Best practices on lead distribution including distribution methods and lessons learned.

keeping email campaigns clean

The advantages of targeted emails, personalization, and list cleaning!

The advantages of targeted emails, personalization and list cleaning

“One thing I often see companies doing is emailing to the same list, day after day, week after week without any idea if the emails are being looked at or giving the ROI they desire.”- Mike Pauer


If you’ve had an email address for any amount of time, and used it to sign up for accounts, I’m sure you will have seen the same emails you never open mentioning a flash sale or special offer for the hundredth time.

When you send out the right email, to the right person, it should feel more personal like it’s coming from a friend, rather than a mass marketing message trying to sell something.

Use personalization in the email and segment your list towards who is most likely to be interested.

An email subject that mentions the person by name and how it relates to their interests has a much higher chance of being opened or clicked. 

As a personal example from my own inbox: within the last few days I received emails with the subjects, “Massive 8×10 Live auction tonight!”, “Flash Sale—up to 60% off bedding, bath and more” and “Spark some happiness in your home from $4!” all of which just immediately went into the trash because I had no real interest.

On the other hand, email’s with the subjects “Michael, open this e-mail to load your offers!”, “Great escapes close to Toronto” and “Extra Discount on A Deal You Viewed” were all opened. Why? Because they were personalized for me and sparked my interest. The more interest the recipient has, the more chance they will open, read, and click the email.

When crafting your email, the other thing to keep in mind is the pre-header. It can be just as important as the subject. A brief description of just what’s inside the email and why it’s important to the recipient can go a long way towards increasing your opens.

Something to consider when bulk sending: How clean is the list you’re sending to?

Have you been sending to the same list of people for 5 years without any statistics on engagement? This can lead to very poor open rates, or even to having a spam trap in a worst case scenario. When it comes to list maintenance, the best practice is to always remove anyone that bounces, and consider pruning anyone that has not opened or clicked the email for a period of time. 

What if you are concerned about cutting prospective clients?

Run a campaign directly to them! Segment the list to those who have never opened an email in the past year, then send a campaign asking if they still want to receive emails, or offer a special discount. If you go with the first option then as people confirm they do still want your emails you can move them back into the main sending list. With the second option, you can see which email addresses are alive, and may still be interested in your product or services. Overall you are reducing the number of emails you send out, helping to increase your list quality and sender reputation.

Defining Lifecycle Stages

Qualifying Leads by Lifecycle Stage

Qualifying Leads by Lifecycle Stage

 

Defining Marketing Qualified Lead, or MQL, can be a slippery process because companies, departments and individuals can have very different viewpoints as to what really makes a prospect and MQL.

At Lead Liaison, we let Marketing and Sales define the stages together, so everyone owns and clearly understands what is taking place inside the sales funnel. Here’s how we’ve defined lifecycle stages, including MQL and SQL. We hope this is a helpful resource for your company as well:

Lifecycle Stage Definitions

People progress through Lifecycle Stages at Lead Liaison as we sell and market to them. Lifecycle Stages represent the different phases of a person as they evolve from a lead to a Prospect and ultimately into a customer.Our CRM, called OneFocus, tracks and reports on people in their Lifecycle Stage. Marketers can pull reports on the three Vs of marketing, the Velocity (how quickly people move into and out of stages), Viscosity (where people are getting stuck), and Volume (how many leads they have) of their leads. Depending on the stage, statuses change automatically, manually, or by customized business rules defined in the system. A critical function of Lifecycle Stages is that a person can never go backwards in their lifecycle. They only move forward. Lifecycle Stages are:

Suspect > Engaged > Marketing Qualified > Sales Qualified > Opportunity > Customer > Evangelist > Disqualified > Other

Suspect

Behavior: Automatically updated

When a new person is loaded into the system who we have never interacted with they become a Suspect. A Suspect has no idea who we are either. This is the first status for any net-new person in the system. This status is set automatically. 

Engaged

Behavior: Automatically updated

This status is set automatically. Prospects move from Suspect to Engaged whenever they generate inbound activity with us. For example, clicking through on a link in an email campaign, visiting a website, submitting a form, playing a game, etc. 

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

Behavior: Updated by automated rules.

Prospects will be considered a MQL when any of the following happens:

  1. Prospect completes a form, or sends correspondence indicating interest in Lead Liaison solution(s) AND has submitted contact information pursuant to. This includes phone and/or email.
  2. Phone / Email Validity: Can be verified as a phone number or email where the prospect can be reached. Email should contain the company URL (no personal email domains), and if not, then verified by a response from the prospect which indicates ongoing interest in Lead Liaison solution(s).
  3. Prospect indicates current or future interest in doing business with Lead Liaison.
  4. Prospect can be considered a new MQL every 12 months. In other words, if the Prospect indicated interest in 2019, but fell off, and expressed renewed interest after 12 months, then the MQL will be counted as a new MQL.
  5. Prospect completes a process or form to receive a downloadable asset from a Lead Liaison website, landing page, social media platform or the like.
  6. Prospect replies to an outbound email campaign indicating interest.
  7. Prospect replies to an outbound social media communication indicating interest, and provides contact information pursuant to follow-up communications regarding Lead Liaison solution(s).
  8. Inbound Prospect reaches out to Lead Liaison via a website form inquiry, lead capture form inquiry of any kind in any Lead Liaison lead management platform.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Behavior: Manually updated

Sales Managers have 10 calendar days to disposition a lead from MQL status before an alert is sent out to management, marketing, and the Sales Manager. The Sales Manager has three choices when dispositioning a lead:

  • Move to SQL
  • Move to Disqualified
  • Keep as MQL

Prospects will be considered an SQL using the following criteria:

  1. Prospect’s company has budgeted for our Services,
  2. Prospect has authority (or is closely connected to someone with authority AND awareness of the project) to purchase our Services,
  3. Prospect has a need to purchase our Services,
  4. Prospect has a clear timeline for purchasing our Services within six (6) months from becoming a MQL.

Opportunity

Behavior: Automatically updated

When a Prospect is associated with a Deal (Opportunity) then the system will automatically move their Lifecycle Stage to Opportunity. 

Customer

Behavior: Automatically updated

 

When a Prospect is associated with a Deal (Opportunity) and the Deal moves to Closed-Won then the system will automatically move their Lifecycle Stage to Customer. 

Evangelist / Disqualified

Behavior: Manually updated

Move Prospects to this status as you see fit. 

Other

Behavior: Manually updated

The Other Lifecycle Stage can contain any statuses you wish. We use Former Customer under Other to better track who our former clients are.

 

For additional information about Lead Liaison solutions, visit https://leadliaison.com or complete a demo request for a personalized walkthrough.

How to Design a Successful Lead Distribution Process

How to Design a Successful Lead Distribution ProcessDon’t let another lead slip through the cracks because of poor lead distribution practices. Minimize human error through an automated distribution system while also implementing an analytical way to effectively distribute your hard-earned leads. There are several methods of lead distribution to choose from; it is critical that you have done due diligence in determining the best process for distributing your leads. Take the following considerations into account when determining how to design a successful lead distribution process for your team that will maximize conversion.

Iterative Process

First and most importantly, optimize the distribution process through iterative evaluation—test, evaluate, optimize, and retest. Each lead is different and each sales rep unique, so it is expected that results will vary each time. Create a systematically evolving process that encompasses the most effective combination of the various distribution methods (round robin, push/pull, top performers, etc), depending on which stage of the sale you’re in. No one method will be the most effective; rather it’s a combination of them that will produce the successful lead distribution process.

Utilize Your Skill Sets

With your marketing automation practices, you are already collecting a plethora of data on each lead. Put it to use. Use the “specialization method” of lead distribution to assign leads to reps based on the lead’s interest and buying readiness (all of which can be found through visitor tracking practices). Evaluate the lead’s profile and distribute to a specific channel that will enable your rep to be the most prepared and able to accommodate the lead.

Evaluating each lead before distribution can be a timely process and may or may not be worth the marketing team’s time; reserve this method for leads that have greater buyer readiness (based on their previous behavior). Misdirecting a lead can have a detrimental consequence, for example, sending a lead to the incorrect sales rep and wasting the lead’s time as they are redirected to the correct sales rep with the corresponding expertise.

Effective Scaling

In order to design a successful lead distribution process, you must be able scale the lead management process effectively. For high volume lead processing, round robin is not the best route to take. Take time to understand the patterns, and from those results implement a shared push/pull method that enables sales reps to better manage their workloads (which translates to higher quality lead nurturing) while also holding them accountable for assigned tasks.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. There are many dynamic factors to consider when you are trying to design a successful lead distribution process, and because of this, the best distribution process is a constantly evolving one. Keep in mind the skill sets of your sales reps, the specifics of each product being sold, and the expectations of the leads. Utilize marketing automation practices to increase ROI and decrease lead loss. To learn more about how Lead Liaisons can make your lead distribution process more efficient, check out their solutions.

3 Things to Know About Lead Distribution

3 Things to Know About Lead DistributionStudies have shown that automating your lead distribution process leads to higher conversion rates. Advanced marketing automation software ensures that more of your reps’ precious time is spent interacting with prospects rather than organizing lead distribution manually. Here are 3 things to know about lead distribution and a few things to know when implementing the most effective marketing automation platform for your teams:

1. Collaboration

Communication is key when it comes to moving a prospect forward. Each business runs differently, but having an organized way of passing a lead around is mandatory for success. Be sure all of the reps on the team have a simple way of updating a prospect’s status so that when it’s time to distribute, all the necessary information is in place.

2. Methods

The most common methods for lead distribution can be categorized into a push, pull, or hybrid.In addition to the 3 things to know about lead distribution, here are 3 things to know about lead distribution methods:

Push. Lead Liaison offers the Round Robin approach, a push method that evenly disseminates leads to the appropriate reps in a systematic, cyclical manner. Performance-based distribution is also a push method, where the incentive to turn the prospect into an opportunity is to gain another lead. Criteria-based distribution is another push method, where prospects are assigned using location or type.

Pull. Rather than pushing prospects out to the reps, another method is the pull method. This allows reps to take charge and pull prospects from the pool when they’re ready to take them on. Pulled leads can be regulated in a few ways, such as ensuring the rep’s other prospects have been advanced or enacting a cap on each day’s pull allowed.

Hybrid. As you would guess, the hybrid method is a thoughtful combination of both push and pull methods. An example would be using the Round Robin technique in addition to allowing reps to pull new prospects under a set of conditions (which could be performance-based).

3. Getting Higher Conversion

Managing an effective system of lead distribution helps increase conversions. A higher contact rate—more interaction between the reps and their prospects—is one of the best indicators of higher conversion rates. Deciding on the method(s) of distribution that best fits the needs of your business may be difficult, but finding that balance (even through trial and error) will boost the business in the long run.

By automating lead distribution, your team will have more time to focus on creating personalized campaigns and to contact prospects in a more meaningful way. For more information on how Lead Liaison can manage your lead distribution, click here.

Pervasive B2B Lead Distribution Methods

Pervasive B2B Lead Distribution Methods Looking for some good B2B lead distribution methods? Businesses aggressively seeking methodologies for effective lead distribution to their sales forces sometimes face invariable roadblocks which prevent those leads from finding their proper home. Although techniques commonly used by marketing teams work only part of the time when marketing to consumers, business leads are highly touted as ‘gold’ since the expected ticket prices are substantially higher.  To quantify success in lead distribution, following the methods below will springboard your B2B lead circulation efforts so the right department within your company, or the right person, receives and nurtures the lead.

Round Robin With Top Producers

We’d all love to pass leads off to proven closers in mass quantities; since this isn’t entirely possible, passing out leads to top producers in round robin fashion will keep fairness across the board, allow historically unseasoned salespersons to shine under pressure and keep excessive workloads off one person.  When your company is facing lead scarcity, perhaps start your distribution with top gun producers and work your way down as leads become available.

Stick With FIFO

Much like perishable foods, leads begin accruing shelf life when either bought live, or received just minutes ago.  In order to prevent stagnancy in lead distribution, stick with first in, first out when leads come into your database.  Organizing aging leads can become problematic if you’re not proactive in keeping each prospect assigned to a sales associate, and this can be taken care of through FIFO.

Pushing / Pulling

Businesses can benefit from well-organized office setups by having leads ‘pushed’ to the sales team as they call or fill out lead capture forms.  This automated method of handling lead distribution makes utilizing both round robin and live transfer so different sales team members receive leads intermittently.  On the opposite side of this are lead pulls which occur when larger call centers obtain sizable numbers of leads hourly and pull them from queue to call or email.  Both distribution methods rely upon accurate lead automation methods albeit online or via call center.

The Hunt Group

Some larger volume sale forces find that load balancing can be problematic when thousands of leads are being handled by only fifty calling agents.  Using the hunt group methodology, lead management teams attempt to find sales pipelines or available agents who can handle a customer, and pass the lead off to them.  Although this method of lead distribution heavily relies on human accuracy and agent capabilities in handling large scale lead loads, proper metrics and lead scoring techniques could make hunt groups an effective stratagem for distribution of mass quantities of leads.

Tele-Qualifying

Becoming increasingly popular in the lead distribution sector of larger businesses is prequalifying leads through large-scale telemarketing firms who can properly route calls to exact sales agents prepared to handle the lead.  This provides an excellent avenue to properly segment what each lead wants, where they best fit across your sales boards and who would best close the sale with the candidate.  Mortgage lead qualification specialists perfected this method of lead distribution and many other companies have adopted it as their own.

Avoiding Grab Bags And More

If you’re using trash can lead dumping, or, simply tossing hundreds of leads in the air for anyone to pick, the percentage of closed leads is probably plummeting for your company.  Choosing the most effective circulation method for your business to business lead efforts means understanding what is available to you, and the above methods have proven time and time again to properly route leads to closers equipped to handle specific customers for the sales closing.