Lead qualification can be a point of tension between sales and marketing teams. Sales reps often claim the marketing team doesn’t give them high-quality leads, while the marketing team argues that sales simply isn’t following up on the best leads they’ve been handed. Sometimes the problem is simply that these departments’ definitions of what makes a qualified lead are misaligned. On the other hand, the problem could be a misunderstanding of what qualities can predict a lead’s likelihood to buy.
Cut Down On the Noise
Some established companies have more leads than they know what to do with. By finding a better strategy to weed out the most unlikely leads, business can significantly improve sales productivity. Imagine a world where you can easily identify the junk before you devote too much time nurturing a lead that has no chance of converting. This world is possible, but will take some time and research.
Turn on the Lights
When your teams are stumbling around in the dark, it’s impossible to coordinate marketing and sales effectively. With a customer analytics platform, these departments will have access to the same intelligence data, including market events, mergers and introduction of new technology. Once the two teams are looking at the same information, they can gain a better awareness of what qualities are good predictors of a qualified lead. B2B Lead Blog suggests doing research to determine a correlation between leads and current customers to further identify the signals that your company has a good chance of making a sale. Once these two teams have a more complete picture, they can start coming up with better definitions for sales and marketing-qualified leads.
Learn Who Your Customers Are
An article from Forbes demonstrates how big data analytics can improve the performance of marketing automation software by telling marketers not just what qualities will predict a conversion, but who the customer really is. What analytics actually enable marketers and sales reps to do is develop an understanding of a company’s attributes outside of just the numbers. By collecting intelligence from across the Web, including viral social media posts, sales reps and marketers can really construct a picture of what it’s like to work in a specific industry. Customer intelligence allows marketers and sales reps to go deeper. When marketers are able to look at their leads’ markets through their perspectives, they can create marketing campaigns that really target the right companies.
A customer intelligence platform can deliver the In-depth information marketers and sales reps need to improve their collaboration and increase sales productivity.
By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Marketing
From cloud computing to collecting market insights, employing data is already important. But big data analytics is set to become essential to business strategies other than simply knowing where you should market or where there may be a sale. According to the Business 2 Community, a marketing resource, organizations often forget that customer intelligence relies on big data, and it's essential that professionals consider big data as an integral part of any sales or marketing strategy.
According to CIO, customer analytics allows companies to focus on the how they can help their clients instead of just becoming informed on the products. For example, CIO reported that IT companies are using big data as a way to examine how their solution will help the customer in real life. By examining what types of products customers need to tackle every day challenges, IT businesses are able to design a custom solution that can produce stronger results.
Big Data in Sales and Marketing
It's so much easier to glean market insights when you have the right tools, and big data is the foundation of many types of customer intelligence software—including FirstRain. According to eWeek, an IT news resource, big data helps improve client and partner relations by providing a measurable connection between you and them. Accruing customer intelligence through traceable analytics ensures companies are able to raise their customer service and optimize their strategies for selling products or solutions.
Understanding that big data is an important aspect of your customer intelligence solution can help you optimize sales and marketing strategies. Being able to stay up-to-date on where your clients' markets are headed and what types of solutions they'll require can allow you to anticipate your sales or marketing growth. When you know that your customer is going to need a new information storage solution, or that the latest product innovation is gaining traction in the industry, you can create a realistic timeline and sales goals. Big data offers you a way to actually solve your customer's problem, instead of simply selling them a solution that may not necessarily produce the desired results.
By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Marketing
Your customer relationship management system is important to not only your sales workflow, but also enhancing customer intelligence. Maybe you have already seen significant CRM ROI or are just on the verge of a CRM investment. Either way, CRM software has exploded in use across the globe. According to recent research, the business community is estimated to not only continue moving toward CRM systems, but the technology may overtake other types of software solutions. The market value of CRM could more than double by 2017.
CRM Will See Market Boosts
Gartner's latest forecast, "Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2012-2017, 2Q13 Update," found CRM systems, business intelligence (BI) and analytics applications had a total market revenue of $13.1 billion in 2012. The number is a 6.8 percent increase when compared to 2011's revenue of $12.3 billion. Gartner estimated that this total growth will not only continue in the next five years, but CRM will lead the way with the most segmented gains of all enterprise software categories.
According to Forbes, the study highlighted how CRM will continue to surpass previous expectations, as it accelerates in value faster from quarter to quarter. Experts seem to be constantly changing their estimates as the CRM market seems to perpetually expand. By 2017, CRM is projected to hold approximately $36.5 billion in revenue. With 2013 at about $20.7 billion, in five years CRM will almost double in revenue. In 2016, Gartner estimated CRM will eclipse even enterprise resource planning in value. Dan Sommer, principal research analyst at Gartner, said numerous enterprise software systems, such as BI, will continue to make strides well into the future.
The value of CRM and BI software in the global marketplace is set to remain solid in the long term. As more corporations begin to understand the essential need of building and managing client relationships, enterprise software will provide ROI into the future.
ROI? It Might Be Subjective
But seeing ROI of your CRM investment relies not on simply having the software, but knowing how to use it. According to News Factor, an IT resource, the power of CRM tools lies in how you implement the knowledge you gained from the software. While sales reps need to be able to glean market insights quickly and easily through customer analytics, they also should be able to employ and manage that intelligence in the real world.
According to the Corporate Executive Board, monitoring your CRM system's ROI is a complex process that involves more than just looking at the finances – it incorporates informal aspects as well. So how do you do this? CEB suggested that CRM ROI only happens through high levels of adoption. That means everyone needs to get on board with using your CRM. It may get easier to track your customer insights and get a better picture of your CRM investment as the market expands – it just might be a subjective view.
Seeing a return for implementing CRM into your sales team can be difficult, but as the technology advances and more enterprises get on board, it may get a bit easier. Driving ROI relies on building customer relationships and really understanding what they need to be successful. CRM helps you to manage that – just make sure you completely adopt the system.
By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Marketing
From the information technology industry to marketing, it seems like most professionals in almost every field are talking about the cloud these days. And it's no wonder – investing in cloud software for your enterprise lets you gain market intelligence, analyze industry trends and even examine customer analytics. The cloud will become one of the top innovations for salespeople fairly soon.
In fact, the trend is becoming so wide spread that Salesforce recently acquired business intelligence startup EdgeSpring to enhance the site's marketing cloud. If that's not enough, the investment came a week after the site purchased email marketing firm ExactTarget for $2.5 billion. The integration of business intelligence with analytics is set to help boost customer relationship management (CRM) ROI.
Cloud sales have gone through the roof, with Ellen O'Brien, executive editor at TechCrunch, suggesting recent slowdowns in cloud computing storage are due to the rapid increase in users. O'Brien reported cloud storage vendors have been around for years, but the recent uptick in the demand for customer insight solutions and tools as well as user demand, sales have significantly increased. More sales people are now investing in the tools they need to ensure the sale and to increase their CRM ROI.
Customer Conversion Flies Into the Cloud
Louis Columbus, cloud computing expert and Forbes contributor, recently wrote that now is the era of digital customer insights for the marketing industry. With the purchase of EdgeSpring and ExactTarget by Salesforce, the marketing world is on the cusp of integrating cloud computing into their customer insight platforms. But the advertising industry is just the latest in a long line to have adopted cloud analytics. Sales was one of the first.
Cloud-based services came into the sales mainstream with platform applications, such as FirstRain into Salesforce, by bringing sales people up to date on the latest customer insights and intelligence. Business analytics that use the cloud format allows you to get a glimpse into what's going on in the industry, what's trending up or down and what areas to focus on. It cuts your customer research time in half while boosting your client conversion rates skyward.
Many of us try to take time everyday to do some Internet research about our clients, but it often gets a back seat to other more pressing issues. And most of the time, treading through the clutter of information can be a hassle. Having access to one place that gives you the most important insights of the day keeps you connected with customers and be prepared for every client interaction.