One of the trends discussed in my Themes for 2006 post was the potential growth for lead generation sites. In essence, this is shifting the web from being simply a tool for e-commerce and marketing communications, to one that can drive new opportunities for traditional sales organizations.
One market where this is clearly taking hold is the enterprise software market. The enterprise software market tends to follow the adoption life cycle outlined by Geoffrey Moore in his classic, Crossing the Chasm. Companies find technology innovators, willing to deal with alpha-quality versions. Through word of mouth, they then land early adopters, whom they leverage to refine their product, then if they can “cross the chasm”, they land the early majority (pragmatist) users. Many successful software companies have reached that level, but few get to the next level, which Moore refers to as the Tornado in his sequel, Inside the Tornado. For those in the tornado, lead generation is not an issue. The market frenzy for a hot product means that you have more leads than you can handle, so it’s sell-sell-sell as much as you can produce.
Unfortunately, most of us never get to live inside the Tornado (and those who have often take an early retirement afterwards). The rest of us, once our product has reached the viability stage of early majority, are continuously striving to generate more leads for the pipeline so we can hit our numbers.
KnowledgeStorm has created a strong and growing business focused on that opportunity.
KnowledgeStorm is a portal designed to deliver white papers and supporting collateral for hardware, software and related technologies. What’s made KnowledgeStorm successful is their understanding of “both sides” of the purchasing equation. First, from the buyer’s perspective, they chose a market, technology, where buyers like to do their own research and read white papers. In other markets, for example, insurance, this might be a horrible solution. For technologists, it’s a treasure trove.
Secondly, and more importantly, KnowledgeStorm set out to be more than just a source of leads. They focused on the lead generation process and provide their customers with a methodology to ensure that leads are followed up. According to Kelly Gay, KnowledgeStorm CEO, “79% of all leads generated by marketing are not followed up by sales in a typical technology company. Of the remaining 21%, 70% are discarded by sales as not being qualified. So, less than 10% of all leads are actually followed up.” Her reasons for that are a combination of poor target market definition, a lack of integration and ownership between sales and marketing, and a lack of tracking and measurement on lead conversion. So, KnowledgeStorm focuses not simply on lead generation, but on quality lead generation and management. By working with their clients to implement their methodology for lead generation and management, KnowledgeStorm helps its clients develop, manage and measure their results.
KnowledgeStorm, founded in 1998, was ranked #168 in the 2005 Inc. 500 list, with their $10M in revenues representing a 3-year growth rate of more than 600%.
KnowledgeStorm has also done all the critical things to make their portal a success, through top-notch SEO and SEM efforts. If you search a typical technology term, they will inevitably show up near the top of the results. However, by helping their clients maximize the value of leads that they are already getting, as well as those new leads generated through the portal, KnowledgeStorm delivers compelling results. And for that, they are clearly one of the 50 Content Companies that Matter.