Marketing automation software (MAS) should provide front to back lead management capabilities. From lead generation to lead distribution, a robust, full-feature program, such as our Lead Management Automation™ platform, must enable your marketing department and sales team to effectively manage leads to achieve maximum sales effectiveness.
There are several key functions that should be available in a marketing automation program. Integration with a CRM platform is one important feature but your marketing automation software must first provide all the steps that move a raw lead to a qualified, sales-ready prospect. Make sure to self-assess and ask, is your marketing automation software managing your leads?
When leads engage with any of your digital assets, they should be captured. This function is similar to having a prospect walk through your door; the marketing automation software must recognize basic identifiable criteria and deliver that lead to a marketing bucket.
Leads flow from various sources. Each inquiry is not the same and you may have inquiries for five different solutions; price points, buying cycles, and lead education requirements may all be different, so your marketing automation software must aggregate the leads that arrive to appropriate buckets for processing.
Once leads have been captured and aggregated, the next step is to determine which ones are viable sales opportunities. Through your marketing automation software, sales agents must be able to determine the leads that are ready for a sales call and which ones need more education (nurturing). By integrating lead qualification assets such as online forms with a lead scoring system, it should become apparent which leads are worthy of a sales engagement.
Each lead has a varying degree of interest and fit so it is important for your marketing automation software to be able to rank your leads. The lead profile, source, and solution category are some of the criteria that should be used to prioritize prospects in order to measure sales-readiness. The lead scoring function must provide a threshold that elevates a prospect from a marketing-qualified lead to a sales-qualified lead.
How do sales agents receive leads in their pipeline? Your marketing automation software must have an appropriate way to allocate leads according to predetermined rules that your organization assigns. Geography, interest level, and product line are just a few attributes that can be used to determine proper lead distribution. As leads achieve a scoring threshold, they should be automatically distributed through an integration with a CRM package such as the Salesforce.com Cloud.
It is crucial that your marketing automation software provides lead tracking so your marketing team can assess the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. As leads respond to marketing engagements the system should update the lead score and deliver alerts to marketing and/or sales about the lead’s online activity.
For leads that require nurturing, your marketing automation software should provide scheduling, message selection, and response. This feature should be integrated with a lead scoring function so, as new behavior is recognized, a lead’s score is automatically adjusted and sales agents are alerted.
In order to be fully effective, your marketing automation software must provide real-time reporting on lead status. Lead reports should include profile, score, sales agent assignment, and conversion metrics so management can determine how effectively leads are being captured, scored, nurtured, and distributed.