An outpour of leads can be a bad thing—particularly when they are not qualified and/or relevant. Faced with the challenge of scaling quality, the marketing team at USA Financial was delivering hundreds of leads to sales every month—but had difficultly determining their worth.
Ada, MI-based USA Financial Marketing is an independent marketing organization that wholesales annuities and life insurance, and provides independent financial advisers marketing and financial adviser tools. The marketing technologies USA Financial employed provided no insight into its marketing programs’ effectiveness or the ROI of its marketing programs, nor were they integrated with sales technologies.
The ongoing result was frustration within both marketing and sales. Intense comprehensive review found that the sales team was spending too much time with prospects, trying to determine whether or not they were qualified, and most of the leads marketing turned over to sales were ultimately not converting into qualified opportunities.
“Not only was this overwhelming to our sales reps, but it was very frustrating as well,” said Raeanne Thompson, vice president, marketing services at USA Financial. “Our reps were essentially searching for a needle in a haystack and felt like they were spinning their wheels.
Systematic Lead Defining
USA Financial decided to take a process-oriented approach that, combined with the proper marketing technology, would allow it to understand each marketing activity’s exact value. It chose The Annuitas Group, a Silverpop Engage B2B strategic partner, to help it build a lead-management process that included database segmentation, lead qualification, lead scoring and lead nurturing. Working with The Annuitas Group, USA Financial then implemented the process using Engage B2B’s lead-nurturing, lead-scoring and lead-qualification functionalities.
To better ensure sales productivity and efficiency, it was important to disqualify prospects that didn’t meet certain criteria before the leads reached the sales force. Using surveys powered by Engage B2B, USA Financial began to ask incoming prospects qualifying questions that captured demographic data (example: revenue, type of adviser and manner of insurance being written) to determine if a lead was qualified.
As each lead came in, the lead score would tell USA Financial whether the lead should be disqualified, put into a nurture program, or routed to sales automatically through integration with Salesforce.com. Sales was then able to feed reporting data back into Silverpop Engage B2B. With the help of Silverpop and The Annuitas Group, USA Financial implemented this entire “closed loop” system in just a few months.
“Prior to implementing our process with Silverpop Engage B2B, there was little opportunity to measure the effectiveness of our marketing programs,” Thompson said. “Now we use the Engage B2B dashboards to track leads in our pipeline and the impact of our marketing programs in driving those leads. All of the information we need is readily available for us to analyze.”
Increase in Sales Pipeline
Today, marketing is providing more qualified leads to sales, and the sales pipeline has increased by more than 50%. Additionally, USA Financial is able to understand the value of each marketing activity.
By combining The Annuitas Group process implementation with Silverpop’s Engage B2B solution, USA Financial has been able to refine and maximize the roles and scope of its marketing and sales teams. “Sales focuses on closing deals, and marketing zeroes in on delivering sales the highest-quality leads,” Thompson said. “Because sales appreciates the value of the leads we are now delivering, the relationship between marketing and sales has become much more collaborative.”
In addition, using the Silverpop Engage B2B solution enabled USA Financial to enjoy greater success at its monthly Discovery Day events, a major conversion driver in which potential clients get hands-on training in USA Financial’s products and services. “There is a 70% likelihood that once a financial adviser attends our Discover Day event, the adviser will engage with USA Financial and implement the strategies and services we provide,” Thompson said. “Because we are engaging with much more highly qualified advisers, the number of qualified Discover Day attendees has increased significantly, which has a considerable positive impact on our outcome.”
Finally, the marketing team can now accurately pinpoint the value of its marketing expenditures. “Before, we would spend thousands of dollars to launch a program and not know how effective it was,” Thompson said. “Today, we can monitor success and performance of our campaigns. This is especially important as we can move forward with the marketing that provides us the most ‘bang for the buck.’”