Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Reaction of the Boston MarketingSherpa B2B Lead Gen Summit

Since I have some time to kill before my flight back home I thought I would post my reaction to the Boston MarketingSherpa B-to-B Lead Gen Summit. Over all I thought it was a good summit. The case studies were insightful, there were the right number of "relevant" vendors, and there were plenty of chances to network with the attendees.

The one thing that I would change about the format is that I would make the summit on a track schedule and give the presenters 45 minutes instead of 30. I know the benefit of having all the presenters in one room is that you don't miss anyone. I just felt that 30 minutes wasn't enough time to really get into some of the topics, with ample time for Q&A. Also by having the summit on a track schedule you can omit the sessions that you are not interested in without feeling like a jerk when you walk out. We all know that there are those one or two session that don't peak your interest.

Here are some of my important takeaways from the summit.

People buy from people, not websites
Make sure that your website, landing page, email blast, etc has a human feel to it. Consider the users intention or motivation when your are creating these elements. At the end of the day people would rather buy from people. Your website is just a tool to pass along your message.

Change your thinking when it comes to lead gen.
Think of People rather than Process.
Think of Touches rather than Attempts.
Think of Relationships rather than Contacts.

There are 4 areas of the buyer cycle Invitation, Initiation, Intensification, & Consummation.

The key to moving a prospect through this process is to know what the prospect is thinking at the transition of each of these elements, and act accordingly. At the transition from Initiation and Intensification you are building trust. This is when the user is looking closely to character, and how effective you are.

Clarity trumps persuasion
In regards to landing pages, no matter how strong your call to action or offer is if your page is not easy to use and clear you are going to loose that user.

There should be a marketing funnel and a sales funnel
Leads should not go to sales till it has been worked through the marketing funnel. Some people may consider this the "nurturing" process. In this phase you are establishing trust, building thought leadership with the user. The fact is salespeople don't have time to deal with leads that are not ready to buy. Also by having a sales person call too early is an easy way to scare the lead.

70% of all leads are not "sales ready"
Because of this fact you need to make sure that you have a marketing funnel with processes in place to move the lead through the funnel. That way you only deliver high quality leads to sales.

Every company needs a Universal Lead Definition (ULD)
A ULD are the elements that make up a "sales ready" lead. With a ULD in place you will have no question on if the lead is "sales ready." Brian Carroll used the acronym BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline)

There should be a process in place on how to hand off a lead from marketing to sales
If you do not have such a process in place you there will be problems. You will have leads that fall through the cracks, and know one will know why. This process will also establish accountability.

People, Process, Technology....In that order
Once you know the people that you want, and the process to get them, then bring in the technology. Dennis Head quoted IDC, and said that "Technology alone is not going to move the needle, you need a defined process."

Those are a few of top themes from the summit; if I get some time over the next couple of days I will post some more. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on these topics, so if you have an opinion or something to add please leave a comment.