Treadmills and Broccoli (or, Why you need a plan for that Marketing Automation Platform)

Lead Nurturing ‌• August 1, 2013

Earlier this week, I sat in a meeting where Mark Galloway shared a story about a company that was doing a great job using a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) to generate qualified leads for its sales team. The marketing team had completely embraced the MAP and was using all its nifty scoring/weighting/nurturing capabilities to find and deliver the leads sales said it wanted to work. And yet, sales wasn’t working them. Like many companies, marketing’s job ended at hitting the checklist of qualifying criteria. While sales was ostensibly getting the leads it wanted to work, if a call or two went nowhere, they deemed the lead worthless and abandoned it.

You know what’s most interesting about this story? Absolutely nothing.

Blog_8.1.13We hear stories like this time and again. Companies invest in a Marketing Automation Platform and even when marketing uses it to its fullest, sales frequently still says it’s not getting usable leads. Why? Because there isn’t a holistic effort in place. It’s like saying, “I need to lose 100 pounds so I’m going to get on the treadmill every morning for an hour…but I’m still going to have McDonald’s every day for lunch.” If you don’t also change your diet, your habits, and your lifestyle at large, reaching your goal is going to be infinitely more difficult (if not impossible).

It’s the same thing as using a MAP without having solid triage and qualification processes to build on the inquiries it generates. MAPs are incredibly sophisticated technology but they are unlikely to deliver a truly qualified lead without human intervention. You need:

  • Triage. Someone who’s just kicking the tires can look a whole lot like someone who’s incredibly interested in buying your solution tomorrow. Do not be deceived. Before you send a “hot” lead over to sales, make sure it’s actually someone that fits in your total addressable market.
  • Tele-qualification. The fastest way to discredit your lead quality is to have sales call a dead-end lead. Don’t let the MAP tell you it’s a hot lead, find out for yourself. Make sure you’re connecting sales to the right person who’s ready for the next step and hearing directly from the horse’s mouth what’s needed.
  • Long-term Nurturing. Not all leads are ready right now (am I shocking you?) but that doesn’t mean you should discard them because of it. Keep them in a long-term nurturing cycle so that you’re ready when they are.

Always remember that MAPs are great tools, but that’s all they are–tools. It’s the human brainpower and elbow grease behind them that makes them useful. If you’re using a MAP without qualification and nurturing processes surrounding it, you’ll never get sales the leads it truly wants. Or lose that hundred pounds.

If you want to read more about getting more from your MAP, click here.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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