Earlier this year, I talked to a CMO at a B2B tech company whose sales counterpart was lobbying strongly for the company to adopt Account-Based Marketing (ABM) as part of their demand generation strategy. The reason? Though the marketing team was doing a great job generating raw inquiries at the top of the funnel, the sales reps weren’t receiving the number of “sales ready” leads they needed to hit their pipeline targets.
And therein lies, as any B2B marketer who’s been paying attention for the last year will tell you, the predominant argument for why B2B companies should convert to an ABM strategy: traditional demand generation is broken. The lead funnel is obsolete. Inbound marketing doesn’t work, or at best is grossly inefficient.
But I’d like to offer a different interpretation. Maybe demand generation isn’t broken. Maybe companies are just really bad at it.
Think about it: most companies have no problem generating leads at the top of the funnel. Heck, you can pick up the phone and buy hundreds of leads on a Cost Per Lead basis. Where the system breaks down most often is mid-funnel. Where most B2B companies generally have a much tougher time is converting those top-of-funnel leads to MQLs, SQLs and revenue. Studies show that few companies use technology like marketing automation to its full potential. In more unvarnished terms, their lead nurturing programs are woefully inadequate.
Now, that’s not to say that ABM isn’t a fit for the company I described earlier, or that ABM can’t increase marketing ROI even for those companies who do a first-rate job with lead nurturing. Far from it. But my suspicion, based on the marketers we talk to every day, and the visibility afforded into the way they generate and nurture leads, is that one factor in ABM’s popularity is that many, many companies are failing miserably – or at the very least, are grossly ineffective – at nurturing leads to maturity.
If your sales reps aren’t getting enough qualified leads, I’d wager that one or more of the following five reasons is to blame. When our firm works with B2B companies to improve their nurture programs, these are some of the most common issues we uncover: