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If you're like most B2B marketers, you diligently plan and execute campaigns to drive new opportunities and, ultimately, increase revenue. But unless you're ready to rethink marketing's role, you may be throwing precious budget dollars out the window and missing opportunities to drive real customer value.

Customer buying behavior is evolving, and demand management is evolving along with it. Today's B2B marketers can't focus only on generating leads and turning them over to Sales. They need a new process for creating effective, targeted programs that hit the right people at the right time via the appropriate channel.

Here are four key steps to ensure your B2B marketing evolves to meet today's challenges.

1. Develop a lead-management process

Marketing and Sales must work together to design a more integrated—and collaborative—process that addresses goals, metrics, and activities at crucial lead stages.

That process includes...

  • Identifying key business drivers to optimize demand generation
  • Mapping out the customer lifecycle (from suspect to prospect, lead, and customer)
  • Building marketing programs for nurturing and qualification
  • Defining a Sales-ready lead
  • Determining how leads should be passed to Sales and tracked

2. Master your customer data

Organizations might have thousands, or even millions, of contacts from tradeshows, partner events, and old website leads. And data from social media monitoring and capture have added to the volume of data that organizations have to sift through. Developing marketing initiatives for an unwieldy database results in wasted budget and resources—and, more important, missed revenue opportunities.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek is executive director of client acquisition and marketing at Quaero, a leading marketing services provider.