Deliverability and reputation problems can occur if you are using a shared IP address to send out your emails while other senders use the same IP address. If the other senders emails get marked as spam or the shared IP address gets blacklisted your IP will be blacklisted and/or your emails will land in the junk folder. Many ESPs automatically use shared IP addresses across many clients. Use a dedicated IP address for email marketing tools or marketing automation solutions.
Lead Liaison assigns a dedicated IP address to each customer. Trials are run using a shared IP address pool. Even in the pool, there are multiple IP addresses to prevent one from going down and affecting other trials.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What are your thoughts on using a dedicated IP address vs. a shared IP address for email marketing?
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Are you looking for marketing automation jobs? Lead Liaison might be able to help. We interact with a number of businesses searching for marketing automation solutions. Many of these business lack resources or the right marketing automation “intelligence” to get a project off the ground. Whether you’re looking for full time marketing automation jobs or part time consulting we might be able to help you make a connection. Feel free to provide your information in the form below and we’ll contact you if we see a match.
Answering the question, “what is lead nurturing?”, is difficult for many companies especially those that think they already do lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is vitally important to lead management processes these days because of the fundamental change in the B2B buying process. B2B buyers are reluctant to engage with salespeople until they are deep into the buying cycle. In recognition of this paradigm shift, businesses should conduct a careful assessment of their lead generation processes and “get real” about what they have and what they do not have.
70% of the B2B buying cycle is complete by the time sales people engage. – SiriusDecisions
Let’s first discuss what lead nurturing is not
• Emailing periodic newsletters • Sending out random product releases • Sending out random company announcements • Spending all your time creating fancy html layouts for your email marketing campaigns • Not understanding your prospects persona • Not running marketing segmentation on your database • Blasting out email messages to your entire database • Calling leads just to touch base with the intent to see if they are ready to buy
Well then, what is lead nurturing really? Lead nurturing is the process of engaging prospects or customers using relevant and timely communications to build a trusted relationship, generate interest, and raise awareness until they are ready to speak with sales. In summary, it’s the process of realigning the timing of sellers and buyers. Let’s itemize activities that help define what is lead nurturing.
Sending content after listening to your buyers
• Sending content based on timing • Sending content based on product or solution interest • Sending content based on a previous conversation • Sending information that is relevant to your buyer’s problem • Making calls based on touch point data that adds value to the interaction • Sharing content that’s relevant and valuable even if they never buy from you
Sending content by understanding your buyers
• Sending an email that includes content based on the recipient’s role in the company • Sending content based on your buyer’s location • Sending content based on your buyer’s industry
Sending content that matters
• Sending content that is useful to them such as tools, calculators, or programs • Sending content that helps your buyers expand their knowledge • Sending content that raises your buyers awareness
By understanding what is lead nurturing and what lead nurturing is not your organization will better understand lead nurturing and you’ll be able to identify whether or not you need this critical sales and marketing technology.
Lead Liaison is pleased to extend a free consultation service to help you assess your company’s lead nurturing capabilities and needs. To speak with Lead Liaison and learn about our lead nurturing technology please contact us.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What is lead nurturing to you?
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Being the best marketer on the planet doesn’t happen overnight. Marketers learn from experiences, each other, and great marketing material. To help our fellow marketers we’ve compiled a list of the world’s top marketing books. If you see a book you would like to have included in our top marketing books library, please contact us.
The BuyerSphere Project is a “perspective changing” look at how businesses buy from other businesses, especially in the age of the Digital Market Place. It’s based on an extensive and ground breaking research project that took a fresh look at organizational buying behavior. The results will make you smack your head and exclaim “Of course, that makes so much sense”; leave you wondering why you didn’t see it before. Just remember, the important thing is that you see it before your competition!
The Truth About Leads is a practical, easy-to-read book shedding light on the secrets that help you focus your B2B lead-generation efforts, align your sales and marketing organizations and drive revenue. Written by prospect development expert and PointClear founder and CEO Dan McDade, The Truth About Leads debunks traditional thinking while uncovering the truths that lead to additional, larger and more profitable wins for your organization.
