Revenue might seem like a logical way to measure the success of B2B marketing activity. But, for many tech businesses, it seems like a pipe dream. The leads-to-revenue story is one of evolution. In the past, B2B marketers struggled to translate leads into pounds and pence.
That was sometimes down to poor technology. Often, it was down to the relationship between sales and marketing. As a result, everyone judged marketing on the volume and velocity of the leads it could generate. Some marketing organisations evolved to talk about the value of those leads. This was often based on attribution and greater visibility of sales success. But, it was hit and miss. It wasn’t robust enough to give marketing real credibility or an ability to confidently say what was, and wasn’t, working.
Today’s marketing automation and CRM systems have paved the way for a new chapter in the story. By integrating systems, focusing on customers and collaborating with sales, marketers can now show the effect their activities are having on the bottom line. They can talk about how they’re increasing revenue, customer acquisition and customer retention. And they can back it up with stats.
Forrester has been discussing the concept of ‘lead-to-revenue’ marketing for a few years now. As with all analyst concepts and trends, it’s taken a while
to emerge in a practical form. Those who’ve adopted this approach are purportedly reaping rewards. They include a better return on marketing investment (ROMI) and the ability to quickly identify and kill off activities that don’t contribute to business objectives.
Defining lead-to-revenue management
A system, comprising integrated goals, processes, and metrics, that shapes marketing practices, from lead generation to revenue events, which is calibrated for effective customer engagement and measured through the metric of revenue performance — from new customer acquisition through lifetime value. (Forester)
Forrester recognises (as do I) how difficult it is to adopt an effective process for managing the generation of revenue from marketing. Customers should be at the heart of this process. We need to focus on customer lifetime value, rather than on the value of the first transaction.
Forrester has identified five areas to consider when it comes to lead-to-revenue marketing:
- Build your strategy to guide buyers through their journeys. Focus on customers’ buying processes rather than on your marketing process.
- Develop your process to optimise results for each lead. The funnel perpetuates a numbers game. Manage each lead individually to maximise its chances of turning into a sale.
- Use buyer behaviour to focus on contextually aware nurture.
Let’s stop serial spamming. Start building nurture programmes that educate buyers and deliver more developed, qualified leads to sales.
- Recalibrate and collaborate differently with sales. Reach a common understanding of needs, processes and behaviours with sales.
- Adopt a holistic approach to manage performance. Senior management want to optimise ROMI. Look beyond volume and velocity to arrive at financial metrics that matter to your business.
It’s time for marketing to demonstrate its value in terms businesses can understand. If you can do that, your business will take you more seriously and you can take your seat at the top table.