5. Reduce headaches by bringing order to the Capture and Processing of marketing responses
This is often not given much attention as it’s not sexy… it’s all about taking something inherently messy and convoluted and making things tidy and organized… making everything that follows better.
Step 5: Capture and Process
This deep dive into the fifth step of the Marketing Optimized Framework posted previously.
- Simplify and reduce confusion on how data should enter our systems
- Enforce data capture requirements for reporting and lead management and streamline requirement to keep completion rates high
- Standardize lead enrichment for consistent processing
- All these ensure leads get processed properly and quickly
This is one of the areas in operations that gets little fanfare but is critical to running the business effectively. It is a centralized lead intake process for processing all responses to all marketing activities so that they can be evaluated for readiness to pass on to sales teams. Typically this process doesn’t include leads that are sourced and already being worked by the sales teams.
From Step 4, we have coordinated our marketing to amplify message and effectiveness. We now focus on the process of collecting the responses generated from optimizing our marketing processes.
For the most part, marketing responses will fall into these categories:
- Form submissions (web form, chat, form as a button, etc.)
- 3rd party form resubmit, API data transfer, etc.
- List loads (manual / ftp / etc.)
Streamline how people and systems can send marketing responses into the system for processing. Keep this simple to ensure there isn’t confusion on how to do this. This also gives you control over catching problems with missing data (email, country, campaign ID, campaign channel, UTM values, etc) so it can be dealt with before it gets obscured but down stream processes. Your list may be different, just think about key fields you need because they can’t be enriched for reporting and processing. Note data requirements can be different by source. This is where you can continue to evolve the process to make it simpler and easier for users loading data to ensure you have all you need to report and route eligible responses.
After meeting basic data completeness requirements we tackle data quality. This is also a good place to do data standardization, aligning the values being sent with the acceptable values. Here we will also want processes to eliminate junk (these are things like Mickey Mouse or banded words etc) that we know will be junk. This is an ever-growing list that you build on but can also include some logic like no single character first or last names etc… These will not be perfect and are meant to reduce the waves of form SPAM and we have to be ok with losing a tiny portion of possibly legitimate outliers.
The next layer is the Business Rules Filter. Some companies will go as far as reject emails with Email Service Provider (ESP) domains. This can work if you state it up from on forms and your prospect don’t have reason to use ESPs… for instance, government employee often use personal emails for marketing material they are actually interested in because government SPAM filters are extremely strict and don’t let in marketing. This can also include records for certain countries the company cannot or has decided not to do business in.
It is a good idea to have the upload process summarize the list for the uploader or daily summary for source owner in terms of:
At this point, the data is accepted, and we will enrich it with additional data. It is important to centralize this process to be efficient and eliminate data conflicts. There are many other reasons this should be centralized and are talked about in this great blog post by Vinny Sosa Centralize Data Enrichment . The clearer this process is the better for troubleshooting, data compliance audits, and requests for information.
Initially, this may be a simple process where you use one data vendor and connect them into your MAP or CRM. Whichever system you choose I recommend you set it up so records need flags to be enriched. That way you have control over ensuring the appropriate records are enriched (budget accordingly). After deciding where you want to connect your enrichment processes, you will need to decide what data to enrich on Company and Contact records. Think about what data you need in these categories:
- Scoring Models
- Routing, Assignment, and follow-up
- Derivative values (Segmentation, Persona, etc)
You will likely find the breadth and depth of data for your target prospects will vary by type of data and you may need more than one vendor especially after you account for price. If you have multiple data vendors, I recommend creating an iterative tiered process, where you start with lower cost enrichment first (ideally this fulfills the majority of the incoming responses) and use higher-cost enrichment if you are still missing fields. You may also want to keep a set of fields that stores the Data Vendor specific data and one set of working fields that users see and use… so you can analyze data from different vendors (quality and coverage). Once the record is enriched they are ready for Scoring and Prioritization.
A side note about forms as this is a large portion of marketing responses. In general, want to reduce friction and ask as little as possible. Only ask what don’t know or can’t enrich or need to validate (for compliance, scoring, assignment, and follow-up). Keep working towards zero questions.
I’m not a believer in one set of form fields for all occasions. The “intrusiveness” of the form should match the value of the asset and the value of the asset should match the marketing stage. If able, consider tiered access to a gated resource center. The idea of authenticating to access info is more palatable than gate form in front of every asset… and tiered access gives you the benefit of progressive forms. The progressive nature of the questions can also help you gauge commitment. Having said that, realize not all content should be gated… early Marketing Stage content I would recommend not gating as this is for people new to our company and we want a chance to get them interested.
There will be some field you will want to dynamically enrich/validate while the user is on the form. While most enrichment should take place after the form submit, there are some fields that only the user can correct or are key to being able to enrich after the form submit. These are the one we should enrich/validate on the form on submit so we can ask the user to correct if validation fails. For example, we can use a data vendor to enrich country, company and domain info base on visiting IP… but sometimes this can be wrong and we’d want to make sure the user can correct or input these so we can ensure the right privacy compliance steps are taken and data enrichment for company object can be correct.
In addition to reducing fields to encourage conversion, you might try different layouts and content that promote why they should share their info. This can range from thumbnails or previews of the asset to promises of contact cadence and respect to their privacy.
This is something that has been talked about in B2B marketing for 5+ yrs. But it is still really hard to do. Most companies still have lead-based funnels but it makes so much sense for marketing to align with sales and organize around Buying groups (SiriusDecisions: Demand Units). If you want to use Buying groups, you will need to add one more layer of logic before passing responses to the Score and Prioritize Human follow-up step. Here you need the logic to identify and group contacts into Buying groups. A simple example is one where the sales team sells to Country HQs. Your logic will look at the matching rules for buying persona and if the contact matches one, it checks to see if there is an active Buying group for this company (create one if there isn’t) and adds the contact to it. This object will aggregate the responding contacts that are part of the buying group and their info and activities. If you have multiple product/product groups that are supported by separate sales teams then instead of having a Buying Group per company you will have a Buying Group per product group and company. This will get populated similarly as before except you use the Product info of the campaign they responded to and decide which product-specific Buying group they are added to. Sales teams will need some rules of engagement for contact that span more than one Buying Group for prioritizing follow-up and coordinating calls and meetings.
Here are some tools I have had exposure to, comment below if there are others… share what kind of user it is good for and what it can do for operationalizing Company Segments and Target Contacts.
See chart at https://marketingoptimized.wixsite.com
Originally published at https://marketingoptimized.wixsite.com on January 29, 2021.