With any significant wave of technology adoption – like CRM, ERP and now marketing automation – the software solutions have a tendency to make somewhat overinflated promises of the benefits that can and will be delivered to a company that buys and implements the software. Marketing automation is no different in this respect. There have been many promises of dramatic increases in lead flow, quality of leads, and so forth. In some cases this may very well be true, but by and large the benefits do not originate from a magic portal simply by virtue of switching on the software (we all know this).
One of the areas I’ve given a lot of attention and time to in my marketing automation career is the effects and impact of nurture programs on a sales team; more specifically, the impact that an MAP and its associated programs can have on an inside sales or teleprospecting team.
Does the technology contained within the MAP – which includes nurture programs, website visitor tracking, and CRM integration – improve the chances of a telesales person connecting live with a prospect via the increasingly quaint telephone? The consistent answer I’ve come up with is: YES!
There are two fundamental ways a MAP can help increase call connects for an inside sales team. If deployed properly, both work very well.
Strike while the iron is hot with nurture campaigns that include CRM task generation
The ability to both alert and schedule sales tasks inside of the deployed CRM is a feature found in some of the more advanced nurture program solutions.
Take, for example, a program that is sending out a series of email communications; you email a whitepaper, then an infographic, then a brief video. In the series:
- Set the logic in the nurture campaign to watch for a specific action – let’s say download the infographic and access the video.
- If these two actions are met there is a brief pause, then an alert is sent to the assigned telesales rep in CRM. Alerts typically come in the form of emails, which contain information about the campaign and asset that was accessed.
- A CRM task is generated and assigned to the sales rep, again including key information about the campaign. These tasks are basically a heads up for reps that there’s been an action of value, encouraging them to make a follow-up outbound call.
The theory behind this method is that you want to strike while the iron is hot and place an outbound call to the prospect, specifically referencing their action and perhaps offering additional information. Using a direct campaign response method will improve the number of connections, because it optimizes the timing of a call. This then gives telesales reps a nudge to make a call and reference something specific.
When given the specificity of the call purpose, telesales reps will feel more comfortable making these kinds of calls over standard cold calls. Removing the discomfort of pure cold calls in and of itself will lead to more calls made with better timing, increasing the connects.
Stalk your prospects with alerts of Web behavior—just don’t be creepy
Whether they are tied to a nurture program flow or independent of any campaign, Web activity alerts are extremely helpful for telesales and do increase the amount of calls and connects. Like the nurture example, a set of conditions is configured in the MAP to watch for specific activity.
For instance, let’s say we want to alert a rep and set a task to call a prospect when a prospect views a certain number of unique pages. When someone visits a site independent of any particular campaign and their session is longer than 10 minutes, sales is alerted and tasked to make a follow-up call. This is similar to the nurture example with one major difference; the action is not tethered to a specific campaign, so the follow-up must be a bit more nuanced to avoid being seen as a stalker.
Work with telesales to come up with a tasteful script to use when calling on these types of leads. Also, be mindful of the time delay between a person’s Web session ending and a phone call being made.
For similar reasons to the nurture program method, the Web alert method gives telesales purpose. It optimizes the timing of a call and does in fact improve call connects over traditional cold calling.
So MAP can impact call connects, but how much?
There has been limited metrics put out on this. Aberdeen Group has done studies that show an increase in call connects around the 10 to 15 percent mark. I’ve also personally witnessed it at numerous companies.
Funny thing is, this is one benefit that the MAP vendors should be screaming about and they don’t. Maybe it’s not fashionable to talk about traditional telesales. What I do know is that any company putting out the effort in on the aforementioned examples will have happier and more productive telesales.
Get to know your prospect by using marketing automation to understand their behavior, before picking up the phone. Whether using direct campaign response or Web activity, the benefits of knowing when to call your prospect and where exactly their interests lie will serve for both a better connection rate and overall response.