Fergus states that Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) won’t turn into Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) by themselves – this phase can’t be automated and requires human interaction.
I agree with Fergus about the necessity of an additional role which businesses should consider. This role should help submitting qualified leads for the sales team. Mark Roberge, VP Sales at Hubspot has also talked about this by distinguishing the Hunter’s job from the Farmers.
But how would this function know which leads are qualified for their sales team? Well, Marketo is offering their scoring system, which based on user behavior on your website, which is a really efficient tool!
However, how would you know what leads are doing inside your APP?
For example, would you react differently if a new signup of yours signed up once and didn’t invite new users for your service rather than a user who logged in 3 times and invite 2 of his colleagues? Of course you would! You would like to invest more on the second user which reflects a higher level of engagement, won’t you?
And what if several users have entered one of your most important pages which suppose to lead for a sale and then signed out and never go back? you would probably want to look at that page again and figure out conversion issues, right?
This is why Totango service also offer the engagement score that would show you in-app engagement involvement.
But why compromise on one of the solutions – why not use them both?
This is why Totango and Marketo have joined forces and now Totango is also offering integration with Marketo’s services – this is how you could both know what’s happening in your application, get analysis on wha’t going on your app and then use Marketo strong nurturing tool to send your users exactly what they need to know by the stage they’re stuck on or need help with – the perfect match – Totango’s Lifecycle Marketing with Marketo’s automated nurturing – can you afford not to have it?
So how do you know which sales model is best for you – zero touch vs. low touch vs. high touch vs. field?
In his last tip from the Sales 2.0 Convention, Mark Roberge, VP Sales at Hubspot explains that it’s really depends on your buyer, what you’re selling and the full sales context and it does require some experimentation.
Preferably you should aspire to go on no touch or low touch as possible as the economical will always be best if you can pull that off.
But it is best to simply run experiments – set 100 leads to no touch and 100 leads to low touch and check the conversion rate, revenue, Customer Lifetime Value and in SaaS see what the CAC to LTV is (Customer Acquisition Cost to Lifetime Value) and what the payback periods are and take the approach which has the best economics.
Furthermore, as mentioned in many of my previous posts, it is highly recommended to keep a thorough and updated Cohort Analysis for your metrics so that user behavior would come out accurately. This is the only way a successful SaaS business could reach the right consequences and choose its suitable sales model!
Yes so, zero touch versus low touch versus high touch versus fields, the quick answer is it depends, unfortunately, and I’ll walk through the dynamics. It really depends on your buyer and what you’re selling in the full sales context. And it’s gonna require some experimentation. I think in general you’d prefer to go as no touch or low touch as possible.
I think the economics will always be best if you can pull that off. But hey, if you’re wondering, “Here’s a lead that has 50 employees in this particular segment. Should this be a no touch or a low touch or a high touch?” You run experiments. You send a hundred leads like that to no touch, you send a hundred leads like that to low touch, and you see what the conversion rates are, you see what the revenue is, you see what the lifetime value is, in a SaaS role you see what the LTV to CAC and the payback periods are, and then whichever ones have the best economics, you take that approach.
Another tip from VP sales at Hubspot Mark Roberge at the Sales 2.0 convention re top-of-funnel strategy.
Mark recommends on keeping the top-of-funnel as wide as possible and worry about the filtering and the quality further down at the funnel.
Most companies don’t know what type of a customer will convert and this will allow tracking a whole bunch of data that can be analyzed later.
However, the danger in that strategy is when passing all those customers to your sales team, it could lead to ineffectiveness and waste of their time so it is recommended to use filtering at this stage so that the most quality stuff is being transferred.
I highly recommend at the top of the funnel keeping it as wide as possible and worry about the the filtering and the quality further down to the funnel, and the reason being is especially when you are stunning out and most people are starting out with inbound. You actually have no idea who’s going to work out, what type of marketing tactics are going to work, what types of buyers are going to actually work well in your funnel, so keeping it why it is, possible allows you to capture a whole bunch of data to see what actually progresses through.
The danger in that strategy comes when you pass everything to the sales team, because that can lead to a lot of ineffectiveness in recent time by that sales team so with that process you want to have a lot of filtering to make sure that the most quality staff is actually getting down to the sales team.
And as you gather data and gather more and more leads, you will continue to optimize that process.
At the Sales 2.0, I’ve also met Mark Roberge, VP sales at Hubspot, who gave me some sales tips.
On today’s video post, Mark explains the difference between Hunters and Farmers sales skill sets and recommends to protect the hunters from doing the farmers’ job as finding good hunters is hard and we don’t want to waste their time on doing things they’re not skill to do.
