In the context of digital marketing and demand generation, lead intelligence is the sales rep’s ability to predict high probability pain points that a prospect may have before trying to establish contact so that they may have a more fruitful consultative conversation.
This is a primary role for content marketing programs in the B2B space, especially when an outside sales force is being deployed to sell a complex product or service. In many cases, there is not a likely search term that can be optimized or purchased, so the content that marketing produces needs to give some type of intelligence to the sales rep, or the rep is simply making a cold call.
The necessity of lead intelligence
It used to be that a good sales rep could walk in the door of the business, meet the prospect in a conference room, shake hands and see around the office. An experienced sales rep could read eye contact and body language and would pretty much know the challenges that the business faced.
Sales people also knew the questions they were going to ask the prospect in order to identify pain and offer solutions. If they asked the first question and it bombed, the sales rep could pivot instantly to the next question until he or she found an area that their solution could address.
When trying to establish contact in the digital world, all of that goes away, especially when trying to establish contact solely by phone or email. They simply don’t have the opportunity to identify what these high probability pain points are—unless they can be identified by the content that has been consumed.
How can sales use lead intelligence used to get in front of prospects?
When a prospect reads an article or watches a video on topic XYZ, as long as you have marketing automation software in place that syncs your website with your CRM, your sales rep can view that activity in the contact’s lead record.
For example, she can see that John Doe just watched a video on XYZ topic. And then he went on to visit three more related pages on the site.
Now the sales reps has something they can talk about beyond just the general interest in the company. Because of what John Doe consumed, the rep can reach out and be a resource on topic XYZ and probe around that specific pain point to get a conversation going.
Forms of Lead Intelligence that Sales will thank you for
Marketing should have ongoing conversations with sales people so they can understand what pain points they’re hearing on a regular basis from prospects and then develop content that’s going to attract their attention. This can take several forms:
- Web pages viewed. if a sales rep can see what pages on their site the prospect has viewed, they can get an idea of what they might be looking for.
- Completed Conversions If a prospect has traded information for a white paper download or webinar sign up, there’s a strong likelihood that the potential buyer has a pain point that your company can solve
- Social Media - More nebulous than a white paper download, but if someone reads an article you posted on LinkedIn and then follow and connect with you, that lead is qualified.
- Marketing campaign consumption - when a prospect is in your database and they’re receiving your marketing campaigns on a regular basis, sales reps want to know what they’ve actually opened and clicked on.
- Past communications with a prospect - all past emails and phone calls should be logged and stored in the CRM so that when a sales person views the lead record, they can see if there’s been some form of communication in the past, and what the results of that communication were.
- Sales Alerts - The marketing automation system should generate an immediate email to the appropriate sales reps when one of their prospects exhibits digital behavior. The faster the sales rep can respond, the greater the likelihood that prospect is still sitting at their computer.