New Forrester Benchmark: How Top Marketers Do Lead Generation, Part 2

Marketing Automation

Last hired, first fired.

That’s been a common theme for marketers who’ve long been disparaged as nice-to-haves, not revenue-generators. Mounting evidence shows this is steadily shifting.

Rather than being viewed as cost centers, today’s top marketers are increasingly enjoying a hard-won seat at the revenue table. But as a result, according to a new Forrester Research, Inc. report, “the onus is [now] on those marketing leaders to produce greater results to avoid being the victims of their own success.”

It’s the focus of today’s post, the second part of a 2-part series where we share key takeaways from Forrester’s December 2013 report, Gauging Your Progress and Success, written by Peter O’Neill and other leading analysts, that benchmarks what top-performing marketers do.

In Part 1, we looked at how top performers approach the sales funnel; that is, how they use different tactics in each of the sales stages when compared to lower performing marketers.

Today’s post looks at how top performers get better results; that is, how they’re able to attract, capture, nurture, and retain leads more efficiently and effectively, complete with provable results that keep them squarely at the revenue table.

If you’re the type who reads the last page first, I’ll save you the trouble and give you an advance on the net-net:

Top performing marketers use marketing automation.

So let’s find out how.

Top performers are better able to deliver funnel health metrics

According to Forrester, the hallmark of top performers is their ability to generate inbound marketing leads at the right velocity, volume, and value – key indicators of funnel health. (A healthy funnel generally means healthy revenue.)

But contributing to revenue is about more than looking at final numbers; for top performers it’s about understanding and optimizing the drivers of those final numbers … the drivers of that revenue-boosting performance.

To do this, marketing execs need to understand and measure the things that matter. And they need a holistic measurement system to do it.

It’s the foundation of L2RM (lead-to-revenue management) – also known as marketing automation – a strategic framework that aligns sales and marketing, and standardizes, automates, and scales the important practices needed to engage with customers across their life cycle.

Forrester found that companies most advanced in L2RM (aka marketing automation) are “better able to report efficiency, effectiveness, value, velocity, and volume.”

In addition, marketing executives who have the ability to report against key metrics also have the highest impact on revenue; i.e., they generate a more significant portion of the sales pipeline than do lower performers.

This ability to measure and report on funnel health allows marketers to more effectively demonstrate and substantiate their contribution to the top line.

Top performers automate lead management

Along with automating metrics-gathering and reporting activities, top performers also automate lead management processes at a higher rate than their lower performing peers.

Says Forrester:

“… the penetration of lead management automation software within the top performing companies, where marketing contributes more than half of the sales pipeline, is significantly higher than the rest: 58% compared with 41%.”

Those data points come from the top 2 box scores of the supporting graph (see below) and underscore the report’s statement that “the availability of a system to document, score, and nurture the leads” is very important for successful lead management.


If you accept that marketing’s Number 1 job is contributing to revenue performance, Forrester offers the following recommendations to help you gain and keep the attention of top management:

  1. Take a balanced approach to L2RM/marketing automation. Measure performance with a mix of the relevant metrics that drive ROMI (return on marketing investment), such as volume, value, velocity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  2. Automate, measure, analyze, and report. Use automated lead management systems to integrate with sales applications, track marketing contributions to pipeline health, and report to senior management in terms that matter to the business strategy (rather than tactical terms that don’t resonate “value” with stakeholders, such as reach, frequency, response rates, etc.).
  3. Step up to your seat at the revenue table. Keep the focus on the top agenda items for your CEO and CFO: sustained, profitable revenue growth.
Photo of “Chinese restaurant in City Hall lower block, Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong” by Coffaemaloo, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.