Tracking & Measurement – Why your lead management, opportunity and pipeline tracking should be integrated to ensure successful conversions.
Let’s look at your checklist of achievements to date so that we know you are fully equipped to tackle every type of marketing campaign and maximise on their results:
- Corporate Identity, Brand and Messaging
- Alignment between sales and marketing departments
- Audience Identification: data hygiene, segmentation, CRM
- Content (Storytelling) Strategy
- Social and Digital Marketing Strategy
- Event Marketing Strategy
- Established key partnerships and alliances
All the above, when combined, will ensure you have your bases covered, but I’d like to defer back to checkpoint #3 – Audience Identification: data hygiene, segmentation, CRM as this is where your lead management, opportunity and pipeline tracking really comes into play.
I previously stated that your company’s database/CRM/TAM/target audience list is “the backbone of all marketing related activities” and that it’s the “common denominator that binds both departments (Sales & Marketing) together, yet it is also the source of constant contention between the teams.” As data management and hygiene specifically has been assumed as the responsibility of marketing personnel, the choice of data management platform by marketing hasn’t always aligned with sales or the rest of the organisation, therefore only limited tracking capabilities can be achieved in these circumstances.
Today, there are so many great cloud-based CRM options available that both Marketing and Sales teams can find the one system that’s right for everyone, and that can also be integrated into their company finance, HR, logistics, partner etc. applications so that everyone is working off one version of the truth. Data corruption can easily be avoided these days as most CRMs make it easier for anyone to search on whether a specific Contact or Account has already been entered to avoid duplication or triplication of data by various stakeholders. When you are looking at running a campaign, greater segmentation capabilities allow you to target key messages to specific contacts per account that are currently active in your system. If you need to add new data for a campaign to expand your reach, these contacts and accounts can be uploaded against the campaign only, so that they are not impacting your active CRM data. What you will also find, is that during the uploading of new data for the campaign, your system will be able to determine whether or not that Contact and/or Account already exists to prevent multiple data listings, or the same people receiving communications from you numerous times.
PLEASE NOTE: Just because CRMs are much more intuitive these days, you still need to check the hygiene of your data prior to any upload into your system to ensure its integrity. It pays to spend a bit of time in the beginning (during the set-up of your campaign) to follow some clear benchmarked practices such as only entering the Legal Entity of the Company Name and uploading contacts with a valid company email address so that the system can correctly include and exclude data against current and live entries.
The reason these details are so pertinent and shouldn’t be regarded as a waste of time is so you can accurately track the success of your campaigns and conversion rates over a given period of time. Depending on the offer or creativity of your messaging and its delivery, certain campaigns can perform at a faster rate, yielding a higher number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), but with lower valued opportunities. Other campaigns, such as trade shows, tend to produce a high number of leads but fewer, yet higher quality MQLs. These will take longer to convert but generally yield a high value opportunity.
In terms of technology organisations, the key stakeholders who need their data to be integrated to effectively track lead management, opportunities and pipeline are Sales, Marketing and Finance (and Management Teams by default).
- Sales teams need a system that allows them to enter opportunities and forecast revenue targets, win/lose and close dates;
- Marketing teams need a system that allows the tracking of a Contact and Account through the campaign process into a Marketing Qualified Lead, and subsequently if an opportunity arises that’s won;
- Finance needs a system to track the campaign spend against the projected sales forecasts and revenue received.
- All stakeholders require a system that can produce a range of dashboards and reports highlighting where opportunities came from, how much they are worth, cost per lead, pipeline breakdown, campaign effectiveness and opportunity close dates to know when revenue can be recognised by the business.
What I’ve listed are just the basic requirements every business should be tracking and measuring – the ownership of the results is both shared and team based so that there’s accountability across the board. Depending on the size of your organisation and whether you have singular or multiple sales channels, the breakdown of pipeline contribution should be clearly established at the beginning of your financial year and measured on a quarterly basis. If you are unsure of how to distribute the pipeline contribution responsibilities, here’s a handy guide that a vendor might use between Direct Sales, Channel Sales, Marketing and Inside Sales:
- 25% contribution Direct Sales (Account Managers and BDMs)
- 25% contribution Channel Sales
- 50% contribution Marketing & Inside Sales (combined)
If you are running marketing campaigns and logging all your sales engagements through the one system, you will clearly see the pipeline contribution across the business and identify if all teams are pulling their weight, or if one team is having greater success than others.
In addition to measuring your pipeline, once you have enough information to determine the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, you should be able to use this information in designing upcoming campaigns and decide if a bit of tweaking is required. Don’t be afraid to test the waters by doing something different even if a campaign was successful, you might find that it was a one-off and perfectly timed, but could fall flat the next time around. Also, if you are running the same campaign across multiple geographies, think whether it will resonate across the board, or need to be modified per geo due to cultural differences.
At the end of the day, if both Sales and Marketing teams are effectively working together and entering the data cleanly into your CRM, you will be able to track and measure your campaigns and pipeline, grow the number of leads coming into the business, increase revenue and make calculated decisions regarding how and where to increase or decrease spend across departments. You will also be able to use the information to determine year on year growth projections, the spend required to achieve the desired revenue target, and departmental contributions based on the previous year’s figures.