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Monthly Archives: November 2010

An Introduction to Lead Scoring

Lead Scoring for B2B companies can be a very valuable method to ensure that sales people in your organization are spending time with quality sales-ready leads.

As potential buyers navigate through their own personal purchase funnels, their level of engagement typically increases as they get closer to their first contact with your sales people. Research supports that companies that have a sound lead scoring process in place, their win rates increase as well as their revenue per deal.  Lead Scoring is typically implemented within a Marketing Automation platform.  The concept of lead scoring is simply; as prospective customers begin the engagement process (download content, newsletter sign-up) they are sent nurturing emails (also called drip campaigns) on an ongoing basis.  As these prospects engage further (email clicks, webinar views, etc), they are given more “points” until a threshold is reached which means those leads go to CRMs automatically to begin sales outreach.  Marketing Automation combines lead nurturing email communication with lead scoring and advanced analytics, all synced to a CRM such as Salesforce.com.

What are the steps?

1.  First, speak to sales and marketing executives.  Sales will describe the ideal SQL (Sales-qualified Lead).  Marketing will do the same with their MQL (Marketing-qualified Lead). The best practice is to get both departments to agree to a universal lead definition.  Once both sides agree, we can start the lead scoring process.  Part of the sales-marketing alignment is to make sure each department understands the importance of lead scoring.  When leads are scored, sales people can easily gauge their prospect’s level of interest in your solutions, and can engage with those prospects with more information on their behavior and activities, which can lead to increased levels of closed deals.

2.  Implement Marketing Automation.  It goes without saying that a system that automatically scores leads and sends them to Sales when those leads are sales-ready makes the process so much easier and efficient.

3.  Create the lead scoring matrix.  This is another task that needs to be done with Sales and Marketing present.  We’ll review all of the category types to be scored.  There are two main categories:

Explicit: These are data points that profile a prospect such as Title, Role, Industry, Timing

Implicit: These items score based on website or email activity, such as web pages visited, emails clicked, and content downloaded.

Here’s a link to the matrix NuSpark Marketing uses with examples of category types. Click Here.

As you’ll note, we use a scoring range of 1-10, but also allow a score up to 15 for those category types deemed crucial.  We also include some negative score levels if prospects haven’t engaged in 30 days or give personal email addresses.  The 1-10 scoring range can be subject to change based on the scoring modules available within Marketing Automation systems, but generally, 1-10 is sufficient.

4.  Determine the lead score when those leads have engaged enough, reached a certain score, and are ready to go to the Sales people.  The matrix suggests one way to do this, but it’s important that the sales-ready lead score be updated frequently pending on what the feedback of Sales gives you.  Both the lead scoring matrix and the lead score threshold need to be reviewed on a timely manner.

The myriad of B2B thought leaders all have their own view on lead scoring and how to prepare a matrix.  There is no right or wrong method.  The important thing is that the process does not have to be complicated.  By utilizing a matrix such as above, it gives you one of the first steps to aligning Marketing and Sales.  And that’s a good thing!

Please let me know if you have any questions on this process.



Google Pay-Per-Click Options; Enhancing Your Campaigns

Google Pay-per-click ads: More Than just text ads.  There are ways to make Google work better for you!

So you’re looking at your Google pay-per-click program, and you scratch your head because you’re in a competitive field, and to be in the top three positions will cost you more than you wish to pay.  Google has increased the importance of the top three positions recently with the advent of Google Instant, and the reorganization of how Google Places works.  When searching for a local business, the map of companies now appears to the right of the search results, meaning ad positions 4+ are now shifted lower.   Other than standard pay-per-click search ads there are other opportunities to market and stand out with your pay-per-click ads.  Quoting Google….

Google Places

Google Places allows business owners to update and manage their physical business location information. This information can be used to update their business listing so that it appears correctly within Google Maps and associated Google properties and search and Display Network sites.  Note the search for Flower Shops and the Google Places listings showing under the top pay-per-click ads and under the top 3 organic listings (hello SEO!).  Note the map is now located at the top right of the search results.  The rest of the pay-pr-click ads are under the map.  This shows the importance of being in the “light purple” area; those ads are the most visible listings on the page.

Google Display Network

Previously known as the Google Content Network, the Google Display Network includes a collection of websites that have partnered with Google (display partners), YouTube, and specific Google properties that display AdWords ads. These ads, which can be in text, image, video, or rich media format, can be targeted automatically based on themes in your keyword list, manually (matching specific placements you select), or based on specific audiences you want to reach.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions expand a standard text ad with one or more lines that provide additional information such as an address and phone number (location extensions and phone extensions), more page links (ad sitelinks), and product images (product extensions). Ad extensions help users easily find out more about your business and its offerings. Ads will appear just as they do now across Google and the Google Network, but the additional information may also appear on Google.com and its properties, such as Google Maps (for location extensions), in an enhanced format.

Here’s an ad for Light Fixtures showing additional “ad sitelinks.” These links aren’t available to all advertisers but ones that Google decides based on account history and other factors.

This ad shows the “location extensions” that emphasize the local location.

This ad shows a “phone extension.”

Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center is a tool which helps you upload your product listings to be used for Google Product Search and Google Product Ads. Google Product Search helps shoppers find and buy products across the web. As a seller, you can submit your products to Google Product Search, allowing shoppers to quickly and easily find your site. Product Search connects your products to the shoppers searching for them, helping you drive traffic and sales to your store. Your products will appear on Google Product Search and may even be displayed on Google.com, depending on your items’ relevance. By linking your Google AdWords and Merchant Center accounts, you will be able to surface your products directly in your Google.com search ads.

By appearing within the merchant center, your products are linked to Google Shopping, and can potentially be showcased on Google’s first page like this:

Google Checkout badges are icons that appear on your AdWords ads and Product Search listings to distinguish you as a Google Checkout merchant at no cost to you. Once you’re an established Google merchant and accept Google Checkout, you can showcase a badge into your ad and also offer a discount!

YouTube Promoted Videos

YouTube Promoted Videos is an online advertising program that allows YouTube users to promote their YouTube video content on the YouTube website. This service is offered in combination with the Google AdWords program through the Promoted Videos website at: http://ads.youtube.com.

Here’s one of my ads that overlay videos that I am promoting on YouTube

The Google Adwords Video ad section offers a number of video formats that can run on YouTube or the Google Display Network.

Google’s always adding new features, or updating old ones, and it‘s important to stay up-to-date with the ongoing tweaks to the Google empire.  At NuSpark Marketing, we are always reviewing the Google blogs which help us understand what’s changed and what’s new.

For more information on what can be done to optimize your pay-per-click strategy, please contact us.  What do you think?

OK already- It’s time for Marketing Automation

I’ve been advocating marketing automation systems for quite awhile, because as a lead management company, we feel responsible for just not getting your company found on the Internet, but getting those prospects to become sales.

Marketing automation is a tool that guides prospects through their purchase cycle via quality, compelling content until they become sales-ready leads. Marketing Automation is a key component of our lead management process that we offer companies.

A fairly new technology, these systems are not just being utilized by fortune 1000 companies, but can be used effectively by smaller and mid-size companies as well. There is a pre-conceived notion that marketing automation is overly expensive, but that is not the case.  There are many systems that are quite moderate in pricing, yet still perform well.

Marketing automation provides the solution to many companies’ objectives

  • Improves the quality of leads that are passed on to sales
  • Optimizes conversion or profitability from various sources of leads
  • Measures marketing performance more effectively

The main benefit for replacing manual lead generating processes with marketing automation is that it allows companies to reach out to potential customers in a timely, more efficient, manner.

Here’s a simple look at how marketing automation works:

  • A sound advertising and social media strategy is developed, and tactics like SEO, Pay-per-click,  and valuable content bring visitors to your website.
  • The website or landing page offers strong benefit copy and valuable content, and visitors fill out forms to become leads.
  • Based on the questions asked on the “contact us” web form AND website behavior (downloads, pages viewed), leads are automatically scored (a model defined before the system is in place).
  • Leads are segmented based on their score and enter various tracks for follow-up.  Following up with leads through email is called lead nurturing and includes links to additional valuable content such as white papers and webinars. Nurturing allows increased engagement of potential customers.  The more engaged they are, the more likely they will become customers. Learn more on Lead Nurturing.
  • Higher quality leads are turned over to sales immediately.  Lower quality leads remain in the system until additional engagement occurs. In essence, salespeople receive less total leads, as they only receive the quality leads. When they can spend more time with quality leads, their time is spent more efficiently, they close more deals, and the revenue per deal increases, thus overall ROI increase.
  • By integrating with Salesforce and other CRMs, salespeople report their deals and win values, which then are reported within the marketing automation system, which in turn allows us to evaluate what media sources, messages, events or other tactics generate the most efficient quality leads and sales, thus an analysis of “cost-per-deal” can be done.

We offer the following for your perusal:

  • Our ebooks that cover B2B Marketing strategy and marketing automation/lead nurturing tactics.  Click Here
  • Demos of marketing automation from 4 companies.  Without IT, these systems are easily implemented.  NuSpark Marketing assists in the implementation and training.

Act-On Software Demo

Manticore Technology Demo

Pardot Demo

Silverpop Demo

NuSpark Marketing will evaluate your needs and budget and choose the platform that is right for you.  Keep on mind that we also provide the contentlanding page design and analytics, so that you take advantage of all of the feature of marketing automation.

For those who wish to take a test drive, we can set you up with trials, or, for those with a modest database size, Loopfuse offers a free platform. Loopfuse doesn’t include a landing page design module, but offers other bells and whistles that make it a reasonable solution.  Again, NuSpark Marketing will offer implementation and content to support Marketing Automation.  Here’s the Loopfuse Demo.

Consider:

10-25% of leads are sales-ready; 10-25% of leads are not.  That means, 50-80% of leads are wasted or ignored if not handled properly.

By implementing a lead management system, highlighted by a marketing automation platform and a sound content marketing strategy, those ignored leads are communicated to throughout their buying cycle, and many end up being sales!

Here’s a scenario.

  1. 15% of leads are sales-ready
  2. 10% of leads unqualified
  3. 75% of leads go into nurturing so that they can become sales-ready.
  4. 15% of those nurtured leads turn into sales. Guess what- you’ve just doubled your sales!

According to a SiriusDecisions 2008 report on conversion rates, companies with a sound lead management process close an average of 25% or greater than companies that don’t.  According to Aberdeen 2009, nurtured leads achieve a 47% higher order value when they closed compared to non-nurtured leads.

More benefits:

  • Increase in Qualified Leads
  • Decrease in Sales Cycle
  • Decrease in Cost of Sales
  • Improved Conversion Rates of those leads
  • Increase in Quality of Leads Going to Sales
  • Increase in Transaction Size
  • Increase in Marketing ROI

SO, now that it’s budget season, let’s consider Marketing Automation.  Answer these questions:

  • How much time and money saved by consolidating tools and automating email campaigns
  • How efficient marketing and sales teams would be by sharing a unified interface
  • How many more opportunities created if sales can follow-up with every promising lead
  • How much easier it would be to demonstrate the marketing team’s influence on revenue and ROI
  • How smoothly your business will run if sales and marketing worked together to achieve your company’s goals

Got it?  Next step?  Contact Paul Mosenson, Founder and President of NuSpark Marketing, pmosenson@nusparkmarketing.com

60 Articles on B2B Marketing Analytics!

Tony Karrer, founder of Browse My Stuff and the person behind Social Media Informer and B2B Marketing Zone offered to do some Filtering and Curating in preparation for my upcoming webinar: How to measure the ROI of online and offline media channels with analytics.

Tony researched using those sites and looking at topics such as Social Media B2B Analytics, B2B Marketing ROI and B2B Marketing Analytics and B2B Social Media ROI.

Here are the top 60 articles:

  1. Tracking Social Media, Email & Advertising with Analytics
  2. Are You an Analytics Leader?
  3. Using Google Analytics to Measure Social Media Success
  4. B2B Marketing Analytics
  5. Calculating the Value of a B2B Marketing Campaign
  6. Add Google Analytics to Emails and Gain B2B Lead Generation Intelligence
  7. Web Analytics for B2B Lead Generation
  8. Using Social Media: Part 6 – Measurement
  9. Social Media Tracking 101
  10. 6 Really Simple Marketing Metrics for your Execs
  11. Four Ways to Measure Social Media Marketing Results
  12. Marketing Effectiveness Assessment: Measuring What Matters Assessment
  13. Is this the final answer to social media measurement?
  14. Can a social media strategy boost your lead generation efforts?
  15. 5 Ways to Better Marketing Performance with Marketing Operations
  16. Deconstructing Twitter: Analytics for Reach and Impressions
  17. Be Careful What Assumptions You Make with Analytics
  18. 5 Ways to Make A Better Analytics Presentation
  19. Twitter Analytics: Five Practical, Lesser Known Free Tools for B2B Professionals
  20. How to Use Web Analytics to Become a Better Marketer
  21. Twitter success stories: Explaining the ROI of Twitter
  22. Real Examples of Social Media ROI
  23. How to Calculate Social Marketing ROI
  24. The Social Media ROI Debate
  25. Marketing Automation ROI: Efficiency or Revenue?
  26. Crunching the real numbers on social media ROI
  27. B2B Lead Generation Blog: The Difference Between ROI and Marketing Accountability
  28. Dramatically improving marketing conversion ROI with “social” landing pages
  29. What is the ROI of Lead Management?
  30. Social Media ROI vs. RONI
  31. B2B, Buzz & Brand ROI: Creating Customers That Create (MORE!) Customers.
  32. B2B Marketing: Trust + Community = ROI
  33. Measure Your ROI on Social Media Leads
  34. How a Pencil & Paper Can Help You Measure Marketing ROI
  35. Lead Nurturing – How to track ROI?
  36. Three reasons why the “experts” are wrong about social media measurement
  37. Measuring Outcomes in B2B Social Media – It’s Time to Start
  38. Hard Data to Justify Your Marketing Automation Investment
  39. No patience for the ROI of Social Media discussion
  40. 9 Marketing Automation Metrics
  41. Is this the final answer to social media measurement?
  42. Measuring Outcomes in B2B Social Media – Part II: A Model
  43. Four Ways to Measure Social Media Marketing Results
  44. Measuring the ROI of B2B Social Media
  45. Understanding the ROI of Customer Evangelism
  46. Improving B2B Marketing ROI: Thought Leadership With Merry Elrick
  47. Increasing Marketing ROI: The Top 5 Tips from our B2B Thought Leaders
  48. 31 Social Media Stats and Anecdotes
  49. Five Social Media Marketing Reports and Guides Worth Checking Out
  50. 50 (of the) Best Twitter Guides, Stats, Tips and Tools of 2010 (So Far)
  51. Understanding the Value of Social Media Data
  52. 24 Full Service Tools to Manage B2B Social Media
  53. Social Media Lead Generation for B2B
  54. Finding B2B Social Media Tools That Add Value – not Just Time
  55. 13 Truths About Social Media Measurement | Brass Tack Thinking
  56. Social Media Optimization Tools
  57. Twitter success stories: Explaining the ROI of Twitter
  58. Real Examples of Social Media ROI
  59. How to Calculate Social Marketing ROI
  60. B2B, Buzz & Brand ROI: Creating Customers That Create (MORE!) Customers.

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