue. This will allow marketers to track which campaigns are successful and which ones are not.
Perhaps more importantly, especially if you are a B2B company, you need to focus on giving your sales teams something they will use. The same rules apply. If you force a CRM done their throats, all the familiar names like “Big Brother” and “Oh the Suits want us to do this” will start to come out. Rather than have some consultants (which we are) or marketing folks (which we also are) design a solution they think makes sense, it needs to be designed by the very salespeople who will use it.
The first step is asking them if they are open to it. If they are deadset against it, then now is not the time for them. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not the time for CRM. It just means your organization’s efforts will be led by Marketing and a liaison between them and sales will need to be established to monitor the leads and record their activity. All of this is unlikely to happen if the organization is on board and creating an abundance of qualified leads, but it’s still worthwhile and will be appreciated by them.
It might sound like sales are needy, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. The best salespeople are rock stars and they juggle an insane amount of effort to close their deals, keep their word, and make sure expectations are being met. Having people come in and say they will automate their personal processes is going to take the music out of their instruments. Politics aside, I like metaphors. President Reagan was regarded as an impactful and effective leader. He was known as an excellent communicator and sharp on his feet. During the 1984 debate prep with Walther Mondale, his advisors suffocated him with recommendations, what to say, what to do, etc. etc. His debate performance was awful and the general public was worried Reagan was losing it. After that, his Chief of Staff told all the advisors to leave Reagan alone and that they needed to let, “Reagan be Reagan.” The next night he went out and yinged his opponent with his opening line and never looked back. Point being, let the really good salespeople be really good salespeople. Help them if they can, otherwise leave them alone.
We love this stuff at JP&C. If nothing else, we strongly encourage you to have conversations about this stuff as the year progresses. When done right, Digital Marketing is a worthwhile, fun & exciting and challenging (in a good way) endeavor that will move your organization into the future.