If you need to ask what it is, you may be doing it without knowing;  but the chances are greater that you aren’t.  But don’t feel too bad… you’re by no means alone.

Closed-loop Lead Management

Closed-loop lead management — in which you track leads from your B2B web site or campaign landing pages right through to a closed deal — is purely a fantasy for many B2Bs;  they lack the systems and/or practices to implement closed-loop lead management today.

We’ll get to those systems and practices in a moment;  but first, let’s take a closer look at the steps involved…

Landing-page hit –> Convert/Register –> Classify –> Nurture –> Sell –> Track

Most companies do pretty well on capturing and converting leads, and many of them also classify their leads (A, B, C…) by “temperature”.  The cracks tend to appear after that, with the most common mistakes being:

  • All the leads go to Sales, not only the “A”-leads …with the obvious negative effects on Sales morale and teaming with Marketing
  • Nurturing activities are ad hoc vs. programmatic, and not tailored to lead class (never mind to the specific prospect)
  • Lead-class promotions (C to B to A) and falloffs aren’t noted or captured
  • Poor co-ordination between Marketing’s and Sales’ efforts with each prospect
  • No data on how a given sale originated (PPC, search-engine hit, etc.)

Closing the Loop

Fortunately, these problems can be fixed with some serious organizational discipline and a bit of software.  Response management throughout the process is crucial.  Why is it that 75% of all sales leads typically are not followed up by salespeople?  In most cases, it can be attributed to lack of response management, and salespeople being accustomed to receiving very unqualified leads.  As “A” leads contact you, and “B” and “C” leads move up to become A leads, it is crucial for business rules to be in place for the proper qualification, distribution/migration and handling of leads.

Another key element is getting those leads into a CRM or Salesforce Automation system (e.g., Salesforce.com) right from the get-go;  and then ensuring that every “touch” of a given prospect – by anyone – results in an update of that prospect’s record in the CRM.

The two biggest benefits of closed-loop Web marketing for B2Bs?

  • It’s simply the right way to treat prospective customers …which means that more of them are likely to become actual customers (and sooner).
  • It provides you with objective ROI data, which is critical for fine-tuning your Web marketing program.

The only tricky part of the above recipe is integrating your CRM with your website.  For that, we suggest engaging a professional B2B web marketing consultancy.  You’ll be best off with one that (like emagine) works closely with Salesforce.com, and has done numerous client website/Salesforce integrations.