Presented on May 15, 2014
Do you use marketing automation software, or are you planning to purchase a platform this year? Marketing automation is a huge investment of both money and time, and it’s very important to know exactly what marketing automation can do for your company so you can get the most from your investment.
During this webinar, Janet Driscoll Miller of Marketing Mojo and Kelly Waffle of MarketBridge will guide you through the many capabilities of marketing automation so you can leverage them to their fullest benefit for your company.
Kari: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome and thank you for coming to today’s webinar, Maximizing Lead Generation and Revenue Using Marketing Automation. I’m Kari Rippetoe, content marketing manager at Marketing Mojo and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar. Before we get started I just have a few reminders for you.
There will be a Q and A at the end of today’s webinar, so if you have any questions for our presenters, please enter them in the GoToWebinar questions box at the right of your screen. Also, as always, we are recording this webinar. Once the full recording is available, you’ll receive a follow-up email which is usually by Monday at the latest. Finally, we encourage you to tweet about today’s presentation using the hashtag, #mojowebinar. Plus, you can also follow us on Twitter @MarketingMojo.
Now, I’d like to introduce you to today’s presenters. Janet Driscoll Miller is President and CEO of Marketing Mojo. She has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, and in addition to her work in digital marketing, Janet has a background in marketing communications. She holds a degree in public relations and communications from James Madison University. She is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and she writes for several blogs and print publications.
Kelly Waffle is Vice President, Strategic Solutions Group at MarketBridge. He brings over 20 years of client marketing automation, demand generation, and digital marketing experience to MarketBridge, including most recently, nearly two years as an industry evangelist at Marketo and also six years as architect and owner of connected marketing and sales funnel initiatives at Sourcefire, which is now Cisco. He loves advising enterprise and high growth companies on how to generate more pipeline, not just leads, through the better use of people, process, technology, strategy, and content.
He has won awards from both Marketo and Eloqua for marketing engine innovation and marketing sales alignment. Kelly has spoken at a number of industry conferences on connected marketing and sales funnel and marketing automation challenges, best practices, benefits, and measurement. Kelly’s alma mater is also James Madison University, so we have a couple of James Madison Dukes in the house today. He studied radio, TV, film, and advertising.
And a little bit about Marketing Mojo. We were originally founded as Search Mojo in 2005 and we’re a full service, data driven, digital marketing and demand generation agency, helping marketers to achieve their online marketing goals through search marketing, paid media, content marketing, and marketing automation.
Marketing Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs, and we also speak at several conferences including SMX, MarketingProfs’s B2B Forum, DemandCon, and Pubcon. Our clients include a variety of brands in the B2B, B2C, and non-profit sectors.
And, about MarketBridge, it’s a leading global provider of digital marketing, sales enablement, and customer analytic solutions for fortune 1000 and emerging growth companies. They help companies scale revenue growth and increase sales productivity by increasing digital customer engagement through social, mobile, and online communities and e-commerce, and building robust customer analytics engines that focus marketing investments and sales activity on the right customers with the right messaging and solution through the right marketing and sales channels.
So before we get started and I hand it over to Janet, we do have a poll for you this afternoon. Our first poll today is: are you currently using marketing automation? Your choices are: no, but we are considering a purchase within the next few months; no, but we are evaluating platforms for purchase very soon; yes, you are currently using marketing automation but you’re not getting much value from it right now; or yes, you are currently using marketing automation and you’re seeing great results from it. I will give you just a few seconds to choose your appropriate answer.
It looks like a lot of you are considering the purchase of marketing automation right now. I think that both Janet and Kelly are going to share some really great information as you’re considering your purchase. I will now hand it over to Janet.
Janet: Thanks, Kari. I’m glad to see the group of people we have today are really needing to evaluate marketing automation tools as well. I want to share with you, first of all, our story about why marketing automation is so critical. I’m going to share our own personal story and journey with marketing automation. I think it might help you understand really the importance of it and why it’s so critical for your organization.
Most websites today really process leads in this fashion. This is basically how we did things before we had marketing automation in place. You have a website. From that website you have lead forms, like in Salesforce you have web to lead forms that you put onto your website and you gather leads through your forms on your website or your landing pages. But this isn’t always the most effective approach.
Why not? First of all, it’s a problem because Salesforce duplicates lead records. As my little diagram there shows, what happens is if I come to a website and I sign up for, let’s say, a white paper. I fill out the form that creates a lead in Salesforce. If I come back again next week and I sign up for a webinar, guess what? It creates a whole new lead out of me, Salesforce. Salesforce does not auto dedupe records and does not auto consolidate records.