I agree with Mark that a business should know to distinguish between those roles and have each of them focus on their own specialties. As discussed in my post: “Does your SaaS Business have a VP Customer Success?“, Some B2B sales leaders have the farmers focused on customer success. Others now call themselves “Chief Revenue Officer”. Either way, we can see more and more of these roles in the SaaS industry lately and therefore can conclude this distinguish exists and becoming more and more acceptable.
To read the full transcription of the video, click here
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About Totango: Totango analyzes in real time customer engagement and intention within SaaS applications to help you grow your business
You’ve got hunters and you’ve got farmers. The hunters are typically out there, generating new business, finding companies that don’t know who you are and turning them into new customers. You got farmers, who are really good at building those relationships, helping them see the hour line of your product and getting them to spend more money with you overtime.
Usually those skills are extremely different, and it’s really hard actually, I think, to find good hunters. The last thing I want them to do is spend more time on farming, more time making their number, not with my new lease and new companies. So, I wanna really protect that asset and also, I think, it’s such a different skill set that I want it separate.
Managing a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business isn’t trivial. Successful SaaS companies are able to deal with a high volume of leads and turn those into a high volume of loyal customers with fast response and turnaround time.
This is often referred to as the ‘sales and marketing machine’ – a highly optimized, massively scalable and controlled business operation that is capable of:
Continuously increasing the service value, differentiation and offerings.
In order to build a ‘sales and marketing machine,’ companies need to invest in the tools that will get them the business scalability that is required and reduce the learning curve.
Many startups begin with homegrown solutions using spreadsheets and databases (with a bit of integration glue in between). This is sufficient for small scale, but quickly becomes unwieldy as the organization grows. Luckily, there are excellent tools available for SaaS companies to leverage.
Many vendors have a “starter” package, so there is really no excuse not to start building your tool-chest sooner rather than later.
The Customer Life-Cycle
To best understand where the different categories of tools fit, it’s best to look at the various stages of the customer life-cycle, as they evolve from early prospects to mature customers.
At Totango, we use the following customer life-cycle terms:
Visitor – Anonymous user on the website
Lead – Person who has expressed some interest in the service. This can be anything from downloading a white paper to signing-up to a trial
Evaluating – A user (or company) who’s actively evaluating the service usually during a trial period or fermium
Onboarding – A paying customer in the initial usage period
Mature – A paying customer who has been loyal to the service beyond the initial usage period
With those definitions in mind, it’s easier to associate solutions and tools to help carry customers through every phase of their life-cycle.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM is a common way to keep a reference of all customers’ life-cycle stages. CRM organizes all contacts’ information and account details in a single database, so it’s vital you select a tool that fits your needs and can grow with you.
Specifically, your CRM software will be the main working software of your inside sales teams as they organize account work mainly during the sales life-cycle phases.
Web analytics tools keep track of visitor activity on your website and various other marketing properties; this is where you keep track of your top-tier leads funnel, measure the initial success of marketing and advertising programs, and work to improve visitors’ experience with your products’ properties.
Mainly the marketing team, though other users in the organization (product team, IT) will need to use it as well.
Select list of Web Analytics solutions Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool. It’s immensely powerful, feature-rich and free. But there are other good tools your marketing team should look at, such as Clicky, WebTrends that provide additional useful views into vistiors’ actions.
Marketing automation takes you beyond basic web-properties and aims to help you interact, build, and cultivate a relationship with leads, so they can ultimately be passed on to your sales team and “convert” to happy customers.
This is your marketing team’s main toy!
A post marketing (sales & customer success) solution stack for SaaS companies does not exist yet. Enabling the buying process (converting leads), ensuring customer success, and increasing service value, is something that I feel is needed and missing in the market, and this is what we’re building in Totango.
Having all the above tools in place enables marketing, sales and customer success teams to effectively do their jobs and be an integral part of the ‘sales and marketing machine’.
Having said that, it’s crucial to have a single business dashboard available to the executive teams that allows them monitor the business end-to-end.
The SaaS dashboard should include operational metrics, trends and key business performance indicators (KPI’s), which allow the business owners, get ‘the full picture’ of the business, identify bottlenecks and allow to teams to take appropriate actions.
The SaaS model presents an opportunity to run a predictable and high-volume business. The first step is to put the required business infrastructure in place in order to monitor, analyze and optimize the sales and marketing machine operation continuously.
In coming posts, I’ll discuss in further detail the actual attributes of the SaaS dashboard.