Archive for March, 2010

Lead scoring increases sales conversions


Lead scoring is the methodology of ranking an incoming consumer inquiry from a marketing event based on critical success factors to closing the sale.  The rules of engagement may change from company to company based on the voice-of-the-customer but they have the same common essence: to best identify where a prospect is in the purchase life cycle, and create urgency for sales teams to contact prospects in order of those who have the most urgent decision making needs.

There are many benefits to scoring incoming leads from customer centric criteria.  First, sales associates have a limited amount of resources and time available at their disposal.  By aiding the sales team’s ability to analyze the best opportunities that are the most likely to result in a sale, marketing management increases positive collaboration between all teams.  In short, when a sales associate believes marketing understands how to drive their business, there is more likelihood they will buy in at a greater rate of speed, directly influencing the success of the program.

Second, a marketing team must maximize their potential to create events that consistently get the best sales associates in front of more customers who are qualified as sales-ready.  This scenario presents the greatest likelihood of growth: leverage the most efficient use of company resources that generates the greatest marketing contribution to sales revenue.  The sales team is a critical asset to marketing resource management: are you helping your team to accurately qualify prospects so they can maximize their time spent selling?

Finally, the initial conversion rate of an incoming lead plays a critical role in determining the potential for customer lifetime value.  If a customer views your company as responsive to their needs, there is more likelihood they will purchase from you and have a greater loyalty response to future marketing events.  This directly increases your channel pricing power and allows you to promote at a consistently higher price point instead of using heavy discount programs that reduce margin.  The ability to reduce follow-up marketing costs in retention programs is critical in building customer lifetime value.

When creating your rules, assess purchase decision drivers into a measurable scorecard.  Recognize the sphere of influence the prospect resides in through campaign landing page questions.  Simple behavior questions can also help in the scoring process, such as questions that involve product motives and patronage motives. Anticipate the needs of your target customer and the positive feelings your value proposition must resonate inside of them to initiate a response.  Have a clear call to action that encourages a passive user to inquire about how you solve problems in their world.

Share

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Retention marketing: developing consumer preference into partiality


Developing a consistent dialogue between your brand and consumer is essential to long-term market share growth.  While lead nurturing campaigns create awareness to the market problem your product/service offering can solve, retention programs communicate to existing customers that you are willing to go to any lengths to keep their business.

Strategy efforts that truly enhance customer partiality focus on eliminating available customers from the market, not necessarily eliminating competitors from the marketplace.  Customers are the “air flow” that every business needs: when your tactics eliminate the air your competitor needs to breathe, you end their potential for growth.  How are you using retention marketing to develop preference into partiality?

The main goal of retention research is clear: what kind of marketing programs would it take to make your customer voluntarily take themselves “off the market” and only buy from you?  An effective medium of confirming this connection is to conduct satisfaction outreach with your existing customer database and listen closely to the voice-of-the-customer responses.  Survey responses can help you understand the relevance your value proposition resonates with your existing customers and the consistency your messaging must maintain to hold their attention.

Use a research professional to write your survey questions so that skip patterns are determined in advance to guide the user experience.  Data collected from respondents will give you a clear perspective of the issues you need to resolve before departure occurs.  Promoter customers will confirm core competitive advantages that connect your value proposition to the messaging that develops the greatest potential for success.

Build your strategy by understanding the emotional connection between the research data that connects buyer behavior and purchase intent.  Realize quickly that if your company does not give a comprehensive brand experience that highly exceeds customer expectations, there is minimal potential for creating partiality.  Dialogue with your customer needs to be clear and consistent, and must connect fresh and compelling content in line with the evolving needs of the customer.  Determine the most profitable characteristics of existing customers, including how sync your resources in alignment of when to pursue a customer and when to walk away.

Never lose sight of the perception that how you sell a customer determines how you will serve your customers.  When positioned correctly, loyalty programs offer an influential incentive for the customer to continue participating in your brand experience after first purchase.  This type of tactic can be highly successful when you need to differentiate your product/service offering without sacrificing quality or price.  Consider the highly profitable business traveler: hotel loyalty programs offer an incentive to show partiality for their favorite hotel chain without specifically giving revenue back at the time of purchase.  Traveler incentives are given only after buyer behavior confirms partiality through a revenue stream of earlier purchases.  Airline frequent flyer miles are an example of how status and service is translated into partiality: the illusion of premium beverages at no cost, focused attention on all the details and a brand experience that exceeds expectations goes over very well with millions of travelers.

Share

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Using internet search to reduce purchase risk


Engaging your target consumer and holding their attention is a difficult task, especially when technology aids our ability to reduce messaging exposure (e.g. satellite radio, voice mail, digital video recorder).  Many of these barriers revolve around limiting marketing that consistently over-delivers campaigns of significant mass media.  For example, is it really necessary to have that tenth Viagra commercial during a single three-hour Major League Baseball game on television?

Internet-based pull tactics, such as web development, search engines, blogs, and rich media content, are emerging mediums the educated consumer consistently turns to as a source of information.  They can become a very positive influence for your brand since the consumer engages in the learning process and brand evaluation on their terms.  Pre-purchase evaluation is a critical because it increases brand comprehension and helps consumers to make a “feel good” choice.

Think about the many reasons why product sampling is an effective tactic for reducing risk through awareness, and what the internet shares in common: low entry cost, minimal risk of use, ease of availability and consistency for learning.  Is your brand developing an inbound marketing identity that leverages internet search to reduce purchase risk?

Search engine optimization plays a critical role in this process.  The relationship between web development success and unique traffic can be confirmed through understanding your inquiries and a simple click-to-conversion analysis.  Ask yourself how important the cover of a magazine is in standing out on the shelf at Barnes & Noble?  Does your value proposition create compelling interest from the moment the user arrives at your website?

Graphic identity and typography can mean the difference between new leads and a skyrocketing bounce rate.  Examine both the visual and sensory elements that develop the greatest levels of interest in what you offer and the problem you can solve.  Simple changes like white space and header tool bars can enhance the ability to interpret and enjoy the brand experience you are creating.  Start your analysis by realizing why top content pages are important to your audience, copy that increases time spent on each page, and percentage of unique visitors organic traffic brings in comparison to return clicks from previous visitors.

Share

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments