Long sales cycles and complex purchase decision-making challenge B2B marketers to find the most qualified prospects and to build relationships long before the first sales call.
In this environment, automation is essential to achieving a high level of demand generation maturity, and many marketers turn to lead management or marketing automation providers to meet this need.
The clear benefits of lead management automation should have B2B marketers jumping to purchase it.
However, back in 2009 this Forrester study reviewed a number of vendors in this area, they saw an underachieving space. Market penetration was low (between 2% and 5% of B2B firms have invested selling to <25M$ companies).
Forrester named some reasons for the slow market adoption:
- Heated competition battling to grab share: because of the “big CRM players” beginning to play in this field, buyers hold back their investments because they believe they have the functionality already in house through their CRM system
- A massive amount of new players entering the playfield all with different backgrounds claiming to have similar functionality. These claims keep B2B buyers running from demo to demo and scratching their heads over which offering will best meet their needs.
Today, looking at the recent Gartner report of June 2012 the CRM market as a whole, of which this industry is very much part, enjoyed a strong rebound in 2011 with revenue reaching $11.9 billion in 2011, a 12.7% growth from 2010.
I still remember the time when I started thinking about how to automate a number of the marketing activities in the company I work for. The term marketing automation was unknown to me, little did I know.
As a marketer I had the following challenges:
- We had many incoming “interactions”, but we had no way of tracking these interactions and actually do something with them beyond responding to these interactions. With interactions, I mean we had people mailing us, visiting our website, participating to webinars, showing up at tradeshows, etc…
- We had no way of identifying all of these interactions (well, not always).
- I had no way of storing the marketing intelligence that these interactions brought me (now that’s where the challenge began).
- We had no way of actually converting these interactions into leads, or at least “micro-convert” them further along the buying cycle.