Why the relationship between your sales and marketing teams is critical to lead qualification – and how market nurturing helps

“It’s not just about creating leads, it’s about qualifying them.”

qualifying-leadsHow many times have you collected leads only to find out when you finally sit down, none of the leads are qualified and are therefore worthless to your business? The real challenge is to generate qualified leads that can eventually be turned into satisfied customers.

You can generate leads from a plethora of sources: traditional marketing efforts, social media, scraping them from Facebook and other platforms, and the favorite – trade shows. But what qualifies as a lead?

The prerequisite of any good qualification process is to make sure that there is a partnership between the sales team and the marketing team. This relationship should be based on cooperation and understanding of the qualifying criteria. Riva can provide all of the email integration syncing that is needed, but the actual definitions that the sales team works with to mine new opportunities must coincide with those held by marketing. These definitions will include who is the suspect, the prospect, the lead, and the ever unfortunate dead lead.

Marketing automation systems such as Marketo can be used to help qualify leads and nurture them during the sales process.  Riva for Marketo takes that qualification process to the next level. For example, scanned leads from trade shows can be imported into your CRM and Riva can sync them to Marketo. You can then create a Marketo automated email nurturing campaign with a series of one or two email follow-ups. As part of the process, your sales team can follow up with a call to learn more about each opportunity and qualify whether the contact is ready to engage now or later. If the answer is later, the contact can be moved to a Marketo automated email nurturing campaign that updates the contact over the next 3-6 months.  This campaign shares helpful how-to articles and product news that may be of interest to each contact or groups of contact based on their role (e.g., marketing, sales, IT, executive…).  Keeping your company and services top-of-mind helps contacts engage when they are ready!

Riva integrates your CRM system with Marketo. Riva can be configured to sync more than just your CRM contacts and leads to Marketo.  Riva also syncs Marketo-managed data from web forms or newsletter sign-ups over to CRM. When someone unsubscribes from a Marketo-managed newsletter, Riva syncs the unsubscribe flag over to CRM. Riva can sync lead score data from Marketo over to contact records in Outlook, IBM Notes, Gmail and GroupWise. This is a helpful cue for sales reps to know when to engage with customers. (In Marketo, you can configure which types of online activities contribute to lead scores and how much each activity is worth. For example, if someone visits your pricing page a few times in the same day, that might generate a higher lead score than someone downloading a datasheet or viewing a case study. Riva can also be configured to sync CRM opportunity data, custom fields on CRM contact records, and custom object data in CRM to Marketo

By keeping the Marketo and CRM data up-to-date between systems, marketing and sales teams work as one to ensure teams can make offers that will attract and engage customers – when they are ready.   Riva and Riva for Marketo help ensure that each lead works through a qualifying lead-nurturing process that helps them best understand the value of your products and services.  And, once they are a customer, Riva for Marekto work together to ensure the customer continues to mature into and remains a satisfied customer – for the long-term.  Remember that quality always trumps quantity. A single highly engaged and excited customer is more important to your sales team than a dozen tire-kickers.

Finally, all members of a sales team must align their efforts with the marketing strategies which include both online and offline activities. And the team must be willing to put in the time to qualify the next million-dollar project. So next time you are handed a potential lead – go the distance and qualify that person or company. The extra work you complete now could turn into your largest opportunity ever.