No Lead Left BehindAs is the case in many companies, the cooperation between our marketing and sales departments used to be less than optimal where leads were concerned. Thanks to the internal project “No Lead Left Behind”, we have been able to find a solution for a rather unproductive situation.

Using marketing automation software, we are currently preparing the next steps such as lead scoring and automated nurturing. We should be able to the see the results in about one year.

Number of sales accepted leads doubled

We have developed a process where not a single lead is lost and where efforts are made to follow up on all leads. The cooperation between the sales and marketing departments has considerably improved as well. Generally speaking, the number of sales accepted leads has doubled, with a record 136% increase in the beginning of the year. We have achieved this thanks to the following four steps of our action plan.

1. We have created an unambiguous process to manage the pipeline from lead to deal, with clear agreements on all intermediate stages, definitions and nomenclature. The process also includes the possibility to refuse or requalify leads on the basis of fixed parameters.

2. We have defined all stages of the process in a very detailed manner in our software, so that they are monitored quickly and correctly.

3. Targets relating to data quality, timing and conversion have been calculated for each stage. These targets are documented in an internal Service Level Agreement, which has been accepted by all sales and marketing people.

4. Through coaching and training we have made sure that everyone is motivated and is working towards the same goal.

This blog post is a contribution by Inge Landerwyn, marketing manager at Basware

Visual and word artists are indispensable for marketing. However, a modern marketing communication department has to be able to do more than sending attractive newsletters, creating eye-catching designs or organising memorable events. An equally important part of the job is driven by data analysis. Clients and prospects leave a digital trace that, when interpreted correctly, may stimulate sales.

Know your customer

Marketing communication is a powerless tool if it doesn’t include digital analysis. It also makes the job a lot more pleasant than it may seem. Like the owner of a local shop knows the personal preferences of many of his customers, each marketeer can acquire similar insights, mainly by using marketing automation tools.

However, we do not expect the marketeer to lock himself up in his digital laboratory and to gather all his information from visitors’ statistics, click behaviour and Excel pivot tables. He must also be active in the field, establish contacts with prospects and go to all major trade fairs. The ideal marketeer is a combination of both. We are calling him the “extraverted nerd”.

One-to-one is standard

We have prepared our marketing staff for their future through intensive internal communication: one-to-one is our standard, creativity and analysis go hand in hand. In addition, we obtain a relatively high turnover from each deal, which proves that one-to-one marketing is certainly not a useless investment. It has taken us more than one year to set up marketing divisions capable of linking creative concepts and dry data analysis all over Europe. In the past, we were mainly lacking knowledge of digital marketing, but we have in the mean time been able to make up for that lack.

Our teams consist of digital marketeers responsible for content and its highly varied distribution (the “Digital” team members), analysts who gain insights from our marketing software (the “Insight” people) and campaign experts whose task it is to stimulate demand (the “Demand” people). Together they are managing a detailed marketing funnel, the results of which are increasingly easy to predict and which accounts for an ever growing part of our turnover.

This blog post is a contribution by Philippe Gosseye, marketing director Western Europe at EMC.

According to the research agency Aberdeen, approximately 40% of the companies making use of Revenue Performance Management processes are very satisfied with their marketing campaign forecasts, compared to only 19% of all other companies.

Revenue Performance Management (RPM) remains unknown territory for too many marketing departments. Even those who know what it is, mistakenly assume that RPM is only destined for multinationals with enormous budgets. I would like to encourage all market communication managers to :

  • increase the efficiency of marketing communication
  • better quantify the results of marketing campaigns

Typical obstacles

Today, many marketeers do not have the means to prove the potential value of their marketing funnel and to quantify their contribution to revenue. That’s a pity, for a lack of insight can be frustrating for various reasons:

  • a source of dissension between the marketing and sales departments (who was responsible for what)
  • hard to determine which campaigns generate the greatest impact for each euro invested
  • lack of clout to negotiate correct marketing budgets with management

Lead management and marketing automation

RPM is based on two pillars: a standardised lead management process and the consistent use of measuring instruments. Marketing automation is the technology required to realise this. There is no need to implement every feature immediately in order to achieve success. With which elements can you start?

  • If the sales and marketing departments in your company are at odds (as is often the case), you are losing potential. There are ways to set the same goals and speak the same language, for instance by focussing on the customer and by giving everyone a clear insight into the buyer journey. Our buying clock is a practical tool that may help you with this implementation.
  • In order to obtain better control of your results, it’s in your interest to have a full-proof system to qualify leads. Ideally, this system is based on the extent to which prospects are prepared to buy and enables you to determine the moment on which the marketing team must forward its leads to the sales team in a qualified manner; this will put an end to the tension between the marketing team (who claim that the sales team does not adequately follow up on their leads) and the sales team (who doubt the quality of the leads supplied).
  • As soon as your team is able to qualify leads in a standardised manner, it will be relatively simple for you to measure the results of their implementation. By monitoring the buyer journey of the leads, you will know exactly which sales have been initiated by your marketing team and for which sales value, and the time needed for leads before they sign. In the end you will know to what extent your campaign and other marketing actions contribute to your revenue.

The integration of marketing automation and CRM is a key element of the solution.   It allows you to centralise all marketing actions and ensures that you receive reports taking into account the entire buyer journey. With renowned suppliers like Eloqua, Hubspot or Mareketo, there can be no doubt as to the maturity of marketing automation. People who are working with Microsoft CRM can compare Dynamics Marketing with ClickDimensions, for instance. In addition, there are companies like LeadFabric who can provide support for the selection of the appropriate software.

Obviously, the entire process involves more than software alone. The segmentation of your target market and an integrated promotion process are the basis. If these elements are not implemented adequately and are not used by everyone, software alone will only provide a partial solution.