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Actionable Data – What to Do with Website Visitor Tracking Info, like use it for Lead Qualification

Actionable Data-What to Do with Website Visitor Tracking InfoOnce you have information from your website visitor tracking, you need to know what to do with it. After all, information does not provide much value if you do not put it to use. Below, we cover a few ways you can put the information you obtain from website visitor tracking into use.

The Importance of Lead Qualification

One of the ways in which you can use your actionable data is by qualifying leads. Lead qualification is a two-way street. In addition to understanding whether a lead is interested in your products and/or services, you also need to determine whether you are interested in that lead. After all, you need to invest sales resources in pursuing that lead. If you feel that the lead is not strong enough, you might decide not to invest those resources. The most common reason for this is that you feel the lead simply is not qualified to purchase. This technique gives your sales team the ability to focus on the most likely leads without wasting resources on unlikely candidates.

There are several important questions that you need to ask in order to determine whether a lead is actually qualified or not. Two of the most important questions to ask are whether the lead actually needs your product/service and whether they will use it. It should always be kept in mind that many people will search for things they want online, but that doesn’t mean they need it. It’s always more challenging to convince someone to buy something when they don’t actually need it. Assuming that your lead needs your product/service, you also need to consider whether he or she will be able to implement it. One of the most significant challenges to implementing a product/service is potential capital requirements that extend beyond the purchase itself, such as recurring costs.

Another excellent way to put that data to use is understanding the best time to follow up with visitors. Among the goals of lead qualification is to deliver the best leads to your sales team first. Yet, at the same time, you want to nurture other leads that may be interested in your products and/or services until the time they are actually ready to buy.

For more posts from this series see:

  1. Uncovering lost opportunities with website visitor tracking
  2. Getting the most from website visitor tracking
  3. Going beyond page views and gaining insight into online activity
  4. Actionable data from tracking visitors
  5. Understanding when to follow up, the importance of tracking
  6. Using website visitor tracking over time to build higher quality leads

3 Steps to Drive Lead Qualification through Marketing Automation

Drive Lead Qualification through Marketing AutomationIt’s no surprise that marketing automation opens opportunities for managing your leads like never before; but how else can you use the system to benefit your business? A case study by Marketing Sherpa found that utilizing marketing automation can drive more 75% more leads. Even though you’ve got this huge flood of leads, we know they don’t qualify and convert themselves. What could be the risks involved with passing all of the new leads on to sales? How hazardous is it to prematurely qualify leads? Manage the influx of leads and drive lead qualification through marketing automation.

What qualities do “qualified leads” embody? Although this is a crucial question, it will inevitably be different for each organization that attempts to define it. It is imperative that the sales and marketing agree on some of the “static” characteristics of the ideal lead that is nearing their buying decision. Some of the static definitions of each lead will derive from pieces of their profile that are unlikely to change in the next few quarters, such as their job title, the size of their company, their geographic location, etc. Each of these items will factor into their score, and ultimately, how they’re qualified and whether or not they get pushed to sales. Here are three things that will help drive lead qualification through marketing automation:

Monitor Lead Engagement

In order to properly and completely profile each lead and potential lead, it’s necessary to have a good handle on the amount of contact they’ve had with your brand. There’s nothing worse than to scare away a prospect by pushing them to sales too early. With the right tools, marketing automation can make tracking visitor activity a breeze, with gadgets like desktop clients. Monitor your landing page traffic in real time, see which links/images are getting the most hits, and discover who’s spending the greatest amount of time on your site. With the various tools that marketing automation affords your business, it becomes less of a chore to discover and evaluate the potential buyers’ interest levels.

Prioritize and Push (only) the Hottest Leads to Sales

Shorten the sales cycle by prioritizing the prospects who have shown their readiness to make buying decisions. Understand, gauge, and encourage their readiness through effective and diligent lead nurturing practices. Utilize personalized email messages and targeted content to engage and drive lead qualification through marketing automation. By prioritizing the leads that are most ready to buy, your sales team is less likely to waste their time chasing prospects who do not feel informed enough to make a decision. Along the same thread, don’t give up on these leads. They may only require a little extra TLC and the right nurturing campaign to push them over to the qualified side.

Ensure your CRM is Synced

Chances are, your marketing automation software is equipped to automatically synch with the CRM. Be sure you’re not entering the same information in multiple platforms. Synching up the common platforms between both the sales and the marketing teams provides a greater visibility, stronger communication, and an overall clearer plan of action.

3 Ways Marketing Automation Helps Qualify Sales Leads

3 Ways Marketing Automation Helps Qualify Sales LeadsDon’t waste your sales reps’ valuable time and energy chasing leads that are dead ends or aren’t your ideal buyers. But how do you weed out unfit leads from your database? It’s tedious work, even with the ability to do extensive research online. Let software relieve some of these headaches by using marketing automation to help qualify sales leads and determine which leads are worth the effort. We’re excited to share 3 ways marketing automation helps qualify sales leads.

Understand your ideal buyers

Train sales reps to qualify leads by considering long-term compatibility and potential relationships that can be built. By considering the profitability down the road, you have the opportunity to build and maintain a working relationship with these leads, communicate regularly through personalized outbound efforts, build trust, and ultimately end up with an ideal buyer. Merging creative efforts between your sales and marketing teams to determine the most effective traits you expect of the ideal buyers will greatly benefit your company. They come in handy not only for the sales team in their lead qualification process, but also for the marketing team in focusing their targeted efforts.

Maintain your database

In order to have a well-oiled CRM, it’s important to utilize lead management practices that will make life easier for sales reps and help them close more leads. Once you’ve set behavioral characteristics for your ideal buyers, Lead Liaison’s marketing automation software will help qualify sales leads and update that information for you. No need to worry about manually entering the details.

Ask the right questions

There’s no faster way to lose a lead or misqualify a lead than to have the sales rep asking indirect or irrelevant questions. Because you should be able to qualify your sales lead into one category or the other after the first call, it’s critical to gather the right information from them as efficiently as possible. During the collaboration meeting between the sales and marketing teams (as mentioned above), a helpful exercise is to brainstorm targeted questions for sales reps to ask prospects in that first phone conversation. We all know how sales calls can go—it’s easy to sound over-salesy if you exclaim the wonders of your company at the very start of the call. Instead, use that time to ask questions, determine if they may fit into the ideal buyer bucket, and most importantly, create a relationship and an emotional connection. Determine how they make decisions and what they’re looking for when they select a service provider.

Marketing automation software helps qualify sales leads through properly managing all of your lead information and ensuring accurate CRM upkeep so that sales reps have current data available to them as they need it. To learn more about how marketing automation software can help your business, check out Lead Liaison’s solutions.

Why Marketing Automation is Essential for Lead Qualification

Why Marketing Automation is Essential for Lead QualificationB2B lead qualification is a process of determining suitability for sales engagement, right? Actually, lead qual is just the opposite: it’s determining as quickly as possible if a lead is NOT interested in you at the moment and, furthermore, if you are NOT interested in that lead enough to devote sales resources to pursuing that lead. The way provide your sales team with the highest quality, most qualified leads is to manage leads through a marketing automation platform.

In ultra-competitive industries where 80% of leads are not worth pursuing at the first touch point, an effective lead qualification strategy manages leads in a way that delivers the hottest leads to sales first, nurtures others who may be interested in your solution until they are ready to buy, and ignores leads that appear unqualified to purchase. This allows your sales team to focus on the most likely candidates.

One of the strengths of deploying marketing automation is that the application segments and nurtures leads without directly engaging the sales team. The system can quickly indicate which leads are worth pursuing and which are just curious. Traditional practices have sales determining whether a lead is suitable to be a prospect, now marketing automation enables that process.

Marketing automation platforms, including our Lead Management Automation™ application, are designed to score leads as they engage with your brand. A lead threshold can be set that marks when a lead becomes marketing-qualified and ready to migrate to a CRM for sales engagement. The process puts the most likely buyers in front of sales. During the qualification process, leads accumulate scoring based upon demographic attributes and digital behavior. A good platform will manage leads as they become qualified at different paces.

B2B qualification these days is achieved more often by inbound marketing techniques. This allows prospects to qualify themselves. The key to merging inbound marketing and automated qualification is to translate initial interest into actionable data that sales agents can use when they engage with leads. Through MA the sales team is typically more efficient because reps aren’t chasing unqualified leads.

Inbound marketing allows you to let the prospect indicate how ready to purchase he may be. Inquiries such as ad clicks, website visits, email messages, and webinar registrations qualify leads by indicating their level of interest in your solution.

But there are two important questions that must be answered that marketing automation cannot provide. These questions must be answered during sales engagements.

  • Do they NEED your solution? People search online often with the desire to buy but may not have the need. It can often be more challenging to sales to convince a prospect of need when she realizes that a purchase fulifills only a desire to acquire your solution. Typically, these cases involve frequent and repeated objections.
  • If they need your solution, can they USE it? Does yoru prospect have the capability of implementing your solution or will implementation require investment in other areas? Often, a purchase makes sense in a standalone situation but if there are capital requirements beyond the purchase, a sale may actually move the customer to hold your brand in a negative view if money was wasted because a solution cannot be implemented without costly investment.

Lead qualification can take weeks or months. Without a marketing automation platform, lead qual will continue to be costly if handled by your sales team.

Out of the Box Lead Scoring

Out of the Box Lead ScoringOut of the Box Lead Scoring – Huh?

What is out of the box lead scoring? According to Wikipedia, “an out of the box feature or functionality, particularly in software, is a feature or functionality of a product that works immediately after install without any configuration or modification.” That’s exactly what we’ve brought to the table. We heard from many of our prospects and customers how other marketing automation systems had overly complex lead scoring techniques that took too long to map out and configure. When you really sit down and think about it, the majority of activities that a marketer and sales person want to capture and use in a scoring model are consistent across companies. The basic stuff like web form submissions, landing page views, email opens, etc.

We’ve introduced the industries most simplistic model – but we did that after introducing the industries most flexible model, our custom lead scoring. Our main goal was to keep things simple and get them working right away without compromising the deep customization that some companies covet. Now we’ve got the power of out of the box, instantly ready, lead scoring that marketers can harness and extend with custom lead scoring capability.

Why Should Marketers and Sales People Care about Out of the Box Lead Scoring?

Marketers come out looking like heroes when new leads are automatically qualified within minutes of implementing Lead Liaison. We’re still providing our Lead Scoring Model Designer which is a great tool to help companies put their lead scoring interests on paper. The only change now is that we’ve simplified the process. Our unique lead qualification capabilities gives marketers about five different individual parameters that get combined into a single priority rating for leads. How simple is that? What’s hot and what’s not, sales just wants to know. For marketers, what we find is that most marketers will use a fraction of the power of a marketing automation platform and often times lead scoring was de-prioritized over lead tracking, lead nurturing and other essential solutions. Our main differentiator in the marketplace is ease of use and simplicity. I think we’ve just upped the annie…brace yourself – or get back in the box 😉

How to Use Lead Scoring to Land Qualified Leads

How to Use Lead Scoring to Land Qualified LeadsMarketing automation generates a significant amount of leads, but it is the lead scoring process that filters and prioritizes leads to determine which are most qualified. Not every lead has the same potential. Lead scoring determines who has the highest chance of conversion, so the sales team is only focusing their energy on landing qualified leads. We’ll show you how to use lead scoring to land qualified leads.

Compare Leads against Current Customers

A lead will have a greater chance of conversion if their behavioral and demographic characteristics are similar to existing clientele. This is usually a strong sign they will have the same needs. Marketing automation can land more qualified leads by basing their criteria on their current customers.

Uses the Sales Team to Understand Customer’s Needs

Marketers should always ask the sales team for their opinion when they are developing lead scoring criteria and lead nurturing content. The sales team works directly with the company’s existing clients and they understand what they truly want.

Rank Criteria based on Relevancy

Every characteristic of a potential leads should be weighed based on relevancy. For example, a lead that clicks on a DIY video could imply that they are just using the site as a resource for information versus a lead that clicks on a page that contains product pricing and specifications. Higher value should be put on behavior that demonstrates sincere interest, like if someone volunteers personal information in an online registry to gain access to information.

Test Different Lead Scoring Criteria

There are some criteria that will have obvious relevancy, like whether or not someone clicks on a company’s contact page while other characteristics like a person’s purchasing history may not matter as much as you originally estimated. It is important to test different lead scoring criteria by not only changing the criteria, but by also adjusting the value assigned to the criteria.

For example: Let’s say that right now lead scoring determines that leads between the age of 40 and 50 are less relevant and therefore are assigned one point and leads ranked between the age of 20 and 30 are given four points because the product appeals to a younger demographic. If marketers notice that the business is now attracting an older audience, they can test the lead scoring by boosting the age 40 to 50 criteria up to two or three points. If older clients are truly interested in the product, this change could help the business land more qualified leads.

Include Criteria to Measure Inactivity

If a lead was active for a significant period of time and then they suddenly stop visiting the site, that behavior should also be considered as part of lead scoring. It may be an indicator that the lead nurturing content is not answering their needs or that they have already chosen to go purchase elsewhere.

Marketing automation was created to capture and land more qualified leads. This will be easier to accomplish if marketers use the right lead scoring criteria by involving sales in the process, basing it on relevancy, testing various criteria, and including inactivity. Lead scoring can be a powerful tool for ranking and prioritizing leads, so sales professionals are always focused on the people who have the highest potential for conversion.

You’re Bleeding Money if You Don’t Qualify Leads

You’re Bleeding Money if You Don’t Qualify LeadsLead qualification is all about determining a particular lead’s likelihood to buy. Qualification should be based on a few scoring factors – meaning, not all leads are created equal so you shouldn’t necessarily treat them as such. You’re bleeding money if you don’t qualify leads.

In qualifying leads, one thing to look at is the likelihood that the client will buy based on your sales team’s interaction with the client or the strength of their interest during initial inquiry. The second thing to look at is how the client matches up with the rest of your sales cycle – or your anticipated time frame in which the lead will become a customer via a purchase.

Lead qualification is not lead conditioning

Qualifying leads isn’t about conditioning them. Not every lead that comes through your pipeline is going to be as good as another. So if your sales team members are instructed to treat all incoming leads equally, you’re actually losing money.

You’re losing money because…

your sales team is putting effort into a potential dead end.

your sales team could be sending your client advertising materials or forwarding them to a particular URL on your website rather than spending time interfacing with them.

you’re setting up an expectation that a client will be heavily paid attention to and courted before the sale closes.

One of the biggest complaints between sales teams and analyst or product teams is disparity in the client’s expectations when they’re being onboarded. If your sales team has spent 30 minutes a day for two weeks or more courting a client for sale – especially for low budget clients – you can bet a converted client is going to expect the same treatment from your team analysts. Does this cost the client money? No. It costs you money and resources.

Where the CRM comes in

When you come up with lead qualification criteria, that criteria has to be applied universally for your entire team. Across the board, sales people need to be rating leads using the same qualifications that are standard to everyone else. Unless you have a CRM that’s robust enough – yet easy to use – for managing your sales qualification process, you’re going to have a hot mess on your hands.

When people come to Lead Liaison looking for help implementing a lead qualification process, every company’s needs are different. Some companies don’t have developmental or advertorial materials they can send to low-interest clients for follow-up. These companies are often either spending too much time on low-interest, ill-qualified leads or just ignoring them altogether – which means when their buying interest is picqued in the future, they might turn toward another company for service. Why would you want to lose a lead you could convert just by regularly staying in touch or sending sales materials?

For some companies, simply starting a company newsletter and maintaining an email list is enough to turn these low-interest leads into buys down the line. We never really know until we can get a good look at what the company has to offer.

If you get me on the phone, I know just the right questions to ask about how to start your lead qualification process and best manage it via CRM. Bigger companies aren’t willing to spend that kind of time on you – but I know that if Lead Liaison does, your CRM implementation and use process will go quickly and easily. We want you to make the most out of our application. Talk to me today about how lead qualifying can stop you from bleeding money – and get you started with a robust CRM that works for your whole team.

Quick Questions that will help Qualify Leads

Questions that will help Qualify LeadsThe ability to qualify leads and prioritize them based on their potential for conversion is priceless. However, before a company can put a lead scoring plan into place, they will first need to understand what constitutes a quality lead. By asking the right questions, a company can build an effective profile that will capture leads that have the highest potential for conversion.

Here are some quick questions that will help qualify leads

What does your average customer really need?

The first thing a company will need to figure out is what perceived value their product or service has to offer to the lead. What exactly do their customers want? Are they looking for a reputable company that cares about the environment? Do they want a provider who can offer 24 hour customer support? There is something specific every lead is looking for in a company and being able to determine what a lead needs is invaluable for qualification.

When will the lead be ready to purchase your service?

The next aspect a company needs to determine is what stage each lead is at in the buying process. Have they just started their online search? Do they seem anxious to make a decision? Has their frequency of visits increased? Figuring out where a lead is at in their buying process is essential when qualify a lead.

Why should they choose your product or service?

A business will also need to demonstrate to their leads what makes their product or service better than a competitor. This will not only involved understand what a lead wants in a product or service, but also understanding all of the options available to the potential buyer. Why is your product better? Is your price a selling feature? Why is your service superior? A company has to know the reason their offer is superior, so it can be promoted effectively.

Who is your ideal customer?

The most important aspect of lead scoring is using everything a company knows about their existing customers to create an ideal customer profile. What are their characteristics? What are their likes and dislikes? What type of online behavior do they display? By pinpointing attributes of an ideal customer, a business can create a profile for comparison that will generate high-quality leads.

By asking the right questions, a company can determine what their leads really need to know before they are ready to make a decision. They can also figure out what stage the lead is at in their buying process, what will make them want a particular product or service, and who fits their ideal customer profile. Just imagine what can be done with such valuable information.

The Final Steps toward Effective Lead Qualification

The Final Steps toward Effective Lead QualificationFor some companies there may be no shortage of leads. But how does the marketing team pass off the most qualified leads to your sales department? The answer is to take action that ensures your leads are ready to buy. This post is the second of a two-part series addressing effective lead qualification strategies.

Create an optimal lead profile

In our earlier post, The First Steps Toward Effective Lead Qualification, we recommended using a lead scoring system. In order to filter leads effectively, you should create a profile that embodies the characteristics and attributes that make up the type of lead that is most likely to buy from your company.

This profile should include firmographic information, such as revenues, number of employees, and locations that indicate a high likelihood of becoming a customer. Once these attributes have been selected, the next step is to determine what type of behaviors – online and offline – most likely lead to a sale. Behaviors such as website visits, webinar engagements, or phone inquiries should be included and be a part of your overall marketing strategy.

Using this information, your lead management system should prioritize and distribute leads according to how well they fit the optimal lead profile.

Monitor data

Lead qualification is based upon having the best data available. Is the information that is being collected accurate and complete? Today’s CRM tools provide incredible granularity and allow users to enter a plethora of information, but empty fields and inaccurate data can reduce the effectiveness of your sales team.

Both sales and marketing management should work together on a regular basis to ensure that lead qualification agents are providing sales agents with the most complete and accurate lead profiles.

Include personal contact

In most cases, effective lead qualification cannot take place without occasional personal contact. Automated lead management systems are tools of efficiency but are best used in conjunction with phone calls, personal emails, or other agent-driven communications.

Part of your lead nurturing process should include engagements that clarify pain points and cultivate demand. Without personal engagement prior to a sales call, the sales cycle is often longer.

