Any best practices for lead management

Do You Have Control of Your Lead Tracking?

Take Control of Lead Tracking

Do You Have Control of Your Lead Tracking?

It’s time to take control of your lead tracking. Are you wasting time manually researching, following up, and tracking each lead? Sure, it’s not a waste of time; thorough research and proper follow up are the stepping-stones to closing the deal. Having full control of your lead tracking will allow for your reps to be better informed and better prepared to close. But, manually populating each lead’s profile is a time-consuming and often

repetitive task that, I would guess, is not all that exciting. Not only does this

method of lead tracking waste valuable time, but it also opens up the opportunity for human error. You send several follow-up emails each day to your leads. Then, for each one, you still have to input all of the relevant details into the CRM. Whew! Not following the full routine of lead tracking is detrimental to your future relationship with the lead. Take control of your lead tracking and spend more time closing leads instead of repopulating data into your CRM.

Keep up with your leads

Tracking leads (and keeping documentation of it) is increasingly important in building your relationship with them. How can you follow up with a relevant, personal message if you don’t remember where you left off? Every rep does it differently, some prefer handwritten sticky notes, some input it directly into the CRM. Either way, making that information readily available for your next interaction allows you to pick up where you left off. It also allows you to transfer the lead to another rep, if need be. Lead tracking done through marketing automation allows you to filter out the leads that just aren’t interested, or may be interested next year, or are only interested in this one specific product, etc. Take control of your lead tracking—keep up with them to help you figure out what they want and when they’re ready for it.

Strategize the next moves

Lead tracking through marketing automation should provide a record of their response times. When did they respond to your last email? Was it in the morning, or at lunch? Chances are, their response times are indicative of when they’re available, and therefore the perfect time for you to reach out to them next time. Leads are quickly lost if you become an inconvenience for them. Manage your leads and maintain control of your lead tracking by working with their schedule.

Lead Liaison’s Send & Track plug-in works seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook and lets you take control of your lead tracking. Using this marketing automation tool keeps your leads out of that scary black hole of lost emails and wasted communication. The Send & Track plug-in adds a button to your Outlook that automatically inputs the correct data into your CRM and tracks all of the future activity with that lead. Not sure if the lead opened the last email you sent them? Send & Track will tell you that too. Plus, it automatically syncs data to your CRM for leads that have already been entered into the system.

Customer Profiling for Deeper Advertising

Customer Profiling for Deeper AdvertisingIf you’re not profiling customers, you could be missing out on valuable information that will help deepen your sales funnel and ensure repeat customers. Customer profiling isn’t all about lumping your customers into a category-it’s a way to understand what your customers are thinking or hoping to buy so that you can develop customized marketing assets that increase your appeal.

Many businesses pass over customer profiling because they throw a wide net when they begin their marketing, then never really pay attention to who is responding or buying over time. Because of this, businesses that are profiling their customers could be missing out on a brand new market and increased sales.

Customer Profiling: The Basics

Your first step to successful profiling is to get acquainted with certain information about your target customer. Compare this information with the demographics of the people who are currently buying from you. For most businesses, there may even be a secondary set of demographic information you can analyze to identify another subset of customers you can target.

When profiling customers, take a look at some of this information to determine who your target customer is and how you can mix up your marketing efforts.

Age. This doesn’t have to be strict – for instance, ‘the average range of your customer is 54 years old’ – rather, it’s more important to identify your customer based on a range of different ages, then market to the ranges saving yourself some time and effort.

Income. If you’re selling things your target audience member can’t afford to buy, you’re wasting time and advertising dollars. Determining what your average customer makes and how to target your customer based on that information is crucial to a successful marketing campaign.

Ethnicity. People from different ethnic groups often use different products and have different retail needs.

Geotargeting. With all the specific geo-targeted marketing possible in the digital world, it makes sense to know where your customers are coming from. For instance, if you run a national advertising campaign and most of your customers happen to be from Wisconsin, it makes sense to do some specialized advertising to your target customers in that particular state.

Making a Plan

Marketing to your target audience is really only possible if you know that audience. Customer profiling will allow you to get a look at your average customer and determine whether or not that person is getting the kind of advertising they need to buy your products more quickly.

