Intelligent Sales Leads

David Brock

Improving customer experience with intelligent sales leads

I was recently asked to share my views of the impact of Big Data, business intelligence, and data analytics in sales.  We are only beginning to scratch the surface in leveraging Big Data, particularly in sales.  Many other functions have been leveraging big data and rich analytics for years, with great impact.

I’ve been quoted a lot about my view that Big Data and rich analytics are the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” for sales and marketing.  These have the greatest potential in driving both sales effectiveness, but also customer experience of anything that I’m seeing.

Judging by the focus on it in blogs and articles, at events like Dreamforce, and others, I’m not alone in that opinion.

Intelligent Sales LeadsThere are many areas in which Big Data and analytics will help improve the customer experience and drive sales and marketing effectiveness.  One area is in providing sales with “Intelligent Leads.”  It’s a far cry from where we are today–at least judging by the prospecting calls I’ve gotten this morning.

Leads–quantity and quality are always an issue, both with marketing and sales.  They are often a bone of contention between the organizations.  Most organizations, frankly are still in the dark ages in lead management and development.  Too many still think a name and number from the phone book, or an email address scraped from the web is a lead.  Too many dollars, euros, yuan, and yen are being wasted on bad leads driven by bad strategy and thinking.

But leading organizations are changing this.  Marketing automation tools have come a long way in helping us engage, nurture, and develop relationships with prospects.  The content management strategies that go along with these tools are critical in informing, educating and developing the customer.  Lead scoring tools have helped us to narrow the gap between what marketing considers a qualified lead and what sales considers a qualified lead.

But there is a richer view of the customer than that currently provided by most of the marketing automation tools.  See most of those tools are about “our” communications and engagement with the customer.  Where we have moved them on their interest/buying path.

Big data and rich analytics enable us to take things to an entirely new level.  They enable us have a richer view of the customer.  They enable us to incorporate data from many sources–internal and external.  They enable us to recognize patterns, events, opportunities.  Leveraging Big data and rich analytics will enable us to create intelligent leads–leads which engage the right prospect at the right time with the right offer.

With intelligent leads, sales people will be engage customers at the peak of interest, when the propensity to buy is highest.  They’ll know exactly what to talk to them about and how to talk to them.  Intelligent leads will turn the customer experience of prospecting from an annoying intrusion to a welcome and timely insight.

Let me take just a simple example.  I spend a huge amount of money on Amazon.  As a result, they have a very rich profile of me, based on my past purchases, every time I sign on, I see recommendations of things I might be interested in.  They are pretty much right on–and I end up buying a lot of their recommendations.  But all their recommendations are based on my history of transactions and searches at Amazon.

Lately, my wife has been “hinting” about our Christmas vacation.  She wants to go to an exotic place.  She’s been researching places like Fiji, Tahiti, and other spots on the web.  She’s started sending me articles and links, and I’ve been researching them.  What if Amazon could see that search history and start recommending travel books on Fiji and Tahiti?  (Believe me, Google sees that history and can generate a great profile, and sell the lead).

Or what if, United Airlines, started seeing that behavior, and sent me an email, “Dave, in recognition for the 10′s of thousands of miles you’ve flown this year, we’ve put together a travel package of flights and hotels to Fiji and Tahiti and are giving you a 15% discount.  Please click here.”

The timeliness and relevance of these messages, tied with a high propensity to buy make these very intelligent leads and enable them to present offers that I have a high likelihood to accept.

This isn’t outlandish thinking, many leaders in B2C sales are either doing or approaching this capability.  The capability exists in B2B sales, as well.  As a simplistic example, I see people from a company hitting on our blogs and websites, I see them searching for us in LinkedIn,  a number of people with sales management, sales operations, and finance are asking for some of our white papers..  I also know from alerts I’ve been receiving, that the company has had market growth challenges.  Their SG&A has been increasing and when you look at the fine print in the financial statements I’m guessing most of the increase is attributable to sales.  A friend of mine, who happens to be a strategic partner of the company, confirms my suspicions and tells me about a lot of organizational changes.

