The Big Question: What techniques and/or channel(s) are you finding most effective in generating leads for your sales teams?
“In addition to predictive modeling and use of industry databases, our success results from the deep under-standing we have of our partners' goals. We leverage relation-ships and make it a priority to ensure we are grounded in the dy-namics and key drivers of growth for our customers' businesses. It's all about customizing our efforts to effectively fit into their efforts. Strong relationships and data-driven decisions are where the biggest opportunities are often shared.” Richard Aneser CMO, Lincoln Financial Distributors “We have seen recent lead-generation success in sponsorship activities with our media partners. Whether it be webinars or white papers, our media partners have a proven record of delivering relevant technical content to their users while gathering lead-gen data with little objection from the recipient. These sponsorship opportunities have allowed us to find additional qualified contacts in our industry and customer base.” Kirsten Bjork-Jones Director-global marketing communications, Edmund Optics “Email marketing, when fully integrated with a closed-loop marketing and sales environment—including a marketing data mart to leverage customer intelligence—drives leads and nurtures prospects much more effectively for our sales team. We expand the use of email marketing through lead scoring and lead-nurturing campaigns that are holistic in nature, using a variety of techniques. These lead-nurturing techniques include integrated welcome campaigns, re-engagement campaigns and multitouch, trigger-based lead nurturing that drives sales follow-up in near real time. Conversions can increase up to 50%.” Joe Cordo CMO, Extraprise “Lead scoring, but start small. For example, website visits, webinar attendance and email open rates are all trackable and objective metrics to which you can assign points. Combined with a prospect's job title and company size, work on improving these scores into sales-ready leads with regular outreach [once every two to three weeks]. Coming up with these criteria and scores will be unique to each company and industry, and will likely change over time. Lead scoring isn't something you do once; it's a continual, organic and evolving process that empowers you to determine which activities lead to sales or require further nurturing.” Phil Fernandez CEO, Marketo Inc. “It may be surprising, but we find old-fashioned telesales to be effective when coupled with good database analysis and the right offer. We use digital lead-gen strategies like co-registration and white paper syndication to feed our list. These digital leads are then vetted against our database and third-party sources. The primed contacts are more receptive on the phone and convert at a higher rate. Overall, our telesales outreach focuses on our respected market insights program, rather than pushing specific products to develop potential leads for follow-up.” Ken Fredman Head-digital programs and operations, J.P. Morgan Asset Management “We consistently see thought leadership, usually distributed through blogs, as a key differentiator for our clients. With all of the mediocre content available, the voice of a legitimate expert stands out. The key to success is turning that inbound traffic into leads. It starts with a process that incorporates specific content themes into follow-up nurturing campaigns, and then applying lead-scoring rules to cull the best opportunities. Ultimately, it's about having a well-planned and fully integrated process.” Malcolm Friedberg CEO, Left Brain DGA “There's no single marketing channel or tactic that performs consistently well across all of our business units and marketing teams. However, what we do find is that the lead-gen "triangle' between thought leadership, targeted events and relationship nurturing is a potent tool. First, draw them in with visually appealing, thought-provoking content. Then, invite them to engage in a direct dialogue using a targeted physical or virtual event. And finally, nurture that relationship with social and email tactics so that you are top-of-mind when they are ready to buy. When executed thoughtfully, this works remarkably well.” Nick Panayi Director-global brand and digital marketing, CSC “B-to-b marketers are still driving a large portion of their leads by leveraging such well-known delivery mechanisms as webcasts, email and live events. But we're seeing a significant shift in focus from these tactics to the use of inbound channels, such as SEO, PPC, content syndication and social media, to both seed and create demand. In terms of process, what has changed most is the increased use of multichannel approaches to drive up response rates. By integrating social, email, website promotions, SEO, PPC, live events, mobile and traditional media, marketers are reaching a broader portion of their target audiences, as well as reinforcing key messaging to optimize lead generation.” Matt Papertsian Research director, SiriusDecisions Inc. “From a marketing standpoint, we have a combination of approaches, but largely we depend on email marketing. Our website is a major factor in how we drive interest in our products, as well as webinars. Search plays a role, and we get a decent amount of organic traffic to our site from that. And we use various social methods; we have our own blog, NakedSecurity.com, and our own Facebook page. And since we rely on our resellers, we have methods in place to grow their business, but also focus just on acquiring leads directly, which then are distributed to the channel based on geography.” Rob Schlansky IT director-marketing and product development, Sophos Inc. “We're big believers in the power of storytelling to grow and strengthen the connection to our audience. Entertainment is an excellent way to show appreciation, and it can also serve as missionary work for lead generation. Our documentary "The Network Effect' helped us reach a new audience through several social networks, and it's scheduled to be broadcast on the Shorts TV Network this summer. Webcast tools such as BrightTALK provide a simple, efficient way to connect our executives directly with customers and analysts, allowing them access to ask questions and deepen relationships.” Tim Washer Senior manager-social media, Cisco Systems