Most of you regular readers have hopefully broached the sales and marketing alignment discussion within your organization and are on your way to a building a lean, mean, revenue-producing machine. If so, the days of “the leads suck” conversation is in the past. Now you’re onto “the leads still suck, but please give us more” conversation.
A healthy lead management process transcends sales and marketing, resulting in a unified view from inquiry through opportunity to revenue. But this evolution can create some uncertainty, questions and challenges from your sales counterparts – even if they helped define it. Even a great lead management process will be questioned. I know mine has. But these challenges make us sharper.
Here are 3 questions sales teams often pose to marketing after implementing a lead management process. Read on and you can start to formulate your answers.
I used to get 100 leads a week, now I only get 15. What did you stop doing?
Because of lead scoring, we now only pass on “sales ready” leads. That means the leads meet the qualifications the sales and marketing team agreed on, and demonstrated a level of activity and engagement that signals buying intent. You get a fraction of the lead volume , but the quality has gone up significantly – and so should conversion rates. This way you don’t spend time working uninterested or unqualified leads, and can focus on closing more deals.
What happens to leads and opportunities that do not convert? How dead is dead? When is it wise to resuscitate? How much time should pass before speaking to the dead lead again?
Before marketing automation, unconverted leads would disappear into a blackhole: Either they died or were forced to pursue us on another channel if they were genuinely interested in buying.
Today, the only time leads die are when they’re unmarketable, which means their email bounces or we have no other means of reaching them. We track not only conversion forward with leads and opportunities, but we also have agreed upon definitions for negative disposition. This enables us to create lead nurturing programs for leads and opportunities that don’t convert. In some cases, we start the process immediately, in other cases, like a competitive loss, we wait two to three months. In either case, we keep marketing so when that prospect is ready to engage again, we’ll know it and be ready to pass them onto sales.
I’m in a sales cycle with a prospect that just received an email from corporate marketing. I’m trying to close this deal. Can you exclude all of my opportunities from your nurture campaigns?
We use prospect and customer data to create highly targeted lead nurturing programs. So we depend on keeping the data accurate through every stage of the buying cycle.
For example, assume JP Morgan Chase is a prospect engaged in a sales cycle and your CRM system has multiple account records for JP Morgan Chase each with a different disposition (i.e.JP Morgan = opportunity, Chase Bank = suspect). The system sees an opportunity is with JP Morgan, not Chase. In that case, any contact associated to Chase will be treated as a SUSPECT (i.e. an early stage nurture or conversion campaign) and not a current open opportunity.
Marketing automation will transform how you market .It will improve conversion rates and make both marketing and sales more efficient. But it will never completely replace the need for attention to detail from everyone who interacts with a prospect or customer. Good data hygiene from both sales and marketing is a must.