Improving marketing performance is not just about implementing the right technology, it’s also about creating a strategic process to involve people in the process of lead nurturing and qualification. You may have the best content in the world, but there are just some things that must be discovered through a human two-way conversation. To put some perspective on how the human touch impacts marketing performance, I asked Brian Carroll to answer 5 questions to help you understand the importance of leveraging personalized outreach along with marketing automation to improve your success. CD: How can strategic phone outreach impact lead scoring?
BC: Lead scoring can be helpful, but when you have a complex sale, it’s only part of what’s needed to qualify sales ready leads. It’s the human touch of conversation that provides the certainty that a lead is sales ready and that comes from the many nuances gleaned from a personal interaction.
I’ve noticed a lot of marketers with a complex sale are using lead scoring as the only means of lead qualification before they route leads to their sales team.
Lead scoring is not a substitute for human touch. Rather, it prioritizes where you need invest the human touch.
Well trained reps can use judgment to evaluate the likelihood of the opportunity. They can also gather much more complex information that is not possible to gather otherwise, except by sales. So it’s not so much an impact on lead scoring as it’s an impact on sales production. Lead scoring should be used to get the right prospects to the tele-qualification team.
CD: What do you think it’s critical for marketing to learn on the phone that they cannot learn through online behavior?
BC: I’ve found that personal phone call to the right person that is free of sales hype is the best way to build relationships that lead to positive sales results. Then you can make appropriate and relevant offers based on your insights and their level of engagement.
While in a live conversation, you can learn things such as:
- What their challenges and problems are and how they obstruct business objectives.
- How the decision process works.
- Factors driving the decision to investigate.
- Various timing issues (when they will be ready for sales engagement, when they expect to make a decision, etc.)
You must have a sound working knowledge of each potential customer and the company and most importantly, the issues they face and how your product can help solve them. This personal interest goes a long way in establishing meaningful dialogue.
CD: What are the top 3 relationship-building impacts teleprospecting can help marketing achieve?
BC: Here are my top three:
- Finding more buying influencers.
- Getting higher in the account.
- Becoming trusted advisors while Identifying “sales ready” leads.
CD: Can you share an example of something learned in a call that enabled a company to improve their online marketing programs?
BC: Absolutely. One client recently learned that the person who filled out a web form put in personal information that wasn’t exactly true because they didn’t want to get harassed by sales people because of their executive title. When we had a conversation, we asked about their role in evaluating technology tools like our client provided and found that he wasn’t an IT support specialist as his contact information indicated, he was actually a VP of IT.
This person was shifted into a business decision maker lead nurturing track that was written more from an executive perspective. During the conversation we shared that we had some more executive focused content that wasn’t geared just for techies and this contact really appreciated that we could tailor the content we provided to the needs of a business decision maker. They later converted into a sales-ready lead that’s now in the sales forecast.
CD: What do you think is the biggest benefit for marketing from Marketing Automation systems?
BC: Marketing automation gives marketers the ability to track and set up process flows in regards to online / offline lead behavior. Marketing can be more targeted/specific when sending follow-up messaging based on what the prospect had previous clicked/viewed. Being able to do that will then allow marketing to follow-up via phone with a more targeted message so they can put the answer to #2, above, into practice.
Just remember marketing automation supports the demand generation process, but it won’t suddenly create the collaboration needed to drive the more fundamental aspects of lead management that often get overlooked—such as having the right people executing the right processes.
Brian Carroll is CEO of InTouch, and author of the popular book, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale (McGraw-Hill). Brian is a leading expert in lead generation and he's profiled and regularly quoted in numerous publications. His acclaimed B2B Lead Generation Blog is read by thousands of marketers each week.