5 Ways to Crank up Lead Velocity

speedometerMarketers are experiencing a groundswell of demand for lead velocity when engaging with consumers and business pros. Velocity refers to the movement of leads and potential customer data from marketers’ lead generation campaigns to their internal database or sales and marketing automation systems. Slow-moving processes result in one of the most frequent complaints from sales: too much time between capturing a lead and having it ready for follow-up.

So how do you go about increasing lead velocity?

Start by creating a flow chart that lays out how you currently handle leads. Detail touches, frequency, content types by funnel stage. Analyze whether you’re building on the engagement you create initially, while looking for gaps and potential disconnects. Once the current process is mapped, these five steps can increase lead velocity:

1. Define clear-cut processes and expectations with sales

The most effective marketing organizations work in harmony with sales, operating as trusted partners that fill the pipeline and drive revenue. But in order to meet organizational goals, sales and marketing need a common set of expectations. That means agreeing on terms for what constitutes a marketing-ready and a sales-ready lead. There must be service-level standards that define how leads will be managed, including timetables for outreach, from initial capture through to sales contact.

2. Target offers and messages accurately

The days of spray-and-pray marketing are giving way to data-driven marketing, which ensures that you’re targeting offers to the right individuals and companies. Leverage marketing automation, digital body language and granular list selection to identify optimal targets – right company, right persona, right stage in the buyer’s journey – for the offer you’re making.

3. Use content strategically to maximize engagement

To keep leads moving through the sales cycle, content must be relevant to the recipients’ current needs. This requires marketers to leverage persona and behavioral data (back to #2 above) to maintain relevance for their target audiences. Identifying which pieces of content align with which stage of the buyer’s journey allows you to address their needs at that stage and ensure that your content drives results.

4. Maximize lead data quality from the outset

Marketing leaders consistently tell me they lose days, weeks, even months in extreme examples, while scrubbing and validating lead data. That’s untenable because a warm – or even lukewarm – lead needs outreach or engagement in the near term, before it goes cold. Losing time to manual validation of basic profile data (phone numbers, e-mail addresses) is out of step with today’s business velocity. Filtering incoming leads through a real-time data governance tool significantly increases the speed with which your sales team can connect with your future customers.

5. Connect third-party lead sources directly with your systems

The vast majority of marketers leverage third-party data sources to drive leads. An agile, customer-focused marketing organization recognizes it can’t tolerate extended delays in pulling those leads into their systems. When leads come in and require validation, marketing and buying cycles are burned. Many marketers over the years have pushed for “direct inject” capabilities to have leads imported into their systems, though actual movement has been minimal. Now there’s broad-based progress with more and more direct import of leads, which frees marketers to spend their time on strategy and execution.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to increase your velocity. Your boss, colleagues and customers will thank you!

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