Friday, December 11, 2009

Lead Lifecycle Campaigns

I met recently with the VP of Marketing of a what many experts consider a real up-and-comer in the marketing automation space. He's an innovative demand gen marketeer and has some terrific ideas and opinions about demand generation best practices. He made me aware of some solid thinking about those leads that haven't yet achieved sales-ready status.

One area we talked about was advanced lead nurturing and what he calls lead lifecycle campaigns. He defines these campaigns as designed to ensure that leads don't go stagnant (or get lost), to keep them moving with the goal of maintaining an ongoing interaction with the prospect until they are ready to buy or engage with sales.

Driving home after our meeting I was thinking about the number of leads I've seen generated that for whatever reasons did not achieve sales-ready status that just lingered in the marketing funnel, or worse, were jettisoned out of the system with no further action put upon them. It's a big number. His reference to these types of leads as simply in a 'not ready to buy yet' state was an interesting recognition of these leads having an intrinsic value (you've invested a certain amount of time, money, resource to get them to a certain stage).

My interest was piqued and that night I downloaded his company's guide to lead nurturing to learn more. In it they discuss lead lifecycle campaigns being broken down into three categories - lead handoff, lead recycling and new customers.

Lead handoff is when a marketing qualified lead (MQL) becomes a sales-ready lead (SRL) and is passed into the sales team. Details about the lead including date passed, nurture time and how quickly sales engages with the lead are noted. If the lead is not acted upon in a timely fashion (time frame established by sales and marketing together), not moved forward or is moved backwards in the sales process, there is a set period whereby the lead is reassigned or recycled back to marketing. This ensures the lead doesn't get lost or stuck or otherwise slow down the sales engagement process.

Lead recycling refers to leads which are not yet ready to be acted upon by sales. It's an acknowledgment that these leads have value and should continue to be engaged until they are ready, or until it's absolutely clear that there is no further sales potential. Recycling is important due to the fact that so many leads that enter the sales funnel are ignored or lost. The critical point here is that there are a percentage of these leads that are simply not yet ready to buy, but do down the road fully intend to purchase a product or solution. Potentially yours if you maintain a relationship with them.

The guide refers to two recycling scenarios, where leads are either automatically recycled according to set rules or they are manually recycled by sales. In either case, these leads can be ported to other campaigns in place which are cognizant of their status, the level of data that has previously been exchanged between the prospect and the company and provide tactics which reflect and leverage that information.

The final component of lead lifecycle campaigns is when new customers are won - and the opportunities you'll have to build upon the relationship you've developed with the (new) customer and add to their lifetime value with cross-sell, up-sell and service offerings that continually meet their needs. Drip campaigns for these customers can include welcome notes, helpful hints, newsletters, et al, that would be an ideal means to further deepen your customer engagement and strengthen your relationship.

No comments:

Post a Comment