When it comes to lead generation, timing is everything. If you don’t reach the right consumer at the right stage of their shopping journey with the most appropriate message, it’s a wasted opportunity. Accordingly, when your data is not timely, it can’t tell you when the time is right to reach out to your target consumers, which means you have only a shot in the dark at effective marketing.
Don’t Jump the Gun
Many marketers make the mistake of acting on early signals of intent way too soon, because it’s the only signal they get. Too many organizations have their sales reps call a lead as soon as they download one piece of content. As a recent blog by Quintain Marketing points out, “Ideally, only certain forms should trigger a lead to the MQL stage, such as direct business offers and other sales-ready calls to action (CTAs).” But, many companies expect their sales reps to call as soon as a lead downloads one top 10 list.
Just because you downloaded a company’s Top 10 List, doesn’t mean you want to speak with one of the company’s sales reps right now. In fact, you are probably in the very early interest phase of your buying journey. There are a number of reasons why it’s not a good practice to automatically call a lead as soon as they download one piece of content. It is, quite frankly, an annoying experience for the consumer who is now left with a poor opinion of the brand, making her less likely to buy from that company in the future.
What is crucial is contacting your leads with the right message at the right time in their buying decision journey. If you come on too hard, too soon, you will blow your chances. If you wait too long to get into the game, you’ll lose out to the competition that got in at the right time.
But, the legitimate challenge is knowing where each consumer truly sits in their buying journey. To make the argument for the businesses calling as soon as a lead downloads one piece of content, most companies only have insight into what actions consumers are taking on their own web properties; and they have no insight at all into what activities they may have engaged in with other brands and third party websites. Perhaps they are actually further along in their buying journey than their one action on your website indicates.
How to Get the Timing Right
The right data source will provide you with a complete look at the consumer’s journey, so that you have insight into where exactly she was in the journey when she downloaded that Top 10 List.
If it was her very first action, you know it’s too soon for a sales rep to call her. Whereas, if that data reveals she has already visited several different websites over the past several weeks researching this purchase, then she is further along in her journey and it may be exactly the right time to call.
If the data tells you that she’s actually narrowed her options down to just your company and a competitor’s company, you know that she is in the decision phase of her buying journey and you need to move quickly to provide an enticing offer for your to choose your business over your competitor’s.
Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, retention marketers face a great challenge in trying to reduce customer churn: no way to know when a customer is leaving to go to a competitor until it’s too late. When you don’t know a customer is defecting, there’s nothing you can do except hope you can stay in touch until the next time they are in the market.
For example, many mortgage lenders have traditionally relied on credit pulls or MLS triggers as their main indicator that a customer is about to defect and go to another lender. While, in the past, this may have been better than nothing, it is pointless if you don’t get that indicator until it’s too late to take action on it, which is usually the case.
With access to the right data set, you can see when your customers are actively shopping for the services you already provide to them or for complementary services you could cross sell to them. When you have these indicators that they are researching these services, you can act at exactly the right time with the right tactics and messages.
How Would You Prefer to Work?
With the right data, you can identify an active buyer early in their journey and educate that consumer with the right content to nurture them appropriately through all stages of the buying cycle.
Without timely data about your consumers’ journeys, you will just continue working based on guesses, which means you will be getting it wrong more than you are getting it right. Which way do you want to work?