In past few years, the way financial service firms receives leads and referral opportunities has dramatically been changed. It is typical that many firms regularly receive new leads and referral opportunities from multiple sources, channels and other Lines of Businesses (LOBs) but I often find that those firms are not making best attempt to optimize leads management process. Without a clear marketing strategy, an increase in leads does not necessarily result in an increase in sales but it just decreases the percentage of successful conversions. Improperly qualified leads are at best a gamble and at worst a significant waste of both time and resources.
In fast-paced and high-commitment sales environment of modern financial services business, lead management process definitely demands a strategic approach to produce the best results, achieve maximum profitability of each lead, and higher conversion rate. As a trusted advisor, I help many financial services firms to leverage Sales and Marketing automation technology and here is five steps process I recommend to optimize leads management process.
Lead generation often comes down to a balance between quality and quantity. It’s possible to acquire a large amount of leads that have a very low quality and but it is common to find that low quality leads do not just get convert. This is especially true in the financial sector, where noncommittal interest can be expressed in a variety of financial products. Likewise, it’s possible for you to acquire very high quality leads, but not have a large enough quantity for your sales team to pursue. Realistically, your sales team can pursue a finite number of leads during their working hours. Your lead generation processes should be targeted towards providing them with the highest quality of leads that they can realistically interface with.
Qualification & Nurturing
When qualifying a lead, there are four core considerations: authority, need, timeline, and funding. Does this lead have the authority to make account decisions? Do they have a real need for our financial service? Are they on a strict timeline? Is their funding suitable for our offerings? Once these questions have been answered, the lead will be appropriately scored. The leads with the highest scores are the leads that are to be pursued first. Lead qualification is a prime area for automation, as it involves raw data that can be compiled and analyzed appropriately. But nurturing your leads, interfacing with the lead to discuss their needs, timeline, and funding is something only your marketing talent can do. This is where automation and human effort can work together. Many advanced customer relationship management and lead generation solutions are able to extrapolate from large amounts of data to come to sophisticated conclusions.
Dynamic lead scoring is used to modify the likelihood that a lead will commit based on interactions and engagement with the lead. As an example, a lead will generally be more inclined to commit to a financial product the higher their engagement level is. Though your leads may be initially scored upon qualification, their behavior patterns, actions, and relationship to your business and its marketing will all affect their propensity towards conversion. Dynamic scoring is an absolutely essential component to lead generation optimization, and it is another area in which automation and customer relationship management solutions can greatly streamline marketing efforts. In modern online marketing, there is often an excessive amount of information to track. These exceptionally large big data sets have to be compiled by software solutions specifically geared towards their analysis as they cannot be adequately reviewed by the human eye alone.
Automated lead distribution manages the leads assignment, distributing now qualified and scored leads as needed to the appropriate sales talent. Once your leads have been distributed properly, they will have a higher likelihood of closing and they can also be distributed extremely quickly, leading to a faster closing than would otherwise be possible. Many automated distribution systems use behavioral tracking and prior success metrics to determine the best place to distribute each lead. In addition to properly scoring the talent, the distribution system will ensure that leads are connected to quickly. One of the major reasons behind lead generation failure is a lack of timely connection. Leads that are prepared to commit and are empowered to make decisions will not wait for a slow marketer; thus the leads that score most highly are the leads that absolutely must be contacted as soon as possible.
The process of closing sales successfully requires a combination of important factors. Most importantly, closing requires that your sales professional meet the client’s needs. Though closing an account does require a human touch, that does not mean that optimization, automation and streamlining aren’t important components. Through an automated customer relationship management solution, the sales talent will have an extensive collection of information regarding the customer’s behavior patterns, demographics, and goals. As noted, speed is absolutely essential to the closing of a financial account, and automated services alongside customer management services facilitate this speed at every step of the process.
Finally, the Pareto principle shows that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your clients. Likewise, it’s likely that only 20% of your leads will actually become clients — if not fewer. Proper lead qualification results in a better understanding of which leads are more likely to close and convert, and reduces the amount of time that is spent on leads that are not likely to open an account. Better lead generation brings in more leads and even those types of leads that are more likely to be properly qualified. Together, optimized lead management process will increase probability of converting leads into sales and help driving more revenue.
Most importantly, marketing automation is the most effective and efficient way to optimize the lead management process while removing much of the potential for human error. Through an automated marketing tool, leads can be properly obtained and scored without a significant investment of human marketing effort. Once leads have been properly qualified, then the human marketing talent can move in to close deals and secure accounts. Today, there are many great marketing automation tools available out there but Pardot’s marketing solution empowers marketing teams by automating many key customer relationship and lead generation processes, from initial lead procurement to dynamic lead scoring. Pardot even offers more advanced features such as social posting, to bring in even more of the most relevant leads. Consequently, marketers are free to focus on the more important aspects of account closing and customer service.
About Capgemini’s Salesforce Offerings
Capgemini is ranked as a ‘Leader’ in an independent report on Salesforce Implementation Partners 2015 by Forrester Research, Inc., Capgemini is a Global Strategic Cloud Alliance partner with Salesforce delivering a complete portfolio of integrated services that combine our technology and deep industry expertise around Digital Transformation, Domain and Platform technology. We study these technologies, processes, trends, and the impact they have on businesses and users to deliver timely, practical courses of action. This expertise and our client base qualifies for our Salesforce Certified Fullforce Industry Master within the Financial Services industry, Service Cloud and Platform implementations. Our knowledge of the convergence of Cloud, mobile and digital technologies enables us to help our clients to adapt to demands faster, engage with their customers, suppliers and partners more profoundly, and reduce costs.
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