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Bad leads, or bad process?

Bad leads, or bad process?

According to the “2010 Lead Generation Optimization Key Trends Analysis” from CSO Insights, more than 91% of companies worldwide reported increasing new customer acquisition was one of their top strategic marketing objectives for 2010. Sure sounds like rounding a corner to me. However, expectations and outcomes from lead management programs are changing. Based on the quantity and quality of leads generated, companies said email was their best lead generation program, followed by live events, website registrations and webinars.

At the same time, the web was the area companies were most likely to say needed improvement in its ability to execute lead campaigns. For many marketers, there has already been significant improvement: 51% said the web did not meet expectations in 2010, compared with 68% who said the same in 2009. So online marketing produces the quality and quantity of leads you want, but 51% still say these tactics aren’t meeting their expectations? Operating under the theory that executives aren’t expecting miracles or free business falling from the sky, there has to be a reason for this disconnect.

I would suggest that the broken piece isn’t the leads being generated – it is the process the organization is following to follow-up, measure, score and manage all of them. Of course a web lead, while strong in its own right, doesn’t meet expectations if it is never more than “just a lead” to management. No notes. No follow-up. No visibility. True lead management blends the 6 Pillars of Lead Management (look for our white paper on the subject coming soon) to deliver a comprehensive, rigorous and indeed relentless process to treat every lead as if it was already qualified business.

My opinion is supported by more facts from CSO Insights:

In addition, marketers’ ability to measure their own success affected whether they thought the web was an effective channel. Among those companies that had not adopted a lead generation management system, 65% were dissatisfied with the performance of web-based lead generation efforts. But among marketers that did have a system in place to track leads, only 37% agreed—putting the web on par in effectiveness with traditional media advertising and ahead of direct mail or telemarketing.

No system? Misused system? Weak, non-standardized process? Lack of visibility? Bad leads. It brings me full circle, why are executives dissatisfied with their leads? Their leads are fine, process is the problem.

Good selling!

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