Chatter.com – The Social Enterprise

Firstly I would like to share with you this article which was released in Forbes.com titled “Does Salesforce.com Owns the Social Enterprise?“. My interest is the implication of The Social Enterprise to the SMEs. In this article there were several companies cited on their applications of Chatter and how they have benefited greatly from Chatter. Better collaboration, improve communication and information sharing to cite a few. In this video about Hewlett Packard implementing Chatter the Senior Vice President of Global Technology and Business Processes Mr. John Hinshaw explained how going social has enabled HP to become more competitive and can better serve their customers. The keywords mentioned were better collaboration and information sharing and I have to emphasise that in any organisation it is the ability to work together more effectively and cohesively that makes the organisation great. It doesn’t matter if you are a 10 people company or a 1,000 people company you have to look at ways to improve communication, collaboration and information sharing not only internally but also with your customers and prospects. Chatter is the answer to to fulfill that need and the beauty of this solution is it is FREE. You can sign up for a free account at Chatter.com and I would recommend that you watch the video which is also on the same web site. After you have watched the video and if you need further advice you can also contact us by submitting your questions using this form. We will help you make business sense out of it and I’m sure you will benefit from it greatly.

We are living in a very well connected world and Chatter.com is the tool that allows us to collaborate using popular mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android devices and Blackberry. It provides the liberty to work from anywhere and I’m sure productivity of your organisation will definitely increase. The main challenge is to discipline yourself not to overwork if you implement Chatter.

Let the social enterprise revolution begin in Singapore and let the SME be the first to embrace it.

Categories: Business Knowledge

Lead Nurturing Poll – Singapore

Please take a moment to help us with this poll.

Lost Revenue without Lead Nurturing

Throughout the course of our business we run many events and generated many leads. Some leads are ready to buy and we engaged immediately while others are disqualified. Typically out of the 100% leads you generated during an event such as a seminar other the 25% that are disqualified and 25% that are ready to buy there are about 50% which are interested but not yet ready to buy. According to statistics 70% of these 50% of the leads who are interested but not yet ready to buy will eventually buy within a year from attending the event. These lost leads represent the lost revenue you would have won if you had pursued and followed up with them. But in reality most sales people don’t do a good enough job to follow-up with them simply because there are too many and requires too much time from the sales people which might take away precious selling time from them with little or no idea if the invested time is worth the returns. Let’s do a simple calculation in revenue terms what it means to the organisation if these leads are not further processed.

Number of Attendees: 100

Number of leads not yet ready to buy: 50

Assuming 70% of the 50 leads will buy within a year: 37 leads

Average deal size : SGD10,000

Total lost Revenue: SGD370,000

The above calculation is for one event and if you have run many events the lost revenue would have accumulated and would be even higher. With lead nurturing solution you will almost always trying to maximise every single lead you generate from your marketing investments. Lead nurturing solution is an infrastructure that you build to not only maximise your marketing dollars every time you have a lead generation program but also an infrastructure that will improve your marketing and sales capabilities over time. This is because lead nurturing solution encourages a close alignment between sales and marketing in order to design the right lead nurturing process. In my next post I will share with you how sales and marketing need to be aligned in order to create effective lead nurturing processes.

Till then have a good day.

Lead Nurturing Needs a CRM System

Lead nurturing is a powerful solution that can process thousands of leads at any point in time and hence you need to implement CRM system to support this marketing initiative. Only when you have a CRM system implemented then you can systematically manage all the  leads that are in your marketing funnel. There are also several other reasons why you would need to implement a CRM system and one of them is measurement. Lead nurturing solutions are not something you will get it right from the first time since it is more about understanding and tracking buying behaviour which can be tricky. Therefore it is vital that you are able to measure the results of each of the lead nurturing process you’ve designed for each of the target customers you have identified. The measurement includes lead conversion rate, closing rate, click through rates of the content you have presented to the target customers, lead scoring and content scoring.