The problem with that becomes, let’s say you have several people selling on your sales team and you’re maybe doing a round robin of assignment for lead assignment. You could have two different people, because I came in two different times, I’m officially two different leads, two different sales people could be assigned to me. That’s really a problem. That’s not ideal.
The second thing is, not everyone wants immediate contact. Especially in B2B, sometimes our sales cycles are longer. Just because someone signs up to access a white paper doesn’t mean they want a call from a sales person immediately. In our case, as an example, ours is about 90 days for our sales cycle. It could be shorter, sometimes a little bit longer, but roughly about 90 days. When someone fills out something on our site and accesses a resource, they don’t really want us to call them immediately and try and sell them on [inaudible 07:26] or [a paid] search.
Some people will never be qualified leads or buyers. One of the things that marketing automation has helped us do is really understand what we call two different groups: learners versus buyers. There are people who come to our site with the express intent to look at the content on our site and learn from it. That’s perfectly fine, but you don’t want your sales people spending their time calling those people because really those people are never planning on buying from you. Understanding those personas is really key because you want to be able to say, “Who should I focus my efforts on? How do I prioritize my efforts?” Marketing automation has helped us do that as well.
Now, if you take a look at the old way, this was the old Search Mojo website, and we connected to Salesforce.com, what marketing automation does is it essentially sits in between these two layers. Leads from the website can go through to the marketing automation and then you can choose when you want to pass those leads on to Salesforce.com. You can do it immediately or you can wait. In our case, we hold some leads back, nurture them, and then send them over when we feel they’re sales ready.
Let’s talk a little bit about the effect that we had with marketing automation. When we were looking at, again before and after, we had Salesforce.com by itself, then we added Marketo. We happened to be a Marketo user. We work with many different platforms for our clients, but we chose Marketo as our marketing automation platform. When we were using Salesforce alone versus Salesforce with Marketo, we were able, with Marketo (and this could be true, really, of any marketing automation system because of the types of things that it does), to increase our marketing qualified leads that became opportunities by 25%. This is over the same time period.
We were also able to win more opportunities, again because we were focused on what were really buyers, what the people were who we could win. We increased over Salesforce alone by over 63% the opportunities we actually won. That’s huge. We were able to actually increase sales by focusing our efforts in the right areas as a sales team by making sure marketing automation was giving us the right leads at the right time.
Also, our time to close went down by about two weeks. I mentioned that it takes about 90 days. Two weeks is a significant decrease for us in being able to close those deals faster as well.
How can you get similar results for your company? Kelly and I are going to talk about two main steps today with marketing automation. I’m going to focus on the top of the funnel: inputting leads into the funnel more effectively and how marketing automation can help effect that effort.
Then Kelly is going to talk to you a little bit more about how you move leads through the funnel with marketing automation and the tools that you can use and what you should be focusing on with marketing automation to make that happen. Those really are the two main steps that we address here. I think Kelly has got a lot to add for once you get them in the funnel, then what? You need to think about that too.
Let’s start talking with the very top of the funnel. Now we’ve got marketing automation in place and we want to put leads into our funnel. Again, I’m starting, moving down this process to our sales team. What are we going to do? The first thing is, you need to understand that we have three steps that I like to look at, first of all.
First of all, it’s understanding and developing personas. The reason that’s important is you really need to, as I mentioned buyers versus learners for us before, those are basically our two big persona groups here at Marketing Mojo. You may have multiple ones depending on who the audiences are that you’re talking to. You can have them organized by product type. You can have them organized by industry. But you need to think about who is the target audience I have because later on you’re going to need that information later in the nurturing process as well that Kelly is going to talk about.
You also want to go and optimize the forms on your website. Marketing automation has lots of great tools to help you convert more people faster using special form functionality that they have inside of marketing automation. Third, you want to target the personas through demand and lead generation efforts and get them into your funnel.
Here’s what we generally recommend. The first thing is understand those personas. You want to know your customers and your target audience. You can build personas, even just basic ones, from information you already have in your customer database. Who are they? What do they look like? What are their titles? What are their industries? You want to understand their demographics and their behaviors as well. What do they do on your website? What kinds of content do they respond to? That’s going to help you later on.
It’s not just about demographics. It’s also about what types of content they respond to and what they are going to absorb from you. You want to look at their behaviors on your website. Marketing automation can do that for you. It can show you where those people go on your website. It’s like an analytics package as well. You’re going to use that information later on. It’s important to start capturing that and understanding that about your personas today.
Next up, once you understand your personas, you want to optimize your forms. There have been many, many studies done out there. You may have heard me talk about landing pages and landing page optimization in the past. Optimizing forms is one of the best things you can do to improve conversion rates on your site or on your landing pages.
In this case, MarketingExperiments ran a study where they reduced nine fields in a form to only three. They reduced it by two thirds, the amount of form fields. What they found was an increased forms filled and conversions by 300%. What we want to do is we want to make sure we get as many initial form fields filled as possible.
To do that, you can use a tool that’s in many marketing automation packages, including Marketo, called progressive profiling. Progressive profiling basically propagates a user’s profile over time. Instead of that situation I showed you with Salesforce where it creates a new lead every time, every time this person comes back and they sign up on a form, marketing automation just updates their existing record so you don’t have multiple leads being created every single time someone comes back to download a resource.
The beauty of progressive profiling is you as a marketer can prioritize the types of information you want to capture and capture it over time instead of all in just one day or one form. This allows you make shorter forms; in other words, improve the number of people, the conversion rate, the number of people who initially sign up to get more leads in the funnel. And then over time you can get more information about them and continue to nurture them to have enough information to make a qualified decision about that particular lead.
In this case, this is an example that Marketo uses on their site of progressive profiling. Let’s say David Schlosberg comes to our site. He fills out this first form for some type of asset. He filled out first name, last name, email, phone, and company name, but notice he did not fill out the country field. It was not required and he did not fill it out.
The next time that David comes back to the site, he might be presented with a form instead that looks like this. Because we already know David’s phone number and company name, we don’t have to ask him that again. We still need his first name, last name, and email to sync his record, but notice that country shows up again because he didn’t fill it out last time. Now, a new field is there too that appears on this form for city. That’s the next thing in our form field.
You can then use these types of techniques with these forms to capture more leads over time and then continue to propagate more information in those fields. That helps your sales team too to get more information as they try to sell to these folks later on.
Another way we’ve optimized forms is using a progressive profiling approach that is multi page. In this case, this is an old webinar registration form we had. You’ll notice our form is right over here to the right and it has just four form fields and a check box. All the form fields all required, but there are just four of them.
Now, when you go to the second page, which was the thank you page, you would be presented with this form here. This form is completely optional. Completely optional. You do not have to fill it out, but if you fill it out you get an additional asset.
Looking at all of our data from last year, we were able to ascertain that 43.3% of people who hit that second page filled out that additional information, completely optional. They did not have to do it. They did it anyways. Notice that we were able to get quite a bit more information by just cutting that form in half, but just showing part of the form on page one and part of the form on page two. It helped us get more leads in the funnel, and for 42.3% of the people we were able to get even additional information from them.
The other problem we have with forms, often, is the fact that people fill out (I know you probably hear this from your sales team all the team) bogus information. Don’t you hate that? They fill out 555-5555 for their phone number, right? Just aggravating as hell. One of the problems we face as marketers is the sales team is always coming back to us and saying, “Hey, this is not quality. How can we improve the quality of these leads that we’re getting from online forms?” It can be really difficult.
This is a study that MarketingSherpa did a few years back showing, just for tech buyers in particular, the amount of incorrect information that they often would get in forms. Of course, phone number and company size are really common to get inaccurate information. It is not as common, necessarily, with email address because a lot of times to get the asset it would be emailed to you. For some of these other ones, you might get incorrect information.
One way you can combat that is another tool that you can now use in many of the marketing automation tools or you can program it directly with the APIs for these is a social log in. In this case we use Sign In with LinkedIn on our site, log in with LinkedIn button. You can also use Facebook or Twitter, but we like LinkedIn because it has a lot of great business information, profile information about that individual.
In this case, when someone comes to register for a webinar or they want to watch a webinar on demand, they are presented with a sign up field like this where they have to either sign up for that asset or they can just click the Sign In with LinkedIn button, which provides us with all of their profile information, essentially, all the public stuff that you see.
One of the beautiful things about that is by them authorizing us to use this, we’re able to get what we would consider very accurate information because LinkedIn often is fairly accurate with job titles, job descriptions, geographic locations, all of those things because many people want to keep it up to date as it’s their resume online, essentially. It’s a great way to get very legitimate information.
