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Tip #8 – Gain Insight into Your Lead Lifecycle with Date Stamping

Tip #8 – Gain Insight into Your Lead Lifecycle with Date Stamping

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Easier than going to the post office in December, add a little date stamping to your marketing automation process to gain lead lifecycle insight.

We have released ten marketing automation tips  to make you a little more productive. Like presents, some are small, some are big–but enjoy them all.

Tip #8 – Gain Insight into Your Lead Lifecycle with Date Stamping

The goal of a lead funnel is to have leads go into the top of the funnel and come out the other end with dollar signs attached. An efficient funnel is one that produces the most revenue with the lowest cost in a timely fashion.

Sounds like common sense but streamlined funnel management is one the top challenges organizations face today. According to the CMO Council, only 30% of CMOs have a clear process or program to make marketing and sales alignment a priority.

Sales and Marketing alignment around SLAs and terminology is a key part of this process. Today, we are going to to explore how organizations can start building the measurable model after that alignment process is completed.

The Importance of Date Stamping

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There are numerous model factors to consider but here is one tip that can serve as your model backbone—date stamp everything. You know all the important dates in your life like your birthday and anniversary. Knowing the dates of your leads’ lifecycle events is key to gaining insight into your funnel process.

Date stamping offers marketers the ability to find aging leads that are stuck in the system and run kick start campaigns. From a Sales perspective, lifecycle dates offer intelligence into the age of a lead. Dates also provide organizations with the ability to perform advanced analytics and cohort analysis.

  • How many MQLs were created last month?
  • How many of last month’s MQLs converted to Opportunities?
  • Last year, what was the conversion rates of each of our lead sources?
  • Are leads stagnating in a certain stage?

Example: Don’t Let Leads Get Stale

Fresh is always better than frozen–treat your leads the same way. By date stamping, organizations can see if leads are stagnating by running reports like below.

The red and yellow columns represent leads that have sat in MQL too long without receiving a call (assuming a 2-day SLA). The goal of this report is to find operational gaps to ensure that Sales follows up with leads on a timely basis.

stagnatingleadsexample

Where to Get Started

The key to measuring success is to begin date stamping when the lead moves from one stage to another. I’ve seen that stamping occur on either the CRM side or on the marketing automation side. Personally, I like to see the stamping occur on the automation side so it can tie into other lifecycle workflows. A couple of tips:

  1. Create date fields. Create a Date formatted field for every status you want to track. If you want to get granular, use the Date-Time format.
    • Example: MQL Date, SQL Date, Won Date, etc.
  2. Create separate lifecycle campaigns that listen for the status change.
    • Example if using Marketo: If status becomes Open, then populate MQL Date with the current date.
    • marketolifecyledates
  3. Time stamp the appropriate field using today’s date. If using Marketo, leverage the system date token as shown below. Don’t overwrite the existing date if a date already exists. These lifecycle dates should be treated as a first touch just like going through a turn style at a sporting event. If you want to get more complex, create a second set of overwritable date fields.

datestampflowmarketo

 

Fast Track Leads

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One last thing to consider is how to deal with leads that skip stages and fast track through the lifecycle. For example, if John becomes an MQL and then jumps to an Opportunity after a Sales call, he will have skipped the stages in between.

There are numerous ways to handle fast tracked leads. The high level answer–like a daisy chain, give credit (date stamp) to all the stages in between at the time they are skipped. I will cover this advanced topic in a future post but feel free to contact me if you have questions in the meantime.

Summary

Understanding when leads move from one stage to another is essential to gaining insight into the success of your lead lifecycle model.

Good luck with your stamping.

Other Tips from the Series

 

About Jeff Coveney

Jeff is an accomplished marketing expert with more than 20 years success in generating demand and creating buzz for leading technology organizations. Jeff is the founder of RevEngine Insider and regularly consults via RevEngine Marketing.