Posts

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.

How Economy Changes Affect Your Sales Funnel

How Economy Changes Affect Your Sales FunnelAs a small business owner, being able to define and understand your own sales funnel is key to a streamlined sales process. That isn’t all – your sales funnel can change fairly drastically over time, so it’s important to anticipate changes and be ready for them.

One of the best examples is a recession. Let’s look at PPC in particular. When our general market is good and people are able to buy and spend as needed, there’s far less pressure on sales to perform. Higher ticket items tend to go a little faster and without hesitation. For instance, a $1000-1500 ticket item might go out the door within minutes when the economy is doing well.

Recession Changes Everything

As we’ve seen in the last few years, nothing good necessarily lasts forever. The last US recession left the seller’s market vulnerable. Whereas a high-ticket item might move quickly in 2006, 2008 was a totally different story. $1000+ items might require a much deeper sales funnel on the part of the seller to guarantee an actual purchase.

The recession sent many sellers out of business who weren’t ready for a deeper sales funnel. Some business owners just weren’t prepared for:

  • The need to establish quicker lead response times
  • Implementing a social media or email marketing strategy to ‘convince’ people to buy
  • Changing or optimizing web pages for deeper visits
  • The need to better track the progress of leads through a deeper sales funnel

Business owners who were willing to gather their resources and think about good lead intelligence and new sales funnel strategies had a better chance of surviving the recession.

Sales Funnel Strategy via Marketing Automation

Being prepared for what may come as a business owner is all about developing your funnel – and these days, automating it. Marketing automation allows business owners a better system for tracking leads that works hand-in-hand with a well-defined funnel. The result is a process you can understand, data you can read and a strategy you can execute on.

When you use marketing automation, you’ll find that each step of your sales funnel becomes easy to execute. The specific information you’re able to retain from each customer becomes useful in terms of how the lead approaches your next step, or how he or she will be sold in the future.

If you haven’t tried out marketing automation tools for use with your sales funnel, now is a better time than ever. Talk to one of us here at Lead Liaison about how marketing automation can fill out your funnel and do the hard work for you.

Lead Liaison Improves Healthcare Industry Lead Management Practices

Allen, TX (PRWEB) August 17, 2013 – Lead Liaison is making life easier for companies associated with the U.S. $2.8 trillion dollar healthcare industry. Earlier this year the innovative lead management/marketing automation provider launched a targeted campaign to assist healthcare services vendors.  Lead Liaison developers worked closely with healthcare vendors to optimize the company’s flagship platform, the Lead Management Automation™ system, to help with healthcare industry lead management.

“The healthcare segment is especially sensitive to relationship development,” said VP of communications, Alex Brown. “Physicians and other medical services professionals are extremely busy and must manage their time judiciously. The buying cycle for that market can be long, and challenging to maintain using traditional methods. Vendors who serve the healthcare markets are finding Lead Liaison’s  LMA platform allows them to connect with their prospects more efficiently and effectively, in terms of asset distribution practices .”

Alex BrownVP Corporate CommunicationsLead Liaison

Lead Liaison is providing healthcare services companies with the ability to segment their markets and deliver customized messages to specific lead types. For example, a new Lead Liaison client that provides financial planning, contract review, and insurance advice, is able to separate their database by prospect type (physicians from advisors), marketing interactions (opened emails, visited select pages) and products purchased. By using Lead Liaison’s LMA platform, the client can seamlessly target physicians to discuss life insurance products while targeting advisors with informative material to help them foster curriculum and educational services to students.

Similar healthcare vendors will experience three key benefits in using the LMA platform: 1) creating and scheduling automated responses to digital inquiries; 2) increasing efficiencies within resource constrained marketing and sales teams; and 3) providing a structure for their lead engagement practices.

“Our new client’s marketing practices have to be efficiently run across multiple prospect categories. On top of that, they need to be responsive to lead inquiries within a structured market engagement program,” said Brown. “They serve a demanding marketplace, in terms of response time, that requires incremental value as they interact with a vendor. The LMA allows them to nurture leads at the pace they require.”

Alex BrownVP Corporate CommunicationsLead Liaison

Healthcare services companies interested in how they can improve lead management practices can request a 10-minute healthcare lead management demonstration.

****

Lead Liaison is an application development company that designs, develops, and sells cloud-based marketing and sales automation software. The company markets to small and medium-sized businesses worldwide, and focuses on creating the broadest and most user-friendly revenue generation software platform. Applications cover all phases of lead management automation including sales prospecting, lead generation, and marketing automation functions that directly influence revenue generation. It’s innovative and robust lead management platform combines unparalleled sales prospecting, lead capture, real-time lead tracking, lead qualification, lead distribution, database segmentation, lead nurturing and ROI reporting. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model delivers an effective user experience and integrated cloud computing capabilities.

For More Information:

Alex Brown
VP, Corporate Communications
abrown(at)leadliaison(dot)com
888.895.3237 (888 89 LEADS)

 

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. Lead management automation 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.

