Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series highlighting the new role marketers are taking in the entire journey of each prospect and customer, from lead generation to cash in hand. Subscribe to our blog now to make sure you stay up-to-date on the articles related to the series and other Salesforce tips and tricks!
As a Salesforce consulting firm, we work closely with a variety of clients to answer a common question, “how do we improve our sales effectiveness and efficiency?”
To answer that, we need to start by examining the very first step in the customer’s journey with your organization, their first interaction with your business. Lead generation today often starts with an online touchpoint – a blog, an ebook, a Web search, a referral link from a partner or other digital source.
Many clients tend to think of the sales process as starting in the Lead object in Salesforce but it actually begins much sooner, with your marketing automation tool. That’s because your prospective customers, potential partners and vendors often initiate the sales process on their own terms through your website.
Therefore, Pardot marketing automation is an essential tool for every B2B company faced with under-performing sales teams that haven’t adapted to changing buyer behaviors.
Improving Lead Generation with Pardot
The evolution of Lead Generation has taken place quickly because of technology advancements and solutions like Pardot. In the B2B space, lead generation historically took the form of purchased lists, trade shows and cold calling. While many clients still use some of these methods (purchased lists are a no-no in using any popular email marketing system), clients are focusing more of their attention on turning website visitors into actual leads. Or using a blended mix of cold calling and inbound offers inviting cold Leads to your website.
Inbound marketing, for example, focuses on establishing buyer personas then marketing to those personas and their pain points. Providing resources that help them with challenges establishes the authority of your business while introducing them to the product or service that solves their pain point.
Pardot provides your marketing and sales team with a way to capture leads from your website as a vital technology for the Lead Generation process. What’s more, you can view the pages your prospect visited, how often they returned to the website and what emails they clicked to establish talking points during the initial sales call.
Improving Lead Qualification with Pardot
Imagine if your Leads were already qualified by the time they got to sales! That’s part of the beauty of Pardot. By offering content that speaks to the challenge of your buyer persona, and asking the right questions at the right time on your forms, you can actually qualify your leads automatically as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
But not every “Lead” is qualified to buy at the time they submit a form. By using Pardot Lead Scoring and Grading, along with Lead Nurturing (subscribe to our blog for the next article), you can help your sales team move prospects through their journey from an MQL to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
Pardot and Salesforce together offer a strong technology and process for automating this labor-intensive process, cutting through the noise and traffic that you might be getting to your website.
Improving Sales Enablement with Pardot
Improving your sales process involves Pardot lead generation and qualification tools but it also requires you to think about enabling sales team with the right information at the right time. Most clients historically have bought marketing automation systems for their marketing teams. But one of the reasons Salesforce bought Pardot was because of their consideration and design of the system as a sales tool.
Pardot tracking features enable your sales team to know exactly where their prospect is in their journey as a customer or repeat customer. For example, with tracking systems in place, you can get email alerts when prospects view a document or specific Web page. You can track new prospects as well as see when existing customers might be ready for an up-sell or cross-sell.
Pardot also enables automated Lead Assignment and notifications when a new lead comes in through the website so sales can reach out quickly to “bottom of the funnel” submissions such as demo requests, RFIs and free consultations. The rule of thumb is to have sales follow up on these types of leads within 10 minutes to improve connection times, bookings and overall closed-won deals.
Improving Closed-Loop Marketing and Sales Reports with Pardot
Never before has it become more critical to determine what marketing channels and dollars are yielding the best ROI. Data from Pardot and Salesforce can support that analysis by linking marketing activities to your Salesforce CRM data. Track how many MQLs were created by marketing; how many MQLs were converted to SQLs; how many Leads converted to Opportunities and how many Opportunities closed as sales.
Take the great reports you have in Salesforce to make smarter business decisions about how to improve your sales and marketing processes. Is your marketing team generating a lot of MQLs that aren’t closing? Is your sales team correctly creating Opportunities to enable your marketing team to see what’s working so they can identify how to improve Lead Generation and sales velocity?
Improving your sales process with Pardot through effective Lead Generation techniques is a vital first step in they journey a buyer has with your business. Consider how your current sales process impacts that first interaction with your prospect. The first touch sets the tone for the entire journey until they pay their bill (and, hopefully, come back for more)!
On next week’s blog, we will take a closer look at automating Lead Nurturing with Pardot and Salesforce integration.