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Buzzwords in Marketing Automation: Lead Scoring – The Fast Way to Convert Leads

lead scoringIn order for marketing automation to be successful, you need to understand the quality of your leads. Leads are evaluated based on their readiness to buy, with cold leads requiring a lot of nurturing and hot leads ready to take their credit cards out and buy. Lead scoring is an effective way to identify hot leads, so that you can send them over to your sales team. Companies that do this properly spend more time focusing on leads that are “ripe”, while “unripe” leads continue to be nurtured through other automations.

Lead Scoring 101 – How It Works

When people visit your site, they complete a series of actions, and each action tells a story. If someone reads your About Us page, it shows a little bit of interest. However, if someone drops something in a shopping cart or downloads a white paper, it tells a different story. Every person who visits your website is a lead but each person is different, and you must treat them as such. You cannot treat the person who visits your About Us page the same as you treat the person who abandons something in the shopping cart.

That’s where lead scoring comes into play. With this marketing automation strategy, you assign a value to each action on your site. For instance, you could say that putting something in a shopping cart is worth 100 points and downloading a white paper is worth 50 points.

Setting a Target Score with Lead Scoring

You will need to set a target score that indicates a lead is ready to go to your sales team. This magic number means someone is ready to talk to a member of the team and make a purchase. Don’t set this number too low, or you’ll aggravate your visitors. Then again, don’t set it too high, or you’ll lose potential customers. This will take some practice. Spend some time finding your industry’s sweet spot. Each industry (and even each company) has its own sweet spot. Finally, don’t pick a number and stick with it. Have sales and marketing work together to always fine tune the lead scoring threshold. Consider creating a sales and marketing service level agreement to identify what should be scored.

Consider Other Qualifications Besides Lead Scoring

For many companies, lead scoring isn’t enough. Qualify your leads further by combining lead scoring with additional criteria, such as age, location, education level, company, and more using concepts like lead grading. It’s possible to adjust the lead score based on these criteria to better represent the quality of the lead.

Lead scoring is an advanced process and one you should not take on by yourself. It’s something that you get set a process for and move on, giving you more time to closing that deal. Automate it with easy-to-use software like Lead Liaison. This lead scoring software will help you identify your leads and convert them into customers.

 

Understanding Your Leads With Lead Liaison

Understanding Your Leads With Lead LiaisonIn order to both market effectively to your customers and enable your sales team to be able convert potential customers, you need to start understanding your leads, both on an individual scale and your lead database as a whole. After all, even the most skilled sales team can put up less than stellar conversion numbers if they are handed too many leads, or are not given the appropriate information to sell to promising leads. Lead Liaison incorporates a wide variety of features to help your marketing team gather information about your leads, and integrates this with features to communicate that information with the sales team.

Gather Information About Your Leads To Market Effectively

In order to learn whether your leads are ready to buy or receptive to your companies’ services, you need a way for your marketing team to gather information about them. Lead Liaison features many tools to help accomplish that. One of the most important ways to do this is with automatic lead scoring, which will score activities such as web form submissions, page views, video activity, document downloads and many other statistics, all of which can customized. In addition, Lead Liaison will connect to a lead’s social media profiles, pulling any pertinent data and adding it to their profile, helping you understand as much as possible about your leads.

All of this information is compiled into Lead Liaison’s hot lead dashboard, entitled Briefcase. This tool is designed to help your sales team interpret the data that your marketing team has gathered about leads, and will help your sales force be able to quickly access how warm any given lead is. These levels are based on a wide range of qualification factors, such as overall activity, buy signals and lead grade so the software can comb the entire database to eliminate duplicates, ensuring your sales reps never irritates a potential customer with over access.

Maintain A Relationship With All Leads, Cold Or Hot

Leads are not only potential customers when your marketing or sales team first comes in contact with them, and many of your potential leads may not be ready for the service you provide at the moment they enter your radar. In order to maximize these cold leads, and convert them into customers when the time is right, Lead Liaison has automated nurturing tools to open a conversation and keep your company present in a potential customer’s mind for when they do require your services. Our automated tools will continue to track a customer who may not be a warm lead yet, and will inform you if their pattern of behavior indicates that they could potentially become a candidate for conversion.

Lead Liaison offers many useful and efficient tools to help you, your marketing department and your sales team understand all of your leads information in order to help make sales. Visit our revenue generation blog and marketing automation resources page to learn more about how you can increase your business with Lead Liaison, and visit our website to learn more about how our software can help you gather information about your customers.

Marketing at the Top of the Funnel

Marketing at the Top of the FunnelWhat does it mean to focus your marketing at the “top of the funnel?” The sales funnel is essentially a model that depicts the purchasing process of prospects. The top of the funnel, the widest part, is where your brand makes itself known to the potential customer; this is prospect awareness and education. As the funnel narrows, so does your prospect pool. Here, your marketing and sales efforts become much more direct and personalized and you can focus on quality lead nurturing. The bottom of the funnel is when the purchase is made—leads turn into paying customers. When you maintain strong marketing at the top of the funnel, the bottom of the funnel should never be empty.

Marketing at the top of the funnel can include several different types of practices; a couple of the most successful include social media marketing and content marketing (namely, via blogging). Take a look at all of your current marketing channels: email marketing, blog posts, search ads, social media posts, how-to videos, etc. Which are the ones that educate prospects and invite them to explore your website? In order to answer that question, you need to have a solid understanding of who your prospects are and what they’d like to know. The best way to figure that out is to monitor your marketing analytics so you can keep an eye on the numbers that matter in terms of your company’s goals. Taking a look at these numbers will show you which articles are most popular, what your social media followers like to read, and which landing page designs are most effective in terms of leading the prospect to the information they are looking for.

As far as the overall process of the funnel, here’s a simplistic overview:

  1. Start with content marketing (blog/social media).
  2. Insert links that take the visitor to your landing pages.
  3. Provide something of value on the landing pages (for example, whitepaper downloads).
  4. Continue to nurture the lead with personalized information that helps them to make their purchasing decision.

When implementing marketing at the top of the funnel, communication between marketing and sales is key. This allows the sales process to continually evolve and increase effectiveness with each cycle. An effective marketing plan leads to a more effective sales process. Involving marketing at the top of the funnel means implementing productive marketing strategies at the early stages of a prospect’s interactions. Here, you can weed out the ones who are not likely to turn in to paying customers, saving your sales team time on those wasted efforts.

How to Create a Successful Sales and Marketing Collaboration Plan

How to Create a Successful Sales and Marketing Collaboration PlanIt’s no secret: a well-oiled organization understands the necessity of inter-department collaboration and productive communication. In order to boost lead generation, keep leads nurtured and happy, and gain return customers, you must have a successful sales and marketing collaboration plan in place. Maintaining a healthy communication internally should translate to developing a strong engagement with the target audience which helps boost your rate of return.

Marketing automation, smartly implemented, can make this process easier and more efficient. However, without sales and marketing collaboration and alignment, your sales team will inevitably waste time following leads that just aren’t qualified (yet). By keeping both parties in the know on how to properly analyze your lead tracking practices, you’ll find it’s much easier to nurture leads and provide personalized marketing efforts. Cold calling everyone who signs up for your newsletter will probably deter leads from taking the next step and you’ll risk looking desperate. Strategize and implement a clear and concise protocol for points of contact to potential leads at the appropriate times.

Maintain two-way communication

Studies have shown that returning customers make up a significant portion of your revenue, so proper lead nurturing sets the stage for a lasting relationship. Ensure your sales and marketing collaboration plan includes guidelines on how and what is communicated between departments. This level of collaboration means greater customer satisfaction through better communicated ideas. Let your marketers set up sales for success through targeted marketing campaigns that communicate a positive message about your brand and delivers what the potential customers are looking for.

Keep tasks relevant and separate (don’t do the same thing twice)

While collaboration is key, it’s still a good idea to have tasks and responsibilities that the marketing team is responsible for, and tasks and responsibilities that the sales team is responsible for. This is the reason for the division—play up each department’s strengths. The marketing team should be able to create killer content that gives the sales team the upper hand when it’s their turn to reach out to qualified leads. Sales and marketing collaboration means communicating key points between departments, not consolidating the whole process into just one team or the other.

