Marketers have a lot on their plates, from trying out the latest social media channel, to helping sales close that big deal. So, what’s really keeping today’s marketing leaders up at night? A recent survey of more than 2,100 B2B marketers (2015 State of B2B Marketing) identified the following as the top three challenges:
1. New business development (33%)
2. Quality of leads (32%)
3. Demand and lead generation (27%)
Similarly, in a survey we recently ran on the Pardot blog, B2B marketers ranked generating more high-quality leads as their number one priority this year. This shows that — while we hear chatter about lofty goals like creating personalized, cross-channel customer experiences and producing loads of original content — most marketers are still struggling to keep up with the basic demands of their role.
The good news? Tools like marketing automation are here to help marketers tackle day-to-day challenges just like these.
CHALLENGE 1: NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Let’s take a look at the top marketing challenge, “new business development.” At many organizations, the term “business development” has a strong sales connotation, but the reality is that today marketing is expected to support revenue as well. By running integrated campaigns that fill the funnel with high-quality leads (more on this in the next section), marketing can contribute its own source of revenue to the company’s bottom line, and track it back to show their impact.
Marketing automation gives marketers the ability to launch optimized, lead generating campaigns faster, plus attribute closed deals back to the campaigns that created them. This means marketers get credit for their overall impact to the bottom line, and it also helps to understand what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. Tracking all of your marketing efforts in a single system lets you run an apples-to-apples comparison and make sure you are dedicating effort (and dollars!) to the right projects.
One more marketing automation trick that works wonder for business development? Lead nurturing. Nurturing allows marketers to set up a drip of dynamic, personalized messages that are sent to a list of prospects over time. Each prospect’s path will change based on how they interact with your messages and content. This is a great way to reactivate a dormant database and shake out some new opportunities. Your next big deal might be right under your nose!
CHALLENGE 2: QUALITY OF LEADS
Marketers have seen the light: lead generation is a game of quality over quantity. Eschewing lead quality in favor of lead quantity can often do more harm than good. You may be sending your sales reps more leads to work, but the likelihood of any of those leads turning into closed deals greatly decreases. This is a waste of both time and marketing investment.
By working with your sales team to determine the definition of a qualified lead and implementing a lead scoring and grading system to better qualify leads, you can ensure that leads that get assigned to sales meet a minimum threshold. This threshold should be based on both the interest they have shown in your product, and how well they fit your ideal prospect profile. When you focus on quality, sales puts more confidence in the leads that are coming from marketing efforts, and can go a long way toward putting these two departments on the same team.
CHALLENGE 3: DEMAND AND LEAD GENERATION
The third major challenge marketers reported is demand and lead generation, which goes hand in hand with the first two items on our list. Before leads can be qualified and passed to sales, and before they can turn into closed deals and get attributed to marketing campaigns, they need to be, well, generated!
Lead generation is actually one of the primary uses of a marketing automation platform. The tools in your marketing automation system, including form builders, landing page template, and more, are designed to make launching lead generation campaigns simple. According to the same 2015 study, 66% of marketers are currently using their corporate website as their primary digital marketing channel, and 61% of those marketers consider this to be an effective means for lead generation. However, creating custom landing pages and other digital assets for every campaign can sometimes be a daunting task that relies upon the help of a web developer. Marketing automation puts the marketer in control, with simple wizards, drag-and-drop tools, and even image and content hosting that lets you create and launch a full campaign quickly and efficiently.
With landing pages and forms, marketers can turn their websites into lead-generating machines. Gating valuable content like white papers, e-Books, and more behind forms creates conversion opportunities across your website. Landing pages extend this capability to your other digital channels, such as display advertising, third-party email blasts, and social media.
Ready to dive in and start creating your plan for B2B marketing success? Check out The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing. This e-Book includes more than 80 pages of tips and tricks, including worksheets to help you refine your own strategy.