Are you a trusted seller? Are your product and service offerings easy to find on the web? Do you inform, educate, and entertain through your content? Do you listen and engage people through online channels? Today’s buyers want to be engaged differently than in years past, and many traditional marketing tactics simply do not work anymore. Social media marketing is a revolutionary way to build solid relationships with buyers long before first contact. Marketing 2.0 demonstrates through strategies, tactics, and real world examples that the greatest risk to businesses is NOT adopting these indispensable social media marketing techniques.
About Marketing Metrics in Action Talk about marketing accountability has become almost commonplace. And most marketing executives get it. They understand the need to know the numbers. The real question is, Which numbers? Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization answers those questions and addresses those problems with a balance of sound theory and technique and practical application. The author, a veteran of marketing on both sides, the client side and the consultant side, explains how you need to make marketing metrics work for you. First, every company s product makeup, competitive situation, resources, and internal strengths and weaknesses differ. So do its needs for particular metrics. It is necessary to be able to identify which metrics matter to your organization s circumstances. Next it is necessary to create a culture of accountability. Everyone in the organization has to be and be seen as being on the same side and on the same page. Finance can t be seen as the enemy, and Sales and Marketing need work especially hard to coordinate their efforts. But this sense of accountability needs to extend from the C-Suite to the customer service and order entry people. Everyone must be on board. With buy-in from the entire organization, using quality approaches and sophisticated ideas have a much better chance of success in the marketplace. A metrics audit will help establish where you are now, and mapping will enable you to align processes to better develop your dashboard. Chapters on systems and tools and skills and training, with important contributions by key industry thought leaders, conclude the main body of the book. A glossary and an appendix of sample process maps end the book. Newly minted MBAs, flush with confidence, are often heard to say, Forget that other stuff. Just give me your number. Tell me what metric you re using. Marketing Metrics in Action does much more than just give you a number or a one-size-fits-all formula. It provides wise counsel for identifying which metrics matter most to your organization and practical guidance for putting all the sophisticated marketing tools to profitable use in your company.
B2B markets are fundamentally different from consumer markets. Decisions are made on value, not impulse. Buying cycles are complex, often with many stakeholders involved. Relationships and support are critical. Bet-the-business decisions demand discipline, knowledge, and lots of information. This hands-on guide covers topics unique to this segment, including cost justification, prospecting and lead generation, matching tools to the sales funnel, building, B2B search engine optimization, social media monitoring, social media policy development, long-term client relationships, gaining stakeholder support, building a more transparent organization, and what’s coming next.
Marketing Champions will show you how to make marketing matter to corporate leadership. Unlike all other books which help you improve your marketing work, this book guides you to effectively manage marketing inside your organization.
Does your organization struggle with lead follow up? Does your sales team have a less than stellar process responding to marketing generated leads? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions help is on the way. Follow 3 rules to lead follow up to help your company produce a higher number of well qualified leads.
The 3 rules to lead follow up are speed, process, and persistence. Let’s analyze these rules to better understand how they support and improve the lead management process.
Speed – Follow up quickly with leads
A recent study done by Leads360 sampled 25 million data points to find conversion rates (people converted from inquiry to qualified lead) increased dramatically with faster response times against initial inquiries. Below is a short list of data points from the sampled leads:
• When called within 1 minute of inquiry, conversion rates are 391% higher
• When called within 2 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 120% higher
• When called within 3 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 98% higher
• When called within 30 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 62% higher
• When called within 60 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 36% higher
As evidenced by the data, the lead follow up advantage is less significant after the first 2 minutes have passed and greatly decreases after the first hour. It’s undeniable that fast response time drives loyalty. Businesses create strong psychological and social bonds with rapid lead follow up. If the prospect sees sales ultra-attentive to their inquiry and pre-sales interaction with your company it gives them a feel for how they’d be treated once they are a customer. Additionally, fast lead follow up blocks out competing offers as your prospect invests time into a relationship with you, who is the fastest responder.
