Beat Common Lead Nurturing Failures with “Live in 45”

Written by Rockannand on October 26, 2011 – 2:03 pm -

We keep hearing the stories of great results from lead nurturing, only to find that achieving them is much easier said than done. Why is that?

  • Incomplete strategy. Marketers don’t take into account all of the components needed for good execution of a lead nurturing campaign. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Poor execution. We are all pressed for time, juggling many projects so we cut corners, making mistakes that lead to disappointing results.
  • Analysis paralysis. We over-think each aspect of the campaign, the content, the audience, the steps, frequency.  Searching for the perfect campaign, but we only get wrapped around the axle and nothing gets done.

There are many more reasons why B2B marketers fail at lead nurturing, but these are the three biggies in my book. But first some context for what I have been doing of late.

How The Lead Gen Process is Like Fishing
Before I started my consulting practice in 2001, a colleague of mine and I experimented for over a  year  with an approach to demand generation that led me to marketing automation in 1999.  Our approach had these key attributes.

  • Strong content that demonstrated thought leadership not product expertise.
  • Automated, rules-based processes that generate new leads and manage existing ones.
  • List segmentation to be able to test campaign tactics across many audiences simultaneously.
  • Digitally-based, with web tracking to follow interest, behavior and determine sales readiness.
  • A heavy focus on outcomes realized in 6-8 weeks

What about the analogy to fishing? The secret to fishing and  catching the most is always to have your pole in the water casting out because you never know when the fish will pass by. The problem with fishing is that you can only have one rod working one spot at a time. If there’s nothing there, you move to the next spot. It takes time and effort to hit all the spots.

Traditional leadgen campaigns have also been like fishing in that each campaign has required execution one at a time – one campaign, one cast.  If no bites, we move on.  Batch and Blast. We really don’t know WHY the campaign failed because it could have been wrong day, wrong week/month, poor content, bad list. Just like fishing: Wrong bait, wrong tide, wrong weather conditions, wrong spot.

Live in 45: Fishing Many Virtual Ponds at Once
What if marketers, could execute the same campaigns to many target segments with different offers, subject lines and headlines? Marketing automation affords you the unique opportunity to hit all those “spots” (target segments) simultaneously and virtually using different types of bait (tactics and offers).Of course, the tools have had the ability to do these practices for a while now, but my experience is that the practices have lacked focus on outcomes and lots of testing.

This is where the Live in 45 system comes in to play.

The name of the game today is knowing exactly where to focus scarce sales and marketing resources and on the best opportunity and high return programs. For B2B marketers that means accelerating the learning process of what tactics work and what do not and what target segments are better audiences for your products and services. Unfortunately, this appears to be where the rubber meets the nails, potholes and the breakdown lane as marketers have focused their program objectives too much on activity and not on outcomes.  When you are focused on the wrong metrics and questionable goals, it takes much longer to learn where the fish are and where they are not, what bait to use, what time of day and tides, etc.

The Ultimate Live in 45 Lead Nurturing Program
The best fisherman test and measure All the time.  They learn from their mistakes faster than the rest. The secret is not magic, but simply “outfishing” the competition with a system that works and works well.

I call it the Live in 45 system. It is a focused lead nurturing strategy that overcomes the failures mentioned above.  Results you can expect in the first 90 days might consist of finding and closing over $100,000 of new business from “dead leads” that sales overlooked and doubling the number of marketing qualified opportunities passed to the sales team.

I have decided to offer the program as a 6-week guided implementation delivered in a group setting for a fraction of what my clients have paid in custom engagement. Its called the “Ultimate ‘Live in 45’ Lead Nurturing Program”.

Check it out here and let me know what you think. The inaugural program kicks off next Tuesday November 1. I am excited at the prospects and welcome your questions and feedback.


