“…Squeeze Water Even from A Dry Towel”: Continuous Improvement

“…Squeeze Water Even from A Dry Towel”: Continuous Improvement image b2b lead generation1 300x200“…Squeeze Water Even from A Dry Towel”: Continuous ImprovementPart 2 – The Definitive B2B Lead Generation Checklist

Eiji Toyoda (past president of Toyota Motor Corporation (1967-1982), and Toyota’s chairman and advisor until his passing on September 17, 2013) was a game-changer in many ways. The world salutes his legacy and pays respect to this man who lived for a 100 years. One of his famous quotes that I found very inspiring is, “If you put your mind to it, water can be wrung even from a dry towel.” Although it was mostly quoted in context of lean manufacturing and cost-cutting, one interpretation (the one I relate to) is about process improvement.

As a digital population, we are easily accustomed to the concept of optimization but we mistakenly refer to it as a state of completion—we speak of “optimized” online content, “optimized” social marketing, “optimized” emails, and so on and so forth. We are, thus, assuming that a process we have undertaken is now the best it can be. What Eiji Toyoda said was to remind us that there is always a next level, a better place to be and therefore, continuous improvement is what we must strive for. How do we do that in our lead generation and B2B marketing efforts?

In continuation of the definitive B2B lead generation checklist, here are additional best practices that facilitate process improvement in your marketing organization:

The Definitive B2B Lead Generation Checklist…Making the Best Better!

6. INTEGRATE DIGITAL AND HUMAN PROCESSES. IDC’s “2013 Tech Marketing Barometer Report” showed that among marketers’ choices for investing in technology, the top choice was lead / campaign management systems (22.0%), followed by customer databases (19.5%) and website systems (17.7%). Other choices are improving marketing dashboards (10.5%) and integrating digital processes with human actions, such as live chat (9.8%). In my opinion, this last one, integrating digital and human processes needs to happen to a much greater extent. Automation is meant to simplify lead generation but it is common to see organizations get carried away with meaningless metrics and reporting systems. We must remind ourselves that technology is an enabler; your people will be the ones to drive real, tangible results.

7. OFFER THE RIGHT TOOLS TO MAKE BUYING DECISIONS EASIER. As is typical with larger organizations, the B2B buying cycle involves groups of decision makers. Once you know that a lead is progressing well towards conversion, it’s important to facilitate information access and provide the right tools that your key contact(s) can bring to the rest of their decision-making group. Demos, calculators, feature-benefit documents, product-cost comparisons, would be some examples of these useful tools.

8. MAKE ADVERTISING ACCOUNTABLE FOR LEAD GENERATION. Traditionally, the KPIs for advertising campaigns were limited to increasing brand awareness. Today, with digital advertising media, including social media, advertising has the capability to contribute measurably towards ROI and lead generation. Taking it a step further, you can also monitor advertising’s conversion effectiveness with paid search and targeted ads on social networks.

9. AVOID THE ‘POINT OF CHURN’. Marketers typically complain that buyers are easily distracted. True. Sellers, however, are even more easily distracted! Too often, the ball gets dropped somewhere along the sales lifecycle. Because sellers are so focused on a marketing strategy that is based on historical data rather than real-time buyer behaviour, there is a constant risk of the buyer losing interest in a potential vendor. That’s when the “churn” happens. Your company may have been among the top 3 vendors on the shortlist but then you drop off completely. How does that happen? It happens when there is a lack of consistency in delivering a uniform experience to a potential buyer across all departments and touch points from the selling organization.

10. BE RESPONSIVE. Too many moving parts and lack of organizational history is the bane of large organizations. Big box B2B marketing is more about serving the structure than “doing the right things”. It is a series of patchwork efforts aimed at fixing legacy issues left by previous leadership and / or changing direction in mid-stream because of a new “fad”. This needs to stop. Responsive web design, mobile sites, mobile campaigns, ongoing SEO and PPC, landing page conversion metrics, email marketing retargeting—all this and more is part of a responsive lead generation strategy. What B2B organizations need to ensure is that lead generation follows a dynamic, yet process-driven approach. There is no place for complacency or fickle decision making. And most of all, time is of the essence—buyers expect and demand responsiveness.

How do you monitor and measure your lead generation ROI? How do you ensure continuous process improvement and wring water even from a dry towel? Are you looking to accelerate demand generation? Download a free copy of The ALEA Demand Generation Playbook.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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