In 2016 according to Forrester we witnessed the near universal embrace of content marketing with 93% of B2B “marketers” claiming that they have at least tested content marketing in some part of their sales and marketing efforts.
And as an outsourced sales and marketing company, we are fully committed to generating more qualified sales opportunities with content marketing and lead scoring. But as outsourced sales company, we understand that the C-Suite and owners of small to medium sized business remain skeptical going all in:
- 82% want to prove content marketing automation is tied to lead generation
- 52% want to ensure they can measure the ROI of their investment
- 35% claim lack of budget
And some of these executives may be correct. This article is meant to help them evaluate if they are right or they consider giving lead scoring with and outsourced sales team a shot.
How to Decide if Your Business Needs (or Is Ready) For Lead Scoring
While 99% of the both the B2B and B2C Fortune 2000 is fully committed to content marketing, lead scoring, and automation systems, small and mid-sized business remain skeptical.
The fact is that lead scoring and automation is not a must have for all businesses. To evaluate if lead scoring is right for your business, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
Do I spend money on leads monthly and then abandon after I get a fresh set of lead?
Is your business spending money on fresh leads every month? Does your sales team attempt these leads a handful of times and then wait for the fresh leads and stop following up with last month’s leads? If you are in a business where deals typically close in 30 days or less from initial interest you may want to continue doing what you are doing. If first touch to close is 30 days or more lead scoring may have significant benefits.
Do I have the minimum sized database and content to get started?
Because 70% of buyers now prefer to learn about new products and solutions by email (sharing educational content) most companies have at least tested content marketing. In fact, 90% of B2B companies now started content marketing in at least a small way. But content is not enough. At a minimum you also need a database of at least 3,000 to 5,000 buyers to get started. You also need to create enough basic educational content to touch these buyers at least 2 times per month for B2B sales and slightly more for B2B sales. If you do not have enough leads you will need to invest in a leads database first. The same goes for content. Content can be as simple as blog posts and short videos. Gabriel Sales offers cost effective packages to help with both.
Is my sales team or outsourced sales team educating buyers that don’t buy?
Is my market so large that I can target and sell to hundreds of thousands of buyers? Have I generated so many inbound leads that my sales team cannot keep up? Is my product so disruptive that everyone would be willing to take a call on the topic? If you have a broad market with tire kickers you should have been scoring leads 5 years ago.
Is my product/solution not an “If” but “When” decision?
Professional Services and software in areas like accounting, compliance, HR, IT, BPO and marketing, printing are not “If” but “When” decisions. Timing is everything. Staying top of mind with buyers so when they are ready to buy is critical so your sales team calls when the window is open. Automation and lead scoring make this possible.
Does my sales team complain about the quality of leads I send them?
Do your sales reps always complain about bad leads? Lead scoring will solve this problem but not on its own. Before launching your lead scoring engine you need to have both sales and marketing agree on what a scored lead is with concrete criteria. Once you agree to these criteria lead scoring will work. It is also a way for you to objectively and subjectively evaluate if you have a sales issue as opposed to a lead quality issue. When Gabriel Sales outsourced sales team set appointments scored leads can help your internal sales team embrace rather than reject leads.
Are my sales engineers and senior sales team educating buyers that don’t buy?
Do you have a great deal of leads that hit the early stage funnel that go through an introductory meeting and/or product demo that never transact? Chances are you have one of two problems. First, your business development reps are not qualifying correctly. Or tire kickers are going straight to senior staff because you don’t have the content necessary to do this initial early stage buyer education. Lead scoring and some basic content that demonstrates your solution can save you tremendous time, money and resources. If a buyer is not interested enough to educate themselves online prior to meeting with your senior resources the prospect is probably not worth their time sell to the buyers yet.
Is there more than one buyer involved in purchasing my solution?
If your sale requires a champion on the buyer side then that champion will need content to educate themselves about your solution so they can move that deal forward. They will also need to share that content with other people on the buying committee. If there are multiple buyers involved in the buying decision they will engage with content more frequently and have a larger digital footprint. Do you have more than one buyer?
