Lead management automation requires a degree of process maturity many B2B firms don’t possess. The result? In the market overview report about this market, published today, I found underachievement by vendors and users alike. While the benefits of adopting lead management automation are clear — successful implementations enjoy more predictable deal conversions, faster sales cycles, and real alignment between marketing activity and sales results — market penetration is low. We estimate that only 2% to 5% of B2B firms have invested in full LMA functionality to date.
It’s not for a lack of capability. In fact, the current recession makes technical solutions for pumping up the sales pipeline even more attractive. I see software and services vendors from various backgrounds elbowing their way into this space to snatch a share of the demand. As you can see in the figure, complementary technology offerings surround and dwarf the LMA space, and make it difficult for emergent competitors to grow beyond their foothold in departmental or SMB installations when many customers believe they already get LMA features from a current vendor.
Similar-sounding claims can confuse potential B2B buyers.
To make lead management efforts succeed, look for capability that strikes a balance between ease of use and proven implementation. Keep these three steps in mind as well:
1) Assess your lead management maturity. Resist the temptation to buy technology first. Instead, map out current lead management processes and assess gaps. Assessing and documenting current lead management processes let marketers focus on the capabilities needed and avoid being overwhelmed by demo’ed features.
2) Create a marketing technology strategy. Lead management affects both marketing and sales. Create an automation blueprint that accounts for the business, process, organizational, and technology changes needed to deliver better-qualified demand to sales and close the loop between marketing campaigns and sales wins.
3) Prioritize expertise over usability and simplicity. While speedy implementation and attractive user interfaces are important, select automation technology that will evolve your best practices over time. Pick solutions backed by proven vendor expertise, a vibrant community of marketing peers, and demonstrated know-how. Expertise, not features, helps you to solve complex issues related to campaign execution, results diagnosis, and audience segmentation.
Stay tuned for more on this market overview in later blog posts…