How to Use Full Circle CRM to Build Powerful Demand Generation Funnels in Salesforce

Editor’s note: Today’s post is from Bonnie Crater, President and CEO of Full Circle CRM. As you might imagine, posts on funnels are a favorite of mine…Enjoy!

Funnels are great tools for understanding exactly how sales and marketing functions are working – both on their own and together.  At Full Circle CRM we believe that leveraging CRM systems (like Salesforce) is the best way to get the most accurate and complete funnel metrics across your entire demand generation organization. Salesforce tracks a ton of response information from both your sales and marketing efforts and provides some great insight into your overall demand generation health. With Full Circle CRM’s native Salesforce Marketing Performance Management application added on top of your Salesforce instance you are able to get a more complete picture of the key metrics your funnels are tracking to truly understand how your overall demand generation efforts are performing.

Let’s take dive a little deeper into how to leverage Full Circle CRM to get the most out of your demand generation funnels in Salesforce.

Step 1: Define Your KPIs

The first step of building out any report is determining what exactly you are trying to measure.  The same is true with your demand generation funnels.  KPIs can be anything from generating a particular number of MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) to having a specific amount of days it takes responses to move all the way through funnel (aka velocity) to having sales accept 50% of the leads that marketing sends over (conversion rates). These are going to be different for each company but with Full Circle CRM enhancing Salesforce’s ability to track critical performance metrics at a granular level you can easily set up reports in the standard salesforce.com reporting UI to track these across any category that is relevant to your business.

Step 2: Assess Baseline Metrics

The key metrics that we find are the most helpful to track are the volume, conversion rates, and velocity of your funnels. Volume tracks the sheer amount of responses that are being generated and is a critical metric helping you determine if you are generating enough raw leads to hit your revenue goals. Conversion rates show the quality of the responses and how effective your organization is at transitioning responses between different funnel stages or departments.  Velocity shows how quickly responses move through the funnel and is an important metrics for finding and eliminating bottlenecks in your processes.

conversion rates, demand generation

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How to Use Ofunnel to Get Introductions into Your Target Prospects

Relationships are incredibly important for salespeople to be successful. An observation we made early on was that salespeople had no way of knowing when people in their network were connecting to people that they may want to establish a relationship with—so we created OFunnel to help solve this challenge.

We’re honored to be featured by Craig and are excited to share a little about OFunnel with you.

The scenario:  The process we are about to describe will follow a sales person who has a set of target accounts to sell to. The first thing you do when you are assigned an account is search LinkedIn to see if you have any 1st or 2nd level connections you can use. The next thing you should do is set up your account in OFunnel to follow accounts and potential contacts so you can know of any new connections that you can leverage immediately to get introduced into the account.

Let’s begin!

Step 1: First you sign in to OFunnel

Note: Ofunnel has a Hootsuite app for the Hootsuite users.

Linkedin, sales, prospecting

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The State of the Funnel in B2B Sales and Marketing

As you might imagine, I kinda like the funnel. It’s actually not a passionate deal for me. I did name myself the funnelholic, but if you don’t like the funnel, so be it. Interestingly, when people bash the funnel when I am around, they like to say: “No offense Craig”. Like I am genetically a funnel. Since we started doing the Madlibs series, I have collected a lot of opinions on funnels from sales and marketing experts. It’s a range. Some people like, some don’t. The results are a fun read. So read on and then give me your take on the funnel in the comments. I am not sure what to make of this photo by FaceMePLS…but it seems to be a dude with a funnel stuck in him

 

Funnel

 

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Operationalizing content: How @myleadmd maps content to the lead management process

If you like this — hear more from Justin on August 14th at 11 AM PDT at the Keys to Content Marketing Success summit –http://knowledge.funnelholic.com/contentsummit_fn/

The future of sales is micro-marketing: Madlibs w/ Jamie Shanks

I just really met Jamie Shanks 4-5 months ago. I asked Koka Sexton for some people he thought were “keeping it real” in social selling and he listed Jamie amongst others. I reached out to Jamie, we did a webinar together, I have been listening to his tips and best practices, and overall,  I have confirmed, he is one of the good ones.  When you read his Madlibs, you will see a lot of really interesting ideas including (micro-marketing).  Enjoy:

1. The b2b buyer is – Empowered.  For the first time in human history, a buyer can gather information on nearly anything, without human interaction.  The buyer is also becoming increasing comfortable with gathering information in the background – before needing some assistance to finish the purchase.

2. The biggest innovation in sales is – Social Selling.  The 1980’s brought you Consultative selling, and the 1990’s – early 2000’s had Solution selling.  From 2013 – 2020, sales reps must embrace online interaction. [Read more…]

54 Things to Do when Building a Lead Qualification Team

I hesitated to write this post, because Marketo’s Jon Miller has already written quite possibly the best, as-close-to-definitive guide to lead qualification.

