Markies Monday: 5 Lessons Learned for Lead Management Mastery

November 2, 2020 | 6 minute read
Angela Wells
Senior Director, Oracle Global CX Customer Marketing
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We‘re proud to present our next article for Markies Mondays, a weekly blog series designed to help you learn more about the 2020 Markie Award categories, finalists, and winners. Make sure to check back each week to learn how Oracle Customer Experience customers are driving success and building customer relationships that last.

2020 is an interesting year, filled with unique challenges we’ve never seen before—and some challenges we’ve seen a lot and in almost every business around the world. One of these ever-present challenges is how to get marketing and sales teams to collaborate more effectively.

I’ve been in marketing for nearly 25 years, so I know just how complicated it can be when marketing and sales almost seem set up to battle each other versus work together to get leads through the sales funnel and sell more. As such, I was very fortunate to be a judge and presenter for the 2020 Cultivator Award for Best Lead Management.

This Markie award recognizes experts who architected a lead-management program with smart lead and account scoring that nurtures prospects, delivers dynamic results, and smooths the relationship between marketing and sales. These finalists teach us all how to bring these teams together, sorting through the bulk of potential buyers to pass qualified leads on to salespeople.

Let’s take a look at 5 valuable tips to master lead management.


1. Simplify for sales success

Companies of every size can learn from our finalists this year. Some are massive enterprises and others are smaller organizations you may not recognize. All of them realized that effective lead management required simplified processes so new prospects could be evaluated for sales potential and only passed on to sales teams if they were actually qualified.

Markie winner Aon had a huge challenge of scope and scale, given they’re such a global enterprise. Aon had over 30 separate scoring models, with dispersed marketing teams and countries taking drastically different approaches to gathering, scoring, and pursuing new leads. Aon had to find ways to streamline their processes and improve their data quality.

Thanks to their close collaboration with their partner MarketOne, Aon successfully migrated their six marketing systems into one single, efficient instance of Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation. Now all scoring and “straight-to-go” urgent leads automatically flow directly into Oracle Sales, eliminating the need to manually create leads. As a result of this simplification, Aon’s Sales team now accepts an impressive 58% of Marketing’s leads. Aon’s addition of Oracle Analytics Cloud will help it expand beyond baseline KPIs and measure response data across the entire customer journey, further improving lead management.


2. Test and expand

Lead management is incredibly challenging as it involves an array of teams and stakeholders and directly impacts a company’s revenue.

Bonnier News, the Nordics’ leading media house, has proven lead management success with one key media site: Dagens Industri, the Nordic region’s biggest business site and business news subscription service. Using Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation, their B2B-driven brands established lead nurture, lead scoring, and lead management as essential elements to increase conversions. Their improved lead-management processes helps them increase trust, generate growth, and create efficiencies. Marketing and sales are now collaborating closely using integrated sales and marketing funnel dashboards and monthly forums.

In close collaboration with their partner Engagement Factory, Bonnier News is leveraging marketing automation to build trust between sales and marketing to double ROI and increase margins by a staggering 175%. Based on the success with Dagens Industri, they’ve set an example for their other sites to emulate; lessons learned can be rolled out across other media outlets to spark similar impressive gains and improved lead management.


3. Incorporate actual behaviors into scoring models

Lead scoring models have been around for many years, helping marketing teams qualify leads into valid opportunities for their sales counterparts. Models haven’t stopped some salespeople from complaining that the leads they receive are “worthless” or “junk.” One key to success is leveraging the proven adage that previous behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Markie finalist Master Lock dramatically improved their lead management system by incorporating behavior into their new lead-scoring model. In just five months, the team at Master Lock created a more effective lead management program that cross-references data from various systems, quantitatively scores, identifies, and assigns leads to their sales reps.

In collaboration with AE Business, Apex IT, and RelationshipOne, they improved lead management and identified the behaviors that point to a simple contact as actually being a sales-qualified lead who’s ready to hear from a Master Lock salesperson. Once a lead has been generated, Master Lock quickly assigns it to the appropriate sales rep in their Oracle Sales platform and retains the record within Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation for future marketing campaigns. Using their “Digital Profiler,” sales reps can see leads’ interests based on the website visits, opened email, lead score, and more to tailor their outreach, which generated an impressive 53% close rate.


4. Concentrate on decision-makers

Sales teams don’t have the resources to contact every possible lead, and sometimes it feels impossible to find the individuals who are empowered to make the decision whether to buy a product or service. If marketing teams can truly identify the decision makers, the sales team can directly speak to the individuals who can close the deal.

The marketing team at Mack Trucks is a Markie finalist again this year for building a modern digital-marketing ecosystem and integrated multi-channel marketing program across Mack’s 400 privately-owned dealerships with lead generation and distribution using Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation. Mack Trucks’ marketing team committed to identifying the purchase decision-makers within these companies, and to provide accurate contact data for each lead passed from Oracle Eloqua through Salesforce to their dealers. Thanks in part to their partner Zift Solutions, the lead management program has been very successful. In 2019, they passed over 700 qualified leads to their dealer network, resulting in $367 million dollars in their sales pipeline, while email open rates have increased by 22%.


5. Track lifecycle stages every step of the way

Smart B2B companies have a lead management program, and many of those programs likely have points along the way where leads stall out and fail to convert to sold business. The only way to identify the roadblocks where leads get stuck is to track each step of the sales process and determine the delays and impediments that stop leads from advancing.

Verndale is one of the largest independent, customer experience agencies with over 150 employees. Verndale’s marketing team worked very closely with their sales and senior executive teams to establish a program with clear documentation, agreed-upon service level agreements, and simplified onboarding. Verndale cleaned their database and implemented automation to update lifecycle stages automatically when opportunities are created. Accountability and progress are easy to track from Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation through Salesforce because they time stamp every time the lifecycle stage changes to track conversion rates and velocity, measured by campaign, monthly cohort, sales rep, and more. With conversation rates nearly doubling through the sales process, Verndale shortens their sales cycle and dramatically grows its revenue.

Lead management is manageable

What’s clear from every Markie submission in this category is this: improved lead management is possible. Marketing can gather, qualify, and easily pass appropriate leads on to the sales team using integrated technology that streamlines the sales process and improves revenue.

The finalists for The Cultivator Award for Best Lead Management are simplifying processes, improving lead scoring models, leveraging previous behaviors, concentrating on decision-makers, and tracking all progress along the sales cycle. We can all learn from these lessons to improve lead management, even in tough times, like the current global situation. The lessons from these innovative marketing teams will help sales teams face their unique challenges to generate sales.

Visit our website to learn more about the Markie Award finalists and winners.

This content was originally published at SmarterCX by Oracle. It has been adapted for the Customer Experience blog.

Angela Wells

Senior Director, Oracle Global CX Customer Marketing

Angela has nearly 25 years of marketing and market research experience across various industries including technology, consumer goods, media, and more. In her seven years at Oracle, Angela has been an active voice of the customer through product development and marketing, leading the global customer advocacy programs across the Oracle CX suite. She has experience managing both B2B and B2C marketing campaigns across all available marketing channels, has consulted with leading Fortune 500 companies to improve their marketing strategies, develop new products, and uncover customer needs.

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