As anyone who’s moved across the country, brought home a new pet, or tried out bangs can attest — change is difficult. Sometimes downright terrifying. After all, change challenges us to adapt to new environments, reexamine preconceived notions about ourselves, and test new strategies in order to thrive.
Change at work is no exception, especially within the ever-changing hydra that is lead generation strategy. Since lead generation is a cross-functional activity touching the key aspects of any business, effective change management is especially important.
So how can marketing leaders be aware of the potential barriers to change that will surface when tweaking a lead management strategy? Here, we’ll examine four common barriers B2B marketers face when trying to update their lead management strategy, and how to overcome them.
1. Address Friction Around Budget Disbursement
As the old adage goes, you’ve got to spend money to make money. Marketing is no exception. Between advertising, ABM campaigns, martech, and agencies, the first question every marketer asks after lead management change is, how will this affect my budget? Why?
By answering these questions early and up front, leaders implementing change to their lead generation strategy can avoid the friction that a realigned budget disbursement will inevitably cause. Remember, the more transparency up front, the better.
The good news for marketing budgets overall? After a dip in 2021, marketing teams can expect a bump in overall marketing budget this year — one report found 66% of respondents expect their budgets to increase in 2022 compared to 2021.
2. Revenue Goals That No One Understands
Another common area of friction when it comes to making changes to your lead management strategy is getting everyone to accept new revenue goals. Pulling goals out of thin air is a surefire way to make employees resist changes to your lead strategy. Setting revenue goals that your team both understands and accepts is the key to effective change management.
Avoid ambiguity by setting revenue goals supported by actual historical data. Help employees see how a revenue goal translates into a marketing goal by working from the outcome backwards, then helping employees understand the accompanying plan to achieve it.
3. Activities Have the Wrong Incentives
Aligning incentives properly to outcomes is the best way to ensure change is adopted correctly, especially for something as broad and many-layered as lead generation. After all, efficient lead management is all about creating one funnel that every other area of the business feeds into, rather than disparate funnels with disparate reporting.
It’s important that marketing leaders choose incentives that correspond with the best outcomes for those activities. What does this look like in real life? Here are a few examples:
- Award commissions after the meeting was held and determined to be qualified, rather than upon meeting set.
- Move MQL generation from a quantitative goal to a qualitative goal.
- Focus on higher conversion rates over volume.
These all ensure that the team is motivated to carry out the activities that will lead to the best lead generation outcomes in the whole funnel, rather than their singular area of the funnel. It will also help the team be more adaptable as more changes inevitably come along.
4. Functions Are Left Out of the Change-Making Process
When roles change to better support the lead management process, it’s imperative to ensure that every function understands the new vision — specifically, their role in executing the vision. When left out of sweeping changes, teams are much less likely to adopt them. This is a crucial barrier to overcome, as wonky organization handoffs stand in the way of the “intuitive, anticipatory, and relevant” journey customers have come to expect.
For this reason, do not implement a lead management program function-by-function. Instead, make sure the entire team feels a sense of ownership for the change and that team functions are tied to outcomes and behaviors related to that change. Establish metrics that relate to process compliance, not just revenue and conversion.
By involving all the key stakeholders and related functions up front instead of on their own, you’ll have more buy-in for the whole strategy, rather than the parts that relate to one group alone.
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Making sweeping changes to lead management strategy will always have barriers. But by using principles of change management for holistic solutions, marketing leaders can more effectively resolve disputes around budget, revenue goals, incentives, and adoption.