We see it time and time again: companies with tens of thousands of contacts in their database, thousands of leads that “need to be followed up” and Marketing and Sales teams at loggerheads.
Marketing: “Why aren’t you following up these leads we’re passing to you?”
Sales: “Why aren’t you passing us any decent leads?”
We’ve already talked about what makes a lead a lead, so how do you get to the stage where you can start from a foundation of fact? It’s our good old friend: data. It can be the bane of our lives, but treated properly and with the respect it deserves, it’s our saviour.
Out of the entire database, how many have we touched in the last year? How many have responded or contacted us? Where have we had success? Why? What do they “look” like? What do we want to know about them that we don’t? How could we target our messages better?
Armed with the knowledge that well-cared for data can provide, we’re in a stronger position to create programmes which resonate with our audiences, making better use of our hard-won budgets, and not randomly “blasting” Financial decision-makers with the same message as User Buyers. That’s not a good look.
Even more importantly, when we acquire our leads, we can build enough knowledge about them and their behaviours to guide them through the sales cycle so when they’re passed over from Marketing to Sales, they’re ready to be converted!
Take a look at the difference attention to data has made in one software organisation:
It’s understood that sales like to connect with prospects and customers when they are ready
to purchase and not before. In fact, research tells us that 50%* of leads generated are not in
the ‘ready to purchase’ timeframe when the opportunity is handed to sales. Due to time constraints
and ever shortening fiscal frameworks, sales will focus attention on the ‘here and now’. Those leads
that are not covered by a robust process for returning to marketing for further nurturing are soon left
to fall into the glacial fissure of ‘frozen opportunity’, only to be picked up by the competition in the future.
Continual nurturing activity is critical for the ongoing sales pipeline top-up and marketing automation,
combined with analytics and creative communication should be geared to keep the churn moving.
All well and good but for most of the programmes we manage for our clients, there comes a point
when only ‘human intervention’ will suffice to bring a prospect closer to you in the sales cycle.
Predicting and managing when that point is reached is the fine tuning behind any nuture plans,
as is the inclusion of ‘closed loop tracking’ for opportunities waiting to be followed up. Leave it too
long and the moment is gone, taking you three to five times longer to re-generate a connection.
Too soon and you risk alienating a contact that you have invested $ maintaining.
No programme of activity will ensure you gain every opportunity but recognizing that come the
moment of purchase, your recognition of your prospect as a human being with needs that you
acknowledge , could be the winning combination that is the trackable percentage change in
your win/loss analytics.
Many a campaign has been halted way before the ‘seam of gold’ has been mined, only to be
kick-started again in a new fiscal, meaning an additional time and cost to energizing tired contacts
whose attention has turned to a competitor in the interim. Even worse, when a pipeline has
begun to stall, it can take up to 4 times longer to kick-start the fill from base, than it does to
turn up the activity barometer on a live engine.
Data, nurture, analysis are all important but it’s still “good to talk”.