…And More Proven Ways to Get Better Lead Management Results

What I Learned at the Marketing Sherpa Lead Generation Summit

 by Kimberly McCormick, Director of Corporate Marketing, Bayshore Solutions.
The Lead Gen Summit is the second Marketing Sherpa Summit program I have attended (the past one was their B2B Summit in 2012) and I can’t say enough about the quality of actionable, well presented and game-changing marketing and lead-gen wisdom that Dr. Flint McGlaughlin and his Marketing Sherpa-MECLabs team (as well as the vendor-agnostic presenters) bring to Summit participants. I am such a fan because each and every principle taught is thoroughly supported by real world testing and validation. Hands on application of the concepts are used in live exercises and I am enveloped by ways I can immediately incorporate learnings into my marketing activities to get better results.
Here is a recap of the key Lead Generation Summit concepts that teach marketers to see, with new eyes, our marketing processes and communication touch points, using the science underlying why a customer says “yes” or “no”.

Lead Management is focused into three pillars

  1. Lead Capture
  2. Lead Qualification
  3. Lead Nurturing
Summit presentations deep-dove into principles, success tactics and case studies in each of these areas – BUT, the prerequisite to everything involves taking a step back and literally inverting the way we “normally” think about marketing.
The key points of this refocus are:
  • Leads are people, not targets
Sounds like a simple statement – but I was alarmingly surprised at my own experience of professional marketing assumptions, typical behaviors and “best practices” that actually fight versus support this.
  • People are not falling into the funnel – they are falling out
A huge and complete re-set on the way we all were taught in Businessschool (more in just a bit…)
  • The marketer’s job is to optimize the thought process of prospects
“We are not optimizing webpages or call scripts, we are optimizing thought sequences”
  • To optimize thought sequences, we must enter into a conversation and guide it toward a value exchange
Some intense psychology and science was presented that underscore the factors affecting the force of value that we create in every aspect of our marketing touch points – and how we are using that to either advance or deter us from our marketing goal.
It was eye-opening, to say the least, to gain a new understanding about how to recognize and redirect, given this new perspective.

About “The Funnel”:

 The concept of the sales funnel is in fact the primary analogy for marketing – in that all marketing should influence a decision. Now here’s where Marketing Sherpa flips it all around:

Gravity is NOT your Friend!

  • The funnel image we were taught distorts marketing reality. It must be inverted.  People are not falling in to the funnel, they are falling out. 
  • In fact, they are really climbing up the sides on one or more of a variety of paths of funnel-ascension represented by our various marketing channels.
  • There are a series (in some marketing scenarios, literally dozens) of micro-“Yes’s “ that our prospects are choosing on their way up to the macro “Yes”; becoming a Sales lead (and even more before the ultimate “Yes” of becoming a customer).
  • AND – Just one “No” along this sequence will cause the prospect to fall entirely out of our funnel.
Here’s what the concept looks like:
Key to incorporating this model in Marketing is to:
  • Understand why our particular customer prospects says “Yes” and
  • Craft each aspect of our funnel sequences to achieve those Yes’s all the way up
Here is the “Nutshell” version of the tactical steps to best-performance lead management and the snapshot from my workbook of the Lead Management process:

Tactical Steps:

  1. Achieve internal alignment between the Sales and Marketing teams concerning your
    Ideal Customer Profile &
    Universal Lead Definition
  2. Discipline the database so you can clearly understand the specific motivations of each lead.
  3. Conduct a thorough analysis of the data in order to prioritize lead nurturing efforts.
  4. Establish a responsive scoring system which scores leads based on key behavior triggers.
  5. Craft targeted content to match the prospect’s motivations at a precise moment in time.
  6. Deliver leads off to sales once they achieved the optimal intensity (as defined in the ULD).
  7. Hold Regular “closed loop huddles” between Marketing and Sales to ensure the right balance between quantity and quality.

Details of the 3 Lead Generation Pillars:

Lead Capture

Find the Perfect Balance between Lead Quantity and Quality
The critical components of Lead Capture are the Product (the essence of the offer) , the Presentation (messaging ) and the Channel.   Although marketers traditionally focus on optimizing the channel, we really need to optimize (for the thought sequence and decision influence of our customers-not just for search engine visibility and ranking algorithms) in this order:
The Product
  • Is this the optimal offer for our customer?
  • Is it worth it to them : Is the value > the cost?
Before the marketer can begin capturing leads, he or she must answer one essential question:
If I am your ideal prospect, why should I be interested in your product rather than any other solution?
When the marketer has optimized an authentic product level value proposition (by adequately answering this question), they can move to the next component…
The Presentation (message)
Here, marketers must understand and guide the customer’s thought sequence here with the goal of bringing clarity to the messaging.  In a nutshell, Clarity Trumps Persuasion.
In this area, we became intensely familiar with MecLabs’ Conversion Hueristic:
It looks a lot like an excerpt from my long-lost algebra homework, but it is actually the expression MECLabs developed through thousands of tests to describe the elements in play in any particular marketing presentation that either add to or detract from a conversion action.
Exercises around this concept had us understanding and recognizing these elements in sample marketing pages or ads, and even live examples of participants’ current website conversion pages.
We then discussed the why and how of treatments to the pages that would take the prospect’s value balance from this:
 (Perceived Cost Outweighs Perceived Value = NO)
To this:
(Perceived Value Outweighs Perceived Cost = YES)
This involves ensuring the value proposition is expressed by every element of the message (i.e: Webpage or touch point) including:
  • Headline
  • Body copy
  • Images
  • Call-to-action
  • Navigation
  • Design
Once the product and the message have been optimized, then channel strategy optimization can be built on a solid foundation.
The Channel
Key aspects to address in ensuring we are selecting and optimizing the right Channels:
  • How does each specific channel affect the message?
  • Are we clear on the primary objective of the channel – and how are we setting up to achieve this?
  • Do we understand the channel’s role /purpose/capacity in relation to:
    • Our customers’ thought sequence?
    • The channel strategy/expectations?
    • Any competitive presence?
This all rolls up to ensuring that our channel messaging:
  • Captures attention
  • Convents the attention into interest, and
  • Motivates the interest into the next stage in the conversion process

