Peter O’Neill here and welcome to another “Letter from Germany” post where I highlight something important for you about B2B marketing in Germany.  Last week I attended the first Lead Management Summit in Munich, an event organized by the business media publisher Vogel Business Media together with DemandGen AG, the European arm of that worldwide consulting group.  More than 150 attendees were treated to an agenda jam-packed full of user experience stories enriched by each speaker with their own set of useful anecdotes. Two highlights for me were:

Thomas Dueker, AEB GmbH (supply chain logistics software vendor). In discussing how he optimized their lead management process, Thomas also said he didn’t like to use the word “lead” too much. He remarked that he sees it as “too American, too much about selling, too quickly.” Remember my note in a previous blog about differing expectations in European marketers?  His system identifies “marketable and relevant contacts” and feeds them “quality content with minimum sales messaging.”

Axel Dorfer, item industrietechnik GmbH (vendor of factory shelving and workbenches).  The marketing department in this 30-year old company was only founded three years ago and Axel reported how his team created and structured much new content to be able to engage with new buyers. But not only new content works; they also leveraged their existing product content by finding around 30 external web locations where their collateral could also be used, e.g., engineers portals, online instructions sites. This generated traffic back to the home site to be managed by the lead system.

Other good tips stated during the day, which I would like to pass on, include:

“You need a team with people from marketing, sales, and IT.”

“Do not promise a return on investment within one or two quarters; lead nurturing results take more time.”

“Train your people – as lead management consultants.” (There is even a course on offer here in Germany for this.)

“Try to include younger employees in this initiative because of their familiarity with social media.”

The agenda was opened by SiriusDecisions, who presented their methodology for lead management and the sales funnel (they call it a waterfall) in some detail. I like their concept of three market scenarios: selling a new concept; selling a new paradigm; and selling in a mature market, which varies the lead management and lead scoring decisions.  At Forrester, we also talk about the value perception matrix, which separates single product selling from complex transformational project business; another dynamic to be taken into account  (see figure below). 

By now, the organizers had taken advantage of my being there and asked me to wrap up the conference with some closing remarks. So, for the cost of my hotel room, I gave a 15-minute talk where, I must admit, I wanted to leave my scent behind in no uncertain manner. So I told the room that the funnel metaphor no longer works in our need-match-engage world and all processes and content that they design must have the buyer at the center – forget the lead process. Based on the number of conversations that now result from that 15-minute tirade, I seem to have hit a sensitive issue. This attendee wrote this blog the next day (entitled “The best at the end”) and documented my points remarkably well (in German).

Any comments?  Need more details? Drop me a line.  As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

 Always keeping you informed! Peter