If you don’t have any idea who your average customer is, deep analytics data may give you some insight you never thought possible. Lead Liaison’s marketing automation dashboards are sophisticated while retaining the user friendliness average business owners need to succeed. Talk to us about a consult today!

How to Get the Most from Your Leads

How To Get The Most From Your LeadsEvery lead has different intentions, needs, and potential for conversion. Businesses that focus all of their energy on lead generation won’t generate the revenue they expect, because not all leads are created equally. Some leads may be ready to make a purchase while others will require additional information before they can make an informed decision. Businesses must also focus their energy on getting to know their leads and understand their needs to increase the chances of conversion.

Here are a few helpful tips on how you can get the most from your leads:

1.     Monitor Leads

You can get the most from your leads by understanding their behavior. Marketing automation software utilizes website visitor tracking technology to follow leads as they surf online. This will show marketers what pages they have viewed and which papers they have download.

2.     Profile Leads

The next step in making the most from your leads is creating comprehensive lead profile. Marketing automation software creates a detailed lead profile using the information leads share in online registries combined with behavioral details extracted from website visitor tracking.

3.     Rank Leads

Once leads are profiled, they should be ranked based on their likelihood for conversion. Each lead is compared with the profile of an existing consumer to determine exactly what they are looking for from your business and how far along they are in their buying process. Leads that show a high potential will be immediately passed on to sales.

4.     Segment Leads

If your lead generation strategies are effective, there will be too many leads to address individually. Segmenting leads into groups will make it easier to get the most from your leads, since you can customize lead nurturing content based on groups of leads with similar needs.

5.     Nurture Leads

The most important way to get more from your leads is lead nurturing. This is a business’ opportunity to create a meaningful connection with a leading while demonstrating their expertise. All lead nurturing content should be original, informative, interesting, and relevant.

6.     Qualify Leads

Marketing should be able to determine whether a lead is sincerely interested once that lead has been tracked, profiled, ranked, segmented, and nurtured. Marketing automation software will evaluate each lead’s potential and then notify sales the moment a lead shows signs of conversion.

To get the most from your leads, you must first understand exactly what they lead is searching for online and where they are in their buying process. By first monitoring, profiling, ranking, and segmenting your leads, you can develop customized lead nurturing content that will improve the chance of conversion. If you would like to learn more about getting the most from your leads, please read six essential elements in every successful lead nurturing email.

Sales Funnel Management vs. the Holidays

Sales Funnel Management vs. the HolidaysThere’s something about the holidays that tends to throw sales funnel management off a little bit. Because traffic typically slows during the holiday, the accumulation of sales data often goes unmanaged well into the new year. Employees are off doing their own thing with their families, and oftentimes the vacation isn’t enough to make full alertness and appreciation for work a possibility when they return to their desks in January.

If your business is going well for you – or even if it’s not – you may already have a workflow in place for collecting and interpreting data. Businesses who experience a slow time of year in January are often in a good position to modify their tracking and workflow for better sales funnel management. However, what do you do if the holidays slow your team down so significantly that your holiday data is never truly looked at?

Segment, Segment, Segment

One of the biggest issues most businesses have with sales funnel management during the holidays is the time factor. Particularly if your business tends to be rather slow during the holidays, traffic and page use can be glossed over in a way that robs you of valuable sales funnel management data. This data can give you insight into how you should change your website or your product offerings for success during the new year.

If this is happening, segment the data. Ask your team to prepare two special meetings  – one that focuses entirely on holiday data (and not just MoM ‘month over month’ for December data!) to get an idea of how the “holiday mind” can result in different usage of your website over time.

Streamlining Sales Funnel Management

Many businesses don’t factor in the differences between how “holiday-minded” users view their sites and how this type of traffic varies over the rest of the year. Again, rather than thinking in a MoM data collection space, it’s important to compare traffic during the weeks leading up to the holidays with traffic for the rest of the year.

You may find that the data is telling you to significantly change up your workflow, monitoring and conversion optimization processes before the holiday hits. Paying attention to your data at the granular level –whether site visits, page usage or form fill-outs – can help you design a work flow process that better accommodates time off and work flow for the holiday season.

Marketing automation can do all this for you – there’s no need to dig up holiday data when it’s presented to you cleanly in an easy-to-use dashboard. Talk to the Lead Liaison experts today about how we can help with your holiday sales funnel management!

