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Despite all the major changes in marketing, one element remains the same: Marketers must gather leads before they can really promote to potential customers. Lead generation is the component that lays the foundation for the marketing funnel prospects go through to become clients. This is especially important in the business-to-business field, where client interactions are distinct from mere advertising. Gleaning a better understanding of leads before they even send out contact information can help better shape campaigns that will lead to a more lucrative set of customers. In addition, it helps marketers assess when to send these people to sales, as sending them too soon may kill off potential conversions. Business intelligence software makes it possible to not only assess these leads but strengthen the relationship between marketing and sales, assuring they work in concert to get more business for their companies.

“Only 30 percent of leads came from marketing.”

The weight marketing should bear
Recent studies indicate the bottleneck that occurs in lead generation comes not from sales, but marketing itself. Lead generation firm Lattice noted a survey from CSO Insights that found only 30 percent of all leads came from marketing, with the rest coming initially from sales. Despite investments in marketing automation and customer relationship management, 42 percent of sales representatives think they don’t have the right information before making a call to a lead. In essence, businesses are only slightly less blind about what customers want than they were before the advent of marketing automation.

To better address this situation, marketing should take on a greater role with data analytics, which can greatly strengthen insights on customers. Eric Matlick, in an article for Direct Marketing News, suggested using a few different tactics. One example is to research the actions of potential customers through behavioral intent data. This means gathering information on what these potential clients buy as well as how and when they purchase them. Marketers can glean more information on business behavior through lead mapping, which tracks all digital interactions with the company in question.

There are also other considerations that bring a company through the marketing funnel that now take precedent. For example, the discovery phase for a lead is now much shorter than even five years ago, usually only a few days. Addressing leads quickly after initial insight becomes essential. Additionally, the sphere of influence that a purchaser may have, such as what other employees in the company he or she works with, as well other stakeholders within the company that may influencing the buying decision [incomplete sentence?]. Marketers can research and gather all this information, which enables better insights for sales representatives to use in order to better pursue leads.