Beware of Bad Metrics: Your Key to Customer Success

We’ve all had some horrible marketing or sales experiences we can reflect back on…the ones where we got annoyed by constantly gated information, the harassing sales calls, pulling our hair out when no one was there to help us with support, too much help when you didn’t need it, being passed along the line of contacts, haggling over the price, and so many more aggravating scenarios.

But even though we know how this feels, we keep repeating these same behaviors. Why don’t we change this pattern of bad experiences? And how are they really impacting our business?

BAD METRICS = BAD EXPERIENCES

If we are all striving for customer success, we need to reassess the success metrics we are measuring. Our typical short-term metrics used in most businesses include:

  • Pipeline
  • Margins
  • Number of leads
  • Number of opportunities

Though these metrics are common, they may be promoting the wrong behaviors described above and creating bad customer experiences. We should also be looking closely at customer satisfaction metrics such as:

  • Engagement
  • Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT)

BAD EXPERIENCES = LACK OF GROWTH

Beware of the metrics that could create detractors. Those unhappy customers can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth. Your brand is not just a factor for Marketing, but everyone in the company influences brand and the customer’s experience. Factors that can negatively affect your customers and thus your brand include:

  • Having to fill out many fields and personal information to get to useful information
  • Not being able to get help when you need it
  • Contacts handing you off from one person to the next to the next
  • Getting excited to buy but then spend months haggling prices
  • Being harassed by pushy sales people
  • Encountering even more gated information
  • Having to talk to a sales person, again
  • Or not being able to reach a live person when you need to
  • Being wined and dined for a contract then no support for success

The short-term metrics we’ve been using like pipeline, numbers of leads and opportunities, and margins, seem to be creating the bad organizational success behaviors, which in turn create negative customer experiences. These are not the customers that are going to close a deal with you, create renewals, or especially serve as a positive referral to others. Not only does this hinder your growth, but you can also bring damage to your reputation and branding.

GOOD METRICS = GOOD EXPERIENCES

Since the short-term metrics aren’t finding their way into the hearts of our prospects and customers, we need to formulate positive, long-term metrics…metrics that move, drive, and motivate the marketing and sales teams.  By measuring engagement, NPS, and CSAT, we will encourage positive customer success behaviors such as:

  • Viewing demos and papers without filling out a form every time
  • Feeling more support and less sales
  • Having transparent pricing
  • Quickening help response times
  • Sales being open about when their product/service is not a good fit
  • If you want to talk, someone being available
  • No routing rules…response is based on the customer
  • Live chat anywhere for full accessibility
  • Getting more love AFTER the contract is signed than before

All these good experiences come when an entire organization rallies behind good, long-term metrics. When measuring the right metrics, you are setting your customers up for success. The logic goes like this: If they need help, you give them help, then they succeed and are happy, thus eager to refer you.

GOOD EXPERIENCES = GOOD GROWTH

If we can learn from our experiences, then we can successfully evolve to an elevated way of viewing customer success metrics. The old metric was to encourage anything to close. Then we advanced to making sure the customer renewed. Now we are dealing with savvy, experienced customers who feel deserving of a great experience at every stage of the life cycle. This new guideline for customer success sets the metric at whether or not the customer recommends you to others.

Organizing and incentivizing your marketing, sales, and support teams to stand behind this long-term metric will ensure great experiences every step of the process. Follow the methods outlined above to accomplish the following:

  • Transform your customer experience
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Generate positive word-of-mouth
  • Reduce churn
  • Increase overall growth

Your goal with positive, long-term customer success metrics is to create the Promoters. These loyal enthusiasts will keep buying and referring others, fueling growth faster than any of the short-term metrics on their own. Pulling all teams together, your organization has the potential to be the breath of fresh air to your customers, so much so that they will pass your name to 5, 10, 15, 20 other prospects. You can’t fight the equation:

Good Experiences = Happy Customers = Good Growth

7 Secrets to a Successful Scoring Model

Lead-scoringLead scoring is a valuable system to make the sales team more efficient through pre-qualification and prioritization, and if done right, can be an unfair advantage in your market. It’s critical to get your scoring model off to a strong start and to develop its accuracy over time.

Following are key steps for successful scoring:

1. Gather intelligence from Sales regarding the typical makeup of a qualified lead.

Sales and Marketing will need to work together to define the profile of the ideal customer. Sales needs to buy into the scoring system and trust it, so it’s important to include all parties from the onset.

2. Establish Demographic and BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline) scoring formula.

These set criteria might include company size, industry, role, and product/service interest and are often assessed through website forms.
Caution: Beware of false positives from website window shoppers and exaggerated BANT responses.

3. Consider content assets and lead behaviors to better define your ideal customer profile.

In a department store, you can watch a potential buyer take clothing off the rack, look at the price, hold it up, and try it on, then the salesperson can see clearly when to approach. We also have to assess online behaviors and apply the score values for prospects who register for webinars, download post-session materials or whitepapers, express interest at a tradeshow, or watch videos or demos. Who clicked through on a call-to-action or viewed pricing? These behaviors might weigh differently from each other, but each tells a story of the potential prospect and suggests when to “approach.”