Insert a sales development team

One way to improve the effectiveness of your lead qualification process is to introduce a sales development representative (SDR) prior to a sales agent engagement. An SDR can act as a liaison between marketing and sales by contacting marketing-qualified leads in an effort to determine how sales-ready they may be.

According to one industry expert, his lead conversion rate went from 5% to over 40% with the use of SDRs in his lead qualification program.

Using SDRs can lead to better economics as expensive sales agents are not engaging with prospects until that lead has been converted from a marketing-qualified lead to a sales-qualified lead. Many industry experts quote the following numbers:

  1. A 5% increase in selling time yields a 20% increase in revenue
  2. A 1% increase in pipeline value yields a 24% increase in revenue
  3. A 15% decrease in sales cycle length yields a 30% increase in revenue

These figures support the use of SDRs to further qualify leads that have advanced to the marketing-qualified lead stage in your marketing funnel. It may be an extra step, but this extra step has improved sales conversions for many companies.

Effective sales qualification can improve conversions, reduce irrelevant objections, and boost your revenue cycle. Some steps may even help develop talent to add to your sales team. The key to having the most productive, efficient sales funnel is to take the steps necessary to put the hottest, sales-ready leads in the hands of your experienced sales team quickly but effectively.

The First Steps Toward Effective Lead Qualification

The First Steps toward Effective Lead QualificationLead qualification is a multi-step process that moves suspects through your marketing pipeline and determines if they become a quality lead. It all starts with a lead inquiry. In this post we’ll discuss the first steps toward effective lead qualification.

Lead Inquiry

The first step in lead qualification is generating a lead inquiry, which is an interest signal from a suspect. The suspect may be genuinely interested in your solution or his reaction to a marketing message could be just curiosity. It may be tough to differentiate the two based upon one contact; however, there are techniques, such as opt-in forms, that can indicate a higher level of interest.

Outbound or inbound marketing can be used to generate a lead inquiry. Whether the inquiry comes from digital assets or through offline engagements, if you don’t take every lead inquiry seriously you may be leaving money on the table.

In order to make lead qualification effective, you should review your online and offline marketing messages regularly. Are viewers taking action or moving on to the next solution? You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, so if your response rate is minuscule, take the time to adjust the messages for maximum effectiveness.

Once a lead inquiry is received, it’s time to take the lead qualification process to the next step: lead capture.

Lead Capture

It is important to not let a lead slip away without making a second attempt. Lead generation programs, such as Lead Liaison’s Streamer™, allow companies to capture preliminary information without having to request it from the suspect. This allows you to capture enough information to be able to make a second contact.

Lead capturing can be automated. One of the more effective techniques is the lead capture page or landing page. The key is to provide enough compelling information or a strong marketing message on that page to compel a suspect to opt-in for future engagements.

An auto-responder should be used to connect immediately following a lead inquiry. Time is of the essence in this competitive world, so we recommend automation for every inquiry that is received. An auto-responder service can mean the difference between a lost opportunity and a sale. Basic auto-responder services are available for free, while more robust services can be purchased.

Like your lead inquiry assets, it’s important to review and refine lead capture assets so they accomplish their task on the first contact. Once there is enough information captured from a suspect, the lead should be entered into a lead scoring system.

Lead Scoring

A lead scoring matrix is crucial to qualifying  suspects and prioritizing leads. There is no standard model that will apply to all industries but there are two commonly used criteria sets. The first set includes the physical, demographic, and firmographic data that is often easily captured through opt-in forms or webinar registrations. This information qualifies a lead according to relevance. Does the suspect work at a company that fits your lead profile? Does the company have the capacity to purchase your solution?

The second criteria set includes behavioral traits. This information can be captured through online activities, such as website visits or white paper downloads. By including online and offline marketing engagements, your lead scoring system can help determine which activities may lead to purchase decisions.

These are the preliminary stages of an effective lead qualification process. In our next post, we’ll discuss the advanced steps that move a lead from suspect to sales opportunity. To find out the most effective lead qualification process, contact us today!