Process – Lead follow up is not a one-and-done thing
Companies must not think once initial follow up occurs the lead follow up process is complete. In fact, it’s just started. Unfortunately, most sales and marketing teams heavily invest in the first 3-5% of inquiries that have short-term potential. However, sales people who are not aggressive and tenacious may lose interest in continued contact and neglect lead follow up with these 3-5% of inquiries. Then you have the other 95% of leads that don’t have short-term potential, which businesses commonly ignore. Sadly, 70% of those leads will buy from someone. If companies neglect follow up it results in lots of opportunity left on the table.
The first thing sales, and marketers, need to do is stop thinking a sale will happen in the first call. B2B buyers do not buy on a whim. A relationship must be built. Lead nurturing technology will automatically send personalized and intelligent communications to your prospects to develop your lead until they’re ready to speak with sales. Put the inquiries not yet ready for sales into a lead nurturing campaign. See our post on Lead Nurturing Programs to get an active of 5 different lead nurturing tracks you can drop your leads into.
Forrester Research reported companies that implemented an effective lead nurturing process have a 300% (3x) higher closing rate than their competitors who fail to make a long-term investment with their prospects. – Forrester Research
Concentrate on how buyers buy before you can master how to sell. Buyer’s usually want educational content in smaller, bite-sized chunks, over a period of time.
Persistence – Make a concerted effort to reach your leads
In a similar survey, 15 million sales leads were analyzed. Results showed persistence increased the probability of contacting a lead. The same study revealed a disappointing 50% of leads are never called a second time. When making two calls versus one it increases the chance of contacting a lead by 87%. The report also found six contact attempts resulted in the maximum possible contact rate; however, nearly 60% of sales people made less than sixth contact attempts.
Timing contact attempts will also increase conversion rates. New inquiries should receive a response within 5 minutes and include a 6-call lead follow up process to produce the maximum conversion rate and minimize workload. Here’s the suggested contact attempt schedule to maximize lead follow up ROI:
• Day 1: call 3 times. The premise is new inquiries should be called immediately and in two subsequent time windows during the first day until contact is made.
• If contact has not been made, call on day 3, 4, and day 11 or 12 to maximize contact and conversion rates.
• Day 3, call once.
• Day 4, call again.
• Day 11 or 12, make 2 more call attempts.
Realizing the effort to track and schedule lead follow up, businesses can use marketing automation software to automate scheduling of tasks. For example, revenue generation software from Lead Liaison can schedule call follow up tasks and reminders at once. At Lead Liaison we use 6 sales pipeline stages to map the flow of a person through the revenue cycle. Once a lead becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) by achieving a particular lead score the lead is handed off to sales. Our system automatically assigns a lead to the sales lead owner and schedules the reminder process in a CRM, such as Salesforce.com.
Keeping the 3 rules of lead follow up in mind and leveraging revenue generation software to help deliver lead nurturing and schedule sales lead follow up will help businesses become more efficient in lead management and generate more revenue from marketing dollars. Contact Lead Liaison to better understand how we can help your business with lead follow up.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What lead follow up tactics have helped you?
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Marketers spend a lot of time on inbound marketing activities to drive traffic to their site; investing in SEO, thought leadership, trade shows, blogs, social media, and advertising are a few examples of inbound marketing. As awareness builds and new contacts enter the sales funnel it is important businesses define the right sales pipeline stages to manage, nurture, and distribute leads. Sales pipeline stages tend to vary across companies; however, we’ve established 6 sales pipeline stages appropriate for most businesses. Here at Lead Liaison, we use these exact stages to manage our business. Let’s explore how we’ve defined the 6 stages in the sales pipeline.
The 6 sales pipeline stages are
1. Just a Name
4. Marketing Qualified Lead
5. Sales Qualified Lead
Prior to adding a lead to your sales pipeline we suggest tracking the lead source. Marketing automation technology can help you identify whether the lead source is from a paid search, SEO, trade show, facebook, general website visit or other source. Lead tracking will help you report on marketing ROI down the road. Let’s briefly explain each of the sales pipeline stages.
Just a Name
As the name implies, these records are just a name. If you have the person’s name or email and no other insight they are simply a record, or a person, in your database. Often times marketing and sales have conflicting definitions of a lead. Separating these people from your marketing defined leads and sales defined leads helps avoid confusion over what is a lead and what is not a lead.
