A few weeks ago, we attended a large Microsoft Dynamics customer conference, Convergence 2007. As an exhibitor we conducted an experiment to see how many attendees could relate to being a 'typical marketing' or 'typical sales' person. Linked together and scouring the exhibit hall were two individuals representing the contentment between sales and marketing. Although not scientific, the results were astounding. Marketers and sales people alike applauded and laughed, knowing the scene playing out in front of them was the stark reality of their respective meeting rooms back at their office. And attendees were clamoring to get their hands on a shirt exclaiming their 'average-ness'! Although a fun experiment, it also opened our eyes to see how many sales and marketing departments are still operating as separate units.
So, I have a question for you. Are you a typical sales or typical marketing person? Or maybe I should ask - are your sales and marketing processes typical? For example, does your marketing team measure success by the volume of leads generated? Does your sales team cherry-pick a few leads to focus on because these leads are sure to maximize their commission check? Do the majority of the leads generated rot away in the bottomless pit of your CRM system?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, stop laughing now! Laura Ramos, Forrester VP, reported in 'Improving B2B Lead Management' that sales-driven organizations (such as the one described above) need to break their volume-centric mind frame and implement a lead management process enabled by marketing automation technology. The Aberdeen Group quantified this recommendation. They found organizations with immature lead-to-sale processes reported no improvement in lead to sale revenue (vs. 72% of best-in-class organizations), no improvement in lead to sale conversion rates (vs. 48%), and a minimal (5%) improvement in cost per lead (vs. 38%). The difference between the laggards and the best-in-class organizations is the presence and adoption of marketing automation technology.
With that said, 'typical' doesn't sound so good anymore does it? So what are you going to do about it?