How to “Spark” a B2B Conversion

How to "Spark" a B2B ConversionThat first touch. That first look. That first sound. That spark! We often remember first impressions when something significant happens. It’s no different for business-to-business sales. In this case, though, we’re not talking about attributes like a snazzy website or a funny TV ad, we’re talking about timing, response, and good old-fashioned value. That first impression can come from how quickly you respond to a sales lead and what you deliver when they inquire about your brand.

We’ve created the spark that can transform the curious to the converted.

A Spark is a real-time event trigger in the Lead Management Automation™ (LMA) application. What events can be triggered, you ask? Anything from adding the lead to a contact list to creating a CRM task in Salesforce.com. The value in automating these events is in the rapid response you can provide each sales lead.

What constitutes a Spark? A Spark happens when a visitor to your website uses a specific search term to reach you, has visited multiple pages on your site, or other activities. The Spark can be the start of a long-term relationship with that lead through a nurturing process. By quickly responding to an “inquiry” (a user-defined request), you provide value that can lead to a conversion from prospect to customer.

Here are some examples that are used as sparks:

  • A prospect submits a web form, which triggers an email sent to the prospect with more information and distributes the lead to your sales team
  • A link within an email is clicked, which triggers and alert to the lead owner and creates a task in your CRM for that lead owner
  • A hot prospect (measured by lead score) visits your pricing page, which triggers an email to the lead owner.
  • A lead is converted in your CRM from Lead to Contact, which updates the fields and status in your CRM

A Spark can trigger multiple activities, reducing redundant processes and increasing your spectrum of response. Research has shown that prompt response and value delivery rank high among reasons buyers purchase from a vendor. Using Sparks to trigger events in response to inbound activity shows your leads that your brand acknowledges their interest and wants to provide value in their customer experience.

Customer Relationship Management: Not Just an App

Customer Relationship Management: Not Just an AppCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to a type of software or application you can use to manage your interactions with customers, keep a customer’s contact information secure and manage deals and sales. Right?

Well, sort of. A good CRM will do those things for you, but apps can’t do it all. Customer relationship management should actually be about proficiently managing your relationships with your customers – meaning, putting the right tools in place to make sure you offer consistently great customer service. With all the lingo and the acronyms and the must-haves in the app world, we can forget that a solid CRM won’t help if there is no plan for actually managing customers.

Solidifying Your Strategy

Marketing automation can be helpful because the right platform gives you much more information than standard analytics tools ever will. If you are able to use marketing automation data to determine specific consecutive days that a certain visitor has spent on your site, it makes sense to contact that visitor personally, strategically discuss some of the areas of your site they spent the most time on, and determine how your offering suits their needs. Without marketing automation tools, you simply can’t give this level of service to your clients. In fact, you won’t even know what specific users are visiting your website. All Google Analytics and other services will give you is a lump of customer data that doesn’t single out specific IPs.

Take a look at your web visitor data over the past 90 days. If you don’t know who’s visiting, it might be time to consider a marketing automation tool that can help you log specific visitors and tie their needs to your services. If you do know who your visitors are, develop a lead flow strategy for using your customer relationship management tools to pinpoint them, then contact and pitch to them.

Customer Relationship Management Strategy

For instance, does a potential client continue to hover around price points for a certain service you provide? If so, it makes sense to call that person or email them with a special promotional deal. Does a specific client keep coming back to your website to look over terms of service or specific offering points on a package? If that’s the case you might experience future problems from that customer or need to answer a question.  A simple call to check in might remedy a complaint that’s about to surface.

With marketing automation tools, you can better manage the relationships you have with current customers and put systems in place to give them better service. For more information and to take advantage of what marketing automation has to offer for your customers, visit leadliaison.com.

Integrating a Marketing Automation Platform with Your CRM

Integrating a Marketing Automation Platform With Your CRMAn interesting interview published in eMarketer came across our desks recently about CRM and marketing automation integration. The subject was Kevin Quiring, managing director of sales and customer service at Accenture. It caused us to reflect on a few points Mr. Quiring made during the interview.

