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How do you ensure that your lead is nurtured effectively?

At The Reference, we have always been fervent users of all kinds of systems and processes to simplify and monitor our sales and marketing operations. These two areas are closely linked and effective sharing of information between the two can make all the difference between attracting a new customer and watching them slip between your fingers.

The solutions available to us range from Sitecore, Selligent and Marketo for lead generation and lead nurturing and scoring to Salesforce for lead qualification and follow-up by the commercial team. A wide range of tools that all need to work together smoothly to achieve the right results.

Lead generation

As the specialists in online marketing, obviously everyone expects us to use the right tools ourselves to generate fresh leads.

Being real digital natives, we usually use online campaigns to bring in suitable leads. The action we take can be categorised as marketing automation or Omnichanel Marketing. These are terms we hear all the time nowadays, but what it actually comes down to is using all the existing solutions in one well-integrated whole.

So what is an example of Marketing Automation? Campaigns are based on information and promotions on the website. To publicise this, we start a campaign on social media and place adverts and banners online. We reinforce it with a targeted and personalised email marketing campaign with the same message. That might be backed up with text message or mobile push notifications.

With Sitecore, which we use for the website, we display personalised information on the basis of the user’s preferences. For text message, mobile and email campaigns we use Selligent or Marketo. The latter tool is particularly interesting to us as a B2B company, as it includes functions that can score incoming leads and develop them in a pre-programmed flow, called lead nurturing.

Lead scoring and nurturing

As soon as a lead comes in, it is immediately given a specific score, which is based on information from various sources: pages visited on the website, links clicked in an email, search terms in Google, source website, already recognised in the database or not, geographic location etc. All the solutions we use within Marketing Automation can provide valuable information.

The next step is to nurture a lead to reach its full potential. Here, a unique process is possible for each lead, triggering different marketing activities at different times. In turn, these then add to or even subtract from scores, because, unfortunately, not every nurturing turns out the way we want it.

Some leads are suitable for picking up by the sales team straight away, such as a ready-made RFP (Request for Proposal). Some need to be followed up by marketing before they are passed on and unfortunately some are doomed to end up in the waste basket after a thorough evaluation. We try to automate as many of the steps and processes as possible, but of course the human aspect is still significant. Automation is important for information gathering and information flows, but it cannot cover everything, such as a previous contact, a particular sector or other specific criteria.

Once the system and marketing team consider a lead mature enough to be passed on to sales, it is added to the CRM system along with all the necessary information.

Lead qualification

Salesforce has long been a fixture in the monitoring of incoming leads and their processing. Especially for an international organisation such as The Reference, it is important for all information collected to be displayed in the same place and in the same way. This means we can be sure that we use everyone’s time as effectively as possible. Marketing makes use of the correct information for its campaigns, the sales team have a complete marketing and sales history for a contact and, if everything goes smoothly, we can also extract great reports on the whole process.

The classification by sales and the eventual journey to winning or losing a project is of course the least automated element. Old-fashioned hard work and elbow grease are required to achieve a good result here. But all the previous steps, such as scoring and nurturing, significantly increase the chance of success.

The ultimate connected flow

This whole system can only work if the right systems, processes and people are attuned to each other. This is something that usually turns out to be the biggest problem within an organisation. Buying a couple of licences for sales and marketing tools does not give you the strategic insight needed to set up the entire process. It comes down to the right campaign at the right time for the right target group, the correct use of solutions, the perfect lead-scoring strategy, a faultless handover to sales and, most importantly, a professional partner to keep everything on track.

Ready? Then come and chat to one of our specialists and update your marketing automation and sales process, so you can nurture your leads effectively too!

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