Sunday, December 14, 2008

Giving Sales an "Out"

Any of us who work with longer sales cycles have experienced the leaky funnel. Laura Ramos at Forrester talks about it a lot, as do most other luminaries in B2B, and at Eloqua, it's one of the most common things our clients ask us about.

So, as marketers, what can we do to "plug" it... not a simple task, as leads leak out of the funnel for so many reasons; interest wanes, priorities shift, or sales connect too early or with someone without enough pull to get something done. Mostly, these leads just go quiet. Sales is hesitant to call it "dead" right away as it might not be, and by the time they're sure it's dead, they're unlikely to dig back into their lead pile and set a status on it.

So, how do we as marketers help?

One trick is to give sales an "out" - build one or more "rewarm" nurture campaigns that are designed for cold leads. Give sales a simple (ie, one click) way to add a lead to that campaign from where they are (ie, their CRM system, most likely). When a lead is suspected to be dead, all they need to do is throw it back over the fence to you in marketing and you'll nurture it until it pops up again as a hot lead due to lead score.

I blogged about a simple way to think about Nurture Marketing the other day here:
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


Chad said...

There are ways using a specific lead status as well as "activity" to add leads automatically to a nurturing program. For example, lead status equals "closed" and thre has been no activity (emails, calls etc...) for 2 weeks.

Steven Woods said...

That's a great point Chad - you can always use a combination of status/activity as seen in your CRM system to automatically re-warm leads.