“Businesses are placing renewed emphasis on generating new business… either through acquiring new customers or growing existing customers.” Lead management is a critical part of that effort because companies are competing for fewer real dollars as the U.S. continues to stumble out of the recession. Brands need to know their customers well and target suspects effectively. They also need to nurture leads towards a sales engagement. Thirdly, they need to be able to analyze individual pathways to conversion and global trends in organic search. Integrating marketing automation and CRM platforms can do all that.

“There is a chasm between marketing and sales. The two aren’t working together.” The integration of a marketing platform with a CRM platform brings the two teams together. It starts with lead scoring, which provides qualitative and quantitative metrics that indicate how ready a lead is for sales engagement and how close a lead is to conversion. One benefit: system synchronization transfers marketing scores to sales pipeline rankings so sales reps know how hot leads are when they enter the CRM.

Sales and marketing need to work together to establish lead scoring parameters. This way, scoring parameters and benchmarks are defined with a common understanding and accountability structure connected to lead management. Also, the lead distribution capabilities of a full-service MA platform assign ownership from first touch to last touch. Sales reps are connected with a lead at a deeper level as they progress through the qualification and nurturing processes.

“Trying to close a deal when prospects have the potential to be interested in so many diverse products requires multiple sets of activity.” A primary benefit of MA and CRM integration is to have the ability to seamlessly cross-sell through multiple channels. Companies with myriad product lines can serve multiple buyer chains within a single interface. Sharper analytics from integrated platforms allow product managers to understand their markets better. Sales managers can forecast more clearly with data collected through the integrated systems.

“They’re finding the salesperson’s intuition and the marketer’s opinion on what lead will be good or bad is interesting—but not predictive.” Companies are able to analyze both the attributes and online behavior patterns of their markets through analytics provided by both platforms. A customer persona can then be built that accurately reflects statistically significant characteristics. Instead of relying on intuition an opinion, executives have hard data to shape decisions around.

We appreciate that Mr. Quiring sees the value in marketing automation and CRM integration. If you’d like to find out how our Lead Management Automation™ platform integrates with CRMs like SFDC, request a 10-minute free personal demonstration.

Lead Follow Up and Personalization: Getting the Sale

Lead Follow Up and Personalization: Getting the SaleWhen your salespeople do their routine lead followup, they could be using client personalization to better appeal to clients. You may find that many sales people in your company do this without prompting. It might not be difficult to remember the location, job title or basic info of your warmer leads. Having more advanced data allows sales people to connect more heavily with the potential client and to demonstrate they’re listening to the client’s needs. Lead personalization is also viewed as a precursor to excellent customer service for many warm leads

Lead Followup: When to Personalize

Potential clients who enjoy talking to salespeople on the phone disclose many trivial details. Things like favorite vacation spot, recent travel or names of family members or pets tend to slip out. Many salespeople are so focused on getting the sale during lead followup that they tend to leave out the trivial details that personalize a lead’s experience.

When notating a lead, sales people often make notes about the potential client’s work schedule, any hesitations to buy, best times to call back and more info about the competitor products the lead currently uses. Personal details are often seen as sketchy to discuss or are outright neglected by sales people, but discussion about any personal snippets you pick up – when done the right way – can help a salesperson strategically close a sale.

Recording Personalization Information

The last thing a sales person wants is to feel they’re getting over-personal with a potential client. The modicum of respect necessary for good communication in business dealings is always on the table – however, throwing in personal details that warm the relationship can nurture the lead when done strategically.

Here’s an example lead followup and personalization scenario – a sales call to a particular warm lead isn’t accepted because the lead mentions she’s taking her sick dog to the vet. Let’s say that the lead gives more information about her pet – the nature of the problem, the name of the pet, is it a routine vet visit, etc.  Rather than blanking on these details or scribbling them in a personal notebook, tools exist that allow salespeople to map out these personal details for future use. This is particularly helpful when lead follow up is conducted by multiple members of a sales team – e.g., “HI Anne! Dave told me what was going on with your dog Scrapper – is she okay?”

The right marketing automation system will help sales people keep track of lead followup and personalization details across platforms. Lead Liaison’s easy-to-use customer details interface allows you to input custom fields where you can store customer birthdays, pet names, preferences or any general details that will help sales people relate with a client and get closer to a sale.

To find out more about lead followup and personalization, visit us at leadliaison.com.

