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Focus on getting more leads and less in middle of funnel

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Brian Halligan is CEO of marketing software company HubSpot, which opened in 2007 and now has about 3,200 customers. He recently spoke with BtoB about trends in b-to-b measurement and analytics.

BtoB: As inbound marketing grows, what are the major challenges in tracking the digital components of integrated marketing campaigns?

Halligan: What we encourage people to do is to look, in a very simple way, at each channel and look at the shape of the funnel, per channel—and then try to optimize that funnel. It's a pain in the neck to get a true, "closed loop-funnel" look at your business, and most Fortune 500 companies haven't got that set up right.

BtoB: How can b-to-b marketers improve their lead-nurturing efforts?

Halligan: B-to-b companies are way too obsessed with the middle of their funnels—[i.e.,] what do I do once I get a lead?—and not nearly interested enough in how the heck do I get more leads in the first place. They spend 90% of their time [in the middle of the funnel], then squeeze the value from their lists. What they should do is flip that and spend 90% of their time really opening the top of their funnel and getting more leads into the funnel.

BtoB: You're co-author of "Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead" (John Wiley & Sons, 2010). What can b-to-b marketers learn from the legendary band?

Halligan: They were early adopters of "top-of-the-funnel" technology. On their [1971] album, "Skull and Roses," they put a call to action on the back of the album [encouraging] people to send in their mailing addresses; as soon as e-mail became a viable medium, they started collecting e-mail addresses. They were always on the cutting edge of how to communicate with the marketplace and how to pull people in touch with technology; and, I think, business owners today can take a lesson from that because they should be using Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook and all this new Google technology.

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