In the 1990s a Hollywood movie, “Glengarry Glen Ross” popularized a sales mantra, which encapsulated the selling process into a seemingly inane, yet pressure-filled acronym ABC… Always Be Closing! As a B2B marketer in that era, trying to promote value-added vertical market solutions into an already lengthy sales cycle, I remember facetiously expanding that acronym to ABCDEF & GHIJKL… Always Be Closing Deals Emanating From & Getting Hooked Into Jack’s Killer Leads! It drew polite laughter from the sales force, which nonetheless was acutely aware that it needed help generating new leads (the Glengarry leads) in a rapidly maturing telecommunications networks business.
Since most of the low-hanging fruit (in this case, a “physical transport network solution” targeted at horizontal B2B market segments) had long been picked, marketing sought to develop qualified new leads that would attract higher recurring revenue prospects by bundling value-added services with the traditional transport network. Needless to say, prior to the dawn of Web 2.0, social media and inbound marketing, these types of specific lead generation and cultivation activities for value-added services was a serious challenge. Segmenting and nurturing such prospects over a long sales cycle was neither easy nor inexpensive given the largely traditional outbound methods available at that time–such as telemarketing, e-mail campaigns, hosting subject matter expert seminars in targeted locations nationwide, and meeting face-to-face with prospects for presentations and demos as required. More significantly, most outbound marketing campaign activities were not integrated into the company’s customer relationship management system.
Fast forward to the new paradigm, which not only allows for a coupling of inbound and outbound marketing activities, but through the deployment of an automated marketing platform helps segment, analyze, track, nurture and manage leads over a lengthy B2B sales cycle. Listed below are just some of the ways this new marketing paradigm is aiding the leads to deals sales process:
- Interpreting the digital footprints of inbound visitors to a company’s various digital properties to gauge where they might actually be in their buying process.
- Nurturing prospective buyers, i.e. leads, based on profiles that are more expansive and intricate than yesteryear’s decision-maker, key influencer, end user, etc.
- Scoring leads on a scale that is more sophisticated than yesteryear’s prospects with a budgeted need, an unbudgeted need, an interest, no interest, etc.
- All leads all the time is the mantra in the new marketing paradigm, since leads rejected by Sales are not discarded, but re-possessed by Marketing for further nurturing.
- Just in time outbound marketing campaigns tailored to leads based on their inbound activity during the nurturing cycle.
For greater detail on this new marketing paradigm, I would refer readers to Steven Woods’ blog “Digital Body Language” on B2B marketing and demand generation. This blog covers topics based on his book of the same name. I would like to conclude my post with a quote from his book, “…today’s marketing revolves around steering a buyer through an entire ecosystem by delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time.” This is the essence of the new paradigm, which can help sales convert more leads into deals!