When a person finally responds to an inbound marketing program they are moved to the sales pipeline stage, Engaged. For example, the person could click a link in an email campaign or fill out a web form to become engaged. Please note that just because someone is in the engaged status does not mean they are a lead as there’s a good chance they’re not yet ready to speak with sales. We suggest using marketing automation technology to automatically respond to the person with a personalized message a few hours after they respond.
If the person meets the ideal profile of a buyer they become a prospect. Ideal profiles could be determined by demographics (location, job title) or firmographics (industry, company size, revenue). Again, we suggest using a marketing automation system to help qualify if someone should become a prospect. Lead scoring, a feature of most marketing automation systems, provides a mechanism to automatically qualify leads using an incremental scoring system. For example, add 10 points if their companies revenue is more than $50M and/or add 20 points if they are a Vice President. Conversely, scores can be decremented. For example, subtract 50 points if the person is a student.
Once the person becomes a prospect start lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is the process of creating meaningful dialogue with the prospect at each stage of the buying process. See the post under lead nurturing programs for 5 examples of this dialogue. The beauty of lead nurturing is that different lead nurturing “tracks” can kick in according to the prospects online activity and/or interaction with other marketing assets.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
We suggest using the score generated from your lead scoring programs to determine if a prospect makes it to the sales pipeline stage as a marketing qualified lead. Sales pipeline stages leading up to this point do not require human interaction; interaction has been personalized using lead nurturing technology. In our lead management model, we use a scoring threshold of 65 or higher. When the prospects lead score crosses that threshold we change the lead status to a marketing qualified lead.
At this stage in the sales pipeline, marketing will pass the lead over to sales. In some businesses marketing may have a sales development team or inside sales team manually qualify the lead further via a phone call or some other type of screening. At Lead Liaison, we do not change the status of the lead until sales accepts the lead and determines it’s qualified. A lead may also be put into the “Disqualified” status if there’s no match whatsoever.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Once sales accepts a lead and deems it qualified the lead becomes a sales qualified lead. Leads at this stage typically require high-touch, personalized interaction. Sales will call the lead to further qualify them. At this point, sales can move the lead to one of three statuses: Deferred, Recycled, or Opportunity. If the lead is not quite ready to buy sales should recycle the lead. Recycling puts the lead back into a lead nurturing program managed by marketing until the lead is sales-ready. Alternatively, sales can move the lead to a Deferred status if no additional lead nurturing is warranted and there doesn’t appear to be an opportunity. If marketing, and the marketing automation system, has done its job the lead should be moved to the Opportunity status. When the lead becomes an opportunity it will have its own opportunity sales cycle.
This is the most important stage of all sales pipeline stages since quick response to hot leads must occur. We strongly recommend using an alert system to make sure marketing and the rest of the organization holds sales accountable for follow up. A marketing automation system will help you setup a closed-loop accountability process similar to the one below:
1. Send an alert via email to the responsible sales person.
2. If within 24 hours the lead status has not been changed send an alert reminder to the sales person.
3. If another 24 hours pass, send another alert reminder to sales and copy the sales person’s manager.
4. If another 24 hours pass, send the same alert to sales and the sales persons manager but this time copy a C-level executive.
This closed-loop process ensures no lead falls through the cracks while holding sales accountable for follow up and providing marketing peace of mind as the person seamlessly transitions from marketing responsibility to sales responsibility.
The Opportunity status is important for marketing to measure cost per conversion, cost per lead, and effectiveness of various lead sources. Today’s marketer is being measured on results, not activity (email opens, web visits). ROI analysis on a person’s path through the sales pipeline stages from Just a Name through to Opportunity then Customer is vital to keep a pulse on revenue generation.
Graveyard and Contact
At any of the sales pipeline stages a person can be moved to the Graveyard or Contact status. Graveyard status is a person record with a bad email or incorrect contact information. Usually, this occurs if the person has changed jobs. Contact status is when a person is converted out of the sales pipeline stages into a contact management database and is not a lead. This typically occurs when the person is a partner, reseller, or just a contact in your system that you never plan to sell to.