Social Posting for Lead Management Success

Social Posting for Lead Management SuccessThese days, B2B marketers are using social posting for lead management success and lead management purposes. Social media engagement is still a fairly new tactic but there are a few rules that have been established that should be followed in order to achieve success at managing leads through this channel.

Post Frequently – But Not Too Frequently

While there is no magic formula for exactly how often to post on social sites, most marketers consider 3-6 daily posts as sufficient to generate views. Keep in mind that posting will likely not be effective if overused. It’s extremely important not to post simply for the sake of putting something out there. Viewers want substance so, unless there is something meaningful to post, avoid filling up your leads’ post feeds.

Social media managers are constantly concerned with the best time of day to post. The answer often varies depending on the channel. Professional sites like LinkedIn are most often viewed before and after work hours, while Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are more heavily visited at different times throughout the day. Most SM experts agree that posting at night is very ineffective.

Which days are most effective? That depends on the site but most SM visits occur early in the week (Monday – Thursday). Image/video sites like Pinterest or Instagram are frequently visited on the weekend while LinkedIn has more traffic at the beginning of the week.

Use Hashtags to Join or Create Conversations

Hashtags (phrases starting with “#”) are used to group comments around specific topics, such as #marketing automation or #generate quality leads. By embedding a hashtag in your post, you connect a post to a conversation about that topic. This tactic helps to gain exposure and provides a way to establish a knowledge authority or thought leadership position.

Microblogging sites like Twitter, Tumblr,  Flickr, and Google+ are channels where you can deploy hashtags. They can be placed anywhere within the post and posters can embed multiple hashtags in one post. If enough site members promote a hashtag by retweeting or sharing, that hashtag will “trend”, which means the term will appear in trending topics for that site.

Provide Answers

Use social posting as a means to help your markets overcome issues or challenges. SM is an effective way to display your expertise and willingness to provide solutions. Post links to content that shows how to troubleshoot a problem or optimize your solutions. Social posts are a great way to build links back to site pages that address customer concerns or provide FAQs.

Linking to reputable knowledge authorities in your industry can be effective at supporting your online presence. Connect your account with popular figures that can help provide credibility and confidence in your company.

Don’t use social media to broadcast features or benefits of your solutions. While buyers may include SM as part of their purchasing research, they don’t often use this channel to discover new products. Prospects will likely turn to SM to see what others are saying about available solutions (in the same vein as review sites), so avoid making claims or promoting your solutions. (However, social sites may be appropriate to post upcoming event announcements or other one-time experiences.)

When used wisely, automated social media posting can drive website traffic, engage your leads, and provide an effective public image for your B2B company.

You Can’t Execute Lead Management Without…

Wrestling with Lead ManagmentSales agents (and now marketing teams) often wrestle with lead management policies. You can’t execute lead management without the right approach. Here are a few key lead management strategies that every enterprise should adopt.

Lead nurturing

There are plenty of numbers being thrown around regarding how many leads are ready to buy on first contact. 50%…65-85%…90%. Whatever the number, the point is that most times marketing leads need to be nurtured (cultivated) so they grow into sales prospects. What’s the best way to be effective at lead nurturing? Create a strategy that advances leads through constantly escalating engagements. (But keep in mind that you can’t herd all leads to the sales engagement gate at the same pace; message delivery should be aligned with where leads are in the buying cycle.)

Lead scoring

As leads are qualified and nurtured, they should be scored and/or graded for quality. To properly execute lead management, companies should grade both physical and business attributes (explicit score) to ensure leads that are generated fit a customer persona. Next, online behaviors (implicit score) should be scored for relevancy. Combining explicit and implicit metrics provides a holistic image of leads that can be used to determine how deep into the buying cycle they are and whether they fit the profile.

Determining “sales-ready” value

Too many times sales gets a lead that, when contacted, shows little interest or capacity to buy. Should sales have received that lead at that time? For companies that simply send marketing leads en masse when they are generated, it’s no wonder that 80% are ignored, discarded, or lost. Sales and marketing should work together to define what a sales ready lead looks like. Sales agents know best about what leads convert to customers while marketers know how to generate leads. Put those two in a room and get them to define how sales-ready leads are while they advance through the pipeline.

Providing a seamless transition

As leads are nearing transition from marketing-qualified lead (MQL) status to sales-qualified lead (SQL) status the handoff from marketing to sales should be non-evident to your leads. Marketing must furnish sales with information about messaging used during nurturing, lead score, length of time in the marketing pipeline, and so on. When a lead moves to your CRM, sales agents shouldn’t have to recreate the lead experience. A marketing automation platform that integrates with popular CRMs can help with creating a seamless lead transition.

Evaluation

I know: it seems like common sense. But a surprising number of enterprises do not evaluate program performance effectively. Marketers need to know if the leads they are sending sales are good potential closes. To determine marketing effectiveness, sales should inform marketers about close rates, lead-to-prospect rates, and other metrics. From that information, marketing should evaluate messaging, delivery, channel, day-part, offers, and engagement tools.