While the lack of specific re-engagement automation might seem a problem, there are associated support systems that exist today. Technologies from companies such as Aprimo, Eloqua and Unica can help identify leads initially through Web activities—if, for example, 10 executives from the same company have visited a vendor's product pages over the past quarter, that company might be identified as ready to buy.
After such leads are handed off to sales, other processes, such as those provided by companies like AdTrack and Blueroads, manage leads and provide appropriate feedback to marketing, closing the loop. And with CRM monitoring keeping track of the process or with automated campaign services, leads that didn't pan out the first time can be cycled back for re-engagement.
“At this point, you can start to plan increasingly granular interactions,” said Charles Watson, VP-marketing and products at Blueroads Corp., which specializes in managing sales channel leads.
To effectively revive seemingly lost deals, Watson recommends ongoing “drip-feed” communications involving a steady (but not intrusive) stream of newsletters, e-mails, press releases and high-level white papers.
“You don't want to go radio-silent here because at some point, maybe in two years, that lead will want to review its purchase decisions,” Watson said. Even if the prospect bought from a competitor, he added, a possible sale may be down the road. “You just want to keep your head in the game and stay in touch for that time when they'll evaluate that solution again.”
One company that is working hard to recycle leads that didn't pan out the first time is Serena Software. Working with Lenskold since February, the company is analyzing its marketing metrics to better understand its sales pipeline, and—in the words of Ceri Jones, director of Serena's European marketing group—”optimize the good things.”
“We were not hitting our quarterly targets,” Jones said, “so we needed a more central conversation with sales.” The company has implemented a lead-scoring system, which, Jones said, ultimately aids lead recycling via such things as e-mail, telemarketing and webinars. New dashboards are providing quick views of the success of campaigns and products, and Jones said he's interested in exploring the Crystalreports service offered by his CRM vendor, Salesforce.com, for added analysis.
“The speed of our execution is a little slower than we'd like, but we've already seen some good output,” Jones said.
With so many fingers and disparate technologies in the lead-recycling pie, trouble can pop up. It's quite possible for a disconnect to occur between the initial lead-generation process and the re-engagement phase, said Mikel Chertudi, senior director for demand generation at Omniture Inc.
“Here in trying to recycle leads, marketers might overwrite all the sources that brought the lead to them in the first place,” Chertudi said. In fact, Omniture is activity beefing up its own lead re-engagement process.
And when done correctly, Chertudi said, effective lead recycling uncovers seemingly lost opportunities, “people who are ready to talk to sales about our products. You can turn 15% to 25% of these seemingly lost leads into sales or at least sales-ready opportunities.” M