ATLANTA, Aug. 20, 2009 -- Today's B2B marketers face more challenges than ever. To better understand the issues they struggle with, Silverpop®, the world's only provider of both email marketing and marketing automation solutions specifically tailored to the unique needs of B2C and B2B marketers, conducted a survey of B2B marketers, asking questions about lead nurturing, lead scoring and the sales funnel.
Survey responses were received from 446 marketers. When asked which part of the lead-to-sales funnel is the most important to focus on over the next 12 months, nearly one quarter (24 percent) said "ensuring qualified leads are converting into appropriate sales opportunities." Other responses included:
- Nurturing and converting initial inquires into qualified leads - 22 percent
- Increasing sales effectiveness and improving close rates - 19 percent
- Cross-selling and/or up-selling existing customers - 11 percent
- Reporting campaign effectiveness at each step throughout the funnel - 6 percent
Indicating there still remains a segment of B2B marketers who believe quantity is more important than quality, 18 percent said filling the top of the sales pipeline with as many "inquiries" as possible would be their top goal going forward. More concerning, of those who plan to focus on the top of the pipeline, 53 percent don't score leads and 69 percent don't nurture them.
"B2B marketers face two primary challenges, both of which are critically important to revenue growth," said Silverpop CEO Bill Nussey. "Marketers must plug leaky sales funnels and deliver qualified leads to sales. Not nurturing or scoring leads will put any company working to grow revenue behind the eight ball, and certainly behind competitors with strong lead-management programs."
The Silverpop survey found that overall, less than half of marketers (45 percent) score leads. Those that do are nearly three times more likely to measure the number of marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads and the cost per lead than marketers who don't score leads.
Also, 44 percent said they have a lead-nurturing program in place. Marketers who work to turn cold leads to hot are more likely to focus attention farther down the sales pipeline. For example, ensuring qualified leads are converting into appropriate sales opportunities is a focus of 30 percent of marketers who nurture leads, compared to only 21 percent of marketers who don't.
Silverpop's survey found that B2B marketers understand the importance of driving revenue and the ability to measure marketing impact. Unfortunately, most marketers are either unable to evaluate important metrics or fail to do so. When asked what metrics they report to senior management, 59 percent said email opens and clicks and 49 percent said number of inquiries. Only 21 percent reported either the cost per opportunity or the cost per closed opportunity.
"B2B marketers have to do more than show how many ads they placed or how many white papers were downloaded last month," Nussey said. "You have to prove what your efforts meant to the company's bottom line. And to do that, you have to take a look at some key revenue-oriented metrics."
Marketing automation solutions like Silverpop's Engage B2BTM help marketers score and nurture leads and more easily determine ROI. Yet only 39 percent of B2B marketers responding to the survey are using a marketing automation solution. Those that do are 60 percent more likely to score leads and twice as likely to nurture them.
"B2B marketers need a system that enables them to set basic ground rules from which to organize complex campaigns and then let them run," Nussey said. "And with shrinking staffs and budgets, marketing automation is the key to driving revenue and proving marketing's value to the bottom line."
To learn more about lead management, scoring and nurturing, Silverpop offers a free, comprehensive eBook titled "The Lead-Management Workbook: Advice and Worksheets to Develop a Strategic, Results-Driven B2B Marketing Program." Visit the Resources page at www.silverpop.com to download the workbook.
Silverpop is the world's only provider of both email marketing and marketing automation solutions specifically tailored to the unique needs of B2C and B2B marketers. Its Web-based solutions enable companies to build relationships with customers and prospects through the creation, automation and delivery of relevant, online messaging. Silverpop's EngageTM platform helps marketers create and manage multi-channel marketing campaigns that reach millions of individuals-one at a time-enhancing lifetime customer value and brand loyalty. Silverpop's Engage B2BTM marketing automation platform seamlessly scores sales leads, nurtures them through the pipeline and measures campaign return-on-investment. And Silverpop's strategic counsel, service and support delivers the precise level of training and advice needed to quickly improve campaign results and ROI. With offices in the United States, England and Germany, Silverpop's engagement marketing technologies are used by industry-leading brands throughout the world. Best practices and white papers are available at www.silverpop.com.
Silverpop® is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. Silverpop EngageTM and Silverpop Engage B2BTM are trademarks of Silverpop Systems Inc.