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Posted in Lead Nurturing, Marketing Automation | 1 Comment »

“Among the Blind, the One-Eyed are King”, and other Musings from CRM Evolution 2011 Conference in NYC

Written by Rockannand on August 25, 2011 – 10:31 am -

The Rock Annand Group has hit the conference speaking circuit again after a (too long) hiatus. My 3 favorite cities to visit for conferences are San Francisco, New York and Boston and I hit all 3 in August and September, starting with New York two weeks ago for the CRM Evolution 2011 annual event, hosted by CRM guru Paul Greenberg.

While this conference is not one of the biggies when compared to Dreamforce 2011 (I’ll be there next week) or the Inbound Marketing Summit and Hubspot User Group-HUGS in Boston (I’ll be there too mid-September), I will say it is no less relevant and substantive. There were some great speakers and panel discussions about what’s working and what’s not in CRM and social CRM with some impressive companies telling their stories.

So what’s behind the provocative title?
Well it comes from something my old boss Dave Simbari,  currently CEO of SupplyPro, always says when talking about sales and marketing execution. “Henry, don’t get wrapped around the axle, or boil the ocean when you do this. Keep it simple and follow through and things will turn out fine.”

Translation: most of the pack is too busy trying to define the perfect strategy or building the perfect program and never get anything done and fail to execute. They are blind, so by focusing on the basics, what I call the fundamentals, you can develop and execute sales and marketing programs, supported by CRM, that deliver results even a CEO with ADHD will love.

A Social Business is Just GOOD Business
That simple message could be found in countless sessions the week of August 8th. Even though the conference organizers attempted to dress things up by putting the word “social” in front of the somewhat tired and old CRM acronym, the presenters stayed away from the hype and buzz of social media as something new to try and stuck with the reality of the social phenomenon.

This point was best brought home by R “Ray”  Wang, principle analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, when he said, “a social business is just GOOD business.” What Ray was saying is that being social has always been the key to building relationships and winning business. Businesses and buyers have always conducted conversations about their problems and how they plan to solve them. The difference now vs 5-10 years ago is that they are carrying on their conversations online with peers in a myriad of communities and discussion forums. The question is whether today’s businesses want to listen and participate in those conversations.

Listen and Observe More, Talk Less
The reality is the vast majority of businesses ARE blind (and deaf) to what’s being said about them and their competitors online. Tell me what sales rep would not want to know what their best customers and prospects have said about them or their competitors before their next sales call?

Today’s CRM solutions and the multitude of sales enablement plug-ins allow companies to know so much more about their target audience then ever before. Countless examples were shared (Volvo Trucks) showing how B2B marketers have opened the eyes and ears of sales and executives with more qualified deals.

Ray Wang’s 5 Rules to Adopt to Become More Social
My question is why companies continue to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in their buyers’ world? As Ray Wang  so correctly stated, “We are using disruptive technologies at home and we need to figure out how to bring them into the enterprise. How can IT become more social?” Ray went on to identify 5 rules that businesses need to adopt to become more social:

  • Trust is the new currency.
  • Social is a cultural shift for the enterprise.
  • Building community is the goal.
  • Person-to-person (P2P) is today’s reality – not B2B or B2C – frictionless commerce is where its at.
  • A social business is just GOOD business.

Amen Ray. And I don’t mean Ray Charles ;).

Listen to our 8/11/11 Webcast:

 Create a Winning Lead Strategy in 90 Days


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Posted in B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Marketing Automation, Marketing Automation Monday | 2 Comments »

Lead Nurturing: Tips from Marketing Automation Monday in Boston on 1/31

Written by Rockannand on February 7, 2011 – 8:27 am -

Marketing Automation Monday snuck in between snow storms and came to Boston on January 31st on the campus of Wentworth Institute of Technology. A hardy group ignored the storm threats to share their ideas and best practices on the topic of lead nurturing. Below is a quick review of what was discussed.

Attendee Company Profile
Similar to the December 6th meet-up in NYC, we had a very diverse group, with each attendee representing a kaleidoscope of business and marketing expertise and experience. For example, our group had representatives from public relations, B2B strategy consulting, academia (continuing education) and applied market research among others. All had experience supporting clients and working for businesses with a primary focus on sales and marketing organizations and processes. Needless to say this was a VERY experienced group with impressive resumes.

