Marketing operations and the lead lifecycle
Marketing operations is a complicated job that requires strategy, execution, and coordination. It also calls for deep technical knowledge of marketing tools, such as marketing automation platforms (MAP), data enrichment tools, chat applications, and many more.
Marketing ops professionals lead the charge when it comes to using MarTech applications to deliver leads to marketing and sales. Since leads are the source of new potential customers for any business, they’re one of the most significant resources for revenue teams. However, time is of the essence in the lead lifecycle. Following up quickly on leads makes marketing teams 7x more likely to speak to a decision-maker. (Failing to follow up within 24 hours makes leads 60x less likely ever to do anything except die on the vine.)
Scale can also be a limiting factor. It’s impossible to properly manage thousands, if not millions, of new leads manually. It’s even harder to deliver millions of leads instantly by hand. As a result, marketing ops professionals are turning to automation to tackle their biggest day-to-day challenges managing the lead lifecycle:
1. Lead list uploads
Modern marketing operations professionals field multiple lists of leads from many sources. Recent digital campaigns run in-house might yield a list of new leads. External ad campaigns might generate another list of leads. Field events and trade shows might also produce lists of leads from badge scans. It’s up to marketing operations managers to rapidly collate and upload these leads into their system of record (such as their marketing platform).
However, lead lists are rarely, if every, uniformly formatted, and frequently contain errors. Bad data in lead lists means delays, headaches, and hours of manual work double-checking lead spreadsheets row-by-row. Many organizations use a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to store leads, and unfortunately, most CRMs offer a poor experience for lead uploads. It’s no wonder that marketing ops professionals are turning to automation to handle the lead upload process, faster and error-free.
Many marketing teams are slow to respond to inbound leads, which makes them far less likely to convert. Image courtesy HBR.
Learn more about how to auto-upload lead lists instantly with no manual error:
2. Lead enrichment
Another significant challenge in lead management is leads that have incomplete data. It’s common for captured leads to have incomplete or inaccurate fields due to prospective customers entering in placeholder lead information, or simply due to bad data. As a result, marketing teams often find themselves part of a frustrating two-step process. Step one: Invest significantly in acquiring potentially valuable leads. Step two: Be unable to follow up with them because those leads don't have emails or phone numbers.
What’s worse, lead information changes regularly, which introduces additional incorrect lead data into your system. In the average lead database, 30% of people change jobs, and 37% of people change their email address every year. These changes mean even more of your leads go bad over time, which emphasizes the importance of refreshing and enriching them regularly. Many marketing ops professionals use at least two data enrichment services to update their database. However, they often still struggle to get enriched leads from their data enrichment apps into their other marketing applications, especially at scale. More marketing ops professionals are using automation to auto-enrich and flow leads, error-free, to any other apps within their entire MarTech stack.
30% of people change jobs and 37% of email addresses change every year. Image courtesy ZoomInfo.
Learn more about how to auto-enrich leads and flow them across your MarTech stack:
3. Lead segmentation and matching
The next leg of the lead lifecycle usually involves segmentation of leads. Most rapidly-growing companies take in thousands, if not millions of leads. After uploading and enriching leads, it’s appropriate to apply some filtering or segmentation to them before sending them over to the sales team.
One of the most common types of lead segmentation is lead-to-account matching (L2A), which segments leads across specific accounts that already exist in a revenue team’s records. L2A ensures that sales teams aren’t chasing duplicate leads. While the top priority for any sales organization is always closing more deals, 48% of organizations polled are concerned about funnel efficiency. And L2A is a central part of driving sales productivity. It also enables marketers to use additional strategies, like account-based marketing (ABM). To ensure flawless L2A and faster follow-up, marketing professionals are turning to automation.
48% of sales organizations are concerned about funnel efficiency. Image courtesy HubSpot State of Inbound.
Learn more about how to automate lead-to-account matching:
4. Lead routing
The next final stage of the lead lifecycle is lead routing - the process of actually sending properly segmented and matches leads over to sales. Lead routing is frequently a pain point for operations professionals who rely on the native capabilities of their CRM to route leads. On the one hand, CRMs can perform many sales tasks well, such as forecasting and acting as a repository for account information. On the other hand, CRMs aren't really built to route leads properly
Incorrectly-routed leads cause more delays and more headaches. These delays directly jeopardize deals and eat into sales productivity, which is another costly issue for all sales organizations. Research indicates that typical sales professionals spend 27% of their time on data entry, not selling. As a result, operations professionals are looking to automation to rapidly and route leads, segmented by account size, territory, or round-robin, to sales teams using custom logic.
Sales professionals spend a significant portion of their time on data entry - not selling. Image courtesy HubSpot State of Inbound.
Learn more about how to automate lead routing:
5. Show me automation for marketing ops in action!
Ready to see how to drive more efficiency and faster-followup with automation? Join a weekly group demo every Thursday at 10am PT, which covers specific, real-world use cases for operations professionals. Learn how to upload, enrich, segment, and route leads faster, without errors using automation. Register now.