The entire purpose of a demand generation engine is to align sales and marketing to put more Sales Qualified Leads in your closers hands. To do this requires your inside sales team helps with your marketing automation implementation. As part of this process Gabriel Sales typically executes a 90 day lead generation campaign that can fuel your initial Demand Generation Engine. Your campaign combines email marketing, outbound telesales reps and in some cases PPC and SEO campaigns. Your dedicated campaign helps to accelerate the production of your engine producing “Sales Qualified Leads” ready for your sales reps and increases your initial volume of earlier stage leads to support your telesales and sales team with earlier stage deals if necessary. These 10 tips for a productive marketing automation implementation will also help to accelerate your investment in your marketing automation platform and to help with the cultural shift to a more mature demand generation process. They should help you to avoid false starts and turn quarters of effort into months.
In Marketing Automation Implementation Best Practice – Agree on Lead Definitions we discuss how sales and marketing can quickly reach agreement on early stage pipe. We also discuss scoring criteria so your sales executive can help frame the engine without needing to be involved or distracted by the minutiae of the implementation. In this blog we discuss the simple steps and recommendations to make the effort as productive as quickly as possible and to give your sales team access to the increased lead volume sooner rather than later.
Don’t disrupt what already works – As you implement your demand generation engine we recommend that you don’t disrupt your existing lead flow to sales. If you have SEO, PPC or email campaigns in motion don’t stop that practice.
Involve Sales Executive Early – Get your sales executive involved in the Early Stage Pipe scoring criteria. See Agree on Lead Definition Blogs
Have Your Sales Executive Work with Telesales Team to Develop Smart Questions – By giving your outbound telesales reps the right probing questions, need assessment questions, open ended questions and leading questions you can script and accelerate your telesales ability to effectively score leads. We have a quick 1 hour process to make this seamless.
Use Leads Generated from One Designated Campaign to Initially Feed the Engine – It does not make sense to immediately take all your leads directly into your Marketing Automation Platform out of the gate. We strongly recommend you start with one source. Ideally a campaign dedicated specifically for this purpose. Gabriel Sales has several campaigns designed specifically for this purpose. This allows you to feed your demand generation and Marketing Automation tool in a methodical way with a clean set of leads.
Designate One Person to Assign Leads Coming Out of Your New Program – Typically your SVP, VP or Director of Sales is already assigning leads to your sales reps that come from other campaigns. Its generally a best practice to keep that person designated to assigning leads the same and that this person gets trained in the use of Pardot to assign leads as well so the understand how lead scoring works. In some cases we understand that sales needs more leads faster and doesn’t always want to wait for leads to be Sales Qualified. In some cases Sales Accepted or even new leads to the pipe may meet your immediate needs. During your initial campaign designed specifically to feed your engine the SVP of Sales (or whoever you have designated to assign leads) can assign leads from the initial campaign effort at multiple stages noted above as A, B and C based on their short term lead volume needs. However we simply strongly recommend that you don’t take all the leads and assign them at stage A or B so the engine has time to do its job and marketing can learn how to optimize the engine.
Note – Telesales Engaged Leads typically have indicated they are not ready to speak with a Sales Rep yet as part of their qualifying process so these we would recommend you nurture with telesales reps and your automation platform.
Marketing Should Train your Sales Reps on the New Lead Scoring Criteria – Before handing leads to sales reps it’s important that they understand the new scoring criteria so they can maximize and intelligently approach the buyer in the most effective way.
Marketing Should Train your Sales Reps on the Source of the Lead and How to Use Pardot – Have your marketing manager train sales how to use the insights and tools a marketing automation engine provides. (e.g. how to find the buyer information in your CRM, how to use the lead deck, etc.) Pardot has great online training for this as well.
Execute a Wake the Dead Campaign from your Marketing Automation Platform – Once your marketing automation platform is working and you have your initial leads flowing from Gabriel Sales the first campaign we recommend your marketing team executes with your existing opt in database (leads not generated through Gabriel Sales initial campaign) is a “Wake the Dead” campaign. This is a drip campaign that your marketing team or Gabriel Sales will execute to leads that no sales reps have touched for a quarter or more and/or dead leads sitting in your database that are not currently assigned to a specific rep. Typically the Wake the Dead campaign will parallel the initial drip campaigns that are being created as part of your initial campaign with Gabriel Sales. Companies generally see a solid bump in volume with these campaigns and they are a great way to start to wrap up your initial implementation.
Don’t Over Complicate Your Initial Drip Campaigns – This is probably one of the biggest lessons we learned. When we first started we came up with a very complex IF/ then workflow so if they opened this piece of content on a topic area we would send them another piece of content on topic area B and then if they didn’t open that we would send them content Z. It was too much and just writing about it confuses me. What we found is about 80% of the value you are going to get from your initial drip campaigns is going to come from simply implementing them. It takes time to learn a new software and the biggest value the software provided initially is simply keeping your brand and solution in front of your buyers over time so your reps don’t have to. A simple five to seven touch campaign without any IF/then work flows was enough to get more deals flowing at less cost. Don’t frustrate yourself. You will quickly learn from your wins.
Use Existing Content or Quickly Produced Content to Kick Start Your Engine – The whole point of a marketing automation platform is to drive more business in a more effective way. This starts with how you are speaking with your buyer. If your content is still all about your product – tech sheets, features and benefits etc. its -time to think about being “customer centric rather than product centric.” Your drip campaigns will drive more business if you talk to your customers about their problems and their needs. You may need to look at the “voice” of your messages and refine your language a bit. As a starting point look at how many times you talk about “Our” product, “our” team vs. “your” needs, “your” business and “your” customers. If you are working with Gabriel Sales you can implement Gabriel Sales Digital Sales Base Camp Content Management System you can quickly create context for your existing content. This CMS allows you to immediately take your existing material to start being customer centric by recontextualizing existing offers and content with easy to construct landing pages. Finally we really love webcasts to kick start these programs because you can typically cut one webcast into several blog posts with graphics you have already created.
We hope you find these 10 Tips to align your sales and marketing efforts to accelerate the production of your marketing automation implementation. Hopefully these basic tips and best practices help you avoid some headaches and helps you learn from our mistakes and successes. If you have not checked out what these marketing automation platforms can do and the benefits to your company here is a quick overview from Pardot 5 Minute Overview of Marketing Automation and this post will make a whole lot more sense.
Please feel free to CONTACT US with any additional questions, more tips on your marketing automation implementation, and to see if we can help you as you ramp your sales pipe short term and build for long term success.