Using the Log In with LinkedIn button, we’re seeing 10% of the people who are filling out our forms are using this button. There are certainly tests we could do to try and improve that number as well, but I think 10% is pretty great. It gives us a lot of background information for very little effort on the part of the person signing up for the asset.
Why do you want to use social? I mentioned that LinkedIn can give us a lot of great profile data. It provides you with a high level of demographic information. As an example, we often use Facebook for B2C, but you can now use it quite a bit for B2B as well depending on what you’re trying to target. LinkedIn is very good for B2B. In Facebook, you can target things like likes, gender, status updates, geographic regions, schools they went to, the age the folks are. LinkedIn you can look at things like industry, gender, title or function, geographic regions, seniority level, company size. You can see where one is a bit more B2C related versus B2B. They both have very good, rich demographic information about the person visiting your site.
How can you target personas with in bound lead generation efforts to drive them into your funnel? Let’s take an example of financial planning, as an example. Let’s say we have a financial planning white paper we’re trying to advertise, one of our campaigns. We want to target people in LinkedIn or maybe Facebook who have an interest in financial planning, or that’s their job description. If we put an ad in LinkedIn and a user clicks on a social ad, they’re then taken to a landing page focused on this financial planning white paper. They can download the asset, right? Immediately, we’re going to mark that person as interested in financial planning.
The reason we’re going to cookie them at this point and mark them as interested in financial planning is now we know something about them. We targeted them through a social network where we know what their title is or we know what their interests are. Now we can capture that information on our landing page and remember that about the person so we don’t give them something about, let’s say, kitchen tools, right? They’re actually into financial planning, not yoga necessarily. We want to make sure we take that person and target them properly with the types of information we know they’re going to be interested in.
Now, once that person is marked, they can either fill out the form and get the asset or they can choose not to. Either way, we can now retarget them as well through Google retargeting ads and focus the messaging on financial planning assets. It could be white papers. It could be webinars. Whatever it might be, we can continue to market to that person and drive in those leads from a retargeting perspective by reaching out to them on a continual basis by giving them the assets that they would be interested in.
We took this approach with a company called ScienceLogic. ScienceLogic is an IT software company. Basically, their tool allows you to do systems monitoring. It touches many things. It touches systems. It touches networks. It touches DBAs, or database administrators. It touches all sorts of people in an IT organization and all the different types of systems across an enterprise that they would be monitoring.
The problem with that is they’re targeting many different types of people with many different types of keywords. We’ve been working with ScienceLogic for many years on paid ads with the search network, but the problem had been that we found the keywords were becoming very expensive. There was a lot of competition around some of these keywords. They were very expensive. How can we reduce costs and target our audience much better?
In 2011, we were doing just AdWords. In 2012, we started experimenting using LinkedIn to target folks in these specific demographics, these specific personas, and targeting specific messages to them about the ScienceLogic product and about the different resources that they have like white papers, webinars, etc. We combined that with our paid search efforts through retargeting and other methods to drive as many leads as possible. The budget was exactly the same that we set aside and the timeframe was four months.
What I want you to see here is that by using, in 2012, both LinkedIn and paid search together versus what we did in 2011 which was just paid search, we were able to increase conversions by 217% in a four month period. Really impressive. The second thing is, we were able to reduce the cost per lead because instead of talking to the whole wide world in just paid search, we were able to narrow that particular group just down to the people we wanted to talk to in a specific persona group.
Our cost per lead was much, much less: a 94% reduction in cost per lead in the same time frame. The cost also went down even though we had budget set aside that was equal to what we spent in 2011 on paid search, we were able to spend a whole lot less by being more targeted in our efforts using LinkedIn and targeting the specific demographics. We were able to reduce the overall cost or the budget by 78%. Again, same time frame.
The end result for ScienceLogic really was that they were able to increase their pipeline by nearly 1200% and increase their revenue by nearly 300% in only a four month period. It was shockingly good. It made us understand at Marketing Mojo just how powerful that targeting to these demographics and personas really could be, and then taking that information into the funnels so we can use it for further efforts.
In ScienceLogic’s case, they also use marketing automation (they use Eloqua) for very similar purposes. They would take this information from LinkedIn and now they have it to begin nurturing and working with these folks over time to then gain more sales out of it in the end.