4. Determine where the prospects are in the marketing funnel by using scoring to evaluate the stages.

A scoring system can set the lead status in the funnel. For example, a low scoring lead might be an Inquiry, while a higher scoring counterpart would be a Marketing Qualified Lead and is ready for sales.

5. Take necessary steps to move qualified leads to opportunities.

Depending on where leads fall in the marketing funnel, scoring can help in the lead flow as ownership, activities, and role are defined by business rules, assessed through scoring, and moved around depending on their activity.

6. Prove or disprove the success of your lead scoring model.

Lead scoring is successful when leads with higher scores convert into closed/won business more often than low scoring leads. Analyzing velocity and conversion-to-revenue rates is also critical to measuring successful scoring. Lead scoring is generally proven not successful if metrics related to lead scoring are trending negatively. In that case, you would need to identify points of failure and make the necessary changes.

7. Optimize your lead scoring for continued improvement.

Even the most successful lead scoring models receive ongoing auditing and fine-tuning. Changes and adjustments will only help to create more reliable and sales-ready results.

It’s important for organizations to remember that lead scoring won’t predict if a deal will close, but it will help prioritize who sales should engage with first. Lead scoring is often implemented, yet rarely fully leveraged. If your competitors are using lead scoring models as well, make sure yours is fine-tuned, fully-utilized, and ever-dynamic.

Why Lead Scoring is the New Opportunity Stage?

 

lead scoring

Lead Scoring

Gone are the days, when simple marketing plans were effective enough for lead generation. Today, the advanced technologies have brought in so many sophisticated marketing means that marketers need to be very careful while targeting the audience. The consumer buying process has drastically shifted from traditional means to new means, where they carry out enough research, before buying a product or service. They are already leaning towards a particular vendor, but still visit others for attractive offers. Hence, marketers need to come up with robust strategy, depending upon the consumers’ needs and requirements.

One of key areas that have turned out to be a great new opportunity is lead scoring. It is a method that is used to rank prospects against a scale. This ranking is based on who they are, what they do, rather than what they are saying. Lead scoring is in fact the integral part of modern day lead management that ranks prospects on the basis on their behavior and web activity. It helps marketers determine the level of interest through their engagement and interest, depending upon demographics. These factors, when combined together can turn qualified leads to sales.

Lead scoring can be used to measure the effectiveness of investments in the marketing campaigns  and lead generation programs. It helps you identify sales ready leads from inquiries and focus on converting them to customers. Marketers can effectively use these means to rank their prospects and improve their sales, thus enhancing the return over marketing investments. Looking into the number of advantages, marketers can now use different lead scoring software to analyze their needs and make the right judgment. Another important benefit is that it reduces sale cycle duration for qualified leads and improves upon the conversion rate, thus increasing sales productivity and effectiveness.

If you want your marketing campaign to be successful, you need to understand lead behavior and identify serious buyers. Later on, you could focus on good relationships to improve the stats. Hence, it is important to keep a track of the buyer’s needs and behavior to know about his or her intentions. Though it could be challenging, it would get you an honest representation of leads’ objectives, helping you know whether they are actually ready to buy or not. Prioritizing the prospects, could further help you make initiatives to improve upon the conversion rate and your chances to convert the lead into a customer. Hence, lead scoring is definitely a new opportunity stage for marketers.

So, what next? Have you scored your leads? Don’t you want to improve upon your conversion rate and sales figure? Do adopt these advanced tactics in your marketing methodologies to enjoy better returns.

When you need more than Marketing Automation

By now, if you’re not already using it, you’ve heard the hype about how great marketing automation is. Marketing automation is a great tool, there’s no doubt about it – in short it helps organize lead scoring and helps define quality leads – but it’s also not always enough.  It’s true that it has been proven to help generate a huge increase in quality leads when companies use it to nurture their prospects, and studies have shown those nurtured leads are more apt to make bigger buys, but the truth is it will not do everything for you and thus there are times when having marketing automation is just not enough.

Here are a few key ways to supplement your marketing automation program and get the most out of it:

  1. Gather up All your Data: Marketing automation will help you analyze certain behaviors and lead scores, but it won’t integrate all the data you’ve collected. When used alongside other marketing platforms, such as CRM, to pull together the whole picture, it can provide you with invaluable data about your prospects.
  2. Provide a Personal Touch: You can build automated trigger campaigns to nurture leads with marketing automation, but this is difficult to do without seeming like it’s a repetitive, form letter style of contact. You need to assess the different touch points during the campaign yourself, put your customers into different categories and then personalize a marketing strategy relevant to your prospects.
  3. Get some Content: Marketing automation will definitely not help you get content up on your web site or write your newsletters for you. This you’ll have to do on your own. And this is important, too, because today’s buyer is savvy – they have already gathered a lot of their information about you from the internet before you even meet them. Today’s buyers want to quietly do their research before they invest in a product or service.
  4. Align Marketing and Sales Teams: We can’t say it enough – getting both teams together to discuss the marketing campaign will help you understand the buyer all the way through the marketing funnel. A good marketing campaign consists of lead scoring, lead nurturing and converting those leads into sales. It helps marketing to know what makes a buyer buy just as much as it helps sales understand who their buyers are.

If you’re already using marketing automation successfully, what tools or methods do you supplement with to create a fantastic marketing campaign?