Sunday, March 18, 2007

Landing Page Strategies and Lead Qualification

Here are some quick tips from the experts - Google that is - on how to improve your landing pages. Check out the Top 7 Landing Page Strategies on the Google Analytics blog.

I found #4 interesting: "Using qualifying copy". This strategy is used by marketers to try and limit the form submissions to only those people who are truly interested in your product or service. Google recommends that you should add certain requirements such as "A minimum order is required" etc... In the B2B world having a form that asks very specific questions related to your product can qualify someone out who really doesn't care to fill out all of these questions. The problem is that you may be losing high quality leads from executives who are interested in signing up for a webinar but just don't have the time to fill out a huge form.

How do you Increase Conversions yet Ensure that the Leads are Qualified?

This is the magic question for some marketers. The first item I would recommend is only ask for the basic information - name, email, company. Phone and title should be optional. For title, I would use a drop down to find out the level that a person is at - For example: manager, director, executive. This type of standardized data can be used for future segmentation. If it's an open text field, it's difficult to use for segmentation and many titles are crazy these days as "everyone is a manager" in some cases. As I've recommended earlier in the post Why B2B websites fail, one of the strategies you can employ is asking for basic information at the beginning of your interaction and asking for additional information for each subsequent interaction. Therefore a phone number may not be needed if someone is registering to receive your newsletter. All that may be needed is an email address.

The other item to keep in mind is to look at leads as if you were applying for a job. What does that mean? It goes something like this: If you went to a job interview, would you ask your potential employer what they do? Would you ask them about the key aspects of their business and what their annual revenue is? Not if you really want the job. This is data that you should have access to. You should be able to take the company name and find out this information yourself. What I've been seeing lately is the ability for marketing databases to interact with data repositories. In this way you don't need to ask people for this data as you will already have this. This may not be practical for companies but I still think that this is something that the company should do themselves and not the person filling out the form. This depends on what are the type of resources that you have. Sometimes spending more money up front saves you more in the long run.

That's Great - You Still Haven't Mentioned Anything About Qualifying Leads

If you're getting too many crappy leads coming in I would recommend automating your lead qualification process. For example, if the annual revenue of a company is below a 1 million, do not pass them on to sales or your call center to call directly. This type of back-end lead qualification can save your company a tremendous amount as there is no human interaction necessary and your company can focus on those leads that are a good fit for your company.

Look for ways to qualify leads without using human intervention. This may seem difficult but by reviewing your data, you can look for trends. For example our leads that come from actual company addresses better then those that come from hotmail or gmail address accounts? Is there a way to filter these out so that the company email addresses get looked at first to see if they are a good fit for your company?

The other more recent trend is qualify leads based on behaviour. Therefore a higher score is attributed to those leads who have conducted certain trackable actions such as filling out forms, responding to emails and visiting key web pages. This type of data won't matter if the actual company is not a good fit for your product or service but can be very helpful by providing your sales team the intelligence to better understand who are your best leads and the leads that should be prioritized. This type of lead qualification of course requires a way to track this information, process it and provide reports etc... Besides the software itself, getting your company aligned around what a qualified lead is an entirely different story.

I think that's all I want to touch on for the moment as this post is getting into some complex topics but hopefully it opened you up to some new ideas and possibilities. What type of lead qualification do you do? Is it automated?

Chad H.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chad,

Good topic and you raised several key points. Business can be complicated in itself, but I definitely think firms overly complicate the lead development process. Not to say that it's easy, because it isn't. But the key steps are:

- Make SURE sales and marketing agree on the definition of a lead, and revisit this frequently, as definitions change

- Make SURE to capture information at each touch point that will help you to determine at what level of qualification the lead is. Now, as you said, you don't have to bluntly ask them, but a trained inside sales rep can tactfully get the information needed in the context of a conversation. This includes softer data such as "what is your pain/need/desire", so the sales rep can help develop a solution.

- automate wherever you can. This allows for multiple benefits. First, if you use dynamic scripting on web contact forms, then prospects can self-qualify themselves and answer questions that are presented based on previous answers provided. Second, with automation, you can automate the lead nurture process, by systemically driving processes (outbound calls, webinar invites, etc.) based on what stage qualification they are, and then rescoring them as a result of that action.

Anyway, as you said it gets quite complex and could go on and on. But in concept it's not that complicated to grasp. The biggest mistake companies make IMHO is that they don't appoint a single person to be responsbile for the entire lead development process.

Tim Young

Anonymous said...

What do you do with leads once you generate them?
This question is overlooked by almost everyone. It is often the cause of failure in what would otherwise be effective web marketing campaigns. The common-sense answer is easier said than done: Have your best employees respond to them quickly and consistently to qualify them into prospects.

Many companies spend thousands of dollars every month with Google, Yahoo, and MSN to generate clicks to their website. These same companies invest tens of thousands in building a web site to attract visitors. They even use analytical tools like Omniture, WebSideStory, or WebTrends to track these visitors and turn them into leads, only to let those leads sit in some sales manager’s inbox for 48 hours before they are contacted.

One elegant solution is to embed a web-form onto a website that captures the lead and pushes it real time into a database. It then quickly routes the lead to the best suited sales rep, a telephony tool immediately gets the rep on the phone and automatically calls and connects the lead to the rep.

Our research shows that the average salesperson only makes four to five attempts to contact them the first week. This means only 55% of a company’s web leads will actually get contacted.

It goes back to Lead Response Management: Acquire a system that immediately and systematically pushes the leads to the best qualified salespeople. A system that also allows the salespeople to immediately and frequently respond to leads and turn them into prospects. Again, this simple but overlooked approach can boost net results by 20 to 200%.

Chad said...

Tim - good points. Thanks for dropping by. I really liked your last point. Many companies throw this on to sales when it should probably be marketing (depending on the size of the organization). For companies I work with, this is a given. In regards to automation, I work with my clients daily on this subject as my employer just so happens to have the awesome tools to do this (hey, if you guys are going to promote yourself, I will as well as it's my blog :) ).
To your other point about sales and marketing being on the same page, I couldn't agree more with you. I think that companies should take a realistic approach and just try to get some basic playing rules so that everyone knows what a qualified lead is and the process for following up with them. Anyways, thanks for stopping by and come by again.

-Darin - Your comment was blatant advertising and didn't add too much. Other bloggers would have just deleted it but I'm a nice guy. I don't see what rep would want to get an auto phone call for every lead that came in. Good luck with your product.



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