Capture, connect, convert: How to unify the top of funnel for better results

Technology at the top of the funnel has skyrocketed over the past eight years, says Jeremy Bloom of Integrate. Here he explains the benefits of integrating with Akkroo’s martech following its acquisition

In 2011, when Chief MarTech published the first version of the now-famous martech landscape, there were only 150 marketing technology solutions. Today, there are over seven thousand.

In 2019, B2B marketers’ tech stacks are more complex than ever before, with each platform operating independently of the others. Marketing activities like capturing, nurturing and managing leads have never been more disconnected, ultimately leading to a lack of holistic data and accurate reporting.

In a recent Marketing Profs report, 40% of senior marketers said an absence of unified data prevents their organisations from effectively using marketing technology. With thousands of solutions available, many marketers are experiencing multi-system chaos that results in a lack of cohesion at the top of funnel. 

At Integrate and Akkroo, we’ve chosen to integrate our MarTech stacks to unify and streamline marketing activities. Here are the benefits we’re experiencing:

Capturing lead data efficiently and effectively 

Marketers rely on a variety of channels and tactics for capturing leads including digital advertising, content marketing, website forms and in-person events. Often, marketing and sales professionals manage lead capture activities using multiple spreadsheets of data segmented by channel. And field marketing is even more disconnected: Exhibitor Online found that collecting business cards is still the most popular lead collection method at events, where paper forms and rented badge scanners are also common. 

The disconnect between different lead generation channels has major consequences as this recent Hubspot report demonstrates: 27% of sales professionals devote one hour or more every day on manual data entry. 

Poor data governance and outdated, fragmented lead capture processes create a variety of other challenges:

  • Inconsistent, poor-quality data going into your systems.
  • Wasted resources nurturing bad leads.
  • Wasted time and money on manual data entry from paper forms and Excel spreadsheets.
  • Risk of compliance violations and costly fines.
  • Difficulty prioritising lead follow-up based on signals of interest.
  • No measurement of the impact of in-person events and other offline marketing initiatives.
  • And worst of all, inability to scale revenue.

Today, forward-thinking marketers are unifying their marketing systems, with all their leads automatically going into one central platform, ready for appropriate routing and follow up.

Connecting with account-based prospects 

Lack of cohesion between top-of-funnel lead capture platforms creates silos that affects how you build relationships with prospects as they move through your marketing and sales funnels. 

Take this scenario as an example: You’re a B2B organisation sponsoring a large trade show and you’ve collected a new contact at a target account. Let’s follow the buyers’ journey when your marketing systems are disconnected. 

  1. At the event: Your team makes a connection with a representative from a target account, scanning their badge with a scanner provided by the event organiser.
  2. One week after event: The event organiser sends an Excel spreadsheet of contact data that your organisation captured at the event. The spreadsheet includes names, job titles and email addresses. 
  3. Two weeks after event: Your marketing ops team is given the task of cleaning and field mapping leads. The effort takes hours of manual work. From there, the team routes prospect data into your CRM platform so your sales team can begin following up.
  4. Three weeks after event: Your sales team contacts the prospect, but by this time they’ve forgotten about speaking to your company at the event. Your hot event lead has gone cold. 

 Now let’s see how this process looks with a more unified approach:

  1. At the event: Your company representative not only collects the lead’s contact details using an event lead management solution, but also records key qualifying information and context from the conversationThis solution connects with your internal marketing systems and is a consistent approach at all events. 
  2. Same day: The contact data is automatically cleaned and routed to your Marketing Automation and CRM systems in real time. An initial email is sent to the lead with key follow up information from the conversation. 
  3. Days 1-3 after the event: Company representative follows up with the prospect to book a second meeting. They have all the data from the conversation so can use context from that to drive the dialogue. 

Your martech stack should improve personalisation because the heart of business development is relationship building. When marketers make the mistake of thinking of contact data as only first name, last name and job title, we lose our human touch and ultimately, deals.

Convert marketing dollars into revenue

If your data is coming from multiple platforms that don’t speak with one another, you’re missing key opportunities to convert leads into revenue. For instance, if your content syndication and ABM advertising platforms function autonomously, your sales team is lacking key details that are likely to spark meaningful conversations with target customers. Or worse, target accounts are receiving varying communications from stand-alone MarTech platforms, muddying your messaging. 

Unifying lead generation channels also helps to accelerate top-of-funnel lead generation to bottom-of-funnel sales. This is especially true for events where marketers have always struggled to accurately prove ROI thanks to outdated data capture methods and disconnected systems.

If your top-of-funnel marketing systems work together, your team can focus time on nurturing prospects that match your ideal customer profile, increasing the possibility of conversion. By improving lead capture, nurturing and management you’ll get improved visibility and insights about your lead data, which will make it easier to attribute and report on revenue generation.

Eliminate complex marketing technology stacks for greater ROI

Once all your data capture systems are unified, B2B marketers can connect with prospects faster, personalise nurture activities and convert leads faster. Employees will spend their time on opportunities that are likely to convert at companies that are more likely to purchase, ultimately accelerating pipeline revenue. 

B2B marketers will continue to search for technology, processes and solutions to drive their organisations’ economic engines. Unify your systems by connecting your top-of-funnel demand channels tactics and lead generation campaigns and you’ll be well on your way to generating more leads and increasing pipeline revenue. 

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