5 Ways Lead Management Automation Reduces Your Sales Cycle

5 Ways Lead Management Automation Reduces Your Sales CycleB2B sales teams look for ways to reduce the sales cycle with the goal of faster revenue generation (which, in turn, leads to higher annual payout). The challenge for many salespeople is to manage tasks in an efficient way so more time can be devoted to selling which should be expected to reduce time-to-close. Automating lead management provides the mechanism to shorten the sales cycle.

According to Gartner Research, B2B companies see a 10% or greater increase in revenue within 6-9 months of implementation of a lead management automation platform. Part of that increase is due to efficiencies that allow your salespeople to close deals faster.

Score Leads for Quality and Relevance

When sales agents are occupied with the most-suitable-and-potentially-interested prospects, the chances for conversion are greater. Through LMA, leads are automatically scored according characteristics that indicate suitability for your solutions and digital behavior that reveals how a buyer does research and how well-informed he is about your solutions.

A lead’s score will automatically update when new qualifying information is received or when a new online engagement has occurred. By automating lead management, your sales team can prioritize its focus on leads with the potential to close the earliest.

Distribute Leads Effectively

Do you want your fastest closer working on leads of the same quality as a new hire? Do you want your tech industry specialist getting leads from the manufacturing industry? NO! With LMA, leads can be distributed according to parameters you set. This way, once leads are properly qualified, they can be assigned ownership according to which agent can best convert the lead efficiently thus reducing the sales cycle.

Faster Response

Using an automated lead management platform, customized response and/or follow-up messaging is delivered according to a schedule that can be set once (theoretically). While a sales agent is busy with other tasks, an email can be sent immediately following a request from a lead. By eliminating delays associated with a busy sales team, the cycle can be reduced.

Better (and Faster) Intelligence Collection

An LMA collects, organizes, and segments digital lead activity faster and to a greater degree than your salespeople can do manually. As the article in the link above suggests, salespeople spend only 35% of their time actually selling. Often the non-selling time is consumed with business intelligence collection. With LMA, when a lead fills out a form or clicks on a certain link, your salesperson is provided with actionable intelligence immediately. Agents can use the intelligence to engage with prospects in a way that supports the digital path the prospect has taken when researching for a B2B solution.

More Efficient Lead Nurturing Across Media

LMA provides several channels of communication that can allow a lead to become familiar with your company and its solutions more quickly. As a lead moves through the marketing funnel, customized information flows that target specific needs can accelerate the lead advancement to a sales-ready status. Once the lead has become suitably educated and informed about your solutions, you sales agents can get involved and convert more quickly.

Effective Lead Management: More Than Marketing Automation Alone

Effective Lead Management: More Than Marketing Automation AloneWith marketing automation platform (MAP) adoption expected to generate $750 million by the end of the year, we felt it was important to draw a distinction between MA and lead management. Marketing automation is a function of delivering scheduled messaging to marketing leads. But lead management is a process of advancing those leads appropriately to the point where they can be migrated to a CRM system (like Salesforce.com) and engaged by your sales team.

We believe there is more to MAPs like our Lead Management Automation™ platform than automatically delivering customized messages. To truly leverage the strengths of a MAP, you must use the technology to advance marketing leads through your marketing funnel.

While some companies implement parts of their MAP, those that deploy all the features relevant to lead management within a robust platform see higher ROI. Why is that? Because successful conversions require more than messaging.

Certainly, managing leads involves messaging. But effective lead management also requires appropriate timing, sufficient escalation of the relationship, rapid response, and accurate scoring. For example, our real-time visitor tracker, Streamer, provides visibility about who is on your site. The information provided can reduce response time by allowing the user to quickly engage in a chat or send a personalized email.

Our Briefcase™ dashboard is another example of the robust lead management capabilities that can improve lead classification, scoring, and distribution to sales agents. LMA users can quickly identify the most qualified and sales-ready leads. Features like this expand our MAP beyond simple automated marketing practices.

Lead management takes a fresh suspect and turns it into a marketing-qualified lead that has been adequately engaged through the marketing automation process. Factors such as content development, database segmentation, and lead distribution all play significant roles in managing leads effectively.

Of course, not all leads that enter the pipeline through an MA platform will go on to become a sales opportunity. But leads that are managed effectively through MA functionality such as lead scoring, real-time tracking, or lead qualification are more likely to be converted.