Lead Nurturing and Scoring Helps Sales & Marketing Work Seamlessly Together.
In a B2B environment, sales and marketing should be working seamlessly together.
For clarification, if you’re a small business, you may be the sales AND marketing team. So please take these references with a pinch of salt.
The role of the marketing team is to provide lists of leads, scored, for the sales team to be working on.
Marketing should ensure the sales team have:
- A good understanding of which leads need to be worked on NOW, and which they can leave until after lunch.
- A separate pool of leads to work on when they’re having a quiet day.
- A different pitch for each type of lead.
- An understanding of how each individual lead has interacted with the business.
Too many sales teams are being forced to work without a lead nurturing and scoring system.
Unfortunately, all too often I see sales teams working without this system, resorting to using data lists and contacting people randomly off LinkedIn.
A salesperson might be working through lists of unnurtured, unscored leads, such as:
- Calling everyone who their HTML tracker says has visited the site, without discretion.
- Contacting everyone who follows the company on social media.
- Phoning everyone who has opened the latest email.
These methods are extremely ineffective. And whilst sales staff may feel completely comfortable with cold calling, they could close more deals if they were timely interacting with people who were actually interested in their company.
Your sales team may not be “order takers”. But they deserve to have their lives made easier by contacting customers who are already interested in buying!
A good CRM should be used to store and score leads, and an automated system should be in place so that the sales team know exactly what their top leads are.
A system like this is not going to be cheap. It’s worth investing in the right CRM which can automate this properly. The CRM should be able to integrate with third-party applications like MailChimp and HTML trackers. And on top of that, it takes time out of your salesperson or marketing persons day, to properly update the system by hand. If a social media conversation has happened, this should be tracked in the CRM by marketing. If a salesperson has called someone and had a rejection, it should be properly recorded. Calendar reminders can be used to check back on this lead later.
The old sales methods are dying.
The sales environment where people work through leads as quickly as possible, has gone. And it’s really better to invest the money and time on doing it right, rather than hiring a mini call centre who will blast through phone calls as quickly as possible. It’s why I believe that a sales team shouldn’t have the amount of calls they make tracked. A sales person shouldn’t be penalised for properly maintaining their CRM, or making more thoughtful calls. Often sales staff are reluctant to work on this method, because their boss insists they make a specific minimum of calls per day. Which is a quantity over quality approach. If you think your sales team will slack off if they aren’t micro managed, you’ve hired the wrong people.
A lead scoring system needs to take into account:
Who is making a direct enquiry?
Direct enquiries are the number one priority for sales. They need to have a system where they know exactly who is making enquiries, and what their past interaction with the business is.
How many of your prospects staff members are interacting with the business?
Say you offered a free download or product that was being used widely in a company by junior staff members. The chief of their department may be unaware of this. If a potential customer has lots of staff members who have expressed an interest in your business, their chief should be called by sales. You can find out who the appropriate person to talk to may be via LinkedIn. Several micro interactions by various people in a company can be a “hot lead”, even if none of those people have interacted strongly or made a direct enquiry.
Who is viewing your site?
A website visitor analytics tool such as LeadLander can be incredibly effective. I’ve spoken to many people who are against them, as they claim that if a person was interested, they’d have called. Not true. A company may be digesting your blogs and finding your website very useful. They may only have you as a consideration or be shopping around. By looking at them as a whole lead on your CRM, and viewing their other activity, you may be able to work out what their intentions are. You can then decide whether to give them a call now or later.
Where sales teams go wrong with this, is calling whoever shows up on their web visitor analytics tool right away. This can be a turn off for someone who’s a regular reader of your blogs. They don’t need a call every time they check in to see if you have new content. With a lead scoring system, you can measure which web pages they visit, and how many times they visit. Then see what you think calls for a call.
Who is interacting on social media?
Back when I was working alongside a large sales team I was adamant that they should not be checking my businesses social media profiles! Calling someone just because they have interacted on social media is pushy. Social media interactions should be recorded via CRM. Whether this is a follow from a potentially good customer, or a full conversation (or even a request for a call). Then their behaviour can be analysed compared to their other behaviour. You may find that someone who is interacting regularly on social is also opening all your newsletters, and is worth speaking to.
Who is opening emails?
Again, don’t simply call everyone who opens your newsletter. Take a look at how often they are doing so, and how they are engaging with your business as a whole. You can score this lead by how many emails they are opening, and which ones. This may give you a clue as to what they’re looking for. For example, if I had emails about Google AdWords and emails about social media and only the social media emails were being read by this particular lead, this would help me develop my pitch.
Who is engaging in real life?
If you’re a networker and an event go-er, record everyone you meet on your CRM. It’s unwise to push for a sales call as soon as you meet someone, or to try selling to them at the event. With a good CRM you will be able to tell if someone has expressed further interest in your business.
Don’t always expect the sales team to turn a warm lead into a hot one.
Lead nurturing should be done primarily by marketing. They need to be looking at leads and working out how to further engage them. Say you have a lot of cold leads in the construction sector. This might spark a special E-book or video or blog about using your business in that industry.
Perhaps you have someone who is being friendly with your company but needs more nurturing. If you have a number of warm leads, you may wish to consider sending a small gift or book to them.
Be sure to follow your leads on social and engage with them and their content. Social media can be used for lead nurturing, as well as brand awareness.
To summarise, here are some quick do’s and don’ts.
- Do understand that sales and marketing are a part of the same process and need to be working together.
- Don’t be obsessed with the productivity of your sales and marketing team. Productivity is the enemy of creativity. Your staff (or yourself) need to have some time to think and talk to each other. We can’t come up with ideas when we’re constantly told we need to be making as many calls as possible. It’s better that a sales and marketing message is spot on for each lead, rather than having as many messages as possible. Give your sales team time to sit around think, discuss and research. Recognise that sales IS a creative job and that salespeople have finessed a great understanding of human beings in order to do their job.
- Do get a CRM that can work with your third-party applications and make sure your staff are fully trained on its use and importance. Some options are free and some are expensive. Get the one thats right, not the one that’s cheapest. If this is something you need to invest in, it’s worth investing in.
- Don’t expect your sales team to indiscriminately call everyone on the CRM.
- Do get your sales and marketing team to look at leads with regards to that whole business, instead of calling multiple irrelevant people in that business. Treat the potential customer as a whole business.
- Don’t create fixed sales pitches for your staff to read. Each lead is different. Your sales team should be trained to a degree where they don’t need to be told what to say.
- Do analyse your leads, to see if you’re getting enough and what sectors you’re weak in. If you make this whole system and realise you aren’t getting enough leads, your data will help you work out where you need to change.
- Don’t create the same marketing message for every lead. Leads can be categorised in the CRM so that they are all receiving an appropriate message. At a minimum, your current customers shouldn’t be receiving the same emails as your cold leads.