An informal survey of BizConnector customers shows that the tool is being used in a number of different ways by different customers. Here, and in posts that will follow, are brief descriptions of some of them.
The most prevalent use of the tool is for lead nurturing. Applications implemented in this category range from very simple to sophisticated.
A simple lead nurturing application is:
- New leads are added – via Salesforce ‘web2lead’ – when people fill out a form on a website page to express interest about a product or service.
- A rule matching the profile of the new lead fires and schedules five to ten emails, distributed evenly over a period (usually weekly). The sequence of emails is often referred to under the category ‘drip marketing’.
- Changes in lead ‘state’ – eg. was the lead contacted? – are usually not taken into account.
So for example, if this applies to one product or service, the effort required is to:
- Articulate the strategy that drives this rule (the most difficult step)
- Write the email content for the five to ten emails (hours or days per email, depending on a number of factors)
- Create the rule (minutes or hours), test it (hours or days), then switch to ‘production mode’.
Even with such a simple application, customers report a huge benefit in that they are relieved from the tedious task of manually following up with new leads. This is a great timesaver with a big impact on the bottom line – lower costs.
To implement a more sophisticated lead nurturing application, additional todo items are:
- Leads are given an initial rating of ‘warm’ (values can be hot, warm, cool, cold).
- A rule matching the profile of new warm leads fires and schedules at least seven (*) emails.
- There are more fields in the rule condition than in simpler applications, to take the ‘state’ and other factors into account, such as whether the lead has been contacted or not.
- The ‘Check Before Send’ feature suppresses emails if the lead fields no longer match the rule conditions. This maintains relevance, so that leads are not receiving emails about products and services they are no longer interested in.
- If a lead does not respond with the period of the rule (say, ten weeks), a ‘cool’ rule takes over (because the warm rule updates the lead rating to ‘cool’).
- The ‘cool’ rule schedules, say, ten emails over a longer period (say ten months). This rule is effectively dealing with the ‘long tail’.
And if you are feeling adventurous, these additional steps make for a powerful application:
- Create a rule to fire when recipients click on a link in an email
- Embed a question in one or more emails to get instant feedback
More effort is required here than in the first example, but is still manageable:
- Articulate the strategy that drives the two rules and the relationship between them.
- Write the email content for the emails for both rules (hours or days per email)
- Create the rules (minutes or hours), test them (days), then switch to ‘production mode’.
In addition to the benefits as for simple applications, customers love the ‘intelligent’ responsiveness of:
- suppressing emails when they are no longer relevant
- switching over to the ‘cool’ rule for non-responsive leads
- rules firing when recipient click on links in emails
- getting responses to the embedded questions directly in the records without having to mess with cumbersome uploads from spreadsheets, etc.
Automated lead nurturing was ‘top of mind’ when Lead Follow-Up was first released on Salesforce AppExchange in 2007. But it is not the only reason why customers use the tool – workflow applications can be implemented too. Come back again to see more posts on this.