A strategy to identify hot leads and facilitate the work of the sales team
The commercial structure of GRAPHISOFT Italia involves a series of authorized resellers who manage contacts on a geographical basis. The company has over 15,000 prospect contacts in its CRM, so it is necessary to indicate to the sales team which leads are ready for a commercial contract to make their work more effective.
In 2019, GRAPHISOFT Italia adopted HubSpot Marketing Hub Professional to implement its Inbound strategy with the collaboration of Sinfonialab, an Italian HubSpot Solutions Partner. Giulia Sicurella, the Marketing Coordinator at GRAPHISOFT Italia, explains the reasons behind this choice:
“Before HubSpot, we didn't have any lead management tools. We collected the results of our activities in Excel files without even understanding how many new leads an activity had generated.
We were looking for a solution, but we imagined a simple database, possibly with integration with some email marketing systems. Sinfonialab offered us so much more. HubSpot allows us to manage our activities in a single platform, integrating lead generation with services ranging from email marketing to paid advertising.”
The goal of the strategy is to create a bridge between marketing, which will qualify leads through personalized content and automation, and sales, which will be able to focus their efforts on these qualified leads.
Using workflows and lead scoring to qualify leads
In the beginning, there were various entry points through which prospects could become contacts of GRAPHISOFT Italia. Once they entered the HubSpot CRM, they were assigned to the contact owner (i.e., the reseller in their area) but were not classified in any other way.
The qualification process followed three steps:
- Content enhancement
- Creation and implementation of workflows
- Lead Scoring to qualify contacts.
In the first months, we focused on enhancing and diversifying the lead acquisition channels: free webinars, blogs, social media, the e-learning platform. We have also produced a series of e-books, “lead magnets,” that follow the buyer's journey. The response from a performance point of view was good. Still, the contacts were isolated: once the contact had filled out the form and downloaded the e-book, email marketing communications on that specific topic did not continue.
We had already implemented the segmentation of leads in dynamic lists to personalize communications; it was time to create a specific engagement path by building logical sequences for emails based on lead actions.
“After an initial settling-in period and massive content creation, we focused on building automated workflows," Giulia continues. "For us, this was crucial because our industry includes strong competitors and a long evaluation period before the purchase, so it's vital to create a bond of trust between the lead and the brand before the commercial approach. With the help of Sinfonialab, we have therefore designed different lead nurturing paths based on user behavior.”
We created the first workflows focused on a single event: downloading an e-book, Archicad 30-day free trial, signing up for a webinar, etc. These flows send leads a series of emails with content related to the specific topic, such as blog articles, tutorials, or invitations to download another e-book.
After a few weeks, we looked at user behavior. We found that leads often access multiple workflows in parallel, typically because they download all e-books simultaneously or download an e-book and sign up for a webinar in the same period. Therefore, we have organized the workflows to gradually accompany the most active contacts over a more extended time. Remaining in the example: if a contact downloads all three e-books at once, particular instructions within the workflows ensure that all the contents are queued instead of arriving in parallel. Emails sent through workflows have so far produced, on average, an open rate of 55% and a CTR (Click Through Rate) of 27.5%.
Now that we had built a rich system of touchpoints and personalized automated communications, we could identify the most active leads to qualify them for the benefit of the sales team.
Through HubSpot's lead scoring system, we set up a series of parameters that score leads based on their actions. We considered all of the lead's activities across the board, not just those related to workflows: website visits, blog visits, event participation, etc. Each action corresponds to a score, positive or negative.
For example, the lead earns points for opening or clicking on an email, site visits, filling out a form, attending a webinar; conversely, he loses points if he hasn't opened any marketing email at a particular time.
Lastly, we created an internal workflow that alerts the referring salesperson when the lead is hot. If the lead exceeds the scoring threshold we chose, the salesperson will receive a notification alerting them that the lead is an active prospect and ready to be contacted.
“Lead scoring helps resellers a lot in organizing their work,” Giulia explains. “Today, we finally have a system that works, a lead database that is constantly updated and shared with the sales network, an effective marketing strategy that we can monitor at any time.
Also essential is the creation of automatic workflows for lead nurturing: all the material we create in the various channels is no longer an end in itself but is an integral part of what we share with the Leads to increase the strength of the brand and the trust we transmit, and to bring them closer to the purchase with less effort from the sales network.”
Qualified leads quadruple and increase contact and growth opportunities
In the first six months of activation of lead scoring, Marketing Qualified Leads quadrupled, growing by 330% over the previous year. This new line of communication between marketing and sales has facilitated the work of salespeople, who have been able to focus on genuinely interested leads and give them the appropriate attention, which was not possible when contacting many more prospects.
The content enhancement also had positive effects, especially in the growth rate of leads, which increased by 121% in 2020 compared to 2019. Despite the particular year due to the pandemic crisis, 2020 also saw commercial results grow (+5%), and the services on which the most significant focus was placed, such as the e-learning platform, increased by 25%. Furthermore, the first months of 2021 have seen a commercial growth of 14% compared to the beginning of 2020, and if we look only at new sales, even 33%!
More than 20 lead nurturing workflows are currently active. As lead magnets and opportunities available to the audience continue to grow, new workflows and lead scoring properties will help better engage and qualify leads.
The long-term goals are to continue increasing the number of entry channels and, through the knowledge of contacts and their behaviors, to further segment customer types to make marketing and sales activities increasingly audience-centric and increasingly effective for GRAPHISOFT Italia.
Giulia concludes: “It’s increasingly evident that the path taken is the right one. Not only are we getting important feedback on revenues, but we're getting to know our customers and our target audience better. The creation of increasingly personalized content and segmentation is a natural and exciting consequence of these actions, which in the long run will make the automated part of the Journey that leads a prospect to be ready to buy more and more efficient.”