Lead Qualification

Distinguish between Sales-Ready Leads and Unqualified Prospects
The key components of Lead Qualification are:
  • Internal (Sales & Marketing) Alignment
  • Disciplined Data
  • Responsive Scoring
Marketing & Sales Alignment:
Lead Qualification is the Bridge between Marketing & Sales – who are two specialties on the SAME Team.
The first step is forcing clarity (alignment) with two defined and agreed upon standards:
  1. The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
    The ICP describes the optimal capacity of a sales ready lead.
    It is defined with aspects at the company level (Size, industry, budget, infrastructure, etc.) and
    champion person-specific champion level (Role, authority, influence, motivations, their goal, etc.)
  2. Universal Lead Definition (ULD)
    The ULD describes optimal intensity of a sales ready lead.
This is defined with answers to the:
  • Relevance,
  • Importance and
  • Urgency
of the solution in the mind of the prospect
Disciplined Data:
  • Marketing data should drive prioritization of lead qualification efforts.
  • The goal isn’t to collect all possible data but enough customer information to predict customer behavior.
  • Company level, Person/Champion level as well as behavioral data should be applied to categorizing inquiries or web visitors against your ICP and ULD.
  • The principles we learned under Lead Capture combined with a strategic communication between marketing and Sales should determine the “ Must have” versus “Nice to have” data – as well as what stage in the relationship is the appropriate time and the best method to gather this information.
Responsive Scoring:
  • Most Leads are not sales-ready Leads
  • The marketer needs to be able to map the cognitive progression of a lead as she/she moves up the funnel
  • The Hand-off to Sales needs to be at the point that the lead achieves the optimal lead Intensity – Not too soon or too late.
  • Lead scoring is responsive, based on customer knowledge and behaviors, associating numerical values to these data
  • The purpose is to assess the intensity of a lead – its readiness for hand-off to Sales.
  • Lead scoring is meant to prioritize, not replace, human touch.
Here’s a snapshot of the lead management scoring flow:

Lead Nurturing

Nurture Curious Shoppers Into Knowledgeable Buyers
Lead Nurturing is a process, not an event.
It requires the marketer to deliver:
  1. The right message
  2. To the right person
  3. At the right time
Delivering the Right Message:
  • Lead nurturing is not a monologue – it is a dialogue.  People don’t buy from companies – they buy from people
  • The marketer needs to participate in the lead’s conversation (This includes their internal thought process) and guide it toward the desired conclusion (i.e.: the next step, or the sale)
  • Effective Messaging requires Empathy – this is the most important and often overlooked skill of a good marketer.
    • A Marketer must be able to empty our own and the company’s perspectives in order to see and feel with the leads’ perspective.
    • This enables us to identify with the market and achieve empathetic messaging that will power conversion.
Talking to the Right Lead:
  • With complex sales tests have shown that tailoring the specific offer to a specific lead persona yields greater results.
  • This  utilizes defining and detailing your different buyer personas, over the various stages in their buy cycle and focusing the value proposition that addresses:
    • If I am (identify specific buyer persona or prospect category here) , why should I buy from you versus any other of your competitors?
Acting with the Right Timing:
The 3 stages in Lead Nurturing timing are:
  • Objectives in this phase: marketers should seek to build the problem – and awareness of the solution.
  • The desired conclusion: “This is something I might need”
  • Great content tools here include: email, short white papers, videos…
  • Objectives in this phase: marketers should seek to build trust – and establish a relationship
  • The desired conclusion: “This is something that is reliable-that I can trust”
  • Great content tools here include:, detailed white papers, demos, webinars…
  • Objectives in this phase: marketers should seek to apply natural urgency and recognize the point that the lead has matched the optimal intensity and should be handed off to Sales.
  • The desired conclusion: “This is something I want”
  • Great content tools here include: conversations, quote requests, price promotions…
These concepts provide a thorough and powerful blueprint for building your marketing lead generation strategies, campaigns and processes to yield powerful lead-gen results.
The digital marketers and web experts at Bayshore Solutions use such conversion optimization and end-in-mind orientation in creating your web assets and digital marketing strategies.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you grow your business


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