You’ve got a clear view of the journey your prospects will move through during your campaign – but how do you bring that to life using the technology and data at your fingertips?
There are a few key elements, namely: lead scoring, lead grading (optional), marketing automation and data.
A lead generation campaign is designed to nurture prospects to the point of being ready for a sales conversation.
Of course it’s entirely possible to run a lead generation campaign without a lead scoring capability, but you run a much higher risk of passing poorly qualified leads to your sales team.
Most firms are using high-spec marketing automation platforms to support their email sends. This is the exciting moment where you start to tap into the true power of your marketing automation functionality.
Lead scoring relates to assigning a score to each of the interactions an individual has with your firm. For example, you may assign a score for when someone opens an email, clicks a link in an email and visits a webpage.
How detailed you get with your scoring approach will depend on your marketing automation platform. For example, you may be able to assign a different score depending on which webpage they visited, or which link they clicked, or you may be required to assign a universal score based on those interaction types.
Also, bear in mind that some channels are more challenging than others to score interactions in. The key channels are typically email and website.
The weighting you assign to each interaction is an estimation of the importance of that action. It is best practice to regularly revisit the scoring model you use: if leads come through the sales team too early, it’s likely you need to down-weight the scores assigned to some of the interactions.
Another important point is that your lead scoring model isn’t developed solely by marketing. If the sales team are to receive these MQLs, they need to agree these leads are ready for a sales conversation. This should be a collaborative process, one that galvanises both sales and marketing around a common goal.
In our experience, it has been a brilliant tool in aligning sales and marketing around a tangible outcome they both contribute to.
Some marketing automation platforms allow you to grade leads too. The key difference between lead scoring and grading are:
- Lead scoring: enables you to assess how engaged a lead is with your firm
- Lead grading: enables you to assess how important a lead is to your firm – how attractive they are to you
Therefore, a lead may score highly in terms of engaging with your brand, but they may not be an appropriate target for your sales team (e.g. someone looking for a job).
If your campaign is meeting its objectives, your sales team are going to have a fair volume of new leads to speak to. If these leads are graded according to how attractive your firm finds them, it’s much easier for the sales team to prioritise which leads they go after first.
There might be a sense that marketing automation software reduces the amount of work involved in setting up a campaign. This isn’t the case. In fact, marketing automation software may even require some additional steps from you – but the real clincher is that it requires you to put all the work in upfront. Every campaign asset needs to be created, approved and uploaded before the campaign commences.
The real advantages of marketing automation are:
- The ability to customise the touchpoints of a campaign based on an action taken or not taken or some other variable
- The ability to time a follow-up communication perfectly, for every individual prospect – no more bulk sends with limited relevance in terms of timing and messaging
A great example of these benefits in action would be if you had sent a lead an email about two topics, let’s call them Topic A and Topic B.
Your marketing automation platform registers that they opened the email and clicked the link related to Topic B. They can then be sent a follow-up email exactly 48 hours later focused on Topic B. This ensures that next communication is both timely and topically relevant to the content they’ve shown an interest in.
Data is often overlooked, until it’s missing or of poor quality. Quality data is the foundation for an effective lead generation campaign. For a campaign to generate leads, the messaging needs to be relevant. For the messaging to be relevant, you need to tailor it to particular segments. You can only target these segments if the variables you use to identify members of that segment are reflected in the data you have about them.
For example, if the objective of your lead generation campaign is to deliver leads – e.g. advisers interested in a new thematic fund – to the sales team, you might zero in on a segment of this audience that is already invested in a similarly themed fund with a comparable risk profile.
However, if your CRM and automation platform don’t hold client and prospect records that clearly tag whether a contact is an adviser, what they’re currently invested in and other relevant behaviour, it’s going to be difficult to be sure you’re speaking to the right people.
Apart from data about the audience you want to target, you’ll also need to collect data about how this audience is engaging with your firm. After all, lead scoring can’t work without it. If you don’t know this, you (a) can’t target prospects with appropriate content and journeys to nurture them, and (b) won’t know when they have engaged sufficiently to warrant a sales conversation.
So, you’ve got your new experience mapped out and your campaign assets ready. Your data and tech are in place. Now, it’s about adapting or creating business processes to support the seamless transition of prospects to MQLs who are ready for a sales conversation. Check out Part 3 of this series to find out more.