Let me share an example of how measurement is used to make adjustments to the lead score so that it can reflect the right score to indicate the quality of the lead. For example if the sales ready lead is set at the lead score of 70 points (assuming 100 points is the maximum) and the leads that converted at that score has a closing rate of 75% then you would conclude that the lead score is reflecting the right quality of the lead. Please take note that closing rate measurement is relative and it varies from company to company. Vice verse if the lead score is converting at 70 and the closing rate is at 20% then you might want to investigate and see if the lead scoring needs to be adjusted. This is a simplistic way of looking at lead scoring and closing rate but it can lead you to discover many other things to adjust or do to make the lead nurturing process more effective. You will also have to look at the content scoring and see which content has the highest value in terms of readership and conversion rate.

One of the types of content you will find of high value is customer case study or success stories. Many prospects are out there looking for solutions that they can relate to and reflects to some extend their problems too. The more types of case studies you share on your web site which relates well to your target market the higher the lead conversion rate or click-through rate when prospects get to read these content. If the lead nurturing solution is integrated with the CRM solution the measurement of content effectiveness will be easier.

Categories: Business Knowledge

Lead Nurturing Process

Firstly I would like to define what lead nurturing is so we are in sync on what I’m about to talk about in this post. I liked to level set our thinking first so there is a common understanding and a reference point on the perspectives of things.

Lead nurturing is a process of maintaining communications to stay in touch with prospects to increase the level of interest to buy from you when they are ready to buy.

For those who are interested to know a bit more about lead nurturing you can check out this deck of slides from Slidesshare titled “Lead Nurturing Introduction” It’s a good start to understand what lead nurturing is.

From my definition I would like to further explain two key words; process and communications. Lead nurturing is a series of communications processes designed for well-defined target market. It is important to note that you have to first define the target market well as the communications process is specifically design for that market. For example we built a communication process to reintroduce services from a logistics company to dormant customers who had used their services previously. From this group of customers we further divided them into industry specific groups and then identify the logistic needs that each group may have so that we can craft very specific messages to connect with them. For example we identified companies who are in furniture manufacturing and companies who are in FMCG, both groups of companies have varying needs and we tailored our messages to address specific problems such as custom duties and distribution issues going into a particular country. When the messages are well-tailored for a target customer which resonate well with them the message has a higher impact hence conversion rate.

The next few key words are; “increase the level of interest” and “ready to buy”. The objective of the communication process is to increase the level of interest in your product or services. The challenge is how do we know that the level of interest has increased. This can be measured through a lead scoring system measured based on information consumption behaviour which is also a measurement of the readiness to buy.

From the explanation above you might be thinking “but this is what sales person should do for future prospects, stay in touch with them and engage them when they are ready to buy”. In reality sales person don’t have the time to perform such activities and if they do they are likely to be in a situation where they don’t have enough deals to pursue. Lead nurturing ideally should be an automated process using web-based and cloud based technology. Imagine having a system that can maintain communication processes with thousands and thousands of leads who had shown interest in buying from you and serving personalised messages which resonate well with each of the target group of leads. When the communication process and content that you serve to these prospects are highly effective you will see a hike in your lead conversion rate. Lead nurturing can, not only increase the lead conversion rate but also increase the selling time of your sales people. Leads are typically sent to the sales people only when the lead is ready to buy hence reduces the time taken for sales people to perform basic lead qualification exercises and secondly reduces the time for sales people to chase after poor quality leads.

The key ROI to lead nurturing is higher lead conversion rate and increased sales productivity. It is a promise that is high achievable if you know how and what to implement for your business.

There are many lead nurturing solution in the market, Marketo, Manticore, Eloqua to name a few but we are the only folks that has implemented lead nurturing solution on the Force.com platform that has no additional subscription payment and processes unlimited amount of leads for one price.

At this point in time I invite anyone to ask questions about this solution and if it is truly something that is as good as sliced bread.

Have a good day.

Lead Management and Target Management

14/01/2012 4 comments

From our earlier post on the subject of target management we derived from a sample calculation that the sales person will need 100 leads per month to achieve his target. If marketing has been measuring their performance they would know how and where to generate the 10o leads required. Below is a sample of how marketing will look at the identified lead sources and assigned the number of leads to each of the lead source. This gives clear perspective of where marketing will be investing their marketing dollars to generate the required leads. In a highly competitive market and with limited resources it would be useful to know where you should be investing your marketing dollars to generate the leads for your sales people and hopefully they of good quality leads.

Aside from looking at the number of leads a particular lead source will contribute to sales we also need to know the conversion rate for each of the lead source. Including lead conversion measurement provides a deeper understanding of not just how many leads will be generated from a lead source but also how many leads will be converted to opportunity to produce the pipeline. In our new customers calculation we used 20% and hence the average lead conversion rate must convert at that rate since at that rate it can create the 20 opportunities it requires to hit the target. Each of the lead source will have its own conversion rate and it is important to ensure we monitor the conversion rate so as to maintain the quality of leads produced.

I’m quite sure if you have been generating leads for sales people you would sometimes encounter complaints from them about the poor quality of leads or leads that are simply not yet ready to buy. They are qualified but the timing was not right so they are not yet ready to be converted to opportunities. What do you do with such leads? The answer to that is lead nurturing. In my next post I will explain a little more about lead nurturing and how it can help you generate qualified and sales ready leads for the sales people and save them precious selling time to work on proposals instead of trying to maintain the interest level of qualified but not sales ready leads.

Have a good day.

Categories: Business Knowledge

Leads Management Process

The objective of this process is to help management improve their lead generation programs, measure the performance of marketing and ensuring that sales will never run out of leads just to name a few. Lead Management Process is one of the critical processes in achieving your sales target. This is because every sales cycle starts from here, without leads either from new customers or from existing customers sales will not be able to achieve their targets. Once you have done your sales KPIs computations and derive on how many leads you need to generate in order to achieve your target you have the marketing job cut out for you.

In my previous post I briefly spoke about lead source, this is an important aspect of leads management because you need to know which lead source provides the best quality leads. Let me list out the common lead source we see in most organisations:

  1. Referral – Internal
  2. Referral – External
  3. Website
  4. Search Engine Marketing – paid search
  5. Search Engine Optimisation – organic search
  6. Trade shows
  7. Seminars
  8. Webinars
  9. Offline Ads
  10. Online Ads
  11. Blog site
  12. Cold Calls
  13. Networking Events

I’m quite certain that each of the lead source will have different lead conversion rate and cost per lead. For example the lead conversion rate for referral – external would be higher than say cold call, it would also be cheaper. Different types of business will have different lead conversion rates and hence it is important to know which lead source gives you the best returns on investments. Another important aspect of lead management is cost-per-lead. In one survey results we found the average cost per lead was USD373 per lead while another method of generating lead was USD143 per lead. Once you start measuring cost per lead and you combine it with lead conversion rate you start to realised if the lead conversion rate is justifying the cost per lead and will put you in a better position to approve or reject the next marketing event that is supposed to generate more leads.

Basically we have two essential KPIs for lead management:

  1. Lead Conversion Rate
  2. Cost Per Lead

I’m sure we all know about the importance of social media in marketing and how it can help to generate leads. I’m sure many companies have made some investments in social media to help generate leads but what is also important is to measure the outcome of these social media investments. I would like to bring out a quote mentioned by Chris Barger during an interview with Awareness which says: “Another hurdle is that measurement of social media success isn’t tied often enough to actual business metrics. Companies can miss the ball because they’re distracted by a drive to acquire a set number of Facebook fans or Twitter followers.” We have always advocate the measurement of every process and it is important that we are able to link our social media investments to the number of leads we generate, the cost per lead it generates and the lead conversion rate it produces.

In my next post I will talk about how we are going to use the number of leads we have calculated to hit the target for each month and apply that number to the lead management KPIs to provide certain perspective of managing leads and achieving targets.

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