As the economy takes its toll on marketing resources, it is well worth taking a look at how marketing organizations can further leverage their technology investments to improve day-to-day efficiencies. There is always great discussion and analysis around the ROI of lead management from a revenue enhancement and sales team productivity standpoint. But this overshadows a very real benefit of the underlying marketing automation technology, which is its ability to help marketing teams do more with less. With that in mind, here are my top five ideas for leveraging the efficiency of your lead management technology solution.
1) Centralize Your Prospect Lists: Take all those spreadsheets, email lists, and web leads and consolidate them into your lead management database. Then, take a look at all the input areas where leads are captured. Have every input point linked into this database. Sound difficult? Actually, it's easier than it may seem at first. Start by focusing on your Web forms and look to replace them with Web forms from your lead management tool. Or alternatively, have your current forms just call your lead system's API (Application Programming Interface) to insert the new lead directly into the database.
2) Keep Nurturing Simple: Now is not the time to craft the most sophisticated nurture programs in the world, finely slicing and dicing your prospects into highly targeted streams. As you may know, more streams of communications will require more content and thought. Work to define one solid lead nurture program. At a minimum have every prospect touched monthly, and look to use some of your best collateral.
3) Integrate Leads into the Sales Tool: In a perfect world, sales and marketing will sit together, develop the full aligned processes with a robust qualification and scoring model. However, there isn't always time. Take the first step and ask for a small amount of IT assistance (please don't laugh), and spend the effort getting new leads integrated into the sales tools as quickly as possible. Most lead management tools should and will be able to quickly integrate into the leading CRM systems to make this first-step integration fairly painless. Even if the lead flow is just one way (into sales), in very short order you can have leads going from initial capture all the way through to the hands of someone in sales with little or no manual intervention.
4) Alert Sales to New Leads: You'd think that sales would always be eager to follow-up immediately on all the new leads, but they are running as fast and furious as marketers are. You can put in place an ongoing, automated alerting campaign that keeps your leads top of mind to sales by sending them either email alerts or tasks directly into their sales force automation tool. And to save you the time and energy in trying to stay on top of sales, have the alerting continuing to send until the reps take action.
5) Build a Portfolio of Repeatable Campaigns: When you do an event, Webinar, or build a landing page, think about them as templates that will be copied and tweaked. You don't have time to come up with overly custom campaigns each time. Get a good design, make sure to test that it works smoothly, and then use that as the standard for future, similar campaigns.
As you can see, it is important to get assistance from IT and sales, as integrating the flow of data is key. But the initial work done now will pay off greatly in the coming months, and will really let your investment in marketing automation technology free your marketing personnel to spend time on other revenue enhancement projects.