Across the tech community, approximately 50 percent of marketing investment is allocated to demand generation and about one-third of that investment is earmarked to directly support the sales force, IT consultancy IDC Corp. says.
In the recently released study entitled “CMO Advisory Best Practices Series: Marketing’s Lead Management Process“, IDC says for most vendors, this complex and expensive intersection of marketing and sales remains very much a work in process. However, pockets of excellence are emerging as executives are starting to come to grips with the escalating costs of selling and marketing in today’s tech industry.
“Tech marketers acknowledge that significant opportunity exists for lead management process improvement,” said Michael Gerard, director of IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice in Framingham, Mass. “In fact, the gap between current and future lead management process effectiveness as identified by study participants indicates a 39 percent desired shift in improvement.”
Gerard said the study’s participants cited management ‘buy-in’ to the lead management process and technology, global marketing and sales alignment and the capacity to follow-up, and customer and lead database integrity as among the areas which require improvement within the lead management process at organizations.
According to IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice — which undertook a study evaluating which IT vendors have demonstrated best practices in lead management process development and execution — marketing’s lead management process at a majority of tech vendors fails to provide even the most basic need of establishing a consistent global definition of a lead. Other failure points include data collection, lead qualification, sales hand-off, lead nurturing, and performance measurement. Only a few of the companies surveyed were able to demonstrate their impact on the sales pipeline.
“Developing and maintaining an efficient and effective lead management process is mandatory for marketing’s success in today’s technology organization,” he said. “With the correct people, processes, and infrastructure in place, marketing can better establish its credibility in the organization as well as improve its return on investment.”
Gerard acknowledged that would require a significant investment but he added a company’s future would depend upon it.
To that end, he recommended — from a process perspective — if not done already, organizations should dedicate a lead management individual or team responsible for development, execution, and governance of a marketing lead management process.
Furthermore, he suggested teaming marketers with the sales department to track the impact of marketing on the sales pipeline. This is a fact-finding, not a fault finding, mission, he added.
“The end result will be greater recognition by sales of marketing’s contribution to the sales effort as well as an established feedback loop to marketing’s strategy and investment allocations,” he said.
Organizations should also improve lead tracking and feedback from partners; develop partner management processes that leverage communication, compensation, and technology strategies to acquire desired information.
The report also said providing quality leads and establishing the ability to track leads will only be possible once marketers and other system users understand the need for a lead management process and its impact on the success of the marketing function. Many leading sales organizations tie use of the CRM system with compensation.