Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Measuring Lead Attention Span

Here is an easy way to measure the general attention span of your active lead database. It borrows the same formula used to track Churn Rate.

definition -

Churn rate is a measure of customer attrition, and is defined as the number of customers who discontinue a service during a specified time period divided by the average total number of customers over that same time period.

So the formula looks like this:

While churn rates are closely watched by companies that depend on subscribers, such as cell carriers and cable TV operators, we can adapt this churn formula to quickly detect the overall loss of attention within our active lead database.

In our churn definition above, let’s define customers who discontinue service as: Inactive Leads + Hard Bounces + Unsubscribes, within a specified time period

Let’s also define customers as: Leads with at least 1 web visit, 1 form submit and/or 1 email open, within the same specified time period

If we do a little napkin math, here is how this might look:

10,000 Inactive Leads (measured as the total # of once-active leads but now with no web visits, no form submits and/or no email opens) during the last quarter

+300 Unsubscribes last quarter

+200 Hard Bounces last quarter

= 10,500 total leads in last quarter that no longer pay attention to us

Divided by

75,000 = Average total of leads with at least 1 web visit, 1 form submit and/or 1 email open in the last 3 months

= Lead Attention Span Loss Rate = 10,500/75,000 = 14%

So essentially, we lost the attention of 14% of our active leads last quarter.

This is a good metric to trend quarter over quarter as it tells you in general how well you are improving your segmentation, messaging relevance and nurturing efforts.

It's hard enough to get a lead to respond, much less keep them engaged. Use this Lead Attention Span metric to guage the overall effectiveness of your engagement efforts over time.

Updated 5-8-12
Visit my brand new website and learn more about marketing metrics best practices

Steve Kellogg

-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Puppy Training Your Leads

I recently got an 8-week old Great Dane puppy. My family and I had to train her as quickly as possible, since she was already getting really big, really fast.

Top on the training list (other than potty training) were things that would likely ruin the relationship: like, no jumping on people, no dragging us around while on the leash, no sitting on us (Great Danes are the world’s largest lap dog).

Luna is now 6 months old and already weighs 81 lbs, on her way to 140 lbs. While the training continues, she has done very well. The techniques used to train her turned out to be remarkably similar to the techniques we recommend when nurturing (training) new leads.

#1: Don’t Overwhelm Them
Puppies have very short attention spans. Trying to teach them to sit, stay, heal and lay down all in one training session is too much. Focus on only one concept at a time.

The same holds true for leads. I’ve seen nurturing emails that offer 4, 5, even 6 or more multiple offerings all in the same email.. Focus on one concept at a time, one Call to Action at a time.

#2: Use Rewards, Not Punishment
Like all animals (and most humans too) dogs seek pleasure while avoiding pain. Luna made much more progress when the training was kept both fun and rewarding, Try and make things as much fun as possible when nurturing your leads.

For example, avoid lengthy forms that cause pain. Instead keep them short and as pleasant as possible. I’ve seen some very creative (and even funny) ways to ask for (and get answers to) form questions. For example,

Change "Job Title" ___________ to
“What Your Boss Thinks You Do”:____________

Change "Job Role" ___________to
“What you Really Do”________________

Change the picklist values for "Purchasing Timeframe"

Old picklist:

0-3 months
3-6 months
6-9 months
9-12 months
No plans to purchase

New picklist:

-My problem is keeping me up at night. I’ve got to get some sleep
-While annoying, I’ll probably have to wait a few months
-I’m just checking you out. So far so good, but don't call me yet
-I’m just not that into you yet

(try and make the picklist answers relevant to your target segment)

#3: Don’t Bore Them
I noticed that Luna got bored with the treats I was giving her during our training sessions. She began to spit out even her favorite treats after 4-5 offerings.

Create plenty of variety when offering treats to your leads. Don’t just offer white paper after white paper, or case study after case study. Mix it up, keep things different.

Even the look of the emails should vary. I’ve seen many nurturing emails that all looked exactly the same, no matter what the offer was.

You can keep your general branding intact and still provide plenty of visual variety. Maybe create one template for white papers, one for case studies and one for webinars, all looking very different, yet keeping the overall branding elements intact.