Strategic implementation of your marketing automation practices between sales and marketing is critical. Because most of your potential customers will find your brand through the internet, chances are they can easily find your competitors as well. Use the analytics from your marketing automation to draw up a plan of action for your leads as they request more information and take the next steps. The joint efforts of both departments will enforce this plan of action. The marketing team needs to head up key strategic, back-end development while the sales team can focus on maintaining lead (and customer) satisfaction. Keeping the customer in mind throughout the whole process means keeping everybody engaged and will provide the greatest return.

Making Workflow Automation Simpler and More Manageable

Workflow AutomationOne of the most challenging tasks business owners face is workflow automation. Without someone sitting in the middle of everything and pulling all the necessary levers to get things done, many businesses struggle with engaging in a variety of tasks – including marketing automation and lead flow.

Workflow automation doesn’t have to be painful, and it doesn’t require hiring a full time project manager for your business. The right marketing automation system can give you a workflow out of the box without a lot of hassle or time training.

Determining Your Workflow

The key to using software to get your workflow automated is to establish dependencies. This means that once an action happens on the business side, tasks, follow up and lead flow are created automatically.

Before marketing automation, business owners and project managers had to determine and set up these lead flow channels themselves. Workflow changes all that. The right marketing automation system allows your company to create these dependencies, schedule them for you and keep everything in one place so you know what isn’t getting done and can delegate accordingly.

For instance, say your dashboard registers a new lead. This lead comes in the form of an opt-in, containing an address and business information. You can set up a dependency on your backend to add this new lead to a certain geo-targeted or relevant content list. You can set tasks in your project management system for your sales team to call this lead within a few days after you get it.

The Power of Workflow Automation

You can also collect emails and send correspondence each time a new user visits your site. That’s something that a human project manager simply can’t do for you – no one should be tasked with watching IP addresses and a ticker all day to try to get leads deeper into your funnel. That’s why automation is so important – it takes the hassle out of marketing and gives you the option to create dependencies that allow business management tasks ease of flow.

Lead Liaison’s dependencies and workflow automation are set up within a program called Sparks. Lead Liaison’s automated software will monitor your back end and lead flow, and then create a series of events in the system once certain triggers happen. From a filled out lead form to a visitor coming to your site, different Sparks can be set up to create events in the backend of your business you can use to make your daily operations more productive. We’d love to show you how Sparks works – connect with us today for a consult!

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!

Marketing Automation and the 3 Pillars of Lead Management

Marketing Automation and the 3 Pillars of Lead ManagementManaging your B2B marketing leads is a process that runs through three phases: generation, qualification, and nurturing. Back in the day, marketers generated leads that the sales team had to qualify and nurture. Now the three pillars of lead management can be optimized by using a marketing automation platform (MAP). The introduction of the MAP in the B2B community saves time, improves sales productivity, and helps manage leads until they are ready for your sales team.

Lead Generation

Lead gen is best practiced when you deploy outbound and inbound marketing assets. A marketing automation platform fits with both asset types. You’re able to track a lead’s behavior – which assets did he engage with, what time did he visit your site? Marketing automation allows you to “batch” lead gen activities over extended periods in very little time. For example, creating and scheduling three integrated email delivery and social posting campaigns can be accomplished by a single marketer in as little as a few hours.

Lead Qualification

Once leads have been captured, automated marketing engagements provide consistent opportunities to gather lead intelligence. Capturing data is a strength of marketing automation because it allows marketers to present consistent message delivery, which engenders trust from potential buyers. Marketing automation users gather lead intelligence more easily than using traditional methods through the automated delivery of multiple messages through multiple channels (scheduled at one time) – all exhibiting a consistent brand that leads can be comfortable sharing information with.

Lead Nurturing

Perhaps the most important stage of the lead management process is lead nurturing. Lead nurturing for most companies is best accomplished through a well-planned campaign of escalating messaging and increasingly engaging activities. You may start with an email campaign that offers a free download then extend an invitation to a webinar then provide a ten-minute product demonstration. For most companies earning over $2 million annually, there are likely multiple campaigns running at the same time. A marketing automation platform runs each campaign simultaneously, moving leads through the pipeline without extensive personnel resources.

With marketing automation you can execute and monitor all three phases of lead management from one user interface. These days, buyers are faced with countless distractions and it may take months or years to convert a prospect. Generating revenue requires a commitment to consistency that is easily maintained through a marketing automation platform.

Using a marketing automation platform like our Lead Management Automation™ application can ensure that the three pillars of lead management remain strong for your company.