I recently did a big multi-collateral project for a client before their largest industry tradeshow. They invested significant time and energy in attracting the right leads at the show. Unfortunately their follow up plan pushed everyone into the same bucket. Their “one size fits all” follow up had them sending the same white paper and webinar invite to everyone regardless of level, department, sales phase.
The beauty of the modern CRM system is that leads from a show can quickly be uploaded and categorized in a myriad of ways. Coming out of my clients show their lead matrix looked a bit like this:
|Warm Lead||Hot Lead||RFP in Process|
You don’t want to treat a Warm Lead from an IT department the same way you treat a C-level Business Unit lead who told you they are releasing an RFP next week. Anticipating what follow up needs are likely to come out of a campaign before you begin allows you to pre-produce the most effective collateral to produce favorable outcomes. Like plants not every lead has the same tolerance for fertilizer and water. You need to know when to back off on the compost and up the sunshine!
Work Smarter Not Harder
Just because I am advocating you customize your follow up does not mean I am suggesting nine different and completely unique white papers, webinars, etc for the 9 categories of follow up in the matrix. With some tweaks to tone and content one white paper could likely be used for all the Warm Leads. Content reuse is always encouraged in the Savvy world.
For any C-level follow up I suggest you turn your standard White Paper into a multi-media eBook. MarketingSherpa and the Integrated Marketing Summit presenters have both been touting the success of multi-media eBooks in the last year. For a multi-media eBook you take the major points of your white paper and insert short demos or expert interviews into a 3-5 minute movie about your product features and benefits. With so many busy executives and managers relying on their phones, iPads, etc as ways to multi-task on the go the multi-media eBook is another way to get your information to them in a format they can easily access and understand.
Track Movement Like a Bloodhound
It is amazing what information can be mined from a single email. You can know if the recipient read your message. If they read it did they click on any of the links? What time of day do they open emails? Is it typically within a few hours of receiving it or do they always read and follow links at the end of the day or first thing in the morning? Are you storing this information in your CRM?
All of these are clues and decision points to your follow up strategy. If you know you sent a webinar invite and it was not effective then you can try another type of follow up. Determining and storing prospects communication preferences is key to ensuring you are meeting their information needs in a way that works best for them. Customer Centric communication is what separates those who spam from those who inform. In B2B Customers Centric is more than listening with your ears it is listening to the digital body language of the customer and using that information to be more effective.
Engage In a Two Way Conversation
Once you have a prospect that you are communicating with effectively. They are giving you feedback on your white paper or asking questions at your webinar, are you taking the relationship to the next level? Have you asked that prospect to evaluate a new concept you have in Beta? Be a Proof of Concept tester for your next release? Offered them some consultative one on one time with someone from your product research division? These are all ways to make the sales process a partnership. Engaged prospects can help you know their peers and what works. If you follow up process only involves outbound blasts and doesn’t adjust for feedback and noise then you are missing key ways to take the conversation to the next level.
About the Author:Heather has spent the past 15 years advocating for the customer perspective in her approach to software development and product marketing. Her penchant for collaboration is what drew her to the Savvy B2B team. Read more of Heather's posts here or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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