Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

Lead management automation requires a degree of process maturity
many B2B firms don't possess.  The result? In the market overview
report about this market, published today,
I found underachievement by vendors and users alike. While the benefits
of adopting lead management automation are clear — successful
implementations enjoy more predictable deal conversions, faster sales
cycles, and real alignment between marketing activity and sales results
— market penetration is low. We estimate that only 2% to 5% of B2B
firms have invested in full LMA functionality to date. 

It's not for a lack of capability.  In fact, the current recession
makes technical solutions for pumping up the sales pipeline even more
attractive. I see software and services vendors from various
backgrounds elbowing their way into this space to snatch a share of the
demand. As you can see in the figure, complementary technology
offerings surround and dwarf the LMA space, and make it difficult for
emergent competitors to grow beyond their foothold in departmental or
SMB installations when many customers believe they already get LMA
features from a current vendor.


make lead management efforts succeed, look for capability that strikes
a balance between ease of use and proven implementation. Keep these
three steps in mind as well:

1) Assess your lead management maturity. Resist the
temptation to buy technology first. Instead, map out current lead
management processes and assess gaps. Assessing and documenting current
lead management processes let marketers focus on the capabilities
needed and avoid being overwhelmed by demo'ed features.

2) Create a marketing technology strategy. Lead management
affects both marketing and sales. Create an automation blueprint that
accounts for the business, process, organizational, and technology
changes needed to deliver better-qualified demand to sales and close
the loop between marketing campaigns and sales wins.

3) Prioritize expertise over usability and simplicity. While
speedy implementation and attractive user interfaces are important,
select automation technology that will evolve your best practices over
time. Pick solutions backed by proven vendor expertise, a vibrant
community of marketing peers, and demonstrated know-how. Expertise, not
features, helps you to solve complex issues related to campaign
execution, results diagnosis, and audience segmentation.

Stay tuned for more on this market overview in later blog posts…

[Cross-posted from B2B Marketing POSTs]