Salesforce Lead Segmentation For Marketing Campaigns

Salesforce.com helps you to manage the sales funnel.  As a buyer engages your sales process, they are captured as a Lead.  this information could come from web forms or from your sales team.  Most of your Leads will not be ready to convert to an Opportunity.  This is to be expected and a strategy should be developed for the majority of your leads that are not ready to move forward in your sales process.

If there is not a process for nurturing unready Leads, then you may miss opportunities to engage when the timing is right.  Here is how you can manage your Salesforce.com Leads more effectively:

  • Segment By Ratings.  Lead Rating is a native field.  Customize this to have meaning from the generic “Hot,” “Warm,” and “Cold”.  The readiness of your Lead may be by time (i.e., 60 days, 90 days, etc.) or fit (i.e., Needs Product, Cannot Use, etc.).  This segmentation will be valuable for various marketing buckets.
  • Prepare filtered marketing campaign lists.  This entails creating Campaigns in Salesforce.com for segmentation as well as filtered lists.
  • Integrate a marketing automation system.  This is a system which will sync based on your segmentation.  Triggered email communications over a period of time can be used to nurture Leads and monitor their activities.
  • Send timely and personal communications.  Based on your segmentation criteria, develop regular email marketing that speaks to the concerns and interests of the prospect.  Some may need to be slowly educated.  Others may need to see continual success before they jump.
  • Monitor responsiveness.  If your Leads are engaged with opening emails, visiting your site and consuming your digital content, then create a follow-up task list in Salesforce.com to take appropriate action.

With this kind of strategy to augment your tactical sales process, your team can work with Leads based on nurturing and marketing activities that prepare buyers for the sales conversation.

How can this help your sales process?  Feel free to comment below.

Want help around lead segmentation, get Salesforce consulting advice.

Salesforce Mass Email Leads Strategy

Mass email of Salesforce.com Leads can be effective for a salesperson or marketing team to connect with Leads in your pipeline.  Depending on how your marketing funnel works and lead generation, there are strategic opportunities to take advantage of the Salesforce.com mass email leads function.

More details of how to use the mass email leads function can be found here.  Assuming you know the mechanics, here is how to drive productivity in your sales process:

  • Create a value content offering.  Your email template should be personalized with the proper merge fields.  Segment your leads based on their Lead Status and for those that are not converted and are seeking more information, send a special pdf document attached to your email template.  This will stir the pot in your lead funnel.
  • Monitor a report of mass email opens.  From your segmented mass email effort, look for those leads that are opening the email multiple times.  Prioritize the list.  These are people telling you they are interested and are engaging the content.
  • Mass email a higher value offering.  Within a day or two, identify the list of interested leads and follow up with another segmented mass email.  Invite them to something that is a natural next step such as a special webinar, download or consultation.  Ensure the value is high and worthwhile for them to raise their hand.  Ensure the email feels personal, not mass.
  • Use digital body language as call lists.  With your mass email lists, you can extend on your process.  Those leads that are interacting with your value may warrant a phone call.  Use your list as a call list for an added touchpoint in the sales cycle.

The key is to personalize your message just as you would send a personal email to someone and ensure that the value you are offering is helping, not selling.  Helping means that you are in tune with where the lead is at in the sales process and engaging accordingly.

Setting up this process using Salesforce.com Mass Email Leads function can act as a repeatable process that can be fine tuned as your salespeople gather more information from the front lines.  Save time and engage the highest priority leads. Find out how to implement this also with Salesforce consulting for your business.

How can this help your sales process?

4 Salesforce Lead Rating Process Tips

Managing inbound leads in Salesforce.com requires a system and process for qualifying prospects.  If you are engaged in team selling, then coordinating data within the Lead record will become a priority.  The goal of a Lead is to be converted into an Opportunity which is tracked as a viable part of the sales pipeline and forecasting.

There may be a person or a team which manages Leads before they become Opportunities.  It could be separate from Account Managers or senior sales team members that work with qualified prospects towards a business deal.  Within your process, be sure to have a clear flow to how Leads are tracked and followed.

Here are 4 Salesforce.com process tips from we have used as Salesforce.com consultants to increase lead flow:

  1. Create meaningful ratings.  The native picklist values are “Hot, Warm and Cold.”  These are likely derivative values and can be easily misconstrued.  A good practice is to work with your team to understand how a Lead moves through their buying decisions.  Find out what the stages that have meaning to your organization are.  Ratings like “Ready,” “Education,” and “Nurtured” are more descript.  Your team has a common language.  Capture it and customize your Salesforce.com system to reflect what is natural and cultural.
  2. Monitor Dashboard information.  If you have a large number of leads over time, ensure you are using a set of Dashboard Reports to monitor the distribution and performance of your team.  This will help you to effectively manage your process and people towards higher levels of success through continual optimization.
  3. Integrate marketing automation.  Marketing automation nurtures your Leads and works with your Salesforce.com system.  Integrate a system which can help to drive your Lead Ratings or provide activity information of your buyers that are happening online.  The information can then be used to update the Lead Ratings or a Lead Score.
  4. Create triggers.  If you are on Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition then you can use Triggers and Workflows to create intelligence from this field to automate next tasks or email communications.  Thus, if a Lead is rated as ready by you or automation built into your Salesforce.com system, you can create a task for a specific salesperson on your team for immediate follow-up.  Timing is critical in our fast-moving economy.  Thus, this would help you engage with speed and precision for a competitive advantage when your Leads are attentive.

Salesforce.com Lead Ratings should be carefully used for a thorough qualification process.  With careful strategy, design and execution, this is a valuable metric within your Lead process for converting more Leads.

What are some ways you are qualifying leads in Salesforce.com?

Customization For Personalized Sales Connections

Salesforce.com has an interesting article on the impact of data and customization for the personalized marketing experience.  As buyers, we experience this from world-class online merchants and companies that work relentlessly to provide a personalized experience.  This happens when we peruse, get educated and buy.  Our online profiles are tracked and used for presenting relevant offers that are tailored to us personally.

For b2b sales which tracks engagement with your buyers in Salesforce.com, customizing your system to create a personalized experience helps your sales team be on message.  Your marketing team can use information to continually position the message and segment your database to drive in new leads or increase buyer readiness.

The data which sales collects and marketing harnesses as well as vice-versa can serve as a powerful feedback loop to drive lead conversion.  Customizing Salesforce.com should be implemented with this feedback loop in mind.  Here are some best practices for your customization which can help drive this lead generation and lead conversion process:

  1. Categorize By Product Interest.  Within your sales qualification processes, your team can capture information on product or service interest.  These picklists along with related granular information can be used in reporting with marketing to create campaigns that are automated and triggered in real-time or on a periodic basis for events and buying cycles.
  2. Segment By Authority.  Each lead and contact in Salesforce.com has a relationship in the decision making process.  Those with decision making authority versus business influence or technical influence can be segmented and delivered different marketing materials based on their agendas and interest.  A stream of technical data might be more relevant for one audience whereas ROI information and change management practices might be appropriate for senior managers.
  3. Assign lead scoring.   Whether you use a marketing automation system or assess lead readiness with salespeople, create a customized way of scoring leads for their readiness to buy.  Their activities and engagement with your content would be a key metric.  Furthermore, their timing and urgency may be another.  As marketing drives in more data to Salesforce.com allow your sales team to act respectively with the most ready leads.
As your team is able to cull through the noise and nurture leads by collecting relevant data as part of your feedback loop, your company’s personal treatment of your leads creates sales conversations.  You will know what your buyer wants and when they are ready.  Your sales team can be engaged in continually refining their approach to the conversations and providing personalized service as they court your buyers.
How are you organizing your Salesforce.com data to make personal sales connections?
Need help customizing Salesforce? Connect with us for Salesforce consulting help.

Salesforce Lead Qualification

If your sales process depends on qualifying leads, then using Lead records to manage a Lead pipeline would be strategic for ensuring a continuous pipeline.  Ensuring a management process for your Lead management will ensure that your sales team is spending their time on high probability sales.

However, if your process is not contingent on a large flow of inbound marketing prospects, then you may want to structure your Salesforce.com system to capture Opportunities immediately to work.  This would be the case for a situation where there is a long sales cycle, few prospects and a high dollar transaction.

Let’s take a look at the opposite situation: short sales cycles, many prospects and lower dollar transactions.

Salesforce.com Lead Management

If you sell something like software subscriptions, online training modules or a digital product, you can easily generate prospects from a trial offer or giving something of value first.  Your site visitors would exchange contact information for your value offering.  Ideally, you might have a marketing automation system to help further nurture and qualify the best prospects.  In conjunction with this system, the tracking of prospects would be primarily around the Lead Status picklist field in Salesforce.com.

The values in the Lead Status field should be set up much like Opportunity Stages.  You might have a sales qualification team that works with pre-qualified Leads.  Their job is as follows:

  1. Follow up on Leads that have not been contacted.
  2. Assess their buying criteria based on specific qualification criteria:
    1. Their budget
    2. Their authority
    3. Their need
    4. Their timeframe
  3. Assign the Lead Status based on the qualification criteria scorecard
  4. Set the next step:
    1. A follow-up Activity date
    2. Lead Unqualified status
    3. Convert the Lead to an Opportunity for senior sales members

Your sales process depends on clear definition of the Lead qualification criteria and management by your team.  A marketing automation system can set the Lead Status criteria and trigger Tasks for your pre-qualification team when the prospect is ready to be contacted as well.

As each of the Lead Status values are set, a report a filtered view of all Active Leads should be generated to monitor real-time information of the Lead pipeline.  This gives you effective management control of your front end sales process.

Team selling becomes much more effective with a qualification process that is managed well in Salesforce.com.  The process and strategy for driving this result pays large dividends as you segment your inbound marketing leads and focus them specifically for the ensuing sales conversation.

Having the right strategy and approach to your Salesforce system will increase your opportunities for success. Everyone’s sales process will be different and you can get help designing yours effectively with Salesforce consulting help.

How do you manage your lead qualification?

Salesforce Mass Email Strategies

Salesforce.com at its basic level is a one-to-one customer focused system.  You can manage individual relationships and have direct context, history and action steps for future steps.

The tactical and personal handling of Leads, Contacts and Opportunities allow for specific handling of your sales or service process.

On a mass scale, marketing may have other systems which vary such as marketing automation, email marketing, contest marketing or analytics systems.  The vantage point in these systems are broader and focus on trends across the masses.  We typically integrate these other marketing systems to create a 360 degree view of customers.  Marketing wants to see the results of demand generation to sales.  Sales wants to see relevant information related to specific deals and prospective customers they are working with to help them close deals.

While Salesforce.com does not position itself for email marketing and marketing automation, there are customizable email templates which can foster speed and productivity in the sales cycle.  These email templates can be further leveraged to create smaller scale marketing, sales or support communications for your database using Mass Email Contacts or Mass Email Leads functions inside of the respective Contacts and Leads objects area.

Here are some ways to use this to drive demand, customer loyalty and revenue using this powerful Salesforce.com feature:

  1. Create a targeted sales event ongoing. If you have a filter on Leads and Contacts that have a criteria such as a white paper download or past webinar attendee, you can segment these people and regularly send a specific call-to-action email template that is personalized.  Move people in and out of this list.
  2. Send a value message weekly. You are in the business of solving a problem. Get involved with your customers’ problems and share success stories or advice using your solution to solve the problem.  Keep a short segmented list to send this mass email template to.
  3. Provide timely industry news. For selected contacts, keep the segmentation to use an ongoing email template which is updated to provide relevant news that helps your customers stay aware of what is happening.  Make it concise and simple.  Create links to read more so the email is not packed too densely.
  4. Provide relevant offers. Segment your Leads and Contacts and send specific mass emails by lists.  Each email can have an updated sales offer that is relevant to their Salesforce.com record criteria based on their buyer profile or interest.  Discounts or special offers can be used for limited time sales.
  5. Check in periodically. Construct your email template to have a personalized feeling with relevant Salesforce.com merge fields.  Send a short message to check in monthly or quarterly with key customers and let them know you are thinking of them.  Provide something of value.  Make it feel personal, not mass.

My Salesforce consulting customers have many different ways they connect with the Leads and Contacts.  Creating a process and system which can be executed regularly to produce results without the labor intensity of one-to-one touch approaches creates leverage for the salesperson’s productivity.

Your own strategies need to be thought through.  The timing, segmentation and personalization of the mass email mechanism in Salesforce.com can become an integral part of your sales and marketing system in this way.

What are some ways you would like to touch your customers using mass email that is personalized?

 


Salesforce Lead Management Best Practices

Salesforce.com Lead records are generally anyone and everyone that has some contact or interest with your organization.  The rules for how to manage a Lead record through the sales or service process differ based on your company’s workflow and buyer experience. However, in general, Leads are those people who are not in an active sales pipeline or service management interaction with your company.

Many of our Salesforce.com clients have specific rules which help their teams understand how to manage a Lead record.  Here are some strategies to help you apply best practices for Lead record workflow.  Use them to clarify and drive forward motion in the relationship with your prospective customers.

1. Define The Goal Of A Lead

Ideally, Lead records do not persist inevitably.  The goal of a Lead is to be Converted to an Opportunity or managed Account. Your team needs to know what constitutes a conversion of the Lead record.  This is when the Lead record becomes an Account with an associative Contact and Opportunity record.  This association allows for managing the Account for the additional people and deals which may be involved going forward.

The Lead conversion criteria generally can be ascribed to the first step in a sales or service process.  If you are engaging and moving a person through an active process, then Convert the Lead to manage the next steps with your team in the respective Salesforce record.

2. Qualify Leads Using Lead Status

The default Salesforce field for Lead Status can be customized for various steps for your team’s contact with Leads.  This can create a filter for a large amount of records which need to have segmentation applied.

For example, a software company might status based on interest of trial users of their software.  This creates a prioritization for a senior sales team member.  Thus, your team has a division of labor and prioritizes based on qualification criteria.

3. Using Marketing Automation To Affect Lead Information

Much of what your prospective customers are doing are invisible to you.  Yet, these activities are just as valid and even more numerous than the touchpoints of your sales team.

Integrating a marketing automation system into your Salesforce.com system allows for continuous activity logging, scoring and field updating to Lead records.  Thus, automation acts as benign and non-intrusive customer engagement technology to work in tandem with the personal touch of your team.  Your sales team will be equipped with thorough information on your prospects to make effective tactical decisions and move the right prospects through the pipeline process.

4. Ensure Logical Field Mapping

When you convert your Leads, the respective fields need to be mapped to the corresponding Account, Contact and Opportunity records to preserve the recorded custom and default field information your team has recorded.  Ensure that the data is mapped logically.

Furthermore, ensure your custom reports that have been created also have a replicate for the corresponding conversion record information.

Leads Keep Your Database Ordered

If you have good process and best practices established, then your Salesforce.com system will become an orderly system which helps your team execute.  Leads keep your system focused on the prioritized records which need attention and the right engagement from your team. It takes leadership around the Salesforce process you develop to be successful or working with an effective Salesforce consultant.

Question: How do you use Salesforce Leads?

 


Three Salesforce Lead Management Best Practices

Salesforce.com Lead management should facilitate an easy process for your sales team to collaborate and close a sale.  Your roadmap process should have decision points for your Salesforce.com system to follow as new leads are engaged with your sales process.  Here are three key lead management tips shared from our own Salesforce.com consulting:

Tip 1: Auto-Assignment Rules

Your sales team should be divided based on a sensible alignment for driving the most revenue opportunity.  Geography, industry, seniority, or any other criteria which helps to identify teams or individuals for matching to a new inbound lead should be captured in a clear mapping.

Once the team has been divided, decide whether a queue should be used in lieu of individual assignments.  We like to set the auto-assignment rules based on the criteria to a queue that is logically distributing to your respective team members.

The priority of the rules needs to be created with logic available in the Salesforce.com customization area.  Be sure that if a custom field is used that your picklist values match precisely to the criteria for assignments.

Notifications for your respective team members based on new lead generation forms as well as task assignment for follow-up can be set up for quick response based on your sales process.

Tip 2: Nurture With Marketing Automation

Upon getting a new inbound marketing lead with a sales form, it usually is not best to immediately call.  Your sales lead may be seeking to learn more.  Integrating a marketing automation system with your Salesforce.com system helps to position your brand and build trust before the sales process starts.  It is what is known as the buying process.  The buyer’s interaction with pre-designed marketing content relevant to their inquiry and problem can be tracked within your Lead and Contact records.

This information helps you see Salesforce.com Activity records that are digital.  These become just as valuable, if not more, than the high touch calls your salesperson may enter into the Salesforce.com system.  The integrated marketing and sales data equip your sales team to engage when the timing is right and your Lead is truly an Opportunity.

Tip 3: Definitive Lead Conversion

There will be few sales compared to Leads.  Your leads are extremely valuable, however.  They must be handled differently than those that are ready to engage in your sales process.  They are still buying.  To help them buy, keep those that are Leads as a Lead record in Salesforce.com.  As a sales team, be concrete about when to Convert a Lead to an Opportunity.

In our Salesforce.com consulting, we identify a Lead conversion as the point when the sales process is engaged.  Before this, your Lead is being marketed to either by a salesperson or your marketing team.  All activities and data related to the Lead is recorded in your Salesforce.com system.

Once the Lead converts, your sales team moves the Opportunity record through the various sales stages.  This should also be part of the roadmap requirements to ensure common meaning for sales stages.

Clear Rules And Leadership

Salesforce.com success relies on leadership.  With great leadership, your system reflects the rules of your engagement with the customer and helps your team execute with clarity.  Be sure that the rules are debated and clarified early on.  Don’t be afraid to launch without perfect clarity.  In the course of working with Salesforce.com, your lead management will continually refine, and the system can be modified accordingly.  This will come from your weekly team meetings to review the Lead management processes.

How is your lead management process working today?  What could work better?  Feel free to comment below.

Salesforce.com For Speed And Management

As speed and complexity continue to increase in the modern economy, managing the sales cycle effectively requires an execution and collaboration which needs to be managed.  Older sales systems were centered around contact management.  Getting the person’s address information provided enough value to the sales rep to manage a relationship.

Today, people are changing more than their jobs.  They are changing their minds, budgets, and needs constantly.  Sales cycles are more complex.  Information and contact must be timely, relevant and stand out.  Furthermore, sales has become collaborative.  Teammates, vendors and resources must all be pulled together for the project known as a sale.

The organizations that are using technology to enable collaboration, speed and timely delivery for nurturing the customer’s buying process are in phase with the modern economy.  Timing has become critical.  Salesforce.com is the leading CRM designed to help sales teams nurture and win customer relationships effectively.

The Old Model

A decade ago, people felt an increase in productivity from having a Palm Pilot.  They could manage tasks, calendars and notes for assisting their workload.  However, as handheld devices became connected, the Palm Pilot’s limitations became apparent.  Having one would be an antiquated scene.  Today, if it is not connected then it is a mere toy.

Likewise, older sales software systems like ACT or Goldmine centered around individual organization.  Eventually they introduced servers to manage some collaboration.  The individual lone wolf salesperson liked the independence.  Collaboration was not of interest.  They wanted to protect their relationships and their results such as activities and results.

Operating in a disconnected and independent fashion worked for a slower moving economy.  We had much less than one hundred emails a day to deal with.  Our information stream was coming in much slower.  The customer was moving slower.

Today’s Customer

As the internet, commerce, technology and communications moved forward, speed has increased dramatically.  Speed has changed our behaviors.  We are reacting and using heuristics to make decisions or remain in indecision.  As customers are examining a product or service, they are requiring just-in-time interactions in the form of written and visual communications as well as timely calls or mailings.  Their buying process has to be experienced in a concerted fashion.  Today’s enterprise must market in a one-to-one mode.

It is easy to cater to one person.  However, infuse multiple prospects, competitors, and speed into the challenge of sales.  Sales execution becomes even more important.  If you close too heavy and too soon, this can ruin the buying process.  If you neglect the customer when they need information, this has the same effect.

Tracking the customer’s movements and responding with value at the right time is a process which must be refined and mastered for sales teams to succeed today.  Synchronizing movements on a team must be done from a collaborative and agile environment.

Furthermore, as the sales process has become more complex, sales roles from qualification to nurturing to account management require different skill sets.  Coordinating specialists on a team is critical for sales success.  Team selling requires task assignments and accountability.

As customers prefer communications via email, productivity gains must be realized.  As sales processes are executed, precision and consistency of communications for branding, positioning and nurturing the customer’s decision-making must be done quickly.  If a knowledge worker takes 20 minutes to write an email, they are limited in the number of touchpoints per day to move their pipeline forward.

A System For Speed And Nurturing

Salesforce.com introduced Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as the business platform for collaboration, speed and team selling.  As data is managed by a sales team, real-time updates are provided across the enterprise.  This is both for tactical execution as well as management reporting.  Data is real-time and sales people adopt the tool from the productivity value gains.

Communications is critical for selling.  Working internally as well as with the prospect with activity records available for everyone on the team creates efficiency to leverage towards engaging the customer precisely.

Furthermore, having a set sequence of tested and branded communications automates the sales communications process.  The majority of communications will be via email, the preferred method for most customers today.  Salesforce.com contains a repository of email templates for customization and personalization to streamline email communications.  A simple button click sends an email which traditionally would take dozens of minutes to type.

The sales opportunity is managed as a systematic project with a goal and deadline.  Each salesperson is empowered with the ability to delegate quickly and have visibility on execution within a customer’s buying experience.  Managers have real-time data on both the activity level as well as forecasting, pipelines and any other metric vital for sales success.

Scalability in the sales organization leads to enabling marketing and customer service processes within one customer environment.  Data is transparent and management decisions can be made analytically rather than solely by intuition.

Salesforce.com not only provides individual productivity increases, but it also solidifies the organization’s approach to sales as a process which becomes a repeatable system for selling.

The customer experience is managed with speed, consistency and refinement.  Anything short of this SaaS technology creates wasted work in the organization.  Knowledge and data are not growing in and across the selling operation for continuous improvement and honing in on an optimized business methodology.

With over one million users worldwide, Salesforce.com has become the standard for selling.  Its agility and alignment with how customers buy makes it the tool for adoption in an organization who is serious about moving their selling from mere art to a science.

Learn more about how to use Salesforce in your business with some Salesforce consulting guidance.