Auto pilot – how to automate your lead qualification
Automating steps in your lead qualification process won’t just happen automatically.
Before anything can be automated you need to scaffold every step of the way so that you can determine the ‘logic’ of your automation.
Let’s take a tour through each of these steps.
Step 1: Qualifying leads
Divide your leads into sales ready/sales unready and good fit/poor fit.
Good fit leads are those that match any of your personas – and sales readiness is determined through lead scoring.
There’s more on lead scoring below but you will need to develop your own way of determining which leads are ready to be passed to sales.
This is often done by tracking and measuring engagement by recording which pages are being visited, which webinars are attended, how is the email open rate and how is the prospect responding to different offers?
Once you have some strong criteria for qualifying leads, you can automate the process for both fit and sales readiness by using a lead scoring feature.
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Step 2: Funnelling leads
You will want to make an immediate connection with your sales-ready leads.
A ‘personal’ email from a member of the sales team can be automatically fired off, inviting a conversation.
This can be done without the salesperson needing to be involved – the mail simply comes from their email address.
For other leads, they should be monitored by how they engage with your content and events.
Lead scoring and autoresponders will automate much of this process for you.
Step 3: Identifying pain points
Most of your leads will not burst onto the scene desperately seeking your sales team to make a deal. Instead, you can bank on a lot of nurturing being needed to progress them down the funnel.
And this means adding valueto engage them.
But the problem is that most of the time you are unsure as to exactly what value will best suit each prospect.
You can automatically decide on the best content based on the pages of your website they have visited, the content they have downloaded and the videos they have watched. Your autoresponder can do the rest.
Or, smarter still, is to just ask them. A simple multiple-choice ‘what’s your biggest challenge’ will help them let you know in no uncertain terms how you can add value.
And so, the nurturing process through the sales funnel begins.
Step 4. Setting triggers
Wherever your prospects are it is important that you have identified and set actions that are ‘sales’ triggers. These are things that people do that instantly qualify them as a hot lead.
Exactly what these are will vary from organisation to organisation – they may include attending a webinar, browsing your pricing page, downloading a white paper or consistent use of your free app – but having set them you should automate how you respond.
You’ll need analytics in place to capture these actions – and preferably integrated analytics that covers multiple marketing channels.
Possible automatic responses include:
Initiating an email autoresponder
Enrolling a prospect in a workflow
Notifying the sales team
Using PPC or social to retarget the prospect
Communication is critical in automating this part to avoid any duplicating emails or actions, an annoyance at best to prospects.
Make sure your sales team are in the loop and the CRM is updated (automatically, of course).
5. Progressive profiling
Progressive profiling is the way that you automatically and continually collect more information about your leads as they pass through your funnel.
It allows you to collect data that will help you personalise future offers and be more relevant to your prospects.
Here’s an example of it in action.
Someone downloads an infographic. They are only requested to leave their email address.
An email is sent out to them with a related offer – but one that requires them to input their name and job title.
Those who react to this are then sent a further mail with a related offer that requires more information.
The automatic scores on the doors
Qualifying leads via lead scoring does not have to be tedious.
Automation allows you to focus on results rather than minutiae. But it’s important that you set up the automation sequences with care and continue to monitor them regularly to ensure everything is working as it should.
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