Turning leads into loyal customers

If you read my last post you may have learned how to increase the flow of high quality leads. But you really do not want to leave them out there in the void: If you manage them in a systematic and structured way, you can increase both the number of leads and the conversion rate: How many of those you turn into loyal customers.

By following these five steps you’re going to increase your pipeline and at the same time making sure you’re focusing on the right leads.

  1. First of all, just as Joe Pack explains in his article about Smarketing, you must align your sales and marketing teams to ensure no lead is overlooked. It’s a team effort. Map out your sales process and define clear hand-off criteria between marketing and sales. You have to define when a marketing lead is passed to inside sale and also when an inside sales lead should be converted into an opportunity, account and contact.
  2. Define your success metrics up front to be sure you’re not missing any important information when your leads move through the funnel. For example you can measure your pipeline by industry and then use a lead history report to show the number of open opportunities by converted lead industry.
  3. Now that you have several options to increase your leads (post) such as using your Web properties, SEM campaigns and social media, you can also import lists from Excel spreadsheets or from email applications such as Outlook and Gmail.
  4. Keep your data clean and avoid duplicate leads by using the “Find Duplicates” button in Salesforce CRM frequently. Also, create rules to avoid converting leads without email address or phone number.
  5. Track your lead-generation efforts and find out where you get most of your leads and which marketing tools that works best for you. By using a lead history report you can analyze revenue and pipeline to find lead criteria such as lead source, industry or annual revenue to opportunity amounts. You can also use campaigns with metrics like # leads, $$ pipeline and ROI. And at last, make it easy for yourself and get a clear view of your funnel by defining the stages of your sales process by using categorizing # sales qualified leads, # opportunities and # closed revenue.

It’s a team effort – so take a look at this video on how to establish an effective sales and marketing methodology:


Add lead scores to close the deal

Lead scoring helps sales to focus on hot leads and those most likely to result in a closed deal:

  • If you’re just getting started with lead scoring, use BANT (budget, authority, need and timing) data as a preliminary assessment of lead quality.  Then start to categorize your leads into levels of priority by using a point system to assign values to characteristics that align with successful sales. For example, you may assign 10 points to a CEO and 3 points to a manager based on the experience that CEO prospects result in more closed deals.
  • Categorize your lead data into explicit and implicit where explicit is the information you get from your own channels or by direct interaction, while implicit includes online behavior such as emails opened, click-throughs and downloads of marketing material. To come up with the best possible lead score you have to evaluate both types of data together because just knowing someone has repeatedly engaged with the corporate site is not enough. You also want to make sure the prospect’s profile shows if he or she can make purchasing decisions.
  • Once you identify qualified prospects with lead scoring you should automate the process by adding workflows and alerts, you can for example set up an email alert to notify a sales rep to follow up immediately.
  • Revisit your scoring criteria’s regularly as you learn more about how various characteristics correlate with success. And when you’re ready to take lead scoring to the next level you should check out the scoring applications in the AppExchange directory!

Just like the weather in Ireland, if it’s cold today, it can get hot tomorrow, so don’t disqualify a lead only because it’s not right for the moment. Update your fields with details why the lead didn’t qualify and keep an eye on it for the future.

Good luck!


Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013

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