I’m  not as dumb as I look, so I put all these bits and pieces together, thinking,  maybe this company has a sales process problem and I should be prospecting them about how we can help improve their sales process, effectiveness.  and overall go to market strategies.  Guess what, those people want to talk to me!

Organizations are doing this at a much larger, more sophisticated level, with hundreds and thousands of customers, pinpointing opportunities and providing sales people with intelligent leads.

I’ve just presented some very simplistic examples.  The data is there, waiting to be exploited–it exists in lots of places in our companies and outside our companies–but accessible to us.  The tools are there to start identifying patterns and isolating organizations and individuals.

The capability is there to enrich our prospecting, drive better customer experience, and higher conversion rates in leveraging intelligent leads.

Leading organizations are already leveraging this capability in some way and are moving aggressively into exploiting it in richer forms.  We’ve worked with organizations in helping them do this, in one we saw lead conversions go from 17% to in excess of 80%.  Intelligent leads produce results!

Intelligent sales leads provide a rich view of the customer–both enterprises and individuals.  They’re sourced from internal and external data.  They tell you when to talk to a customer, what to talk about, how to talk to them  in a way that is always timely, relevant, insightful, and produces value.

Leveraging intelligent sales leads will change your marketing, change your prospecting, change your customers’ experiences.

Sales and marketing executives need to get together and start thinking about leveraging Big Data and rich analytics.  I think it is the next quantum leap in sales and marketing effectiveness.

Note: This blog post is from one of our featured guest bloggers, David Brock.  The post can also be found on Dave’s blog here.




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13 Scary Statistics On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jacob Shriar

There is a serious problem with the way we work.

Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.

The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.

The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.

Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.

1.  Encourage side projects

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.

2.  Encourage workers to engage with customers

At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.

3.  Encourage workers to work cross-functionally

Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.

4.  Encourage networking in their industry

This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.

13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement [Infographic]

What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.


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Supply Chain Fraud: The Threat from Within

Lindsey LaManna

Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:

  • Falsified labor
  • Inflated bills or expense accounts
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
  • Bid rigging
  • Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
  • Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
  • Unauthorized disbursements

LSAP_Smart Supply Chains_graphics_briefook inside

Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.

Build a culture to fight fraud

The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
  • Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
  • Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
  • Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
  • Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
  • Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.


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Amazing Digital Marketing Trends And Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015

Sunny Popali

Amazing Digital Marketing Trends & Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015The fast-paced world of digital marketing is changing too quickly for most companies to adapt. But staying up to date with the latest industry trends is imperative for anyone involved with expanding a business.

Here are five trends that have shaped the industry this year and that will become more important as we move forward:

  1. Email marketing will need to become smarter

Whether you like it or not, email is the most ubiquitous tool online. Everyone has it, and utilizing it properly can push your marketing ahead of your rivals. Because business use of email is still very widespread, you need to get smarter about email marketing in order to fully realize your business’s marketing strategy. Luckily, there are a number of tools that can help you market more effectively, such as Mailchimp.

  1. Content marketing will become integrated and more valuable

Content is king, and it seems to be getting more important every day. Google and other search engines are focusing more on the content you create as the potential of the online world as marketing tool becomes apparent. Now there seems to be a push for current, relevant content that you can use for your services and promote your business.

Staying fresh with the content you provide is almost as important as ensuring high-quality content. Customers will pay more attention if your content is relevant and timely.

  1. Mobile assets and paid social media are more important than ever

It’s no secret that mobile is key to your marketing efforts. More mobile devices are sold and more people are reading content on mobile screens than ever before, so it is crucial to your overall strategy to have mobile marketing expertise on your team. London-based Abacus Marketing agrees that mobile marketing could overtake desktop website marketing in just a few years.