Do you have a pricing page, case studies, product pages, demos or demo registrations online?
If these pages are not part of your website or content marketing strategy you should probably consider them. If a buyer hits any of these pages they are strong predictive indicators that your buyer is ready for sales engagement. Notifying your reps or outsourced sale reps when buyers hit these pages can put your team at the front of the line.
How Gabriel Sales Can Help
If you are considering lead scoring for your business, you can begin with us in two ways:
As a B2B Outsourced Sales and Outsourced Marketing company, we understand that ROI is important. Both of these packages include a free preliminary assessment to see if lead scoring and outsourced sales is the right solution for your business. To learn more about our approach you can also visit the About Us page.
No matter the business, marketing is always present. Even your logo or your business card alone shares your brand to customers, colleagues, and competitors. When marketing is optimally used, it results in better relationships with customers and a reduction in wasted time and resources.
One of the biggest trends in marketing today is the use of marketing automation systems. This movement to automate sales and marketing is gaining momentum more and more every year. Whether you use Pardot, Marketo, Act-on, Hubspot, Infusionsoft or other tools; the key to success is to take advantage of the automated processes, scoring and real time notifications. These features, often passed over by sales teams, allow reps to know when to take action and results in moving leads through the sales funnel.
Through the use of automation, the level of interest for future business is clear and simple. Concrete data will be generated and available for analysis, which saves time for your sales team. The distinction between qualified and unqualified leads is shown quickly, allowing for an instant decision for where to focus your efforts, and how to keep track of prospects. The nurtured leads become sales opportunities, which are best found through the data that is produced from the marketing automation tools. Generic marketing, like email blasts, is effective when compared to no marketing, however this is not the most effective. With a marketing automation in place, personalized information about leads are at your fingertips instantly.
Leads that are generated from content marketing and nurturing using tools like Pardot, Silverpop or Net-Results allow for companies to know exactly who is interested, and by how much. The customer experience is an important factor in measuring success, and gaining more buyers. It’s simple: the nurtured leads have a better experience because the marketing they are receiving is what they are interested in. This allows for your staff to go in and make them feel like people. While it is a simple idea, treating your customers like people can be forgotten and the business transaction is unsuccessful.
One of the biggest reasons to automate some of your sales and embrace marketing automation is the time saved of senior sales execs. Repetitive tasks are now automated, allowing for marketers and sales teams to focus their energy on more important assignments. Marketing automation implementations are on the rise and the data exhibits how powerful the potential is when used correctly. Take a look at our implementation checklist to get started on the right path.
The future of business relies on adapting to the trends, which are constantly changing. Marketing automation allows for your business to save time, generate revenue, and create stronger relationships with customers. This can be an intimidating concept, especially to a small business owner, however the results speak volumes to the effectiveness.
For any questions on marketing automation implementation or about the overall process, please feel free to reach out to us.
This is a guide to five ways that marketing automation and sales technology can quickly shift your internal culture and help your sales team be more effective, and most importantly, win more deals.
The five avenues through which adoption of marketing technology and sales automation will have an immediate positive impact on your performance are as follows:
- Lead Capture
- Lead Qualification
- Email Automation
- Lead Intelligence
- Real Time Lead Alerts
Below is a brief explanation of how each of these features will help boost the performance of your sales team and the success of your marketing efforts.
Tools come onto the market and promise to help sales and marketing teams improve their efficiency. Pardot Marketing Automation Software, for example, allows you to identify companies and targets that are spending time on your site without the need for any information to be directly supplied by the prospect. The major value established here is through the ability to identify potential prospects without having the lag time of: contact info needing to be input or using a 3rd party data provider like Inside View, LinkedIn, one Source and SalesForceData. This method more quickly identifies the key players within a company, spending time digesting your marketing material. These 3rd party data provides are used to pull in additional data to fill in holes for contacts that are already established.