With that, I’m going to hand it over to . . . Actually, do we have another poll? Oh, okay. Let me hand it back over to Kari who’s going do another poll for us before Kelly starts telling you a little bit about the middle of the funnel and why that’s so important.
Kari: Great. Thank you so much, Janet. Our second poll today is about the challenges you face with marketing automation if you’re currently using it. What kinds of challenges are you currently facing with regards to marketing automation? Is it a lack of marketing and sales alignment? A lead black hole exits between marketing and sales? There’s no or ineffective lead nurturing? No or ineffective lead scoring? Or, there’s no or ineffective ROI management? We’ll just give you a few seconds to make your choice. Then we’ll come back and take a look at the results.
Okay. We’re going to close that out now. Of those of you who have taken the poll, it looks like the biggest problem is no or ineffective lead nurturing. I know, Kelly, that’s something that you’re going to be covering during your part of the webinar. I’ll turn it over to you.
Kelly: Thanks Kari, and thanks Janet. There were a lot of great tips in there that I think people can apply early and often around the top of the funnel stuff. I took a few notes myself there. I’d like to talk a little bit more about moving the leads through the funnel, primarily looking at the middle of the funnel. From a fundamental perspective, people need to build a funnel before they can talk about a funnel.
You hear a lot of talk about the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, even the bottom of the funnel, but as you can see in the MarketingSherpa research, a majority of marketing organizations out there still don’t have a formal funnel process. I’ve even been in client situations where they were running multiple funnels. They had one funnel for marketing and a separate one for sales.
You really need to have one connected funnel, end to end funnel, that covers everything that marketing is doing and everything that sales is doing so that you can see the amount of generation going in, the amount of activity, but then you can also see how that ties to revenue and be able to report on that.
Right up front, I can tell you that if you’re looking at marketing automation, that’s fantastic. You’ll certainly get a lot of benefit out of it. Just keep in mind that the technology is really a small part of the equation. I would highly recommend that as you go down this path, you’ll probably spend more time looking at the processes that surround marketing automation and surround the funnel, things that we’ll be talking about such as lead scoring, lead nurturing, setting up qualification stages, and one of my favorite topics is really around coming up with a marketing qualified lead and the hand off.
We’ll be discussing all of that stuff, but just keep in mind that if you really want to be successful at this, you need to have this infrastructure. The marketing automation technology is good for helping you scale and get a number of campaigns out there, but unless you have the funnel which enables you to track conversion rates along the way, see where people are within the buying cycle and things like that, it’s going to be pretty hard to measure your results and very hard to figure out where you need to go in and make adjustments and improve on effectiveness and efficiency.
Plus, I will tell people that have a funnel. It may be time for you to go in and do an audit of your funnel. You may have set that funnel up a year or two ago based on certain market conditions that were out there. Some of those conditions, some of the buying behavior, may have changed. Now may be a good time to go back in there, even if you have some of these processes in place, and audit what you’re doing and make some adjustments so that they can have some impact in the second half of the year.
I was just at a conference a couple of weeks ago. We hosted a lunch at this conference. One of the topics that came up that got a lot of lively debate was around the connected marketing and sales funnel. When it was all said and done, it came down to this slide. Marketing and sales really talk in two different languages. Until you can figure out what that language is and make sure that you’re talking in the same language, you can never go out and have a successful funnel.
You will always have problems in the middle of the funnel. You will have a disconnect between marketing and sales in the handoff, in lead quality. You’ll have what we call the lead black hole where marketing is well intentioned and generating all of this activity, but when they are passing it over to sales and when sales is accepting it are two different things.
Let’s spend a couple minutes talking about this. As I go out there and consult with a lot of marketing and sales organizations, one thing that I see all the time is that marketing is focused on volume. Marketing, by its very nature, wants to spend a lot of time at the top of the funnel generating volume, which is good because you have to have a certain amount of volume.
But the reality is that sales in most cases (I won’t say in all), but in a lot of cases sales is not focused on volume. Sales is focused on quality. That’s very important to understand as you build out your funnel, as you set up your marketing automation, as you set up the different qualification stages is that each one of these stages and activities has to be done jointly between marketing and sales. If marketing just goes out and tries to do these on their own, you will fail if you do not get sales to buy in to the process.
As you look at the funnel, historically, marketing always comes in from the top of the funnel and sales comes in from the bottom of the funnel. It’s that middle ground, the middle of the funnel is where you have to bring the two groups together. Marketing has to do a better job of looking down further into the funnel and sales has to do a much better job of looking up into the funnel. This is where these discussions go.
I can tell you from my own personal experiences having run a number of different marketing organizations is that from a marketing perspective, you are much better if you start changing the way that you talk and you start focusing on the way that sales and executive management looks at things. That’s typically going to be around quality.
If you look at the second point, a lot of marketers don’t even measure like we’re doing. They’re so busy trying to get things done. If you do go out and measure, a lot of marketing organizations spend a lot of time measuring activities. I’m not saying that this is bad. You do need to measure conversions. You do need to look at click-through rates and things like that, but those are more operational metrics that marketing needs to make tweaks to what they’re doing.
Those are not really the metrics that you need to be sharing with the sales team and with executive management because they’re really focused on revenue metrics. How many marketing qualified leads turned into opportunities this month or this quarter? What was the revenue that was tied to that? What was the influence that marketing had on that? It’s these kinds of key performance indicators that will carry a lot more weight and will allow you to have a lot more meaningful discussions with your executive team.
Again, from my own personal experience, I can tell you that there were a number of years where I had to develop reports or quarterly business reviews. When I talked about what we were doing in LinkedIn and Facebook and all that, people were interested and they liked the numbers that were going up.
But it’s only when I change the metrics and the focus of my metrics from activities to revenue and opportunities that I got the attention of my executive team. Suddenly, they were asking me about specific opportunities and the revenue. Then that enabled me to have much closer conversations with the sales teams and going and building up strategies for that. Just keep that in mind.
If you look at bullet number three, this is very classic. Marketing talks in a world of leads. Almost everything you hear about marketing is around leads. Sales talks in the world of opportunities. They really don’t care about leads. They want the low hanging fruit. They want the stuff that’s qualified to a certain point. They want opportunities.
The sooner that both groups can understand this and start working towards similar conversations, similar terminology, similar focus, the more successful they will be with the funnel and their activities around marketing automation, especially the middle of the funnel. That’s the battleground. That’s where you’re losing the battle is in the middle of the funnel.
As you get into marketing automation and the funnel, one of the areas that a lot of people do not look at very closely is lead scoring. I’ve had my ups and downs personally with lead scoring. I can tell you that in a couple of companies that I’ve been at, lead scoring did not really help me determine who had a higher propensity to buy, but lead scoring is a good tool to help you separate the wheat from the chaff, to help you prioritize where people should be spending their time. It also helps drive activity down the funnel.
You need to go through some sort of lead scoring process whether it’s a very simple one. I’ve gone in with clients in the early stages. We’ve done basic lead scoring that’s around colds, warms, and hots or low, medium, and high, things like that just to get started so you’re not throwing everything over to the sales team. You’re trying to create some sort of triage or some sort of qualification gating system where marketing plays a role. That’s where lead scoring comes into play.
As you get more comfortable with lead scoring (and this may take you a number of passes) you want to make sure that you’re measuring behavior as well as fit. A number of clients that I work with are well-intentioned and they go out and they set up lead scoring. A lot of times it’s based on titles or industries or things like that. The whole reason you want to get into marketing automation is so you can leverage the behavioral data. If you’re not leveraging that behavioral data, you might as well just use an email service provider and help you blast out your emails.
The whole point to marketing automation is to really help you understand the behaviors that are occurring online and then help you map back the right content to those behaviors at the right time. Make sure as you continue to play with and tweak your lead scoring that you put a lot of consideration around behavior.
If you get to a point where you get kind of frustrated and you’re not being able to tell whether a white paper should be given a high score or a low score because sometimes people are using it right before they buy the product and other times they’re just using it at the beginning to kick tires, you may get to the point where you want to not really use lead scoring, per se, but just look at the behaviors.
If you have enough data historically, at a couple of companies I’ve been at, I’ve gone in and kind of foregone the traditional lead scoring and I looked at what are they key behaviors that most of our customers went through before they brought the product? Then I used those behaviors as the triggers to move people to the next gate, to move them from one stage to another based on specific behaviors and not necessarily on the scoring. I think you’ll find that that might be a more effective way for you to achieve what you want to do.
Whatever you do, don’t give up on lead scoring. You want to get to the point with lead scoring where you can get some sort of predictability out of it. That’s why you want to do this. Keep working on lead scoring to help you push things down the funnel.
All right, a lot of people were talking about nurturing. We could obviously do a whole webinar around nurturing. At a high level, nurturing is really about putting the right content with the right people at the right time. That takes a little bit of effort to do.
