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gloves. They’re getting very prescious about it and as a result marketers are stretching the sales funnel because they’re hanging onto leads longer untilt they’re absolutely ready to pass on. “There is a reluctance to give the lead up too

early before they pass it onto sales in case they blow it. They want to qualify it and qualify it again, and all of that reduces the amount of time spent on adding new leads to the funnel, on concentrating on the wider pool of prospects.”

FEEDING THE MACHINE That approach is entirely understandable and not necessarily a bad thing in the greater scheme of things. Middle and upper management finally grasping the true value buried in data is never a bad thing, but it’s easy to see the rocketing preceived value of data can translate into fewer, albeit better, leads for the sales team. Let’s face it, in today’s economic climate, no business can afford to be careless or lacklustre with a single marketing or sales qualified lead. But is this storing up problems if the funnel isn’t being fed from the top with fresh leads? Gary Brown, Business Development Manager at Equifax Commercial Marketing Services believes that marketers are definitely becoming more interested in adding as much value as

possible to every contact in their database. “What we’re seeing at is a rise in demand

from B2B marketers for data that helps them pre- screen prospect data they may already have.

“I think as an industry we might need to get back into acquisition mode, and get more leads into the funnel in the first place.” Richard Lloyd, Head of Data, Information Arts

“Added to which, B2B marketers want to be

more personal with their approach, with the method and message having more direct relevance to the target audience. Creating trust is, of course, crucial. Companies buy from brands they trust and there’s no quicker way to lose a customer or prospect’s trust than by demonstrating a lack of understanding of their needs.

“Crucially, in the current economic climate, understanding the financial picture of prospects and customers has to be a key factor in effective B2B acquisition campaigns. Of course we can help identify prospects, for example, that are growing.”

There is a clear recognition in the B2B marketing arena that data enrichment helps to improve the ROI for campaigns.”

The implication again is that marketers and indeed sales teams do not want to squander any of those precious leads that have been generated.

“Enrichment improves the profiling of the target audience for better tailored messages that will increase the chance of bringing on new customers,” continues Brown.

At the heart of this funnel challenge, of course, lies a quandary: marketers are keen to target as wide a marketplace as possible, but don’t want to leave themselves exposed to unncessary risk, of any description. Washbourne again: “It goes without saying that marketers want their targeting to be as tight as possible, but this often trasnlates in practice into cutting out big chunks of the propsect pool if you get too proscriptive about the segments you’re going to target with a specific message. This is particularly true in in B2B where it’s hard to be sure on who influences the buying

February 2012 21

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