Archive for November, 2007

Tackling the lead tracking disconnect

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

As we construct the requirements for our new SFA/CRM system, the issue of lead definition and tracking rears its head again (see The broken Salesforce.com leads model). Having largely succeeded in securing the concept of ensuring that responses from the same individual are always linked to that person’s record, such that the individual lies at the heart of the lead, the next discussion revolves around tracking through to opportunity. The problem here is essentially twofold:

  • How is it possible to judge which response is the one that lead to the creation of an opportunity?
  • How is the influence of multiple contacts on an opportunity tracked?

In other words, how is marketing effectiveness measured, and ultimately return on marketing investment determined? Clearly it’s important that we can systematically link a lead to an opportunity within the database, which makes it easier to draw a line from response to a piece of business. What’s crucial though is maintaining the ability to link all responses to an opportunity, and undertake analysis around how responses influence opportunity creation. It could well be that a webinar is a good way of moving qualified leads through to opportunity conversion and into the pipeline, but what prompted the webinar attendance itself? It could be a whitepaper download or a software evaluation, or specific examples of these types of activity; is one topic more popular and likely to bring about a conversion?

This is where an analytical approach comes in to play. Rather than simply connecting the dots of response, lead generation and opportunity, modelling techniques should allow less obvious links to be made. It’s still crucial that responses are reliably linked to individuals, as this is the linking point (contacts are attached to opportunities, therefore creating the link with response). This is where data quality plays such a crucial role, especially in matching incoming response or new contact creation to existing contacts, such as an event registration or where a Sales rep enters a new individual. Failing to recognise that a new response is from an existing individual, who may already have a response history, will destroy the ability to undertake this kind on analysis and produce meaningful results. (Use the search function at the top of the side bar on the right to look for various past entries on data quality.)

I’m hopeful that this functionality will be adopted in our new system and that we’ll be able to make the investment in the related analytics to maximise the benefit. There still remain the usual, considerable, user education requirements, especially among our Sales colleagues, to ensure that human action doesn’t scupper these best laid plans. The biggest problem is Marketing created opportunities being disregarded and a brand new one created by the rep when they commence working on it. The challenge here, I think, is to ensure that it’s easier to use an existing opportunity that has been created than set-up a new one. After all, the former should be less effort, which is usually a good message with which to start!