CompassLearning’s Eleanor Bowman on Automating Lead Management
For marketers struggling to keep the prospecting process organized, a marketing automation system can help eliminate the time-consuming need to coordinate lead management manually—an outdated approach that usually results in missed opportunities. By integrating an automation system from San Mateo, Calif.-based marketing automation solutions firm Marketo with contact management/CRM tool Salesforce.com, Eleanor Bowman, director of marketing communication at Austin, Texas-based, educational services provider CompassLearning, was able to increase efficiency and return for her company’s lead generation and lead nurturing activities.
Target Marketing: What were your goals in automating your lead management process?
Eleanor Bowman: We really wanted to develop a pipeline for our sales folks in order to deliver sales results. We also wanted to make sure what we were doing was aligned with tools we already had in place. The goal here was to redeliver qualified, high-quality leads to our people and have some assurance we were giving them the best of the best. When I joined the company, there were lead generation activities going on but no process to manage them. There was no automation around how they were handled. Now, we have built a strong lead generation program from the ground up. For the first time, we are able to predict the number of leads, predict how many are going to be sales-ready leads and then push that through Salesforce.com.
TM: How have you leveraged the automation process for your e-mail campaigns?
EB: The features of this system also allowed us to set up relatively simple automated campaigns. You can have your scoring and flow set up to run automatically after a campaign. For example, you can automatically send an e-mail, wait a period of time before following up with another e-mail and then create a task in Salesforce.com for a rep to follow up with customers—all automated through the program. Then the program scores and analyzes each portion of the campaign.
TM: How has automation helped you meet your marketing spend goals?
EB: We are able to spend our budget dollars more wisely and have a better handle on our cost per lead. We use that to really drive decision making. We can now see how different channels are performing; we are able to see which are our top performers and, on the same token, the ones that aren’t performing. We are now taking those off of our schedule, and that has been a real value-add for us. Before, we probably had 10 different marketing vehicles for different online campaigns and online promotions. Since implementing this program, we really pared that down to our top four most effective and most cost-efficient programs. We plan to continue to refine this process in the future; it has really changed how we have approached our marketing management.
TM: What results did you see after automating your lead management process?
EB: We have improved a number of leads. It is the first time I am able to deliver the vice president of marketing a lead report saying, “We generated this number of leads, this many were passed on to sales and we are seeing these types of trends.” This allows us to predict campaigns.
For example, we run an advertisement in an online newsletter [company] called SmartBrief and leverage Marketo’s capabilities to help nurture and analyze each lead that comes in through the ad. This way, we are able to maximize each click from the ad. Now, when we run ads in the newsletter, we can be pretty confident when we say what results we will get for each ad. It varies depending on … day of the week; for example, if we run the ad on a Monday, we will likely get 150 people, and that response will end up averaging 18 sales-ready leads. In the end, after they go through the nurturing process, [there is an increased] level of sophistication [that helps] predict how our campaigns [are] going to perform.
TM: How has this new program helped you to tailor your marketing campaigns and improve visibility?
EB: For us, one of the really key features of our products is that they deliver a personalized learning experience for each student. So when looking for a marketing solution for our prospects, we really pride ourselves in our product being very personal. In the same way, now we can deliver a personalized marketing path, or sales funnel, for people as they are getting to know our company and our product.