Friday, December 12, 2008

What Is The Value Of A Lead?

The differences between sales and marketing can seem vast, with each division having different goals, languages and motivations. Division between sales and marketing departments can cause strain to the organization, and necessitates better communication and cooperation for optimum results. Salespeople use various definitions for prospect qualification, such as qualified lead opportunity (QLO), qualified sales opportunity (QSO), inquiry, cold, warm, and hot leads. Sometimes there is a score card for measuring the value, sometimes not. Marketing is often judged on qualitative data, but web analytics has changed that. Measurement used to be centered on awareness, perception, desire, share of mind, top of mind, and other “intangibles”. However, CEOs today don’t like fluff. Companies like Sirius Decisions and SalesForce help cut through intangibles and deliver solid data that decision makers need.

Data Never Lies:

A common strategy to produce data is as follows:
Start with segmentation of consumer base. Once this is done cluster the data by customer, lifetime value of customer, key account strategy (b2b, direct sales model, etc).

Next hygiene your in-house list, to get the data to a point where mining it can lead to analytics and insight.


There are plenty of service providers for such services, including Acxiom, Market Models, Epsilon International, or you can review how Forrester Research segments their data.

Data Is A Snapshot:

Data is actually a point in time, an event that shows historical information and “what the consumer did” but not necessary “why they did it”. Your customer today may not be your consumer tomorrow. Your brand today may have to evolve due to competitive threats, economic conditions or internal issues. Having the insight to go beyond demographics, but with value such as ethnographic studies, helps build-in lifestyle and life stages. Can you imagine the fear watch companies are facing when the current 14-year-old grows up to become an affluent consumer, yet still uses his mobile device as a watch?

Solutions:

1) Create a universal common language that the sales people and marketing people agree upon. Apply best practices when collecting information, and distributing it across the organization’s sales/marketing system (i.e., SalesForce, Unica, Oracle, etc). This enables both parties to judge value of each customer touch point, and how to apply learning to the next one.

2) Convert data into insight so that all members of your team can evaluate, manage and propagate the data into actionable results.

3) Define best practices on how prospective customers are channeled through your system, with experience at the core. A multi-channel option (such as web, phone, blog, etc.) is great, but can cause frustration for customers if they are forced to go through each channel. Verizon is an excellent example of a company where a poor customer experience can ruin the brand experience.

4) Develop a lead scoring model that applies a mathematical point value to each prospect. This exercise helps marketing and sales identify, through data and experience, the ideal customer profile.

5) Work in teams, not in silos. Not every effort bears the fruit one desires. But the intent and commitment to improve each year will yield the results. It takes a team of people, including your advertising and direct marketing firm, to help decipher and best optimize the outcome. Each will add value and a point of view.

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