By Jill Konrath, Author, “Selling to Big Companies”
It's imperative to begin with a common definition of a lead. Marketing and Sales need to agree on this and sometimes it's a bit of a challenge. Marketing then needs to take charge of the moving the leads through the funnel – from when the seeker initially raises his hand expressing interest until he's a sales-ready prospect.
By radically implementing integrated lead generation & nurturing technologies, Marketing can have a huge and measurable effect on sales. If your website is a thought leadership hub, the impact can be exponential. New marketing automation technology enables your company to track the seekers' online behavior and creates profiles that are updated in real time.
This gives Marketing and Sales visibility into:
• What they're clicking on.
• How long they're on your site.
• When they return.
• The topics are of greatest interest.
• What they're forwarding to others.
But that's just the start. Savvy marketers then leverage this technology to further engage the seeker with relevant digital content (e.g., success stories, articles, archived Webinars, podcasts, white papers). Or they may invite them to upcoming events such as Webinars, teleseminars or trade shows. This closed loop system nurtures prospective customers till they're ready to be handed over to the sales organization or an inside sales team.
Here's where the radical impact starts coming in. First of all, you have more decision makers in the pipeline. Over the months of interacting, you developed a trusted advisor relationship with them. Because they've read all your materials, they're predisposed to your way of thinking and already see your company as a viable solution to their needs.
Your Average Joe and Nate the Newbie have a much better chance of winning the business because of all the nurturing that's taken place. Your sellers can also receive real-time alerts when prospects are exhibiting online behaviors (i.e., downloads, page views) having a high correlation with purchase readiness, enabling them to initiate
contact at a most opportune time.
Finally, prior to meeting with these decision makers, the Average Joe and Nate the Newbie can review their profiles, read all previous communications with your firm and know what's of maximum interest. With that "inside scoop", their sales effectiveness radically increases and as does their productivity.