  1. Big Data for personalization plays a key role

Marketers are increasingly using Big Data to get their brand message out to the public in a more personalized format. One obvious example is Google Trend analysis, a highly useful tool that marketing experts use to obtain the latest on what is trending around the world. You can — and should — use it in your business marketing efforts. Big Data will also let you offer specific content to buyers who are more likely to look for certain items, for example, and offer personalized deals to specific groups of within your customer base. Other tools, which until recently were the stuff of science fiction, are also available that let you do things like use predictive analysis to score leads.

  1. Visual media matters

A picture really is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and nobody can deny the effectiveness of a well-designed infographic. In fact, some studies suggest that Millennials are particularly attracted to content with great visuals. Animated gifs and colorful bar graphs have even found their way into heavy-duty financial reports, so why not give them a try in your business marketing efforts?

A few more tips:

  • Always keep your content relevant and current to attract the attention of your target audience.
  • Always keep all your social media and public accounts fresh. Don’t use old content or outdated pictures in any public forum.
  • Your reviews are a proxy for your online reputation, so pay careful attention to them.
  • Much online content is being consumed on mobile now, so focus specifically on the design and usability of your mobile apps.
  • Online marketing is essentially geared towards getting more traffic onto your site. The more people visit, the better your chances of increasing sales.

Want more insight on how digital marketing is evolving? See Shutterstock Report: The Face Of Marketing Is Changing — And It Doesn’t Include Vince Vaughn.


About Sunny Popali

Sunny Popali is SEO Director at Tempo Creative is a Phoenix inbound marketing company that has served over 700 clients since 2001. Tempos team specializes in digital and internet marketing services including web design, SEO, social media and strategy.

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4 Biggest Risks In NOT Using Social Media

April Crichlow

These days social media is critical for success in business. Early adopters have made great strides, using it to engage with customers online and find new clients. For the laggards — typically small businesses that think they don’t have the resources or need for social media — the question looms: “Is social media a fad, or is it here to stay?”

Unfortunately for these companies, social media is here to stay. There are four major risks in not using social platforms as a business tool:

  1. You risk being out of the loop. Social media is a key channel for consumers collecting information and connecting with other consumers. It is also a great opportunity for companies to engage with current customers, as well as potential customers, all over the world. By not using social media, you run the risk of losing customers, credibility, and crucial information that can benefit your business. Even if you choose not to actively participate in discussions, you need be aware and stay informed regarding conversations about your company. Don’t stick your head in the ground and hope for social media to “blow on by.”
  1. You can’t respond to negative comments about your business. When customers are not satisfied with your product or service, one of the first things many will do is complain on Twitter or Facebook, or they will write a bad review online. If you are not actively keeping tabs on these discussions and reviews, they can hurt your reputation and cost you potential business. How can you protect your brand if you don’t know what’s being said about it online? Social media is now the default platform for customer service. Instead of calling an 800 number, consumers want to send businesses a tweet or post something on a Facebook page. When they can’t find you online, they will go to a review site such a Yelp or Merchant Circle to complain and warn other customers. However, if they have a relationship with your company, they are much less likely to take such actions and will instead send you an email or a private message about the problem.
  1. You risk missing the positive comments about your business. Customers also leave positive feedback online about companies with which they do business. However, if they believe their comments won’t be read by the companies they are praising, satisfied customers are less likely to leave feedback.
  1. You risk giving your competitors an unfair advantage. If your competitors are active on social media and you are not, your rivals have a leg up on winning business from potential customers. You don’t allow for comparisons and can’t answer questions in real time. Unless your product or service is overwhelmingly superior, this is one risk you cannot afford to take!

Social media is an excellent forum to participate in discussions happening right now about your business and your industry. Building an active presence on social sites offers numerous opportunities to promote your products and services, provide outlets for customer service, and check up on your competition. It’s not too late to start using social media as a business tool…but one day soon, it might be.

If you are an SAP partner and would like to learn more about this topic, join me on Dec 1st for How to Spend 15 Minutes a Day on Social Without Breaking a Sweat. Register now: (s-user) #SAPMarketingAcademy


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