Smashmouth B2B Blog: Sales & Marketing Demand Gen

Demand Gen - Nature, Nurture, or Both?

Posted by Mike Damphousse



37% of prospects that were nurtured move on to further sales activity from an introductory meeting,  12% higher than those not nurtured

As you all know, Green Leads is in the b2b appointment setting business. Similar to b2b inside sales teams, we book meetings with C/VP level executives on our clients' behalf and only get paid when the meetings take place. The ROI is easy to calculate as clients only pay when the sales rep completes the meeting. So X meetings for $Y. We can deliver this service predictably because it's all about the numbers. Those of us in the business can recite stats at the drop of a hat -- what list penetration numbers are, the mix of titles based on the client or industry, the number of C/VP level referrals, the reschedule and cancel rates -- you name it.

Last year some stats started changing. During regular review meetings, two clients asked within weeks of each other why their list penetration numbers were dropping (the number of meetings booked per list). They were still getting the same amount of meetings that "Natural", but they were right, we were all working harder, and we were consuming bigger and bigger lists to achieve the same numbers. Then, a third client asked what we were doing different because their penetration numbers were increasing. It happened to be the same period.

After some discussion internally, we realized that the third client had been feeding us lists that were actively being nurtured. The lists were smaller in size than the other two clients, but each contact was receiving valuable contact through white papers, webinar invites, analyst studies, blog links, etc. Inbound leads as a result of the nurturing campaign were routed to their inside sales team. The remaining leads, after reaching a certain lead score based on the numbers of email opens, forwards, website visits, and other criteria, they were transferred to our lists for outbound appointment setting. We were converting them to meetings at astonishing rates.

Since then, five of our clients have started feeding us nurtured leads to augment traditional raw names. In two cases, they outsource the management of the nurturing process to us.

The results -- Prospects that are nurtured are 17% more likely to be accept a meeting when pitched, and of those, the appointments completed moved on to further sales discussions 37% of the time (12% higher than non-nurtured).

We are now recommending to all our clients that they implement nurturing programs in conjunction with our appointment setting. If tightly integrated, the results of the two are significant:

  • Prospects are further into the buying cycle when the sales team engages
  • Resources used to build larger lists for outbound work can be redirected to nurturing efforts
  • Quality of introductory meetings are increased, resulting in a more mature pipeline
  • Ongoing branding to prospects nurtured is significantly higher than those not nurtured
  • Outsourced vendors or inside sales teams can operate more efficiently, providing higher quality as well as additional services
  • Increased ROI of the program can contribute to increased demand gen programs

 

Tags: b2b sales, demand gen, lead nurturing, appointment setting, marketing automation

ActiveConversion Product Review: Demand Gen Intelligence

Posted by Michael Damphousse

Active Converstion Product ReviewActiveConversion is a web based solution that allows organizations to identify visitors to their website, to automatically qualify and nurture leads, to get notified when leads become "hot," and to track ROI of marketing campaigns. They are partners with Google, Jigsaw, VerticalResponse, and Salesforce.com.

Upon opening up the solution, you can view your ActiveConversion dashboard. You're able to see your active leads, broken down by active companies, active prospects, and qualified leads. The information is easy to read and easy to understand, and a click of the mouse allows you to dive deeper into the graphically represented reports. The dashboard gives you visibility into seeing which of your leads is actually showing genuine interest. That's great, but as I'm thinking about it, how exactly does this work? How does it determine whether or not one of my prospects is showing "genuine interest?  They do this by scoring visitors to your website on three different categories:

  • How they reached your site
  • What they viewed, and
  • How long they visited.

These scores are easy to configure and allow you to determine when a prospect is ready for a call, and when they're not.

Lead Scoring Tools

ActiveConversion can help simplify lead management and lead routing process. The sales team can also reap the benefit from the following:

  • Identification of anonymous visitors to your website by mapping known IP addresses. Contacts of the prospect company can be instantly researched in Jigsaw.
  • Push leads and session visit data to the sales team through regularly scheduled emails. This can also include lead score.
  • Returning visitors can have lead scores improved and salesforce activities scheduled upon further visits.

When I visit your site, do you know if I'm a lead?

More Smashmouth Demand Gen Product Reviews.

Tags: sales, b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, b2b marketing, lead gen, sales2.0, reviews, product reviews, marketing automation, Product Information

Genius.com Accelerates The Close Part 2 - Smashmouth Product Review

Posted by Mike Damphousse

genius.logo

In the Smashmouth Review of Genius.com Part 1, we focused on Genius Pro. Since then, we've had the opportunity to work with and evaluate Genius Enterprise. The one liner summary: marketing automation and sales enablement with a 2.0 twist.

The product is so rich in features that this article alone will not do it justice. It’s always tempting to try to make apples to apples comparisons with other marketing automation vendors, but Genius is different. Genius eliminates the need for heavy IT support. After just a few hours of use it allows a non-guru to establish some incredibly strong functionality. It's suitable for small business, or for a larger, more sophisticated organization.

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The heart of the package is the Automation Workflow Designer. This provides a the ability to create logical processes of conditions, actions, and communications that together can walk a prospect through the nurturing and selling process.

Consider this example. Sounds complex, but it was able to be configured in 30 minutes with the drag and drop editor that is both intuitive and fresh in its design.

- If the prospect is not on any other campaign, send an initial email
- Wait for 5 days, and if during those 5 days the prospect had clicked through to the site, increase their lead score, and keep watching and waiting
- If during those 5 days they visit the site multiple times, then increase their lead score again
- If during those 5 days they download a specific white paper and look at the Contact Us page, increase the lead score and send a more targeted email offer. At this point, notify the sales rep and then remove this lead from the workflow and have the rep pursue them by phone
- What sets Genius apart from the rest if at any time during the waiting process a qualifying conversion event is reached the rep will notified immediately and the prospect will be removed from the workflow

etc. (you get the picture)

Key among the features is the ability to have the Genius Tracker notify you by email, SMS or the Genius Tracker IM-like interface when a rep takes a qualifying action like visiting your site or reaches a qualified lead score. From there the rep can link to the contact's history -- what emails have they received, and what actions have they taken. There is also a TiVo-like replay of their visit available, which is a rich way for a rep to find out what the prospect was interested in chatlive and target the followup conversation. To top it off, the system also has an integrated chat/messaging system for visitors to use, as well as the ability to display an Instant Promo window that can contain custom messages.

Smashmouth recommendation: Thumbs Up



End of independent review.

As opposed to the obligatory comment from the company, I asked if I could speak with a power user. .

"Genius Enterprise is designed for Marketers with sales in mind," says Joanna Giannotti, Global Marketing Director at ClickSoftware. "It’s simple drag and drop campaign creation makes cumbersome, complicated marketing automation solutions a thing of the past while their exclusive Tracker alerts Sales with an instant notification when prospects are hot so they can offer rapid service. It all means greater Marketing success and more closed deals for Sales."

As a postscript...this whole exercise had my desktop going off every few minutes with an audible signal that someone was visiting my site. It leads me to continue the debate...when I hear that noise, do I pick up the phone and POUNCE? (more: Pounce, Pause, Nurture or Wait?).

Tags: marketing, sales, b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, inbound marketing, twitter, lead nurturing, sales2.0, reviews, marketing automation, genius.com

Appointment Setting, Blogging and Lead Nurturing - Interview on Marketo's Blog

Posted by Mike Damphousse

lead nurturing

Just a quick post to point readers to an interview of me on Marketo's blog, Demand Generation and Social Media: Thought Leadership with Mike Damphousse of Green Leads. Questions discussed:

What is B2B appointment setting? And why is it important to marketers?

When it comes to leads, quality or quantity?

You specialize in reaching CXOs and VPs. Can you give marketers three tips to connect with these hard to reach decision makers?

How does lead nurturing play a part in reaching these executive contacts?

I noticed you use Twitter frequently and have an active blog. How have these helped the success of your company, and what kind of budget and resources do you have to be so active in social media?

What metrics do you use to measure your social media success?

What are three tips that any marketer can use to increase their social media or blogging?

Hope you enjoy it and post some comments.

Tags: marketing, sales, b2b sales, demand gen, outbound marketing, inbound marketing, socialmedia, social media marketing, lead nurturing, lead gen, appointment setting, sales2.0, marketo, blogs, interviews, marketing automation

Lead Generation - Marketo's Definitive Guide To Lead Nurturing

Posted by Mike Damphousse

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I just reviewed Marketo's recently released Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing. Don't let the vendor logo fool you, this is a document that is a must read for all demand generation professionals. It's filled with useful information, starting with the basics and then working to the advanced.

Excerpt: "the process of building relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy, with the goal of arming their business when they are ready. Building a relationship with a prospect is the same as with any long-term relationship — you can’t force someone to commit (to a purchase, in this case) — but you also cannot afford to lose individuals because their willingness to buy doesn’t match your readiness to sell."

The document is full of examples, includes several useful tools as a take away, and also is full of soundbites from industry leaders such as Tony Jaros of SiriusDecisions, Ian Michiels of Aberdeen, Marketing Sherpa, Scott Albro from Tippit, and more.

What I found most useful were the examples of calculating the ROI of Lead Nurturing. Specifically the section of the impact on opportunities won.

It's a must read. Go download it now: Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing

Tags: marketing, sales, b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, siriusdecisions, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, marketing automation

Genius.com Accelerates The Close Part 1 - Smashmouth Product Review

Posted by Mike Damphousse

We all know that accelerating a prospect through the educational/discovery phase onward to a selling cycle and then a buying event takes time. Especially today when the buyer defines the sales cycle, not the seller. The typical decision maker is bombarded with marketing contacts each day, yet they are still finding information on their own, they are educating themselves on industry sites, blogs, twitter and your website and emails.

Genius.com helps you take back some of that control that the buyers are claiming. As with other product reviews on Smashmouth, this will be an ongoing experiment. Today I'll describe what Genius brings you, and in later posts, I'll talk about some of the benefits and issues it has surfaced.

There are two levels of product, Genius Pro and Genius Enterprise. Both have the ability to do email marketing, website tracking, instant web visitor notification, visitor session replay, and have salesforce.com integration. Enterprise adds marketing automation features such as lead scoring and automated lead conversion as well as advanced process design using the workflow design tool.

Here's a working scenario of using Genius Pro that I was able to test on my own using just a trial account:

- Load a list of prospect email addresses and send an email (this can be done as individual users, or marketing can send on behalf of sales teams)
- Launch the Tracker (which is a web-based client like Yahoo Instant Messenger but instead of showing your buddies you see your prospects), and see visitors show up live after they have clicked through the email
- Replay the visitor's session in a Tivo like fashion
- Respond to prospect activity and interest with additional or next-step level emails (or phone call)
- Review integrated activities in salesforce

Remember, prospects want to sell themselves nowadays, but it's our job as marketers and sales people to accelerate that process or educate them along the way. Combined with other tools such as LeadLander, LivePerson and Salesforce, the average sales exec can be armed to the teeth with the tools to track, nurture and accelerate the close of prospects.

The next level of the product, Genius Enterprise, gets into serious marketing automation, but with the same usability and non-IT methodology of Genius Pro. As mentioned I’ll provide a high level overview here, but blog review part 2 will be coming after I get a chance to experience more of Genius Enterprise.

- Use the workflow designer to map out an automated rules-based marketing campaign
- Define steps in the lead nurturing process
- Define Conversion Events that removes a prospect from the work flow and instantly alerts team member for follow up
- React to a visitor's activity in a complex and immediate manner
- Monitor activity within Salesforce

Let me give you an example of a typical use in simple terms: if a visitor who received a trade show followup email, they visit page X and they are not already on nurturing path A or B; you can use Genius Enterprise to automatically nurture them with an email later that day referring them to a study on page Y, increase their lead score, convert them to an active lead and notify the sales exec, etc.

Does it work? My real world evaluation is still under way, but one of the inside sales reps at Genius nurtured me during each of my visits prior to my evaluation (with follow up emails, etc.) and then once I did a 15 page session, my phone rang and there he was. I’d say that’s proof positive the system works. I'll give you my thoughts and experience using Genius Enterprise in Part 2 of the Product Review of the post.

Smashmouth recommendation: Thumbs Up

End of independent review.

During my evaluation, I had a chance to speak with Matt West, Director of Marketing Programs at Genius. I asked him what separates Pro and Enterprise as a reason a company would just purchase Pro versus the full marketing automation product.

Genius Quote:

“Many companies are just getting started using email marketing in conjunction with their selling efforts, so they may want to move forward a step at a time, and getting started with an email marketing service that also provides website visit tracking (and shares those results with the sales team) is an easy way for organizations new to email marketing to see real results very quickly. We started out that way ourselves and found that sending emails on behalf of the sales team increased our open rates (because the emails were from a real person) and then let sales see how prospects responded. As we grew and gained experience with what worked and what didn’t in terms of messaging and website content, we began running enough campaigns that we wanted to automated them, and that’s where Genius Enterprise comes in. It’s a natural progression, especially for smaller companies.”

More detailed review of Genius Enterprise and some real world results in Part 2

Tags: marketing, sales, b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, sales2.0, reviews, marketing automation, genius.com