Many marketers face the challenge of delivering Marketing Qualified Leads to the sales team. This month we focussed on the need for a defined and agreed process between marketing and sales. We then looked at various ways Eloqua, largely through smarter use of segments, can help you build an audience of potential MQL’s.
1. Who aren’t you talking to?
There are a few ways to determine who you’re NOT talking to. The underlying objective of this first point is to build an audience from your less active, known contacts, for lead generation campaigns. One of the easiest ways to do that is to discover the contacts at “the bottom of the barrel” – so to speak.
These are the contacts that, despite campaigns you’ve run to date, have not been sent any emails over a given period e.g. the past 6 months. Remember – our criteria is to identify contacts you’re not talking to. They may be visiting your website, your social properties, or they may be engaged in conversations with the sales team.
A Segment Example
In the example above (click on the image for a closer look) we have two filter criterion:
- The first excludes all GLOBALLY UNSUBSCRIBED contacts and all HARD BOUNCED contacts. Including these contacts will give you an artificially inflated number of contacts.
- The second filter criteria asks one question, who has NOT been sent any emails in the past 6 months. In this example, we have 3,697 unique email addresses, almost four thousand people we have in Eloqua that we’re not communicating with, or at least we’re not sending emails to.
This is “the bottom of the barrel”.
TIP: Given your objective is to generate better qualified leads, you will want to export this list of contacts and evaluate them in detail. Try and understand why they haven’t been included in any campaigns over the past six months. Once you understand this, you can then design a campaign to engage them. Try some A/B testing, alter the time of day you deliver emails and, where the data is available, understand if and what online activity there has been with this audience.
2. Sales is demanding better qualified leads
If marketing functions in isolation, designs campaigns with little consultation with sales, there’s a slim chance there will be any change in the feedback from sales. The definition of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) must be owned by marketing & sales.
Once that agreement is in place, then you can build a solid picture of the lead management process within your organisation.
What is a Lead Management Process?
Great question. People like me, writing blogs like this, like to throw words around with the assumption that everyone is on the same page. I’m going to try to avoid that. In general, we see “Leads” in a few stages, typically starting from point 1 below and progressing to point 4.
- Lead Generation
- Lead Nurturing
- Lead Assignment
- Lead Recycling
At the Lead Generation stage, you might see this as advertising above the line, across social properties or perhaps events. Your key objective with all of these activities is to generate net-new additions to your Eloqua database.
Once you add these net-new additions to Eloqua, it’s time to work on Lead Nurturing campaigns. It’s time to uncover the business problem being experienced by the contact and deliver campaigns that build your credibility as a solution provider.
The expectation is that between steps 2 & 3 you will develop MQL’s. If your CRM is integrated with Eloqua, the Lead Assignment stage kicks in. The actual assignment of leads to a salesperson should be managed by the CRM.
However, not all MQL’s will be accepted by sales. Using the CRM and the ability to label a lead e.g. “Rejected”, “Qualified Out” etc, you can then design Lead Recycling campaigns to address known or perceived objections uncovered by the sales team.
3. We need a plan to engage cold/retired leads from the CRM
During the user group, this discussion could have gone on for days. The initial objective was to identity contacts you’re not communicating with from Eloqua. We took care of that above in step 1.
Once you’ve identified your audience, analysed the contacts that make up that audience, you will be in a better position to identify any exisiting campaigns they could be added to, or you start with a re-engagement campaign.
An agreed process between Marketing & Sales
In the above animation you see multiple contacts as leads, some drop, however some make it through to sales and become opportunities. Again, some will drop out, but a percentage make it through to the “keeper” and become ‘Closed/Won’ opportunities.
Modern Marketers need to understand the structure of data in their CRM and the sales process used by the sales team. The first thing you can do is ask your CRM administrator to build a ‘velocity report’. A velocity report will show you the average and actual time taken by contacts to move through an opportunity.
TIP: Once you have an understanding of the “average” amount of time for each lead and opportunity stage, you can look to engage with people who are ‘hanging around’ in a stage for longer than the average. This would be a trigger based campaign.
One Suggestion To Consider
Given the audience we’ve identified above has not received any out-bound communications from you for e.g. a six month period, you could take an approach that would deliver a subject line like:
- [First.Name] it’s been so long since we spoke.
- [First.Name] what specifically would you like to talk about?
- Your experience has been less than stellar [First.Name].
If this works and you get their attention and they open your email, you could then invite them to your Preference Centre. Your Eloqua Preference Centre will provide them a way to express their preferences/subscribe or unsubscribe from various email groups (subscriptions).
4. We need more automation and less simple email campaigns.
It’s easy to do what’s easy, however if you’re after extraordinary results, you need to change the way to do things. The Simple Email Campaign function in Eloqua is exactly that, simple. One segment, one email and out your message goes.
However, if you want to create unique customer experiences and be eloquent in your communications, that’s when an Eloqua multi-step campaigns becomes your preferred option.
During the planning stages of your campaign, you need to think beyond getting the “message out the door” and reflect more on what a conversation with your target audience looks and feels like.
This blog post is already too long….
The next logical step is to walk you through some ideas for Eloqua Multi-Step Campaigns. Well, as luck would have it, we recently blogged about our three favourite campaign canvas designs.