Don’t get overwhelmed. A lot of people that I talk to when I help them with lead nurturing, they get overwhelmed. “Oh, it’s going to take a tremendous amount of content for our nurturing to work.” Down the road, that may be the case, but up front I would say that there are things that you can do to make life a little bit easier on you.
As you are out there collecting data on your different prospects and customers, one of the things that I would recommend is that on the contact form you would have a field for role, not just title but for role. You may even build up a pull down menu for that. The reason for that is because if you go in without having some sort of role-based strategy, you will spend a significant amount of cycles building out campaigns for very specific titles. That can just swallow up your whole day if not your whole month.
Here, what we’re proposing that you do is you can go into a lot of the marketing automation platforms such as Eloqua or Marketo and you can grab a lot of different titles. You can bundle them up and build out a role to categorize them as a specific role. In this case we’re talking about, here are the economic buyers or the decision makers.
As you can see by the job title, it covers a lot of different ground. You can grab all those different people, build them out into one role, and then you can focus your efforts on building out campaigns for that one given role. You may have another whole campaign around the technical champion or you may have one around influencers or other categories that are important to you.
The point to all this is don’t get bogged down in all the titles. Try to bunch them all together into a logical role that you can then go out and put the meaningful content behind that. I guarantee you you’ll see an increase in your effectiveness and efficiency.
Just keep in mind with lead nurturing that the whole point to lead nurturing is the fact that most of the people that you’re coming into contact with are not ready to buy. I would say 85 to 90% of the people that you reach out to or come in contact with are not ready to buy.
What you’re trying to do is keep communication lines open so that you can engage with them when they are ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell. That’s a pretty important point to make there. A lot of people go out there and they try to engage too early with a number of customers with prospects out there when they’re just going down the digital buying path and they’re not ready to engage. The whole point of nurturing is for you to be able to identify that persona, those behaviors, and then map back relevant content to them when they’re ready to buy.
My last slide is really around defining the funnel stages together. When people start looking at the funnel, a lot of them are well intentioned but this is where a lot of the handoffs are dropped along the way. If you look at the funnel as running a relay race, there are a number of handoffs that have to occur. What you want to do from a marketing perspective is build in logical lead qualification stages that help you define where people are along the buying cycle. You need to come up with a definition of what an inquiry is. What is a prospect? What is a lead?
With each of those definitions, again, you need to do this with the sales team, you will have very specific definitions of the behavior that needs to occur for each of those stages. Then as you build out your lead scoring you will build out thresholds to accommodate those definitions. Maybe an inquiry is 0 to 50 points, a prospect is 51 to 100 points, a lead is 101 to 150 points, and a marketing qualified lead is anything over 150 points.
After you build out those stages, what you want to do is make sure that you have a clear definition between marketing and sales and what a marketing qualified lead is. This is important because marketing has to build a level of trust with sales and sales has to build a level of trust with marketing.
Marketing is coming from it from the point of view of, “We are going to consistently deliver a certain level of quality achieved sales time and time again and that’s what you can expect.” Once sales sees that and buys into it, then sales will trust what marketing is giving them and then sales can make the commitment that they will follow up those marketing qualified leads within 48 hours or 72 hours.
This is the main area where I see the funnel break down. Marketing spends too much time focused on volume and throwing things over the fence to sales. Then sales looks at it and says, “This is not qualified. I’m not going to spend my time looking at this.” Everything falls into the lead black hole.
This is a critical piece to the whole process is make sure that sales and marketing come together, you have an agreement on what that definition of quality is that makes for the ideal MQL, and then down the road you can put an SLA in place to make sure that everything is working. Then as you get into marketing automation, you can actually set up notifications to escalate the management and so forth once that SLA is not being honored.
Just wanted to spend some time in the middle of the funnel. Once these kinds of things are put into place, then you’re in a position to start measurement and reporting. That would be a whole different webinar, but this will at least get you in the right direction. With that, I’m going to pass it back to Kari.
Kari: Great. Thank you so much, Kelly. Great information. Before we take some Q and A, just wanted to let you know that you can reach out and connect with both of today’s presenters: Janet Driscoll Miller and Kelly Waffle of MarketBridge through Twitter and Google Plus. If you’re looking for any help with your marketing automation or your digital marketing initiatives, then you can get in touch with Marketing Mojo or MarketBridge. All of our contact information is shown here.
Now we’re going to take a few questions. If you do have any, please do remember to put them in the Questions box at the right of you screen in the GoToWebinar panel. Our first question today, Janet, you had mentioned earlier about marketing personas. What exactly do you mean by that? Can you go into a little bit more detail about how you would do that?
Janet: Absolutely. When I talked about what would happen is someone would come to your site based on an ad that you had run, a campaign let’s say in LinkedIn targeted towards a specific title. Let’s say marketing managers, right? When that person comes to my site, I already know something about them because that campaign was targeted towards marketing managers. I already know that person’s title or role is marketing manager. I know where they are at the organization.
What I can do then, I can continue to serve them personalized content. I can then pull that information into my marketing automation when they sign up on a form and know that about them already is I can cookie them. When I place a cookie on them, even if they don’t sign up on the form at that very moment and they leave the site without signing up for that asset, the next time they come back and they fill out one of our forms, then I can pull that information down from the cookie.
Or, the next time they come back to our website, if I want to make sure I prioritize certain types of content on my homepage based on the type of cookies someone has. I have, let’s say, assets that are targeted towards marketing managers. If I want to put that on my homepage I can say, “Does this person have a marketing manager cookie? If so, show them this type of content.”
That’s what we would do is use a cookie to basically remember that that person came from LinkedIn and they were a marketing manager. We remember that information about them so that even if they leave and don’t sign up that day that we can retain that information long term and use it to our benefit as we nurture them and try to get them brought in as a lead into our marketing funnel.
Kari: Okay, great. Thank you, Janet. Our next question, Kelly, you might be qualified to answer this one. You were talking about marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads and the funnel and trying to determine what qualifies those different levels of leads. What qualifying questions should you use to qualify say a marketing qualified lead? Is it based on your general BANT or behavior? What do you think is best?
Kelly: Most of the clients that we work with start out using some sort of BANT qualification (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline). Then on top of that as you get a little bit more sophisticated and you can see the behavior that’s going on, you can start using other criteria and kind of fine tune that.
That’s the whole beauty of funnel and marketing automation is that your role as a marketer changes to one where you’re spending more time not necessarily generating new campaigns, but you’re going through and analyzing campaigns that are already out there. You’re spending more time tweaking things instead of creating things from scratch.
Kari: Okay, great. And our last question today, Kelly I think this is probably another good one for you. Janet, certainly if you want to chime in as well with your feedback. You both talked a lot about the funnel and its many processes. Where would you start first? I’ll let both of you answer that, but Kelly, I’ll let you go first.
Kelly: Yeah. So for me it’s actually getting that funnel in place. A lot of the clients that I work with, again, are well-intentioned but they have a lot on their plate. This is an area where they tend to put it on the back burner. I would just warn people not to do that. Spend a little bit more time on the processes up front and it will have a longer term payoff for you. Within the funnel, things like the handoff are critical, the stages. Again, inquiry, prospect, lead, get those defined. Again, they don’t have to be perfect coming out of the box, but just get something structured there that both marketing and sales can live with.
Then based on that and over time, it’s just like a car engine. You need to go in and fine tune it, make adjustments. There are things happening in the market that will help change that stuff. Buying behavior is constantly changing, but at least you have a framework to work within so that down the road you can measure performance. That’s why you’re doing all of this hard work is that you can get to a point where you can measure your hard work.
Janet: Yeah. I think that’s really key because you have to understand what you want to do with these leads once you get them into the funnel. You have to understand the process behind it. I think that’s something we face quite a bit with clients when we talk to them, especially if they’re really new to marketing automation. Having that conversation about, “It’s great that you want to drive leads, but what happens once we fill out this form? What happens on the back end? What’s going to happen to these people once they show up?”
Believe me, we’ve actually had people say to us, “We have too many leads.” Then what? Then you’re really in trouble. You’ve got to get that funnel in place. I also think I would add, in order to understand how you’re going to have to nurture and process people through the funnel, I think that personas are really key. That affects everything from what you do from targeting to how you get them through the funnel and move them and nurture them through the funnel. As Kelly was saying, who they are and what they do, understanding that is really key as well. I would definitely prioritize that too.
Kari: Great. Thank you so much, Janet and thank you, Kelly, both our presenters, for joining us today. Thank you for coming to today’s webinar. We will be sending the recording of this webinar out to everyone tomorrow or Monday at the latest, so be on the lookout for that. We thank you again for coming and we’ll see you again soon.