In a recent study, the management consultancy McKinsey noted that only few companies are really prepared for digital transformation. Digitization is posing major challenges for marketing and sales, which the lead management must consider and adapt to.
Rigid corporate culture, lack of digital thinking and risk taking, as well as silo structures, have been identified as the main impediments. Hence, another recent McKinsey article called for the development of a digital marketing ecosystem that helps the entire sales organization to prepare for the challenges of the future in the digital age. Main requirements mentioned include:
- getting away from rigid structures and hierarchies and towards a flexible, interacting eco-system of qualified internal and ternal partners;
- agile processes of cooperation;
- use of appropriate tools to capture and analyze the customer journey, customer experience and content management.
The points mentioned above clearly have a significant impact on lead management as it has to be an integral part of such organizational reorientation. However, especially from an organizational point of view, there is unfortunately still a lot more in disorder: Pure appendage to marketing or CRM, inadequate IT structures, system breaks, lack of qualification of employees, no interlocking of processes, unclear interfaces, etc. are just some of the most common causes.
That’s why it is important to make lead management an important factor and to consider some of our suggestions:
- Break down the organizational silos; Customer-oriented cooperation instead of narrow-mindedness and hierarchies, should be the maxim.
- Make lead management an integral part of your marketing / sales eco-system - equal to CRM, marketing communications, sales, customer service, IT / data analytics- and external partners, like e.g. your agencies, data providers or distributors.
- Take advantage of the possibilities of modern digital media - such as messenger services, social media, website, landing pages, SEO, mobile apps, etc. This is the only way to address potential customers according to their respective customer journey and to be able to take care of them efficiently.
- Optimize your internal processes and ensure a close integration of offline and online communication.
- Clarify the internal interfaces, especially for marketing communication, sales and CRM.
- Not the number of your employees, but their quality and understanding of digital media and the communicative behavior of your customers is crucial. Consider focusing on the digital native.
- Use appropriate IT tools. Marketing automation systems make it possible to address your customers quickly and accurately – and good reaction speed and accuracy are crucial today.
- Ensure up-to-date, meaningful reporting and strict success monitoring of your activities. Transparency ensures credibility and recognition.
- A rapidly changing environment requires flexible adaptation, therefore, check on a regular basis whether your structures and processes still fit.
Ultimately, it is important to align your organization consistently to the customers and their needs, which means become a customer-oriented organization. Unfortunately, this requires a rethinking throughout the company, which is often easier said than done. Fact is, product-centric thinking was yesterday, today it is important to radically think about the customer – all the time, in all areas!
Lead management means finding a prospect at the right time, with the right content on the right channel, to turn him/her into a satisfied customer! In the digital age. This means efficiently orchestrating a multitude of channels, content and partners. In most cases, the new media and interaction channels do not replace the traditional channels of communication, they only complement them. Companies are therefore still forced to offer traditional channels such as email, telephone, trade fairs and events on a case-by-case basis. In today's world of communication, a shift from push to pull seems however necessary and this must also be reflected in the organizational structure and the processes.
The traditional marketing model is still driven by the three I’s—intercept, isolate and insulate—all of which are about pushing information at people. Intercept means getting people’s attention wherever they are and whenever you need them. Once you intercept, under this model, you isolate, trying to get your message across without interference or distraction and finally try to insulate people over time to create a walled garden. But people usually don’t want to be manipulated and annoyed, therefore prefer the three A’s - attract, assist, affiliate – instead. Or as the American Marketing Association puts it again in a nutshell: “Attract means motivating people to seek you out. Assist means helping people before and after a purchase, so they get more value and use from your product or service. That leads to the third affiliate. Instead of focusing on one-to-one marketing, bring in all participants that could be helpful to the prospective buyer, creating a broader ecosystem of participants that the customer wants to interact with.”
Quite obviously, marketers have to make use of smart technology to collect and analyze data that lead to deep, real-time insight about customers and their needs, considering at the same time their privacy non-stop. Hence, to no surprise, lead management has become increasingly demanding and complex in recent years. As a result, it faces a threefold dilemma today:
1. Variety of touchpoints and instruments vs. economics;
2. Increased demands for info intensity and frequency vs. over-stimulation of the contact persons;
3. Increased complexity vs. speed and efficiency.
Modern, up-to-date lead management must take these points into account and find the right balance of effort and return. At the end of the day, what matters is the bottom line - in the long run! Because the fight for the customer is not a sprint, but resembles a marathon, in which only those are successful, that showcase endurance and perseverance.
By Daniela La Marca