Be prepared, as the following statistic might shock you: According to research, 61% of marketers send all of their leads directly to sales. All of them. Can you imagine that? Every single precious lead sent immediately to the sales team, without a single element of lead qualification. Many marketers will intuitively understand that this isn’t effective. Unsurprisingly, that same research found that only 27% of those were qualified sales leads. You might wonder, how to qualify email marketing leads effectively and successfully so your sales team doesn’t waste time on leads which are not ready? We’ve got you covered, just keep on reading.
As an email marketing manager, you probably know that intelligent lead qualification is a critical step in modern marketing. Email marketing tools like Sendloop help keep leads engaged with your company because you can schedule automated emails to send at times when people are most likely to open them. But if you don’t effectively qualify your marketing leads for the sales team, they have to spend a large portion of their time trying to determine whether any given lead is a good fit for your product or service. It decreases efficiency. What’s worse is that it hinders performance, because sales reps spend more time trying to work opportunities that might have a very small chance of closing and not enough time on leads that are sales-ready. Finally, not sending the best qualified leads creates a misalignment between marketing and sales. The two teams won’t function in tandem like they should, and overall productivity goes down.
That’s why I want to share a process for effective lead qualification. At SalesWings, we focus on accelerating sales by simplifying the process of getting the most qualified sales leads in front of your reps when they’re still hot. Here’s how email marketing managers can improve their lead qualification game.
A 2-Step Process on How to Qualify Email Marketing Leads
1. Identify Qualified Sales Leads Through Predictive Scoring
Most of us are familiar with the four critical elements of qualified leads: budget, authority, need and timeline, or BANT. A qualified lead needs to have the right budget to purchase your product, the authority to make a purchase, the need for your product and a timeline of making a purchase in the near-term. It’s a lot of information to uncover. You could leave it up to sales reps, but as we discussed at the beginning of this piece, that decreases efficiency.
That’s why fast-growing and successful businesses opt for predictive lead scoring solutions. Solutions like SalesWings make lead qualification and your life, respectively, much easier. All email marketing managers need to do is send an email that is automatically tracked, and they’re provided with social insights about any given lead by using real-time intelligent contact data enrichment. This feature automatically pulls in key data about the lead from their social media profiles like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as information about the company from its social profiles. By understanding a lead’s role and size of their company, you can get a better idea of how much authority he or she has to make a purchase (the “A” of our BANT methodology). When the predictive scoring algorithm prioritizes a lead for sales, a rep can quickly follow up with them to ask what the current budget is (the “B” in BANT). But the rep still needs to understand the lead’s level of need (“N”) and timeline for their purchase (“T”).
This is where website tracking comes in. SalesWings, for example, allows email marketing managers to track when and how often a lead has visited their website. This allows you to better determine their level of need and how likely they are to make a purchase in the near future (and gives you the “N” and “T” of your BANT). Take advantage of call-to-actions that bring people back to your website in the lead nurturing emails you send. Leads who are visiting your site more often demonstrate a higher level interest and are, therefore, prioritized as “hot” for the sales team. If they’ve spent more time on a pricing page or a “Request a Demo” page, then they’re probably very close to sales-ready. Those that haven’t visited in a long time, on the other hand, are placed low on the list as their timeline or level of interest isn’t as high. Predictive lead scoring automatically gives you most sales ready leads on a silver platter, so your sales team instantly knows who to contact with priority. Suddenly, you have all the data you need to successfully qualify your email marketing leads. For the “cold” leads, you know the drill — nurture them, and then nurture them some more.
2. Nurture Qualified Sales Leads with Smarter Email Technology
We know email is still the most preferred form of communication for consumers, topping television ads, print media, social media and even text messages. And most people like to be emailed on a weekly basis. This is good news for email marketers.
But we also need to remember that it takes 7–13+ touches to generate a qualified sales lead. Sending regular emails helps keep your brand top-of-mind, as well as helps further educate consumers about the benefits of your company offering. But we have to be smart with our email marketing. To nurture qualified sales leads and keep them engaged with your company, send a regularly scheduled newsletter.
An email marketing and automation tool like Sendloop lets you schedule emails in advance to go out at a time of day with the highest click through rates, which research data says is 11 a.m. ET. But don’t just fill the newsletter with different versions of the same sales pitch. Provide them with value beyond your product or service by automatically fetching and inserting the latest posts from your blog into emails (Sendloop does this, too). Educate them about your company and value prop, and even potentially include recommended products and testimonials from customers.
Email marketing managers can take lead nurturing a step further by adding elements of personalization to emails. Segment your leads and focus on re-engaging those who haven’t visited your website in a while, or ones who recently downloaded an eBook about a specific topic. Try creating email audiences of leads based on their industry or geographic area. Then send them email content that pertains specifically to that industry, for example and even include a short case study of a customer in that industry who’s experienced success working with your company. Use cutting-edge email marketing technology so that you can send smart emails and better nurture your leads until they become sales-ready.
The better you can identify email marketing leads, the easier it will be for sales reps to bring those opportunities to a close. Lead qualification and email nurturing are key parts of that process, and marketing technology enables email marketing managers to complete those tasks in them most effective way. Here’s to better lead qualification in 2018.
SalesWings is an intelligent lead scoring and website tracking add-on that aligns sales and marketing around the hottest leads. SalesWings helps sales reps reduce lead qualification time by offering them insights into the nature of the leads’ interest based on website activity, as well as enriched contact information about the lead’s profile and their company’s key data. This leads to a better collaboration between marketing and sales, faster response rates, and an increase in deal closing rates.
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