In the Lead Nurturing Cookbook, we offer a recipe for managing and qualifying inbound leads using your marketing automation platform. Mike Damphousse, CEO/CMO of Green Leads, LLC, a firm that specializes in using the phone to get qualified appointments for its clients’ salespeople on a pay-per-performance basis, participated as an “Expert Chef” on this recipe offering marketers insight on how to create a strategic process to involve people in the process of lead nurturing and qualification. To expand on some of the important concepts Mike discussed in the Cookbook, I asked him to answer 5 questions to help you understand the importance of leveraging personalized outreach along with marketing automation to improve your success.
EM: What role does telemarketing play in qualifying inbound leads and why is this role critical to the process?
MD: In the scope of demand gen, inbound leads inherently have a higher value than other forms of leads because they have already raised their hand in some manner. It may be as simple as them simply visiting your site and learning, or it may be as mature as a lead requesting a call back after educating themselves on multiple visits. As it pertains to how an inside team or an outsourced vendor plays into the inbound lead follow-up and qualification process, there are two key factors to remember: first, the faster the prospect has a response from you, the more likely they will convert to a meaningful conversation, and second, know what they were interested in and be prepared for the call. They warmed themselves up for you, so don't make the mistake of treating it as a cold call.
EM: How does integrating telemarketing into your lead nurturing programs affect data integrity and sales intelligence?
MD: No matter how good your automated lead scoring and data collection can be, there is still no replacement for human judgment. Allow your team to be able to make lead scoring adjustments and insist that they consider data hygiene a part of their jobs. A typical example that results from an inbound lead is missing titles. A simple thing, but it impacts the lead score, the reps impression of the lead, etc. So the simple act of having the rep verify the title, say with LinkedIn, is significant. It creates clean data. It can impact or trigger a change in the lead score. And it prepares your rep for the call. The benefits of maintain good data far outweigh the time it takes to maintain it.
EM: Your company Green Leads specializes in b2b appointment setting and reaching top-level executives. What advice do you have for sales reps and telemarketers tasked with connecting with these decision-makers?
MD: Think about this: the sales cycle doesn't start until a conversation with a prospect is taking place. Make sure that your prospect wants to have that conversation. So if your goal is appointment setting, don't call and sell your products and services, call and earn the right to have a more detailed conversation about your products and services. Make the goal of your first call to get a second call.
EM: At what point in the prospect-to-close process would you recommend integrating your first human touch point?
MD: Think about where in the process the prospect is. If they are educating themselves, make your touch bring value to their education process. If they are showing the propensity to buy, then increase your touch to a more detailed sales discussion. Adjust the touch to the prospect. Make it a buying process instead of a selling process.
EM: In the Cookbook you discuss the importance of incorporating the human touch into the lead nurturing process. How can marketing automation improve those one-on-one interactions?
MD: Most marketing automation systems now can actually schedule a human event. And what I mean by that is if you’re building a lead nurturing track, and let’s say the track is: prospect downloads White Paper 1; you nurture them for several weeks; if they visit your site again, you spring another email on them, etc. When they get to a point that’s appropriate to involve a sales rep or telemarketing rep, the marketing automation system can trigger that human event. Honestly, selling doesn’t happen until a conversation happens. So if the lead nurturing track has gotten the prospect to the point that they’re deemed educated and qualified, then you trigger some level of interaction to occur.
Mike is the consummate sales and marketing executive, leading both the growth of Green Leads and the techniques and practices behind Green Leads' demand generation success. Mike brings over 20 years of senior management experience from a series of high technology and b2b marketing firms. During the past 6 years Mike has developed a new brand of demand gen that leverages both technology, the human asset, and social media. After sharing these ideas with other leading demand gen companies, Mike decided to form Green Leads, where he can complement these practices with a higher sense of quality and accountability to the company, its people, its clients, and its community.