OK, now that I have led you off my site, let’s get back to business. I decided to write this because I continue to believe in my heart of hearts that one of the single biggest levers a revenue-focused organization can pull is to have a dedicated phone qualification team. Also, I was cleaning out old paperwork and found some of my old notes from my days at SalesRamp.

First, some clarifications: I’m talking about a multichannel process that includes dedicated phone-based resources and automation designed to determine whether or not a lead fits the agreed-upon qualified lead definition and is deemed ready to speak with sales. Or CliffsNotes-style: There are people on the phones who qualify leads or inquiries before handing them to sales.

There are a number of different names for this: inside sales, sales development, lead development, telebusiness, lead qualification, and so forth. No matter what you call it, there’s a buttload of things to do when building an LQT (lead qualification team). I can think of at least 54:

  1. Establish a business plan.
  2. Create definitions; in particular, your qualified lead definition (more on this later).
  3. Determine your “value-chain,” starting from revenue the organization needs to generate then go in order from there: a) Opportunities: How many opportunities do we need to hit the revenue number?; b) Qualified leads: How many qualified leads do we need to hit our number?; c) Leads or marketing-qualified leads (MQLs): How many leads do we need to hit our qualified leads number?
  4. Draw the value chain from top of the funnel to the bottom.
  5. Create metrics for each step in the value chain.
  6. Determine your leads’ needs (demographics and so forth).
  7. Determine lead/inquiry generation flow (what are the sources, etc.).
  8. Figure out how leads will be entered into the system.
  9. Establish the merged/purged database process.
  10. Develop a list of prospects/customers not to call.
  11. Develop a definition of a qualified lead. I know I mentioned this earlier, but it is the most critical definition — what criteria must you uncover in order to pass this lead to sales?
  12. Sales has to agree to the definition, or nothing on this list will work.
  13. Get a commitment from sales to follow up on the qualified lead. Some might call it an SLA (besides Dan Waldschmidt).
  14. What is the deliverable to sales? Is it an appointment? Demo? What is the information provided?
  15. What’s the closed-loop process? Sales needs to provide feedback on the qualified leads; try to do it using your CRM.
  16. Create lead stages just like sales stages, but make them mimic the phone qualification process.
  17. Develop the quota of qualified leads (as my old boss Stu Silverman called it, “The ‘keep-your-job’ quota”).
  18. Develop a commission plan for the LQ reps. It should be a qualified lead number with a bonus for revenue generated.
  19. Develop a commission plan for the manager.
  20. Determine how to track calling statistics. Yes, sir (or madam), you need to do this. (P.S. You may or may not be able to do this in the CRM.)
  21. Tie your qualified lead flow with the overall sales forecasting process.
  22. Establish the territories for the lead qualification reps.
  23. Develop “hang-on-the-wall” materials: value propositions, call guide including voice mail, qualified lead definition, competitive comparison guide, list of customers and partners, diagram of the field organization, buyer personas.
  24. Set content-delivery strategy – what should be sent when.
  25. Create scoring (this is if you don’t have marketing doing scoring). You should score on lead source, demographic info that hits your sweet spot (title, for example), and so forth.
  26. Score will determine level of effort and time spent.
  27. Create a “connect-strategy” that includes phone and email — a series of calls and emails over time.
  28. Determine the number of voicemails you will leave (if any; some people don’t).
  29. Create a web-researching strategy. Allot a certain amount of time to research each account. Provide an application to do research such as Inside View.
  30. Create a process for inbound calls including call routing. (P.S. Here is to hoping you get inbound calls!)
  31. Get senior executive staff to buy into the LQT.
  32. Write all of this down in a strategy document. Not just to look cool, but for your own good.
  33. Develop automation strategy, customizations, reports.
  34. Choose a CRM system if there isn’t one. Figure out how to support your process if there is one.
  35. Ensure you set up CRM to make lead qualification reps’ lives easier. They need to live in it.
  36. Write an automation cheat sheet. Lead qualification reps should hang it on their walls.
  37. Establish a process for tracking qualified leads.
  38. Develop a lead source report — goodness of sources and goodness of follow-up.
  39. Make sure leads are seamlessly entered into the system. Make sure lead qualification reps are alerted when they enter the CRM system.
  40. Train, train and train: industry, buying personas, market, technology, product, company, your new lead qualification process, the automation, the message, objections.
  41. Sit with the lead qualification reps; it’s the best way to help them.
  42. Determine headcount.
  43. Create job descriptions. Copy other job descriptions of like jobs to make sure you are thorough.
  44. Advertise on craigslist, it works for this position. And send out word to your network. After you get one or two, pay for referrals. The average age will be young for this position, and the young’uns like working with their friends.
  45. Manage the group toward hitting its goals.
  46. Monitor calling. Use a splitter. It sounds invasive, but it works great.
  47. Continually communicate goals and results to management. They don’t always get it.
  48. On second thought, continually communicate to the entire company.
  49. Have a closed-loop meeting with sales. It should be weekly. Accept feedback and do something about it.
  50. Have a closed-loop meeting with marketing. It should be weekly too.
  51. Have marketing listen to calls of their leads so they can see what is working/not working live.
  52. Constantly optimize.
  53. Expect a year to 14 months of maximum output from lead qualification reps.
  54. Wake up do it again (think Groundhog Day).

