Agile Marketing, Interrupted (VIDEO)

Like it or not, marketing teams are going to experience interruptions.

They might be the good kind, like an emerging news event that we want to join the conversation about.

Or they might be the bad kind, like a PR disaster that we have to try and handle.

Then again, they might be the leadership kind. These usually come with a statement like, “You’re Agile now, you should be able to handle my arbitrary changes without batting an eye.”

Whatever their flavor, interruptions happen.

Check out this video where I share a few ways to deal with these interruptions:

The post Agile Marketing, Interrupted appeared first on AgileSherpas.

18 thoughts on “Agile Marketing, Interrupted (VIDEO)

  1. I could not agree more with the headline. I get calls from companies all the time just because I downloaded a whitepaper and it’s annoying as hell… And I think I am not the only one with that opinion.

    Very interesting Michael – as usual :=)

    1. Thanks Mael, I know we can do a better job! Thanks for your support. I think the whole space of predictive modeling can help marketing as the technology matures and the data becomes more widespread.

  2. Brilliant points on the differences here. As someone with a marketing background, I understand why so many eagerly jump at the opportunity to call an inquiry a lead.

    There’s just something about that word “lead.”

    But you’re 100% right. In order for us to properly quantify our efforts, there’s gotta be a clear understanding between the two. Otherwise, like you pointed out, it’s wasting the time and money of our sales teams.

    Thanks for the reminder, Michael! 🙂

    – Chelsei

    1. Thanks so much Chelsei,

      It’s so easy to clog the system with unqualified inquiries. I understand the natural desire. But I also know from a sales point of view it’s like death to the marketing and sales relationship. Thanks for your support.


  3. Excellent, Excellent, Excellent. The issue is Marketers are the sales enablers. Once this culture is embedded & Marketer KPI’s (Shared) are aligned with Sales, they will tango with sales staff.

    1. Hi Ulrica, what I’ve found is that the best practice is not to call everyone. First time white paper downloaders should likely be put into a nurture stream to help them “down the funnel.” What has worked for you?

  4. Michael, “inquiry” is going in my lexicon now.

    Though I do agree with Ulrica that I’m not sure how realistic it is to have Marketing be the one calling inquiries. Perhaps a direct email asking when they may be making a purchase decision and if they’d be interested in speaking with a sales person…

    1. Hi Jacqui,

      I’ve seen a number of different approaches work. In some cases, we routed all inquiries to a 3rd party call center that was trained in soluution selling. The average conversion rate was very low (~4%) but we paid per “lead.” And I’ve also seen the email nurture approach work as well. Open rates ~ 10-20% but then you still have to qualify live.

      If you test your own approaches, please share with us all here so we can learn what works for you.

  5. Hi Michael
    Excellent article!! You clearly showed the difference between a qualified and an unqualified lead. It does save a whole lot of time and resources if we are able to classify them and concentrate our energies towards creating marketing pieces that bring in qualified leads, that is a win for both sales and marketing!
    I have a question. Is a social media query considered an unqualified lead, and how do you suggest we qualify them?

    1. Hi Sunath, thanks for your support and question.

      I would say most definitely that a social media query is an inquiry not a lead unless the question was some kind of sales cue like “can I get a demo?” or “can I speak to a sales person?”

      The goal is to move that person from an unknown inquiry to a known inquiry. So I would ask them to connect on Linkedin and ask permission to setup a call with a trained inbound specialist who can qualify the person with some subtlety into a lead.

  6. While I don’t agree that Marketing should be doing outbound calling (unless it’s for data collection purposes), I do think that sales organizations should have a low-cost capacity to reach out to those lower quality inquiries. The purpose is simply to mine the Marketing investment with the goal of turning the inquiry into an actual lead and move it down the funnel. If it remains an inquiry, then find a way to keep them warm until ready to engage and become a lead.

  7. Hey Michael, great article, and thanks for including our site in your links! I see three problems recurring over and over with our clients – who all have long, complex sales cycles (4-10 member buying committees, 6-18 month buying cycle).

    1. If they wait for BANT to consider a lead qualified, then the lead is already in deep with a competitor. That’s the only way the “B” (budget) gets defined. Ideally, Sales needs to get in earlier to set vision and collaborate with marketing to nurture.
    2. If they wait for “A” (authority), then they miss out on the analysts and consultants that are often engaged to evaluate and shortlist options. So once again, they’re late to the dance.
    3. If marketing passes under-qualified leads to sales, then sales is reluctant to put much time into them. So they call the lead 1-2 times, even though research consistently shows that deals that closed usually took 5-9 calls before sales made first contact.

    We tried offering a service to qualify leads for a client several years ago. But we found it very difficult to effectively qualify since my team didn’t have as much product/customer needs training as the client’s internal team. So I’m not convinced that this kind of work can be effectively outsourced for complex, esoteric, enterprise technology.

    Curious as to your thoughts. I realize that this scenario is specific to these complex deals. A SaaS software sale would have a completely different experience.

    1. Thanks Candyce, most of my experience came from the largest enterprise software company in the world (SAP) where the ASP was over $200K and the sales cycle was 6-12 months. I think your point 3 trumps 1 and 2. So we both outsourced to a vendor with lots of training (pay for performance so they were motivated) and insourced the validation. First touch occurred within 24 hours! So routing the inquiries was really important.

      The extra time and quality more than made up for the cost in the form of higher conversions and sales and sales team trust that the leads we passed had as good a chance as any to convert to a sale. We literally produced more than 100,000 inquiries per year to get to a few thousand leads to get to a few hundred deals. But the revenue was millions more than the cost.

      Happy to discuss the approach if you like.

  8. You’re only working when you’re ear to ear or face to face with a live qualified buyer.
    To much time is wasted chasing people who are wheel- spinners!

    Great article!

    Jimmy Crimmins/ Author Rockin’ Selling Secrets

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