With that in mind, I started the discussion by focusing on some questions that business leaders and marketers need to ask themselves as they begin to develop their lead nurturing programs:

  • What tactics work best to “connect” to your target audience?
  • How do we stay engaged with our audience as they move through their stages of the buy cycle?
  • How do we conduct the “conversation” to stay relevant and build credibility with buyers?
  • What content/events “convert” our target audience when they are ready to buy?

Tactics That Work Best
Webinars continue to be a staple of most of the attendees. Though it was noted that webinars were a bit more effective in the 2000-2006 period, the key still seems to be having great guest speakers, such as a prominent analyst or recognized industry expert, as well as real customers. Those using that approach routinely see 100’s of registrants and listeners. The important point is that for lead qualification purposes, those that register and attend are considered far more qualified than those that simply download a white paper (even multiple white papers and/or articles).

For the public relations point of view, PR now is heavily involved in targeting the “influencers” – analysts, bloggers, publishers, etc – using social networking and direct email to pitch stories that have been personalized to the needs of each influencer. What is most interesting, though not surprising, is that marketers and PR specialists are using the 1-to-1 method via twitter, email and phone to pitch the story to increase the odds of breaking through the email clutter of these influencers to get their stories heard and published. This is especially effective with the blogosphere and twitter crowd.

I also noted the use of the tickler file follow up process (all manual) for those that are interested, but not sales-ready. The follow up employed is always a phone call and email to each contact as their numbers for follow up can easily be done via the personal touch.

The Need for Content
The questions above had the group talking about the challenge of having engaging content to serve up to prospects. In one particular and well-related story, we heard how an executive built a very successful consulting services business. The secret was creating a series of low-end/ low cost transactional events, such as white papers, workshops, seminars, national and international conferences. These events and deliverable were tightly integrated in pre-defined sequences that were pointing the way for the prospect (and existing clients) towards larger comprehensive consulting engagements.

There were several aspects of these low-end “events” that were most striking to me:

1.  All of the content and workshops/seminars were developed and delivered by their field consultants who ran the larger consulting engagements.
2.  These consultants and the inside sales reps who did phone follow up to all of the event attendees were comp’d on how many attendees were converted to buy more workshops and consulting engagements.
3.  Their marketing spend through these events and content were paid for by their prospects. Nothing was given away for free. Impressive.

Staying Engaged Over Time
Other aspects of the story related above warrant further treatment. The real key for this consulting firm was to keep their most valuable asset – their consultants – in front of prospects and clients considering more services. As prospective buyers attended the workshops, seminars and conferences, the consultants were able to deepen the relationship and the conversation often times with the same individual and others at the same company over time. This company had developed a number of “assessment” instruments that the consultants could provide buyers to sort of take their temperature and let the buyer evaluate how they compared to others in their industry.

This company clearly understood the stages of their audience’s buy cycle and buyer types and had turned everyone into a sales person, each one being held accountable for lead development, lead nurturing and deal closing. To coin a very old sales adage, “Focus on your ABC’s” … or “Always Be Closing”.

Note: I plan to blog more on this story as the full account of what they did bears repeating for all of us whether we market and sell services, software or industrial products.

What’s Next for MA Monday in Boston?
Our location sponsor, Wentworth Institute of Technology has agreed to host future meet-ups so we will be looking for the next one Monday February 28th, March 7th or March 14th. Hopefully the snow will have melted a little and more folks will join us then.

Requested topics for future meet-ups are (in no particular order):

  • Lead nurturing … continued (we only scratched the surface this week)
  • Leveraging social media in lead management
  • Analytics, metrics and reporting
  • Creating better marketing-to-sales alignment
  • Lead scoring and marketing-to-sales hand-offs and conversion processes
  • CRM integration and sales enablement

Other Resources:
For those who attended in Boston on 1/31 and others who are interested for future meetups, all are advised to join the Marketing Automation Association Group on LinkedIn. Here you will be able to keep up on happenings of the various meetups taking place across the country.


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Posted in Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Lead Quality, Marketing Automation | No Comments »

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