Evaluating Your Lead Management Process: 15 Questions to Ask

https://twitter.com/edhadley[Posted by Ed Hadley, Senior Marketing Manager, Neolane, Inc.]

Ed Hadley

At times, it might seem like marketing moves at the speed of light. Just when you think it’s safe to stop and take a breath, you realize you’re actually behind in 10 other areas. It’s easy to set things on the back burner and rely on “the way it’s always been”. But, as marketers, we have a responsibility to look for ways to improve and optimize our internal processes and campaign results. You know you should probably focus a little bit more effort on lead management processes, yet, many marketers struggle to find the time. According to MarketingSherpa, 68% of B2B organizations have not taken the time to document and identify their funnel. 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing and 79% of B2B marketers have not established lead scoring.

Perhaps it’s not just a matter of finding the time, but rather finding the right questions to ask. Questions that translate into a healthier pipeline and a more efficient lead management process. Here are five different areas of lead management that every organization should be thinking about and a handful key questions that may help your organization identify some quick wins in lead management success.

Lead Capture

1. Am I asking for only the essential number of fields on my forms/landing pages?

According to recent research on landing page optimization, when form fields increase, conversion rates decrease (but only slightly). Only ask for information that’s critical to begin marketing to them, or that you can’t get elsewhere. If you can augment customer records or have sales reps populate information via Hoovers or LinkedIn, there’s no reason to ask for that information on a form.

2. Am I using progressive profiling to build prospect records over time?

Progressive profiling allows you to ask prospects to enter data over time. Each time you deliver value to a prospect (via a whitepaper, landing page offer, or video) you have a great opportunity to capture one or two pieces of information without being perceived as intrusive. This approach allows you to build a rich profile over time without asking for too much up front.

3. Am I integrating multiple data sources to build a complete view of prospects?

Customer data should include a combination of insights from marketing, sales, and service communications. You can also augment and scrub customer data with externally sourced data tools. The key is to establish a single marketing view of prospects and their behavior (e.g. website, email, social, etc.) that drives more relevant communications and smarter marketing decisions.

4. Am I tracking lead quality by source to optimize resources and results?

Get to know your marketing channels. With the right lead management technology, you can actually start some attribution analysis to identify which programs or channels drive the lion’s share of sales accepted leads—and which drive volume but not quality.

Lead Scoring

5. Am I incorporating both demographic and behavioral data into my scoring model? Are there opportunities to incorporate social media activity?

Effective lead scoring models typically use demographic and firmographic attributes, such as company size, industry, and job title; as well as behavioral scoring such as website visits, form completions, email opens and clicks, etc. For additional insight, see our recent post, “How Social Media Can Support the Lead Management Process.”

6. Is the sales team rejecting a high percentage of leads?

If so, you may need to refine the lead scoring model and work with sales to more accurately identify which customer behavior and attributes indicate a high propensity to buy and are thus likely to drive sales.

7. Am I scoring negative behaviors (inactivity, viewing the Careers page, etc.)

Negative behaviors such as long periods of time with no activity, or a visit to the company “Careers” page are good indications of a lack of interest or no prospect at all. Detractor scores can help move these individuals to the bottom of the list and keep them out of the pipeline.

8. Have I implemented different scoring models for different geographies or product lines?

Each unique segment or region may display unique buying behavior. Consider setting up separate lead scoring models to recognizing and optimize for the subtle differences in buyers by product, region, demographic, and segment.

Lead Nurturing

9. Am I using inbound channels (Web, social, call center, mobile app) to present dynamic offers (content, events, etc,. based on the sales cycle?

Marketers should be using real-time interaction management capabilities to extend the nurturing process to inbound channels. This would allow your organization to offer website visitors the next best asset or message based on who they are, what they’ve consumed previously, and their propensity to buy based on lead scoring algorithms.

10. Am I sending nurture campaigns on a fixed timeline? Or are some or all messages behaviorally driven?

Incorporate a mix of both time-based nurture triggers and behavior-based nurture triggers. Behavioral triggers initiate nurture marketing campaigns based on prospect activity or behavior. For example, an email drip campaign could be triggered off of a completed form submission online.

11. Could social activity trigger nurture messages?

Just like activity on email and the web can be used in business rules, so can social media activity. This is a great opportunity to initiate a real-time dialog with a prospect, right when it matters most.

Lead Routing

12. Am I providing sales with enough info (i.e. not just contact details but marketing history, behavior, etc.)?

When routing leads, it’s important to provide as much information as possible to maximize the sales rep’s time and return on outreach. That includes recent activity in marketing, sales, and customer service and if known, social media profiles.

13. Is revenue data flowing back from the CRM to the marketing system for reporting and ROI purposes?

All too often, companies forget to close the loop in marketing and sales. If the lead management system is being used to initiate and trigger campaigns, you can actually see which channels contribute to revenue generation.

14. Can sales reps designate rejected leads for specific nurture campaigns?

A good portion of the leads that are talking to sales (that seemed sales ready) will, for whatever reason stall a purchase decision. Don’t let these opportunities fall through the cracks. By allowing sales to put them into dedicated nurture campaigns, you can keep in touch with these individuals until they are ready to buy. Keep in mind, the content in nurture campaigns for pipeline opportunities is very different from educational content nurturing at the front of the funnel.

15. Do routing rules account for inside sales versus direct sales, etc.?

Inside sales is largely a numbers game, it’s a source of validating and qualifying opportunities. Direct sales should be talking to the most qualified and ready to buy individuals. Lead scoring and routing should account for these differences and route leads accordingly.

These are just few key questions to ask to evaluate and optimize your lead management process. What others would you add to the list?