Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Children of Neglect

In her blog, Ardath Albee (my favorite B2B marketing guru), laments marketers' obsession with lead generation.

Leads are like kids.  Generating a bunch means little, if you don't nurture them as well.

"Lead generation is a hello and a handshake," she writes.  "Lead nurturing is the art of building a relationship with purpose.  Big difference."

Albee cites new research from Marketing Profs that shows marketers consider their primary goals to be (in order) branding, customer retention and lead generation.  Lead nurturing is the last goal on the list.

Marketers are missing the boat.

As Albee notes, someone who "opts in" isn't really a "lead."  She's just a gal who's interested in information you're offering.  She'll never become your customer unless she's cultivated. 

That's because, at this early stage, she isn't "sales-ready."  She's just educating herself.

"The evidence exists that buyers spend more time self-educating via the Internet than they do in conversations with salespeople.  There's also proof that, due to this change, sales is only invited into the last one-third of the buying process."

If you're not providing the continuing education she needs, you're not cultivating that gal.

Worse, if you're tossing her name to sales, mixed in with a bunch of other so-called "leads," what do you think happens to her when sales discovers she's not ready to buy?

The short answer: like a lot of children, she's neglected.  That's sad.

"What's the benefit of spending all that budget to let non sales-ready prospects languish unattended?" Albee asks.

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