Lead to Revenue Management Programs: How to Invest and Select the Right Agency Partners (Forrester Report Review)

L2RM Blog

This blog post is not targeted to the Seeking Alpha crowd. It’s written for companies that are evaluating their investment options in a Lead to Revenue Management (L2RM) strategy, a term first coined by Forrester in 2010, categorizing the marketing processes involved from lead generation to sales close.

The program investment required for a proper L2RM strategy is non-trivial. Yet, the gains in sales productivity alone (more qualified, sales-ready leads) are enough to justify the investment. Furthermore, there is an additional gear to kick into once the basics of nurturing are mastered. Users of Lead to Revenue Management programs can gain deep insights into their current customers to develop them into an annuity. This is the reason I am long on many of the players in the marketing automation eco-system.

This program investment criterion and more is covered by Laura Ramos from Forrester in a recently released report called “Balance People and Process to Fund L2RM.”

The key takeaway from the report is that L2RM programs have enabled the marketing team to transform itself from a volume lead supplier to an architect of customer engagement that directly drives results. *

A major decision facing CMOs budgeting for 2014 is to staff up internally or to contract out for services. This decision will impact the speed at which you recoup your investment. If you want to move fast and leverage best practices, then go external. Leaders will have to invest some time in the service partner search, yet it is well worth it.

A program driven by an agency partner typically resembles the phases below:

Phase 1: Discovery

  • Overview of sales and marketing organization and objectives
  • Governance assessment
  • Technical audit — deploy a best practices audit on the technical implementation of the software including; lead capture, forms, CRM sync, tracking code, email rendering, deliverability, etc.
  • Program/campaign audit – assessment of all current nurture programs, including areas for program growth, performance benchmarks, and opportunities for new programs.
  • Roadmap process – setting a proposed direction for the engagement, including milestones and accountabilities.

Phase 2: Technical Foundation

  • Email marketing best practices: creation of conversion optimized, mobile-responsive email message templates, changes and creation of new messages for nurture track, improvement to welcome/permission/preference center messages and practices, setting foundation to review/manage sender reputation, and corrective action for deliverability issues
  • Marketing automation platform implementation – as necessary, modification to landing pages and lead capture forms, changes to implementation of tracking code, consulting regarding integration with SFDC, improvements to campaign architecture
  • Data quality – as necessary, modification and assessment of Google Analytics tracking, implementation of data append/enrichment services, removal/cleansing of bad/duplicate/invalid lead information, proper segmentation of old/low quality data

Phase 3: Program Kick-Off

  • Launch automated programs – launching changes as necessary to programs and launching new automated programs
  • Content development and improvement–ensuring message quality, originality and ability to engage through storytelling
  • Managing scheduled sends – handling the strategy, content, creative for one off messages
  • Managing marketing automation software instance – making changes to handle data management and messaging campaigns

Phase 4: Program Optimization & Maintenance (Ongoing):

  • Monthly Reporting and Strategy Recaps
  • Ongoing Optimization of Program
  • Fine-tune 1:1 Content Strategy – delving deeper into areas of improvement and  customization for more targeted, relevant messaging

As the Forrester report outlines, for companies to be successful in L2RM, team members and partners alike need to understand the buyer’s journey, and be able to qualify and nurture these buyers through more advanced segmentation and profiling.  The right agency partner will be fully-staffed with strategists and content creators who can assist your internal team by taking existing knowledge (about products, customer personas & buying cycles) and transforming it into content and campaigns that engage and convert.  Oftentimes, this type of integrated approach (between agencies & internal teams) works most efficiently.

As you can imagine, Phase 3 – kicking off a new L2RM program – requires an entire playbook covering content, asset and campaign execution.  We will not get into those details in this blog post, but would be happy to discuss them with you at any time – just give us a call 216-369-2220 or send us an email.

Phase 4 really unleashes the longer term value of an Lead to Revenue Management program in the insights you develop from proper analysis of the data. When picking out a partner, be sure to look for an agency that is not only well versed in technical terms & tactical execution, but also in content marketing & analytics.   The ability to justify time, trouble, and cost of L2RM programs is a function of your team’s analytical capabilities. The stronger your team is at drawing insights from one-off or ongoing campaigns, the easier it will be to sell the C-suite on the importance of L2RM.

*Figure 3 in the Forrester report breaks down the investment categories for a L2RM program by size of firm and type of cost.

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