Contact Lead Liaison to see how our revenue generation software can help you setup your lead management process to distribute, qualify, and nurture leads through your sales pipeline stages.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What sales pipeline stages to you employ? How do you manage your stages?
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Designing lead nurturing programs can be difficult especially if you don’t know where to start. We put together five sample programs to get you going. The programs range from simple one month programs to complex 12 month programs. Feel free to take these lead nurturing programs and customize them to fit your business. Remember, getting started is the most important part. Over time tune the “knobs and dials” on your nurturing programs to align them with your business.
First, let’s start with a simple definition of lead nurturing. Lead Nurturing is the process of engaging prospects through meaningful dialogue at each stage of the buying process. A lead nurturing program is a collection of independent nurturing events. Many B2B companies build lead nurturing programs to position their company as the best choice to help meet prospects objectives. Lead nurturing is also referred to as a drip campaign; however, drip campaigns are not “intelligent” and cannot react to buyer’s online behavior and interaction with marketing assets.
Enjoy the 5 lead nurturing programs below
1 month lead nurturing program with aggressive actionable offers:
• Day 1: Email white paper download link. Recipient clicks link in email, gets redirected to a landing page then fills out a web form. Additional profile information is captured.
• Day 3:: Voice mail and email from lead owner thanking lead for the download (if the download occurred) with an invitation to a webinar on relevant topic.
• Day 7: Follow up email asking if the lead would be interested in learning more about the topic they are pursuing. If lead responds then schedule a demo with sales. If lead does not respond continue with the lead nurturing program.
• Day 15: Email customer success story from related industry
• Day 21: Email a brief note to touch base and make an offer. For example, suggest providing valuable information such as a white paper, awareness kit, case study, blog post, ROI, personal demonstration, video testimonial or a book from an industry analyst
• Day 30: Send a personalized email with an invitation to evaluation your solution, start a free trial. If you are a consulting-based business offer a free consultation.
3 month lead nurturing programs optimized for different roles:
This program was designed to meet three different persona’s. However, each program is structured the same, with a single lead nurturing event over three months, one per month. Notice each lead nurturing program begins with educational content.
• Month 1: Voice mail and white paper
• Month 2: Follow up call and email link to analyst whitepaper
• Month 3: Follow up call and email invitation to webinar
• Month 1: Voice mail and email relevant 3rd party article
• Month 2: Follow up call and email 3rd party article
• Month 3: Follow up call and email link to relevant podcast
• Month 1: Direct mail an executive report and follow up with phone call
• Month 2: Follow up call and email invitation to executive roundtable
• Month 3: Follow up call and ROI analysis tool
3 month lead nurturing program with aggressive initial phases and bi-weekly dialogue
• Day 1: Follow-up email or phone call
• Day 10: Email offering an article of interest from a third-party relating to previous communications
• Day 15: Personal email from sales rep
• Day 30: Email promoting a relevant webinar series
• Day 45: Call from sales rep to “check-in”
• Day 60: Email providing a similar case study or a best practices white paper
• Day 75: Personal email from sales rep offering a product demo
• Day 85: Call from sales rep to schedule a face-to-face meeting
• Day 90: Submit a sales proposal via email
6 month lead nurturing program with dialogue every three weeks
• Day 1: Initial phone call and follow-up email
• Day 28: Invitation to webinar with follow up phone call
• Day 42: Email customer success story in related industry vertical
• Day 60: Personal invitation from lead owner to forthcoming webinar
• Day 80: Email interactive ROI calculator or similar “tool” as prospect nears buying stage
• Day 100: Email article of interest from social media site
• Day 120: Send personalized email from lead owner to touch base
• Day 140: Email free copy of analyst report
• Day 160: Invite prospect to a personal demonstration of your solution
12 month lead nurturing program with monthly dialogue
• Month 1: Email 3rd party article on relevant technology
• Month 2: Follow up phone call and email industry related case study
• Month 3: Leave voice mail to check in
• Month 4: Email link to industry related video done by a 3rd party
• Month 5: Email relevant and educational-focused white paper
• Month 6: Direct mail collateral
• Month 7: Follow up phone call and email relevant eBook
• Month 8: Follow up phone call and email link to relevant podcast
• Month 9: Follow up phone call and email quote from industry-leading analyst
• Month 10: Follow up phone call and email invitation to webinar
• Month 11: Leave voice mail with invitation to industry trade show and email registration link
• Month 12: Email one page white paper on evaluation criteria for solutions in your industry
Lead Liaison’s lead nurturing software can save you time and help boost your sales conversion rates by sending customized emails to leads based on their characteristics, activity, interest and interaction with your marketing assets.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What types of lead nurturing programs have you used?
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Whether we admit it or not, everyone can learn something new especially when it comes to sales. We sat down with our team to draw from 100+ people years of sales experience. Through the years we’ve all collected some useful tips, tricks and best practices from sales experts. We culminated these ideas into a list of sales tips for business to business (B2B) sales. This is the second installment of our Sales Tips series. To view the first installment (Sales Tips #1 – #5), click here.
Sales Tip #6 – Determine the outcome before the start
Before you start a meeting take a few minutes to write down on a piece of paper what your goal is for the meeting. In other words, what do you want the customer/prospect to do at the end of the meeting. Buy something, evaluation something, take a certain action? If you define your goal up front you’ll see how it changes your way of thinking. It will keep you focused on what matters and prevent the meeting from getting derailed. I realize you might think this “molds” a meeting too much but give it a try.
Sales Tip #7 – Use testimonials
“The proof is in the pudding” goes a long way with prospects/customers. Start your meetings with real use cases or testimonials from your customers. Enlist help from your marketing department to record a video from one of your customers. Have your customer talk about their problem and why your company provided the solution. Assuming the video is <=3 minutes or so, embed the video into your presentation and use it during your meeting. Alternatively, take snippets of a quote or take an entire quote and paste that into your presentation. The point being, testimonials are great and your prospects/customers will benefit from hearing an “unbiased” opinion.
Sales Tip #8 – Always be closin’ (ABC)
Borrowing this quote from Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) is more than appropriate for Sales Tip #8. Many sales reps aren’t focused on closing a deal. They concentrate on making a customer satisfied and nurturing them. That’s not a bad thing at all, but if that’s all you do you’ll find yourself updating your LinkedIn profile very quickly. Always closing is also a spirit, a frame of mind, to make sure you’re focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. Without a proper lead nurturing and lead scoring solution it’s easy to understand how sales reps can lose focus though. Work with marketing to implement revenue generation / marketing automation technology so sales can stay focused on closing opportunities that are ripe for sales. After all, the title is “sales”, right? Then get out there and sell!
Sales Tip #9 – Allocate time to lead generation
An old high school tennis coach said to me one day, “input equals output”. He was suggesting the more I practiced (input) the better I would get (output). The same concept apply to sales. If you’re not filling the funnel with new opportunities you’re not closing many sales. Although it’s not a preferred task for most sales people, cold calling still has its place. See our article on 101 Business to Business Lead Generation Ideas and Tips to stimulate ideas for lead generation programs.
Proceed with caution though. New opportunities don’t always have to enter into your funnel from the top, they may already be there. Get your marketing department to use lead nurturing technology to implement automatic drip campaigns on “inactive” contacts in your database with the intent to bring them back to life and cultivate interest.
Sales Tip #10 – Use social networks for “warm calling”
Social networks are a fabric of the internet in this day and age. Twitter, LinkedIn, facebook and more contain vital information to support your sales prospecting efforts. Take LinkedIn for example. By searching for a specific role at a certain company you’ll be able to find the names of individuals you’re looking to target. Moreover, you’ll see their profile, interests, and current/past job positions to help prepare for your call. Your prospect/customer will appreciate you’ve done your homework and your discussions will become more personal. Certain revenue generation software solutions integrate social profiling.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What are your sales tips?
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Marketing automation is a very powerful solution for many sales, marketing, and executive teams. The value of marketing automation is amplified when used properly along with planning and a process. Studies have shown only 25% of users get the full value from their investment in marketing automation, which parallels the early days of CRM implementations. To help maximize your return on invest we compiled a checklist to help you start preparing for marketing automation.
What else should people to do start preparing for marketing automation? What is missing from the marketing automation preparation checklist?