My team and I write lots of content for our B2B clients. We also keep our own content stream flowing with fresh and relevant content related to B2B marketing and sales. To this end, I started writing a white paper on the Lead-to-Revenue (L2R) strategies we use to help clients meet their revenue objectives. 9,000 words later, the white paper has turned into an eBook, which we expect to have published in early May.
One of the most important parts of the L2R strategy is to select the right technology infrastructure, which includes a conversion-ready website, CRM system and marketing automation system. Here are nine guidelines to help you make the right selection.
- Processes should lead, not technology. By this, I mean that you need to thoroughly understand your business objectives and develop the processes that best drive the objectives. Only then should you look at technology.
- Pay attention to two important acronyms: Time-to-Value (TtV) and return on investment (ROI). In short, you want quick time to value and large ROI.
- Match your requirements to the solution. Make sure you know exactly what type of features you will need before you start the vendor evaluation process.
- Ease of use is a crucial factor. Any product you consider should not come with a steep learning curve. I have seen many expensive systems neglected or underutilized because they were too complex for the average user. Back when software was actually delivered in boxes, we referred to this as "shelfware" because you would find the software sitting on someone's shelf, not being used.
- Flexibility is critical. Even if your software fits your needs today, it may not do so if your business processes change. Make sure you have systems that are configurable - which means they can be changed without software coding and expensive outside resources.
- Make sure the solution is scalable. By this I mean that you will not have to purchase a new solution as your company, data and number of users grows. At the most, you should only be required to add new licenses.
- Pick the right deployment model. For most companies, a Cloud/SaaS solution is the right option. Cloud software is much easier to implement, requires no hardware purchases and can be operated by any user, anywhere, on any device that can connect to the Internet. It also tends to be much easier to customize/configure than on-premise solutions.
- Find the right balance between a proven solution and new technology. The solution with the most customers may be appealing, but it could be based on an older architecture that gives you less flexibility at a higher price.
- Don't forget integration. If you already have a CRM or marketing automation (MA) application, it is best to choose a new technology that works well with your existing solution. Systems that don't play well together cause lots of headaches.
Forrester Research does a great job in covering the strengths and weaknesses of marketing and sales automation suppliers in its annual Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors report. You can buy this directly from Forrester or get it from one of the companies mentioned in the report.
By the way, if you want a free copy of the Lead-to-Revenue eBook, just send an email to [email protected] and we'll forward you the book the day it's available.