BUSINESS PAPERUncover The Gold: A Business Case Studyfor Best Practices in Lead ManagementBusiness Insight You Can Use Executive Summary In the beginning, someone raises a hand and says Yes—tell me more. From that moment on, a company becomes engaged in one of the most critical functions that impacts sales success: lead management. Its an intricate, complex process spanning both marketing and sales professionals. In order to make sure leads are properly targeted, distributed, tracked and acted upon, companies need a unified system that makes the entire process more visible and collaborative. From initial marketing campaign planning right through lead qualification, this paper explores how one Pivotal customer—the LCD Products Group of Sharp Electronics—has invested in marketing automation technology to ensure that their marketing and sales teams more efficiently recognize and act swiftly on the most profitable opportunities. Change is sweeping through marketing organizations everywhere. Expectations are rising—give us more, better quality leads, more quickly—while budgets and headcounts shrink. The mandate of doing more with less has never been more apparent, and pressure is increasing for marketing teams to draw a direct line drawn between their activities and the bottom line. The good news for marketing professionals is that lead management technology, one of the key tools that demonstrates marketing value in the charts and statistics that executives demand, is now widely available. Its no longer merely the "Fortunate 500" who can afford to buy and implement this powerful capability, and have marketing teams that are intensely, quantitatively accountable. As lead management strategies—and the processes and technologies that bring them to life—come within the reach of mid-sized and smaller businesses, the value proposition and timeliness of these tools are becoming irresistible to those who need to prove their worth. Over the next few pages you will learn how lead management best practices and technology have transformed how a division of Sharp Electronics generates, distributes and manages leads for better sales success. Well also examine why more companies are joining the trend, raising the lead management bar to sharpen how they identify and win new opportunities.
Marketing Today Enter Lead ManagementTraditionally, marketers have been ideas people, It is not just the idea of lead quantity that has come underexperimenting with creative ways to generate leads and scrutiny. Its lead quality.create awareness. For some time, it was accepted thatthe benefit of marketing would be soft and qualitative Rather than asking how many leads were generated,in nature—we know half of our marketing activities are executives are asking for conversion rates, or whatuseful—we just dont know which half. We know marketing proportion of leads resulted in closed opportunities.is necessary, we just dont know how good we are at Answering this question means analyzing the entire leadit. Until today, ROI-based reporting had long been an lifecycle—from how the lead was generated to how theinexact science. But as our collective understanding and lead was distributed to sales and what happened oncevisibility improves, what we see alarms us. Leading market it got there. Teams are accountable to show investmentresearch firms have recently released studies suggesting return and solid performance at every step, and overthat the vast majority of all sales leads—up to 70%—are time, to show quantifiable improvement. As executivesnever acted upon because they dont reach the right ask tough questions, lead management technology givesperson at the right time. marketers the visibility and the answers they need to consistently show theyre on the right track.This is a sobering reality for marketers everywhere. Lead management is the process of rapidly and effectively creating, nurturing, distributing and analyzingOperational Account Ability leads. The ultimate goal? To increase the likelihood that a lead will convert to a qualified opportunity and then a new,Has Arrived satisfied customer. To implement a lead managementThe ultimate goal of any marketing department is to strategy, marketing and sales must work closely together.generate qualified leads for sales, who then converts them For best results, a lead management system mustinto customers. The rate at which deals close is the final converge the right people, processes and informationyard stick by which every marketing investment should at various stages:be measured—but its not easy. In the past, the abilityto track the cause and effect of marketing campaigns • Identifying hot leads and automatically route to directhas been very elusive, resulting in no ability to clearly sales or channel partnersdetermine true ROI for marketing initiatives. • Actively engaging the remaining leads and nurture themAnd the pressure is on. In a recent report, Boston-based through the pipeline to eventual saleresearch firm Aberdeen Group revealed that marketingdepartments are just now being held to demonstrate the • Tracking leads to closure and evaluate the ROI ofsame level of quantitative value as other departments. marketing campaigns"The era of operational accountability has arrived," statesthe report. "Coupled with the maturation and growing • Integrating the external channel including value addedeffectiveness of marketing technologies, [a] focus on resellers (VARs), other resellers and strategic partnersquantifiable performance promises to accelerate • Integrating offline qualification resources such asa measurable shift of an organizations marketing call centersspend away from traditional media-based advertisingprocesses and towards technology-centric, interactive Lets examine the marketing process of one Pivotalmarketing services.1 customer—Sharp Electronics LCD Products Group. Well look at how the above lead management milestones wereMarketers are now judged by the same criteria as other met both before and after they implemented marketingline-of-business managers and executives. They are automation technology, and see how this new toolheld accountable for their spending, their headcounts transformed their marketing model for more successful,and their contribution. "The time has come to automate more visible results.a broader collection of enterprise wide marketingprocesses," suggests the report. "Fortunately, the Sharp Electronics LCD Products Group, based in Newnecessary supporting technology is now available to Jersey, began using marketing automation in Juneenable marketers to streamline traditionally manual 00. According to Fred Krazeise, Director of Strategicprocesses and to better target communications to Marketing at Sharps LCD Products Group, his companyappropriate audiences. began to look at its lead management planning, execution, distribution, nurturing and several years ago. It was part of a marketing approach focused on helping Sharp VARs and channel partners win and keep customers for life.1 From What Works: Best Practices in Marketing Technologies, Aberdeen Group, February 003 CDC MarketFirst | Business Paper
Defining Lead ManagementBefore we move into the story at Sharp, lets examine the five key stages of lead management. For better or worse, salessuccess and the ability to demonstrate ROI is directly impacted by how effective marketing teams are at the following:Lead Management: Closing the Loop with Marketing and Sales1. Lead Planning Generation 3. Distribute LeadsThis stage consists of planning the entire campaign— Lead distribution consists of ensuring leads reach thedetermining lists, developing messaging, selecting the right person at the right time.medium, setting the timing, planning the marketingproject, then specifying lead qualification and distribution There are many distribution systems—according tomechanism with Sales. territory, product, lead source, level of urgency, or new vs. existing customers. They can also be escalated if, for example, they have a short timeframe to make a decision,. Qualify Leads or a ready-approved budget, or if they have a particularIn this stage, leads are qualified, scored and processed urgency or a high value associated with them.according to pre-determined criteria. With the right technology infrastructure, companiesTypical lead process points and flags are defined, can automate the distribution of leads according toincluding qualification questions and process, distribution predetermined criteria. This removes the burden fromrules, lead scoring (specific definitions of A, B and C-level support staff, and ensures that leads really do reach theleads), components and duration of the sales cycle, how right person at the right time.to deal with atypical or out-of-profile leads, and ownershipof each stage of the process. 4. Nurture LeadsOnce lead qualification criteria are determined, they can Lead nurturing allows companies to remain in touch withbe automated. For example, surveys can pose questions longer term leads until the lead is ready to be advancedlike, Does this prospect have a budget in place for a into the sales cycle.When the lead is closer to making aproduct like ours? purchase, it can be passed on to sales.When this information is known, the lead can be passed Nurturing—the process of progressing a lead from anto sales as a hot lead requiring rapid follow-up, or a cold unqualified to a qualified state worthy of devoting yourlead requiring further nurturing and communication. marketing resources—is an often neglected step in the lead management process. CDC MarketFirst | Business Paper 3
5. Measure and Evaluate Programs management—teams need to go beyond meeting lead quotas, and focus on what it will take to close the loopThe last stage of lead management is to close the loop and foster sales success.on results. Post-campaign analysis and reporting is thekey to demonstrating success, or perhaps identifying Leads feed into the top of the sales funnel as a resulthow a marketing approach could be improved. By going of marketing campaigns. Then, they are distributed tothrough a detailed planning process at the outset, teams pre-sales professionals for qualification, and finally to theare clear as to what is to be measured at each step, and sales team for closing. Only once a lead has moved farhave visibility into how similar campaigns have performed. down the funnel do sales professionals begin working toWhen the ROI and cost per lead from each campaign close the most qualified leads. However, many companiesis accurately reported, patterns can be identified which have holes in their sales funnel, through which leads andhelp marketing teams to do more often what is proven opportunities can slip and be lost.to work well. It is an expensive endeavor to move a lead through the funnel and into sales. By the time a sales rep is assignedStep One: to engage with a prospect, that prospect needs to be deeply qualified.Lead Planning and GenerationPlanning a successful campaign begins with a strong If a cool lead is sent through prematurely, valuablesense of what has and hasnt worked in the past with sales resources can be wasted. Smart lead planning anda particular audience. It also starts with lining up the tracking ensures that the most thoroughly qualified leadsnecessary resources and processes to handle the leads are given the green light to move forward, and also helpswhen they come in. This is at the heart of todays lead marketing to advance the most profitable leads at the optimal moment. The Solution: IntegrationIn the illustration above, the funnel on the left shows a a particular audience. It also starts with lining up thetraditional sales and marketing organization. The funnel necessary resources and processes to handle the leadson the right shows an organization with automated lead when they come in. This is at the heart of today’s leadmanagement. As you can see, a lead management management — teams need to go beyond meeting leadsystem works on the front-end to target, sort, qualify and quotas, and focus on what it will take to close the loopflag leads properly, which makes for a smarter and more and foster sales success.cost-efficient sales cycle engagement. The lead spendsmore time being engaged by lower cost marketing Leads feed into the top of the sales funnel as a resultprograms and qualification initiatives and is only passed of marketing campaigns. Then, they are distributed toto sales when the likelihood of closing is at its greatest. pre-sales professionals for qualification, and finally to theThis allows sales to maximize their return by only sales team for closing. Only once a lead has moved farinteracting with qualified leads. down the funnel do sales professionals begin working to close the most qualified leads. However, many companiesPlanning a successful campaign begins with a strong have holes in their sales funnel, through which leads andsense of what has and hasn’t worked in the past with opportunities can slip and be lost. CDC MarketFirst | Business Paper 4
It is an expensive endeavor to move a lead through “At Sharp Electronics we are using CDC MarketFirst to the funnel and into sales. By the time a sales rep is further differentiate ourselves from other manufacturers assigned to engage with a prospect, that prospect needs in a highly competitive environment,” he says. “It gives to be deeply qualified. If a ‘cool’ lead is sent through us the ability to take the Sharp LCD product message prematurely, valuable sales direct to end users and create awareness, preference resources can be wasted. and demand for our products throughout our dealerSince deploying Smart lead planning and network — an essential strategy to building long-termCDC MarketFirst, tracking ensures that the most relationships.We began to see results within three weeks thoroughly qualified leads of using CDC MarketFirst. Now that I have it, I can’t liveSharp has enjoyed: are given the green light to without it.”• An increase in the number of sales move forward, and also helps leads from 6,500 in the whole of marketing to advance the 001 to more than 8,000 in the first seven months of the system’s use most profitable leads at the Step Two: Lead Qualification optimal moment. The LCD Product Group at Sharp began using CDC• 85% reduction in cost per lead — from $388 per lead in 001 to $58 MarketFirst in June 00 after a three-week deployment. In the illustration above, the per lead in 00 The product’s powerful yet intuitive campaign funnel on the left shows management capabilities enable Sharp to manage• The ability to make new dealer or a traditional sales and one-to-one, direct campaigns allowing the company to territory changes in minutes, instead marketing organization. The of days drive dynamic, personalized, and relevant information to funnel on the right shows an prospects and customers. With the system’s ease-of-use• The fact that call center script organization with automated and flexibility, marketers can quickly make changes changes can be made in less than lead management. As you to the system, such as adding surveys to outbound a day, rather than taking weeks can see, a lead management telemarketing campaigns. system works on the front-end to target, sort, qualify and flag Far too often, marketing teams focus on generating large leads properly, which makes for a smarter and more cost- numbers of leads, but fail when it comes to qualifying efficient sales cycle engagement. The lead spends more those leads. By making effective use of marketing time being engaged by lower cost marketing programs automation tools, together with an appropriate lead and qualification initiatives and is only passed to sales management strategy and process, it is possible to bridge when the likelihood of closing is at its greatest. This allows the gap between quantity and quality. sales to maximize their return by only interacting with qualified leads. The ideal result is a high number of qualified leads that are likely to convert into sales. Leads will be uneven To bring a lead management system like this to life, sales or of indeterminate quality if the strategy, process and and marketing teams need to work together to create a technology used in qualifying them is inadequate. An lead processing plan. Together, they should define: unqualified lead will distract sales representatives with • Qualification questions and processes low-value leads, while high-value leads languish at the bottom of the pile getting cold. ‘Raw’ leads can also • Lead distribution rules distract the additional resources, especially if you use a • Lead scoring: specific definitions of A, B and C-level live person to call into a lead that has a high chance of leads being cold or non-pursuable. • Components and duration of the sales cycle With proper lead qualification, leads are captured, • How to manage atypical leads or out-of-profile leads collected and consolidated. Then they’re enriched with any existing data the company may hold about the • Ownership of each stage of the process prospect (Marketing automation solutions can help amass Once the lead process is defined, marketing automation progressive profile data and large amounts of behavioral powers both the planning and execution of campaigns. data in activity logs, surveys, and other vehicles). This technology streamlines workflow planning and resource allocation, provides the infrastructure to execute Finally, leads must by qualified and prioritized — either campaigns rapidly and make changes dynamically, and manually or in an automated fashion according to to test campaigns in real-time. predetermined business rules. Lead prioritization — or “scoring” — will determine how leads are distributed. Fred Krazeise, Director of Strategic Marketing at Sharp’s LCD Products Group, worked with his sales team to Lead qualification, since it triggers which path a lead identify the best lead process. Then, he employed the takes (whether the lead is passed to sales, moved into CDC MarketFirst technology to give his marketers the a longer-term nurture campaign, or dropped), is critical tools they needed to make it happen. to sales success. It’s all about timing, and being able to identify when a lead is ready to buy. In the early stages CDC MarketFirst | Business Paper 5
of reviewing its lead handling and management process, received, what happened to them? Were they even Sharp surveyed the buying history of a representative followed up? Sharp discovered that 58% of leads sent to sample of prospects, and they made a fascinating dealers and VARs were never followed-up. discovery. Of the prospects tagged as “cold” leads, 58% of them actually did make The problem with manual lead distribution is clear. a purchase of a Sharp LCD Different processes are always required for differentWith CDC MarketFirst, product within six months channels; however, and that with manual processes there of making contact with was not only technology failure but lack of coordinationSharp has experienced: and integration. Moving to a marketing automation Sharp. The consequences• 1000% increase in the number of of this mistake were huge — solution helped the company to re-engineer the process qualified leads on the strength of the technology, eliminating many of consider all the opportunities• an 85% decrease in cost-per-lead. that were lost. The only reason the manual elements and providing a framework for prospects made a purchase is co-ordination and integration. They gained visibility into because they took the initiative marketing’s impact on the end result: closed deals. to engage with the company, rather than the company In addition to giving Sharp powerful campaign being proactive at the right time. The question for Sharp management capabilities, CDC MarketFirst also was then, “how much revenue did we let slip through, by enables the company to significantly improve its lead not reaching out to prospects that needed us?” management processes and enhance support of its distribution network. In fact, by using CDC MarketFirst, the Step Three: Distribute Leads company has completely realigned the manner in which sales leads are captured, ranked and distributed to its Time is of the essence when a customer is ready to buy. resellers. In less than three weeks of using the solution, Any delay may mean losing a sale. After all this effort, can Sharp generated, qualified and distributed 96 percent companies afford not to distribute leads effectively? of the entire previous year’s leads to its top dealers and resellers. They have also achieved a 100 percent follow- Lead distribution is more than simply e-mailing or faxing up on those leads, giving them an unprecedented lead leads off to sales teams or channel partners. Lead conversion rate, which means more business for everyone distribution consists of routing leads to the appropriate involved, and better, faster service to end customers. member of the sales team — or channel partner — based on predetermined rules. Not only to the right person — but at the right time. Step Four: Nurture LeadsNow that it uses CDC The distribution process Not everyone is ready to buy the first time they hear aboutMarketFirst, Sharp found: should include venues for the a product or service. Many are only in the early stages of sales team to interact with the purchase process when they enquire — and they can• more than 90% follow-up rates on leads, up from 4% those who have assigned the be passed over by sales teams eager to pick only ‘low leads to them. They may need hanging fruit’ prospects who appear to want to buy quickly.• 96% of the entire previous year’s further information or lead leads were distributed to top dealers The best lead management practice is to nurture leads enrichment. Likewise, they are and resellers within three weeks of over time by segmenting them by product, service using the solution contributing back by entering new insights, prospect and purchase readiness, targeting them with further interactions and deal status communication relating very specifically to their interest into the company’s customer relationship management — and then tracking their responses and promoting (CRM) system. Then, both marketing and sales teams them to a higher level of sales opportunity at the should be able to track the progress of leads as they appropriate time. Throughout this nurturing process, all progress through the sales cycle. communication with the prospect should again be held in the CRM solution. Marketing automation enables this For Sharp, moving forward meant taking a hard look critical business function that supports, encourages and at how the company had been distributing its leads assists the creation of business processes and strategies — and what might be done to distribute them more around nurturing and developing customers. effectively. Leads were manually distributed to dealers by fax, depending upon their ranking. This was not the As the Sharp Electronics example clearly illustrates (58% most effective distribution mechanism. Technology could of leads flagged as ‘cold’ bought on their own initiative — and often did, fail — with fax machines running out of within six months), a cool lead today may be a hot lead paper, transmissions getting lost or buried under others, tomorrow. Leads such as these require a longer-term or transmissions getting stuck in the fax machine’s relationship — just because a customer doesn’t want to memory buffer. But even worse, there was no clear buy right away, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to buy view into what was happening on the other end of the at all.With automation, customers can be nurtured in fax machine. Even if leads were successfully faxed and a cost-effective manner. And nurturing a cool lead to a hot lead is less expensive than working from scratch. CDC MarketFirst | Business Paper 6
With CDC MarketFirst, Sharp has experienced an unprecedented lead conversion rate of the leads that were Step Five: considered cold in the beginning due, in part, to long-term Measure Evaluate Programs customer nurturing and development. In a recent report, Gartner estimates that “enterprises “Before marketing automation, we typically qualified leads routinely spend 10 percent to 30 percent of their revenue by telephone. That’s how we would get information from on marketing and sales activities, without being able to most dealers about the resolution or nurturing of a lead,” demonstrate a positive return on investment from those says Krazeise. “Now, we qualify leads electronically and investments. by further telephone conversations. A lead management program provides a way for We have a separate campaign that we run within CDC companies to measure and see that ROI — and learn MarketFirst that automatically sends out follow-up e-mails what’s working, and what isn’t. Analysis feeds backs into to nurture prospects. All of our literature requests, for planning for the next marketing campaign, and the whole example, are now fulfilled automatically. People don’t cycle starts again — smarter. have to walk down to the mailroom. Now they send With marketing automation, all of the data requiredWith CDC MarketFirst, out product information to conduct that analysis is collected in real-time whileSharp enjoys: electronically through CDC campaigns are underway. As leads are qualified, as MarketFirst, much more easily, they are distributed, and as sales are booked. Rather• 75% reduction in literature fulfillment expense conveniently, and than relying on data that comes in a long time after the cost-effectively.” fact — or is highly subjective — management, sales,• 5% reduction in advertising marketing, finance and call center operations can quickly expenses For lower-priority leads see what is happening within marketing and sales cycle• nearly 100% follow-up on leads, and prospects, marketing at any point in time — and feed back what they learn into giving it an unprecedented automation gives Sharp and strategic and business process improvements. conversion rate its channel partners easy-to- use programs for nurturing CDC MarketFirst’s powerful and intuitive campaign campaigns that will keep prospective customers engaged management capabilities enable Sharp to manage and informed. Keeping track of all leads, whatever their one-to-one, direct campaigns allowing the company to current interest level, is an integral part of Sharp’s overall drive dynamic, personalized, and relevant information to plan to manage each lead throughout the customer prospects and customers. lifecycle and maximize sales opportunities. In addition to giving Sharp powerful campaign CDC MarketFirst has also helped Sharp reduce literature management capabilities, CDC MarketFirst also enables fulfillment expenses by 75 percent by giving the company the company to significantly improve its lead management the tools to quickly and electronically respond to customer processes and enhance support of its distribution requests for product collateral. Fulfillment requests can network. In fact, by using CDC MarketFirst, the company either be generated in the call center via agents, or by has completely realigned the manner in which sales leads customers or prospects on the website. Once the request are captured, ranked and distributed to its resellers. is submitted, CDC MarketFirst automatically fulfills the Previously, Sharp would send out a lead to its dealer literature order and sends out a personalized e-mail network, but was slow to receive any feedback on what with the appropriate PDF, ensuring a consistent brand happened to that lead. Since deploying MarketFirst, the experience in process. company now has several mechanisms in place so that their dealers can make requests and provide feedback to Sharp immediately using the web, e-mail and call center. This has allowed Sharp to be more nimble in responding to its dealer’s needs. 2 From Gartner, Inc.: “Lead Management and Reporting”: Claudio Marcus, October 3, 2002 CDC MarketFirst | Business Paper 7