As technology advances, the bridge connecting sales and marketing seems more like a step between two river beds, rather than the rickety long rope bridge it once was. With each of these disciplines evolving, the role they play in supporting one another becomes all the more intertwined.
Not all that long ago marketing was seen as a fluffy business area that produced pretty advertisements and spent your money on channels that were near impossible to track and show ROI. In many organisations, marketing was the enemy of the sales team, those tasked with bringing in the big bucks and keeping everyone employed.
Today these two departments are close allies working to achieve the same goals and sharp ROI expectations. Nowhere else is this relationship stronger than it is in the pursuit of those precious gems of data which we call leads!
Lead Enablement Automation is the skilled technique of generating, nurturing and scoring leads in order to supply clients with fully qualified and prioritised leads, allowing sales teams to invest their energy where they have the highest chance of conversion, whilst ensuring prospects in the lower ranks are gradually making their way to the top.
Lead generation is not a new concept and most of you would be familiar with it. This process of identifying potential customers for your business or product has been around since the dawn of advertising. However, the way in which we go about identifying these leads has certainly upgraded from the broad brush approach we were once limited to, to the amazingly specific qualifications we can now make through targeted advertising.
Lead nurturing is a lot like making new friends in professional circles. Imagine this in a face to face scenario… Would you walk up to someone at a networking event and immediately try to sell to them? If their first words were “I want to buy something” then perhaps your answer is yes. However, 90% of the time, when you have just met someone, whether in person or through your business presence online, you have only just entered the courting phase. They may be qualified as someone within your target market but it is likely they are not yet ready to trust you.
In this stage, it is important to show your prospects why you are valuable to them, both your product and/or service but also the content that you are sharing with them. Delivering them relevant and regular content across multiple channels allows them to subconsciously become familiar with your band and gradually warm to the idea of offering you their money.
Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against the perceived value each lead represents to the organisation. For example, if you were to have a prospect fill in their details expressing their intention to purchase from you, that would be ranked at the top vs another who has just clicked on your website.
This process will be different for each business, depending on your ideal “buying persona” and what your prospects buying signals look like. This could range from page views and form submissions to company size and industry.
Lead generation has been around long enough that most people, regardless how little you know about it, will attest to its value. If your options were sales people blindly calling through the phone book or calling from a list of qualified prospects, I am sure you would prefer the latter. But what do you do once you have this list? If you are an SME with a lean sales force you need to ensure your time is invested where the conversion likelihood is higher…
Lead nurturing seems to be the least understood step in this process. It is reasonable that businesses want to employ lead generation activities that hand qualified, ready-to-convert-now leads but the reality is that a great majority of your leads will not convert immediately, or even in the short-term. So why bother with them? The 2014 Demand Gen Report found statistics that nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities vs non-nurtured leads… Nurturing leads also allows you to keep these prospects ‘warm’ whilst you are chasing the hot prospects.
The addition of scoring these leads allows you to identify your hot prospects… Serving your sales force the créme de la créme ensures they increase efficiency, effectiveness and most importantly, revenue.
About the author
Director and Founder Upside.Digital
Lee embarked on a journey in 2009 to move from IT to marketing and did so with a bang. She found her passion immediately within the performance based email marketing arena and has been working with clients since helping them drive up their online presence and ROI ever since.
With expert direction and leadership across digital strategy and online marketing Lee is a natural sales director fostering client relationships that have been with the company since its inception in 2009.
Quote: Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try