It is important to not downplay the necessity of being able to capture leads with landing pages and forms. That is not a new concept or strategy and will help increase your ability to hand over qualified prospects smoothly, when combined with strong lead management rules.
In today’s B2B markets, there are two main ways to directly and successfully qualify leads: using implicit behaviors and activities or explicit data and demographics.
By using implicit information and dynamic lead scoring, you will have the ability to rank and score formerly unquantifiable activities (email, web, social) variably by importance and then set up response actions. These sales automation efforts seamlessly pass top scoring prospects over to well-prepared sales reps in real time.
In using explicit data and lead grading, you gain the ability to qualify a prospect on who they actually are, and the habits they have exhibited – ex. a CEO versus a workaholic just trying to learn something new by requesting your content. You can also adjust grading up and down depending on industry, company size and other various metrics. Essentially, you are able to grade your prospects against an ideal customer profile that your sales and marketing team identifies.
These tactics will directly help your sales team avoid talking to bad prospects that won’t convert, and these grades and scores provide you with another way to dynamically pre-qualify and assign the best prospects to the best sales reps.
Email automation is a major facet in helping your sales reps take their knowledge about and performance with leads to the next level. Reps now have the ability to use email integration tools for programs like Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail and Thunderbird to send personalized emails through the marketing automation tool. This integration results in a new way to personally track opens, clicks, and site time that comes with the option to receive real-time automatic notifications sent to reps.
Email automation also allows for new approaches to personalized email campaigns. The marketing team can craft a message or series of messages to the company’s entire pool of prospects, yet dynamically assign the various fields of the email as they apply to each prospect. This serves two main purposes: 1) reps are accredited by leads to having provided appropriate information with no effort (the marketing software and sales engine took care of everything) and 2) all replies to specific content go directly to the assigned rep, and can be analyzed to provide further insight for future targeting.
A consequential bonus of email automation is that sales reps can pass back “not-yet-qualified” leads to be furthered nurtured by the marketing automation program. This allows for continued exposure, lead qualification and reduced lead exit. Sales reps are notified if the lead “comes back to life” and the lead is automatically sent more digestible content.
Through marketing automation and sales technologies, reps are able to track all online behaviors (email, web, social) and that data is put directly into any CRM (Salesforce) instead of requiring the sales rep to learn the ins and outs of the back-end functions of the marketing automation prospect tracking system and put the information in themselves. Actionable data including the original lead source, specific page views, keyword searches, webinar attendance etc. can all be tracked. This allows for sales reps to profile and frame the content for anything from conversations, voicemails and follow-up emails based on the prospects specific actions and activities.
Real-Time Lead Alerts
This function of sales technology and marketing automation is crucial if you want to compete effectively against competition in the market. Timing is everything, as any good sales rep knows. Real-time lead alerts allow sales reps to reduce response time almost entirely when companies or leads are actively engaged in the sales education collateral. Sales reps receive instant alerts via email, text, mobile applications, and desktop notifications – whichever medium they prefer.
With these alerts and summaries, reps can:
- Prioritize their day with the most active prospects
- Perform quick lookups of anonymous visitors in LinkedIn or Jigsaw to identify potential new prospects
- Click on links to trigger CRM profile lookups
- Send email to active prospects with a few quick clicks
- Filter out unwanted and distracting activity
All five of these features: Lead Capture, Lead Qualification, Email Automation, Lead Intelligence, and Real-Time Lead Alerts save your reps time and help them close more deals. An effective integration and strategy surrounding marketing automation and sales technology will help you to synthesize marketing and sales objectives and improve overall company success.
For more information on how to increase B2B sales volume and how you can adjust your B2B lead generation, demand generation and sales tactics, look for our 5th and final blog of this series, out next week.
If you would like to learn more about how we at Gabriel Sales can combine your product knowledge and thought leadership with our sales and marketing expertise to increase your success and beat out competition, please contact us.