#4: Be Very Clear About What You Expect
My trainer told me never to repeat a command more than once. In the beginning I was telling Luna to sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, SIT. Most of the time she just stared at me. Each time I would say sit even louder hoping for a response. Nope. Wrong.

Say it once. Then if they don’t do it, show them what you expect them to do and then reward them after they do it.

You’ve seen emails that offer 8 links to the same whitepaper sprinkled throughout the message. Additionally there is a DOWNLOAD NOW button and then a few more links that all click to the same white paper. (See how annoying this is?)

This is like saying sit, sit, sit, sit, over and over. If you are including this many links, your emails are way too long to begin with.

By highlighting your link (command) once you keep things much simpler and make it blatantly obvious what you expect your lead to do.

The only caveat is to make sure the link or button is VERY obvious. Don’t hide it. The more links, the more indecisive we get. Make the ONE link to the whitepaper big and bold.

I think it's actually harder to train leads than puppies. Why? Puppies are only getting lessons from us. Same teacher, same lessons.

Leads are getting multiple lessons from every nurture program they are a part of; ours, competitors, other sites of interest to the lead, etc. It’s no wonder they are already overwhelmed.

This makes the techniques above even more important to implement. Your leads will greatly appreciate all your efforts and might just reward YOU with a sale.

Updated 5-8-12
Visit my brand new website and learn more about form optimization best practices.

Steve Kellogg

-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sharing the Love This Valentine's Day

Sending flowers to your Sales Department is probably not something you’ve thought of this Valentine’s Day, but why not take a minute to reflect on how to make this special relationship even better.

Step 1: Identify Where the Relationship is Now

Just Dating – Sales and Marketing have a casual, non-committed relationship. Each helps the other when they get a request, otherwise both work independently.

Engaged – Sales and Marketing have made a commitment to work together in meeting each other’s needs and are exploring/testing solutions.

Blissfully Married – Sales and Marketing are successful in meeting each other’s needs on a continual basis. Marketing is continually generating highly qualified sales leads and sales is both accepting and actively working those leads.

Separated – Sales and Marketing simply ignore each other, except in meetings, where Sales blames marketing for sending over too many junk leads and Marketing blames sales for ignoring all but the best cherry picked leads.

Divorced – Sales and Marketing won’t set foot in the same room together.

Step 2: Identify and meet each other’s needs to help repair or enhance the relationship:

Typical Sales Needs:

More qualified leads
This can be accomplished by nurturing and scoring not ready to buy leads until they show strong buying signals

A pecking order of who to call first
Lead scoring manages this by providing a combined lead rating based on both implicit and explicit criteria

Better insight into lead activity
Marketing Automation tools such as Eloqua provide excellent lead activity reports that identify online activities including email click thru, web site visits by page, form submissions, asset downloads, etc. This provides incredible insight into what solution(s) the lead is most interested in.

Typical Marketing Needs:

Sales accepts the leads marketing has spent time nurturing
If not-ready-to-buy leads are nurtured, chances are sales will happily except a significant portion of them. Still, there are times when even highly scored leads will get rejected (no budget for instance). Marketing needs a process by which sales enters these rejected leads into a re-nurturing program – This is typically a link in CRM that adds rejected leads into a special re-nurturing campaign, usually driven by marketing where the emails appear to have come from the sales rep.

Plug all leaks in the sales funnel
Sales will need to fulfill on the internal processes that marketing has established to plug all funnel leaks. To learn more about how to do this, read my recent blog post on Funnel Goo.

Collaborate on continual adjustments of nurturing and scoring efforts
Marketing needs the input of Sales on how well the nurturing/scoring programs are performing. Are leads being scored too high? Too low? Is nurturing doing its job in building the relationship? A continual review of all scored/nurtured leads is essential, including the adoption of new processes. For instance there are typically certain lead status fields in CRM that marketing needs sales to keep up to date in order for Marketing to measure ROI and other KPIs.


The best relationships are those where everyone wins. The needs of each are continuously being met by the other.

It’s not that most companies aren’t striving for this, it’s just that until recently there haven’t been many of the tools which are now currently available to actually meet these needs.

Hmmm, maybe we should send flowers to all those who keep our marketing automation system running too.

Updated 5-8-12
Visit my brand new website and learn more about lead scoring best practices

Steve Kellogg

-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant