Much has been written in the last few years about the dramatic shift in how technology buyers educate themselves about new solutions. Once very dependent on sales professionals for the majority of the education process, buyers are now using search techniques, email, blogs, video, webinars, and social media for this process.
However, according toB2B marketing research firm DemandGen Report, 77% of buyers do not follow a traditional buying path, which means their online actions, or digital behavior may not accurately indicate where they are in the buying process.
That’s a compelling reason to integrate human touch points into your lead-to-close process. In combination with marketing automation (and other multi-media strategies), the live touch plays a key role in lead life cycle management, directly impacting marketing performance. The live touch makes significant contributions in the following areas:
- Prospect Qualification
- Relationship Development
- Collection of Business Intelligence
- Ensuring Optimal Email Coverage, and
- Enhancing Data Quality
Over the next few weeks, we will report on each of these areas. Let’s begin with “Prospect Qualification.”
Using the live touch allows the marketer to make an assessment of the digital behavior that triggered the call and potentially determine exactly where the prospect is in the sales cycle. At the same time information collected during the call will allow the marketer to improve the accuracy of the lead score, find out what topics, concerns, and pains to which the prospect responds. This knowledge is critical to improving content focus.
Using the live touch for prospect qualification also mitigates one of the major disconnects between marketing and sales. Often the sales teams are flooded with “leads” only to find that those lead are not qualified. They can easily become turned off and make the assumption that leads they get from marketing have little value. The live touch provides for deeper qualification of leads before they are delivered to sales diffusing the potential disconnect between sales and marketing.
In the example below, the client’s Marketing Automation (MA) platform had identified contacts that their scoring triggers indicated were appropriate for outbound touches. What the numbers below show, however, is that the parameters setup in the MA platform based on prospects’ digital behaviors were very misleading in a number of cases. 30% of the data provided to Winn included prospects with no active plans or prospects that were no longer employed. The outbound effort provided an excellent number of qualified leads as well as important information on where their prospects are in the buying cycle.
Client: Fortune 100 Hardware and Software Vendor
From their MA platform the Client delivered 478 leads that were targeted for outbound qualification based on prospects’ digital behaviors.
- 43 actionable (sales-ready) leads were identified, 9% of the database
- 50% identified as non-sales ready (nurturing leads)
- 25% were research-only and had no active plans in place
- 5% of prospects were no longer employed reflecting market volatility; 22 referrals were generated
- BI and relevant data impacting lead score for non-sales ready leads and unresolved prospects were updated in the clients MA platform for ongoing nurturing