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Visualize the Funnel. No, Really… Visualize It.

Today The Funnelholic is pleased to introduce Jesse Noyes, the in-house journalist at Eloqua, who covers the trends, surprises, events and the movers and shakers of the marketing industry. Guest posts don’t often appear here, but Jesse came to The Funnelholic saying he was dying to spit some “funnel” game, and he thought this would be the place to do it. Now, that is my kind of opportunity. He sent over what he wanted to post and it was great — far better than what I can do. So, now The Guestpost-aholic is lucky enough to have a great post from Jesse. I hope everyone enjoys it as well.

Quick question: How many different illustrations of a funnel are floating around in your sales and marketing departments? Two? Ten? Too many to count?

Marketers will tell anyone within earshot to “visualize the funnel.” What they usually mean is to imagine the steps, content and definitions you need to move a prospect through each stage of an integrated of sales and marketing cycle — an important element of a functional lead management system. They aren’t typically referring to a literal, graphical manifestation of the funnel.

That’s too bad. Visuals matter. They give people a common, physical framework to map out thoughts. And in the case of the funnel, having too many flying around your offices can result in a lack of consistency. We sought out to address that internally at Eloqua, which is why we had our graphic designer punch up a classy version that could serve as a building block for anyone in the company. “One funnel to rule them all,” so to speak.

With that in mind, I thought I’d take you on a short tour of some of the sample funnel concepts we’ve used at various points over the years. Enjoy the evolution!

I call this one the Tron because it has about as much sophistication as an early Atari game.

As far as funnels go, it’s pretty basic: three stages and simple trajectory. In fact, it’s too basic and doesn’t convey the complexity of a modern marketing and sales process.

Here we get more detail. The stages a buyer goes through, as well as how the leads progress, are more clearly defined and explained.

Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads are addressed. While it provides greater detail, it still lacks that visual “umph” quality.

Now we’re getting warmer. The stages are all there, but this time there’s even more detail.

The roles of lead scoring and lead nurturing in directing prospects progressively through the funnel have been introduced. But this looks like a figure you might see in a college textbook. Let’s move on, shall we?

This may well be the Avatar of funnels.

It’s visually appealing and gets the point across. We see how top-of-funnel prospects emerge from the shadows, revealing their digital body language, as they move deeper down the funnel. The downside is that, for all its visual splendor, you can’t play with it as easily as the previous concepts. It’s more difficult to customize with additional layers of behaviors or content that influence buyers. Sure is pretty though.

Ah, yeah…that’s the stuff. Here’s what we came up with. It’s simple, clear, and eye-catching without being flashy.

This image takes the best from previous iterations of the funnel, including the most heavily employed stages of the buying cycle, and lays it out in an immediately understandable fashion. Additionally, it provides wiggle room. Depending on your needs, you can easily adapt it based on a particular company’s business model.

It’s not going to win any artistic awards, but it delivers the perfect mix of consistency and coherence. How about your business? Are you working on one vision of the funnel or relying on many different images?

Jesse Noyes

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The Mechanics of the Outbound B2B Campaign

I present a webinar with Mark Feldman of Netprospex titled “You Bought a List, Now What?” that over the years has been one of the more popular presentations we have done together, as 1000s of people typically sign up. We are doing it again on Wednesday, March 2 and Thursday, March 3 at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET).  I have made some updates to the webinar and have new rantings on the topic (thus prompting me to write this post).

First, allow me to get on my soapbox. What we are talking about is outbound vs. inbound, or push vs. pull. The vast majority of chatter in the marketing blogosphere is about content marketing, earned media, inbound marketing, and so forth; in other words, everyone is advocating for pull. One of my good friends Adam Needles basically called outbound email “stupid s#!*” in our Focus Roundtable together. I am a gigantic advocate for pull marketing as well. I believe in the tenets of inbound marketing. Hey, who doesn’t want someone to walk into their store? But it’s just not realistic all the time. Sometimes you need to put out the sandwich board and entice people to come into the store, and if it works, why wouldn’t you do it all the time?

Random thoughts on why the Outbound b2b campaign lives on:

  1. You have to go outbound for targeted prospects. If you are trying to reach a particular buying persona, you have to push/outbound. If you want to wait for content to get you the leads you need to feed the beast, you will be sitting on the unemployment line. This does not mean you don’t create remarkable content and develop long-term trusted content relationships with prospects. It means you figure out whom you want to talk to and reach out to them via phone, email, and so forth so you can get to them today instead of tomorrow.
  2. You don’t have time. A blog post or even months of blog posts won’t yield the number of conversations you need to fill the pipeline. I get bummed when I hear the startup VP of Marketing talk about his/her plan for content marketing over the next nine months, and it doesn’t include generating leads now. It’s not their fault; they read the blog posts and are doing the right thing.  The problem is, if you don’t have a plan for near-term pipeline, you’re in trouble.
  3. Sales reps are doing it right now instead of waiting for you. I asked one of my favorite sales experts Tibor Shanto what topics resonate most with sales folks and he said “prospecting.” In other words, sales needs leads. Actually, I did a webinar awhile back with Jill Konrath, and she said the same thing: “What sales needs right now is leads.” So, marketing: Is our answer to write some more blog posts and get more tweets? No, it’s to drive pipeline, and that necessitates action.
  4. You can do both (push/pull). Until the content marketing machine can drive the numbers you need from the right people, you have to do something. In most cases, that means outbound or paid media.  But do both; the long-term win of having a content marketing/nurturing strategy is the right thing to do.

In my preso, I try to break the essentials for successful outbound activity into simple components:

  • Planning: It sounds simple, but people just buy names and don’t flesh out what they want to do next.
  • Persona building: Determine “who” you want to target, understand what makes them tick, and then the message works for them.
  • Content/offers: Content marketing is a big deal in the outbound campaigns. What you offer people is extremely important. This should be driven by buyer personas (for examples, an executive may want one thing whereas managers may want another).
  • Multi-channel targeting: Successful outbound requires a mix of different ways to reach out to the prospect. The most common and most successful is a combination of phone and email. This also includes nurturing and social media.
  • Metrics and optimization: This should be standard operating procedure in this day and age, but it isn’t, so I have to remind you.  Figure out what you need to know and make your programs better.

If you have time, join us here for “You Bought a List, Now What?” on Wednesday and Thursday of this week 11 a.m. PT (2 pm ET).

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Mid-Life Crisis Averted: The Funnelholic Is Here to Stay

What an amazing couple of weeks it’s been since I wrote my midlife crisis post, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” and asked the question, “What should I do with my industry-specific blog now that I want to create different content?” on the Internet love of my life, Focus.com. Besides blog comments from friends and strangers, my angst went global (I got email from Sweden – Daniel Wood, who is a great sales and motivation blogger).  I spoke to people at length. Just yesterday, I was talking on the phone about my midlife crisis with Gary S. Hart, who is a sales blogger as well. The consensus is to keep The Funnelholic brand. Whether you delivered the message via phone or Web, thanks to everyone who gave your input.

Here is what I decided: The Funnelholic stays, and I will write about whatever floats my boat.  The entire process became a real awakening for me about why I blog. It’s because I love it. If I lose some readers, I have to live with it. If I started writing about things I don’t care about, then The Funnelholic would fail anyway.

Here’s what I’ve learned from the whole episode:

  1. If you have no passion, then your blog will suck. It was cool to discover that people really like reading The Funnelholic. I have loved creating content for this blog, and I continue to love writing on it. That may be the most important thing I learned: people can feel your passion.
  2. If you have no passion, your “social-media” presence will suck. The comment above is also true about your social media bearing. As Focus.com builds, you can see people who love what they are doing answering questions with gusto. If it pains you to write or talk about it, find a new career path. You’ve lost your passion.
  3. Writing helps you solidify your ideology. I have all this stuff in my head about business, marketing, sales and so forth. Writing about it – on The Funnelholic, as a guest blogger elsewhere, on Focus.com – helps me coalesce my thoughts and properly organize my beliefs.
  4. The personal online brand revolution is on. I built a brand, and the brand has a following. That was cool – and it’s something I shouldn’t start again from square one. Steve Woods and I talked about this idea years ago. He said: “There will be a new type of talent, an Internet free-agent superstar.  In some cases, companies may hire because they want that person associated with their brand.”  Interesting. I am not Chris Brogan, but I’ve got something.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and thoughtful advice.

I remain (and will continue to remain) yours sincerely,

The Funnelholic

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter