Last October, Craig Rosenberg shared some insightful best practices in one of my first thought leadership interviews, titled Lead Generation Best Practices: Thought Leadership with The Funnelholic. He recently turned the tables on me with seven questions of his own as part of his own interview series: Thought Leadership Interview #6: Miller Time: Marketo’s Jon Miller on Lead Generation and Management in 2009.
I found the opportunity to answer his questions inspiring, and hope you’ll find some insights from my answers as well. Here are just a few excerpts:
1. What are the three trends you see emerging in 2009? First, increased focus on the “middle” of the funnel. Marketers have historically focused their time and energy on the front end of the revenue cycle, i.e., generating new prospects and contacts. This has resulted in a steep funnel with a very large front end that quickly narrows to relatively few new customers. However, new contacts typically cost money, so as marketers try to do more with less in 2009 they will focus more attention on improving conversion in the middle part of the funnel , i.e., the percentage of in-profile prospects that become sales-ready opportunities….
3. What are three metrics that B2B marketers should care about and why? One: Conversion of qualified prospects more than one month old into sales opportunities. To measure this, calculate the size of your total database of qualified prospects at the beginning of each month or quarter. Then, track how many of those prospects become sales ready during the next month or quarter. If you’re nurturing your leads effectively, this should be about 5% or more a month. If it’s below 2 or 3%, you probably need to work harder on the middle of your funnel….
7. What do you hope for in B2B sales and marketing for the new year? The key to closing the gap between marketing and sales is not to slam the two groups into one function, nor to force marketers to behave like salespeople with aggressive quotas and huge variable compensation. Each function works differently, thinks differently and has different usage requirements (check out Sales is from Mars, Marketing is from Venus for more on this)…