As acronyms go, L2RM (lead-to-revenue management let’s not forget) is a good one within the B2B space, but as with all things, it can be improved.
Let’s look at it closely. The lead to revenue part works best, because that defines exactly almost the whole process, because we are taking a lead and converting it into a sale. That’s the whole point of the exercise afterall. What’s more, the focus is the revenue part of the exercise, gaining the customer. Essentially, it’s a more managed approach than the traditional marketing-to-sales process.
Within the L2R part of the process, the revenue goals are the driving force and this concentrates the other parts of the chain, from a lead which is captured and then closed as a sale. The ‘M’ which sits at the end closes the loop, as it’s all about the management of the process and how the data gained at the end is fed back around to drive further sales growth.
Key Process Elements
The key sub elements of this part of the process are:
- lead generation;
- qualifying leads;
- lead nurturing;
- identifying customers and mapping their journey;
- data from multi-channel touch points analysed;
- valuing buyer lifetime criteria and retention prospects.
It is a well ordered and comprehensible loop. Although, to be ready to embrace these processes, requires the company to be at a certain stage within its development. Ideally, it has to have already experienced some success within its chosen markets, it has to be ready to improve the customer experience in a tangible way and it has to see the value in working hard to develop the process. L2RM is not for companies seeking a quick sales fix, or wanting to move short-life goods onto a fast moving customer base. It is for companies that genuinely do want to develop their customer base.
The problem with many companies wishing to adopt the L2RM process is that they underestimate the time needed to establish the process and forget that it will need it’s fair share of resources, including new personnel and technology.
But, all that aside, the acronym L2RM can fail to adequately reflect the degree of customer relationship required. It is currently weighted towards the lead generation and nurturing, which is of course vital, but so is the customer journey.
Seeing a customer as a lead, sale and possible further sale, is like seeing the top of the iceberg – you do not see the large mass which lies beneath. The success of a good L2RM campaign comes from knowing the customer and seeing them as something more as lead ‘xyz’, sale ‘xyz’ and a percentage chance of getting a further sale.
You could almost argue that the formulaic/automated approach should only come at the start of the process, when the leads are being generated and analysed. Once the lead has been qualified and the nurturing begins, it is then that the most important part of the relationship begins.
Nurturing is the most important word here, especially with the B2B companies selling complex products and services that are not bought on an impulse. The more rigid and extensive the buying process, the better the lead nurturing has to be. It is within this element that the customer is won, or lost. But once won, they have to take on a whole new dimension.
How often as buyers of products ourselves do we experience the difference in attitude between the nurturing and the customer relationship parts of the process. Many companies will place the emphasis on getting the lead to buy, then will ‘hand them over’ to the team who will complete the approach. It happens often in the service industry, when a company will receive a pitch from the top creative team, all putting their best efforts into securing the business, finding that when they are a client, being passed over to the operational team who do not have the same enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ mentality.
A company which sees a prospective clients as fresh meat in the nurturing process and then once gained, sees them as not worthy of the same intensive approach, is a company which will not achieve its maximum potential. If anything, the pitch team should be highly visible as the customer moves along the process and the team that comes in next, should either be at the same level of ability, or at an even higher level.
Lowest Hanging Fruit
Too many companies don’t realise that existing customers are often the best potential source of revenue and as such, the lowest hanging fruit. They have been converted, have bought into the product and service, and will likely do so again, if the company has delivered on their side of the deal. Should the buyer be unhappy with the product and as crucially, the service, then all the efforts exerted to convert them in the first place will extend only as far as one single sale.
Of course, what we’re talking about is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) part of the process. And this should not be seen as separate from L2RM.
So, arguably, the L2RM acronym could be usefully widened to incorporate the CRM element, because that is the most crucial part of the process. Thus, with ‘L2RCRM’ we have the most rounded acronym, one which describes the whole process.
Okay, to be pedantic, it should actually be L2R&CRM, but the point is made. Both ends of the spectrum should be seen as equal partners, working together to provide the best customer service.
So from now, whenever you see L2RM, in your mind’s eye, just insert those other two letters and see L2RCRM. It will enforce the message that, as they say with pets, customers are not just for Christmas, but for life!