Through these special blog postings, our goal is to offer advice and insights from top B2B marketers. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Dennis Head, a consultant for eDemand Leads Consulting LLC.
Dennis has a unique perspective from both sales and marketing regarding lead generation. He has over thirty years of executive sales leadership experience with companies like Xerox, IBM, ROLM, Octel and Lucent coupled with over 8 years in marketing as Avaya’s Director of Lead Generation where his “lead refinery process” generated more than $1.6 billion in sales qualified leads. I'm sure you'll want to hear what he has to say.
1.) What strategy have you seen work the best for connecting sales and marketing teams?
Things tend to work best when the two teams understand their roles. Sales is marketing's client. And sales can't cold call its way to success. After this, the two teams must align their thoughts around what lead quality is.
Marketing automation solutions make it easier to hold each team accountable for their responsibilities. It's easy to find out if sales isn't working the qualified opportunities it receives from marketing. The teams may need to meet again and readjust their quality levels.
2.) What metrics have you seen work best for tracking and measuring the ROI of lead-management programs?
The conversion rates from marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads. Once you have a consistent qualification process, you can then work your ROI backwards and ask yourself: "What are my different lead sources?" This will help you figure out what percentage of those lead sources became qualified. What's the cost of the initial inquiry? You can then figure out what your average cost per lead is, and that's when your ROI comes back to tell you where you spent your money.
3.) If you were going to do only one thing, what part of a B2B lead-management program would you implement (demand generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing, ROI measurement)?
I'd use lead scoring and lead nurturing to ensure the sales team receives quality leads. If you don't have quality, you won't have credibility with the sales team. Fewer but higher quality leads are far better than a high quantity of poor-quality leads.
4.) Which business practices are working best in B2B lead generation today, and which would you like to disappear?
Closed-loop processes are working best. I'd like to see marketers stop measuring the wrong things. Measuring the total number of leads is ridiculous. So what if you deliver 1,000 leads to your salespeople if they aren't working them?
5.) What's your advice to marketers working with execs who view marketing as a discretionary budget item during a recession?
You have to prove to the C-Suite that what you're doing is impacting revenue, and you can do that with metrics. With a fine-tooth comb, you must analyze what you put into the marketplace. For example, if you spend $20K on a trade show booth, you really need to make sure you get something out of it besides a pocket full of business cards. You need to close deal.