Marketing Automation platform-Things to consider when selecting a platform – Part 2. Lead Management
Lead management is of course a core function of Marketing Automation and all platforms will offer some lead management function. Below is a breakdown of the main capabilities ranked in terms of level of sophistication.
2. Lead Management
Standard platform offering:
– This is where all interactions with your leads and customers are stored. The information is more detailed than in your standard CRM system. Type of Data stored will include; website visits, email clicks, lead scoring status and changes, sales rep interactions, updates etc.
Lead Nurturing – This refers to the automatic capabilities of continuously interacting with prospects over time based on certain behaviors they display. The type of responses to what activities are preset campaign steps defined by the operator. This could include follow up mails after visiting certain page, additional information after certain download etc. all to move the prospect along the sales funnel.
Online behavior tracking – This refers to the ability to monitor prospects’ online behavior and attitudes. Types of things that are tracked would be; key words input, social media comments etc. The goal is to understand more about the customer and what they are interested in and their attitude towards your company
Alerts and Tasks – Create instant automated alerts to your sales reps once the customer engages in an action that indicates sales readiness
More advanced platforms will offer:
One-Stop-Shop view of your customer – This refers to the gathering of all your interactions with the customer and the customer’s other online activates in one place. In the way the system can trigger right action at right time, even if customer has not directly interacted with your company, visited website etc. This is an extension of Online behavior tracking.
– This includes but not limited to segmenting customers based on; location, age, demographic, title and company size etc. It also includes behavior, i.e. those who; register to event within past 3 days, visited that particular site, non-opened emails, or opened emails but not clicked on link etc.
Lead Scorning and ranking – Effective lead scoring is a science and is most effectively done by professionals. However to do lead scoring and ranking of your prospects you need to have a platform that offer this tool. Lead scoring can encompass the normal criteria (age, title, company etc) but also include behavior and interested in different products.
Data cleansing and CRM integration (sync) – Helps you De-duplicate contacts and merge them together, can also help you fill in missing information for certain contacts. Automatic synchronization with your CRM system can be a huge help, especially if your CRM system already contains a lot of data.
Intelligent sales reporting – Creates a summary of key customers and their key interests, which makes it easy for sales rep to contact and sell.
A handful of plat forms will offer:
Sales campaigns – that sales reps can add their prospects on to or create by themselves.
Revenue cycle modelling – This capability enables you to define the cycle and set automated rules for how leads should be nudged/encouraged to move on the next stage. This is an extension of Lead Nurturing.
These capabilities, although made easy to use by the platform provider, still take time to master.
One of the biggest mistakes companies do is to purchase an expensive platform and then underutilized it. Either by not educating their staff on the platform or because sales and marketing are not integrated within the company.
These days many companies see the purchase of a platform as a first step, step two is then often to sign partnership agreement with a dedicated professional agency that help them get the most out of the platform and often in combination with other marketing activities.