Part 2: There are lead and there are leads, good lead generation approaches

Part 2:  From Lead Generation to Deeper Lead Qualifying and Nurturing – How to progress the sales cycle

Introduction

This is the second part in extending our previous lead generation discussion Part 1: There are leads and leads. effective lead generation approaches.

Before we dive into a discussion about what effective lead generation and lead nurturing is, how to effectively qualify your leads better and what our definition of MQL (marketing qualified lead) and SQL (sales qualified lead) is, let’s ensure we’re on the same page with a quick checklist based on the new marketing and sales funnel way of thinking ( if your organisation alignment has acknowledged the purchasing and decision making process of the modern buyer )

Marketing and Sales Lead Generation

Quick checklist

  1. Has your organization defined what a lead is?
  2. Is everyone in the organisation involved in the marketing and sales cycle able to articulate what a MQL is, and what a SQL is?
  3. Is there a clear ‘point’ at which marketing hands over leads to sales?
  4. Has marketing and sales reached agreement in terms of what a lead is?

If you can answer those questions, or at least go some way towards it in in functional maturity, let’s move forward to discussing lead nurturing!

Lead nurture is part of the marketing call process – which can be a lead follow up or a request for more information in call or email format over a period of time – if the prospect isn’t able or willing to commit their interest to set an appointment, we need to lead nurture in order to progress the prospect activity in the new business development process from marketing.

This lead is a warm lead to nurture and follow up on with further contract to progress a marketing lead opportunity or hot lead to provide to the sales team for sales engagement and then sales opportunity qualification (SQL) which is aimed to turn into a real sales opportunity to engage within the sales process to secure the sale within a timeframe.

What is our MQL and SQL process?

How we see a qualified lead appointment process – set during a marketing campaign for deeper lead qualification varies from organisation to organisation, however this is an outline of our higher quality qualification process for lead generation from marketing to sales and our approach aligned to:

  • We have reached the relevant prospect organisation and identified the correct contact relevant in the relevant audience area;
  • We are able to have an initial discussion to see how if we can assist the prospect with identifying or solving a business challenge or problem first and seeing if there is mutual acknowledgement for a brief follow up call or reason to meet.
  • We attempted to obtain at least 2 to 3 of the specific qualification questions and positive responses to minimum criteria or shown sufficient interest in a further discussion or information from company;
  • The process of data collection about the prospect’s current situation or environment is considered a warm lead that may or may not lead to an immediate firm appointment, pending timing of follow up or a lead nurture process;
  • The prospect did request to have some information sent first before agreement for a follow up or call-back before putting them into lead nurture or another marketing activity such as a subscriber to an event or company’s white paper over a period of time.
  • The lead appointment can either be phone based or face to face to handover to the sales person to further qualify from a sales engagement after the initial marketing lead has been completed.
  • The outcome of the lead appointment cannot guarantee a firm sales opportunity or a sale – this is up to the sales person to progress to determine and doesn’t take into effect any external factors that may impact performance or availability or prospect rescheduling an appointment.
  • From experience, there may be a need to engage multiple interactions (i.e a touch-point, call-back, email follow up) over a period of time (not just first call) with the prospect in order to convert the lead to a qualified appointment otherwise it will be placed to lead nurture status. This eventually leads to a defined sales opportunity that the sales person progresses through to signing an agreement to do business.

A Marketing Qualified Lead Appointment (MQL)

The type of marketing lead appointment we look at is the benchmark of a quality lead that is acceptable to the client’s specifications and we aim to bridge the gap between a traditional MQL and a SQL that requires an element or level of basic field sales experience or specific domain expertise that may/ may not uncover or qualify the lead with more depth

This applies for us typically within marketing B2B corporate complex solutions or professional services and technology campaigns such as cyber security or cloud application services to engage high level executives who are influencers, recommenders or decision makers.

A real example for Cybersecurity client lead generation campaign and appointment set:

Phone Appointment Set: October 7, 2016 10:00 AM, Date Last Called: 3rd October 2016

Contact Details: Mr GSPosition: Regional Risk Assurance Manager  Company: XYZ Pty Limited  

COMPANY NAME: XYZ Pty Limited, ADDRESS: XYZ Street, VIC, 3123

PHONE NUMBER: 61 3 123456  DIRECT LINE: 61 3 123456, MOBILE: None,  EMAIL:  gs@xyz.com.au

Marketing Qualification questions:

Q1. Do you have any identity management projects with governance and compliance process challenges ongoing or upcoming that will require preventative action?

Answer: Yes, they have an ongoing goal to enhance identity/security posture that includes identity management and access control. He declined to disclose their specific project.

Q2. Could I ask what challenges you have to provide visibility to business owners or auditors regarding access to corporate data? 

Answer: They have challenges like, how would they know who accessed the data or if it is not been compromised. He mentioned that they don’t have a control on whoever accessed their data.

Q3How do you perform access reviews, certification process and manage the enforcement of access policies today? Do you use manual Excel spreadsheets or Access databases?

Answer: Not Access DB, application revelation database depends on which application they use. It might be on the different flavors of database. Sometimes it’s integrated, sometimes not as claimed.

IMPORTANT TIPS:

  1. It is important to capture the context and content and work with a marketing agency or lead generation company who understands deeply the subject matter or concepts of the products and services when running a marketing campaign. It’s more effective if they have knowledge of how to attract and speak to the right audience (i.e IT level or C-Level executives) with field sales experience or some awareness.
  2. Please keep this in mind when partnering with an appropriate marketing agency or lead generation company.  Look out for marketing agency differentiation who can  run an integrated sales driven marketing campaign who understands how to execute the full marketing and sales funnel with deep Industry sector experience (for example with professional services and ICT sector domains with (SME – Subject Matter Experts on hand)

Summary

The current competitive and dynamic business environment, combined with a shift in traditional buyer behaviour, demands an understanding and respect of the importance of lead generation and nurture. An overall focus on ROI needs to guide exploration and investment, particularly in this time of shift from traditional marketing methods towards digital marketing automation in a go to market strategy.

If you are interested in a progressive or different way to address effective lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns; thinking about how the use of marketing automation tools such as Hubspot will assist to close the gap between sales and marketing and increase ROI for lead generation.  If you are open to exploring further specific lead generation strategies, methods and processed from both a sales and marketing perspective, please contact us for a confidential discussion.