A 2017 MARTECH TODAY infographic lists the almost 5,000 companies that are part of the marketing technology landscape, up from just 150 in 2011.
Yet, according to CSO Insights, despite the new tools, the mobile devices, the potential of social, and so on, many salespeople are working harder than ever just to achieve the same old results or worse. Quota attainment averaged across all geographies, industries and company sizes has dropped from 63% of salespeople in 2012 to 53% in 2016 – and 2017 will likely be down again – for the fifth year in a row.
My $.02 is that technology has made it possible for marketing to get more poor-quality leads to sales faster than ever before.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” That’s a quote from Bill Gates, and I agree. I’ve seen a lot of bad processes automated as well, Bill.
Let’s take lead scoring for example: the more senior the executive the less likely they are to give up their “digital body language.” So, lead scoring favors lower level decision-makers and smaller deal sizes – and for that reason I would term it a bad process, automated. More senior decision makers don’t want to be treated like the human equivalent of a pinball – getting your attention only after they have hit the right bumpers and scored enough points – which is why the process doesn’t work in the first place and why the automation magnifies this fact.
I don’t place all the blame on marketing. Each year lead quotas go up while budgets go down, and marketing has to do something – so they turn to technology. Because sales reps have become conditioned to expect poor quality leads from marketing they tend to not follow up on marketing’s leads – or they call once or twice and assuming the lead was bad because the prospect did not call back – putting marketing in the position to try the next new thing, which is most cases is one of the new technology solutions that recently hit the market.
Compounding technology-driven answers to the age old sales/marketing problems is the stubborn perception that leads should cost less than they do. The cost of a lead by itself is not a valid measurement of a lead’s value. Is it qualified, nurtured, ready for sales? That side of the equation has to be factored in, that is both marketing and sales goals have to be met. Read this blog for more on this topic.
A 2017 list of marketing statistics from HubSpot included the following:
- Only 8% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were very high quality.
- 52% of marketers say they provide salespeople with their best quality leads, while salespeople rank marketing-sourced leads last.
How is this going to get fixed? Read “From Chaos to Kickass” and find out how companies with optimized sales and marketing achieve kickass results by doing three things well. Not 50 things. Three things: 1. Agree on your market, media and message; 2. Measure what matters; 3. Deliver fewer, but better, leads to sales. (You’ll notice that “automate bad processes" isn’t one of them.)
Marketing can’t afford to automate processes that don’t solve sales problems. Just as marketing can’t afford to waste expensive sales talent beating the bushes looking for new business when they could be focused on closing business.