2021 Marketing Operations Report: How MOPS optimizes lead management, plugging leaky funnels

June 25, 2021 Chuck Leddy

When it comes to lead generation, lead nurturing, and converting leads into revenue, B2B organizations with a defined MOPS function consistently and significantly outperform companies without that function. Effectiveness at lead management, our 2021 MOPS Report makes clear, is directly related to having superior capabilities in lead/funnel optimization based on high quality customer data that can be transformed into actionable and revenue-generating intelligence. Put simply, MOPS enables better lead management.

While it may sound easy to convert leads into revenue at a high rate, the complexities of the customer journey across channels and the challenges around gaining a unified vision of your customer across systems make “the leaky funnel” a massive problem for all modern marketers. Research shows that only about 10-15% of all leads eventually turn into revenue. 

Put simply, MOPS drives higher lead-to-revenue conversion rates by monitoring your funnel and showing you ways to plug the leaks as they appear. Sojourn Solutions managing partner Rebecca Le Grange describes the challenge and the MOPS solution: “there's so much technology, data, people and processes involved throughout the process from lead to sale. A mature MOPS function pulls everything together. If the balance isn't right and you're focused too much in one area of lead management, leads and revenue will simply leak out. MOPS helps close those leaks.”

Visibility into the funnel

Marketing operations is about optimizing. Modern marketing requires a complex, evolving mixture of data, data analysis, processes, martech, alignment with sales (and beyond), campaign execution, reporting, and more, MOPS itself reflects that complexity, offering an integrative, aligned approach to improving how marketing gets done. Lead management embraces the entire funnel, from customer awareness all the way to lifetime customer value. MOPS, then, isn’t about pulling the “right” lever but about figuring out your funnel in real-time and then making the appropriate (and constant) adjustments to continually improve as you move your lead management process forward.

It’s a waste of time for marketing to do great, creative work generating more leads, hand them off to Sales, and then pretend the job is done -- that conversion will automatically happen. In contrast, MOPS encompasses all parts of the funnel, driving a “revenue engine” that has many parts that need to work together to move from lead to revenue. 

4 ingredients in the MOPS blender

So what are the various ingredients that MOPS seeks to blend in order to continuously improve lead management? 

1. Data. Great marketing is based on a deep knowledge of customers and their expectations. Marketers, and the entire business, are in the game of understanding and meeting customer needs at every stage of the funnel. When that happens, revenue happens. But while data is the foundation, it’s clearly not enough to collect customer data. Turning data into actionable insights and (finally) revenues requires an entire, structured eco-system where data is cleaned, made actionable, and drives improved customer engagement. MOPS is that eco-system.

2. Reliable Reporting. With effective reporting, the organization has visibility into exactly what’s working and what’s not. You can prove value by connecting activities to dollars. As our 2021 MOPS Report explains it, “with reliable data and reporting comes an improved ability to communicate and align with the larger business.” If marketing is generating more than enough leads, but Sales isn’t effectively converting them, then reporting will show it. 

Instead of having Sales ask marketing for “more leads, please,” MOPS can analyze the situation and report back on the potential causes of the problem, then suggest solutions. Maybe marketing is generating low-quality leads and needs to focus on creating fewer, but higher-quality leads. Or maybe the leads are solid but Sales is struggling with how to effectively convert them. Maybe it’s a combination of factors. MOPS can structure and help inform these “difficult conversations,” offering data and reporting and (most importantly) a willingness to experiment with solutions. That’s a better approach than finger-pointing and recriminations between marketing and sales.

3. Technology. Customers neither see nor care about an organization’s internal systems and tech stacks. From the outside, they see every organization as one unit that should serve their needs. MOPS drives exactly this sort of customer-centricity as to systems and technology. An organization might consider purchasing lots of “cool” technology, but the role of MOPS is to ask: (1) how does this tool/technology serve our organizational strategy? and (2) how well does this tool/technology integrate into our existing systems/solutions? 

MOPS, then, brings a much-needed strategic and integrative focus to all technology-related decisions. As LeGrange points out, “the role of MOPS is to be the voice of reason when it comes to aligning strategy and technology acquisition. Cool tech is great, but it takes more to justify a technology purchase.”

4. Relationships/Organizational Alignment. MOPS, by definition, works across multiple parts of the organization and encompasses technology, sales, marketing, data management, and beyond. MOPS professionals understand how to talk the language of each department but also how to talk the language of the overall business, which is revenues. The role of MOPS is translational -- to bridge these departmental silos and strengthen structures of communication across the departments. 

Getting everyone on the same page

Lead management has never been more complex and multi-channel than today. As our 2021 MOPS Report explains: “Today’s deals are the culmination of a chain of events that is led by the buyer and enabled by marketing in partnership with sales” and other areas of the business.

MOPS helps pull the entire lead management process together, explains the Report: “data and technology are the bedrocks of modern marketing and the processes that utilize [data and technology] to identify, influence and measure leads are the foundation. The positive impact of MOPS is in optimizing these fundamental capabilities, enabling automation, scale, and ongoing improvement.”

MOPS doesn’t just offer full funnel visibility, but also aligns all the activities and processes that impact the buying journey, reporting on what’s happening every step of the way. MOPS aligns the internal approach around the customer, which is essential for lead management effectiveness.

Funnel leaks will inevitably happen, but MOPS seeks to continually reduce them and improve conversion rates: MOPS methodically approaches funnel leaks “as scientific questions to be interrogated and solved,” explains the 2021 MOPS Report. At the end of the day (and this post), MOPS provides the tools and approaches to plug those funnel leaks as they happen, boosting conversion rates. 

To learn even more about how MOPS optimized lead management, download and read the full 2021 Marketing Operations Report: MOPS Increases the Impact of Marketing. 

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