Evolve Lead Capture to Relationship Capture In Two (Plus Three) Steps | Next-Gen Lead Capture Part II

This is Part II in our series on Next-Gen Lead Capture. Read Part I.

Sales, the actual transaction not the process, don’t happen once a lead is captured — it happens when a relationship is built and the customer conversation is under control. Capturing that badge info or business card and putting it into salesforce.com is only the beginning, the true work begins when you start to build the relationship and control the customer conversation. The most fine-tuned marketing and sales organizations (called ‘Challengers’ in some circles) have started to evolve to this updated workflow of lead to relationship building to conversation control.

Thinking back to lessons learned around renting lead capture devices, one common goal for high-performing marketing and sales teams is reducing the friction around transitioning leads from capture to relationship building, and ultimately controlling the customer conversation. Naturally it seems that marketing, especially event marketing, could do a better job from the very beginning of controlling that conversation in order to reduce the sales cycle and build more longer lasting customer relationships.

In our quest to move towards a next-gen lead capture we should immediately start to look towards ways to more quickly capture relationships and move our sales teams into the customer conversation. But how? It’s easier than you might think and it doesn’t always involve technology. Below are four ways you can start the move towards next-gen lead capture today

The Top Of The Funnel Has Moved: Stop With Lead Count Goals

All too often we head out to events with a lead goal in mind. Even beyond events we all have a top funnel approach that revolves around capturing as many leads as needed to achieve revenue objectives. The problem? This approach is completely wrong, and worse it leads teams to waste resources and money in droves. While some folks believe the funnel has flipped, and it has, I view marketing and sales as a series of filters.

Leads are full of junk and must be sifted a few times in order to figure out who is ready for the relationship building stage —  this process can often take months if not years via strong nurturing programs. Filter one is all about the first “meeting set” stage of that relationship and that is really where you should align your marketing goals. Leads feed the meetings, but when you focus on a big lead number you lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing: the relationship!

When you start to measure the success of marketing by meetings set for sales rather than leads, you begin to see a big shift in the mentality, and ultimately the work done by the team. No longer is it about getting as many badge swipes as possible at a trade show (and passing out hundreds of worthless tchotchkes) but rather providing an interactive demo on the show floor and capturing pertinent relationship details in order to help sales get to that next meeting.

Over the years we’ve seen teams dramatically shift resources and their approach to marketing when they focused on meetings set rather than leads.

Chop the funnel!

Turn Lead Capture Devices Into Relationship Capture Machines

Now, a bit of technology advice. Because you have been focusing on that big lead goal as your measuring stick, you have been fine with basic inbound forms and those pesky rental lead capture devices. But when you are focused on relationships and meetings you can shift your mentality a bit and start worrying about capturing relationship details. Empowering your teams, whether marketers or sales, with a lead capture app that fits this mold is key.

We’ve talked about this a bit before, but let’s boil it down to three ‘must-haves’ for your next lead capture solution (assuming you are as sick of those rental ones as we are):

1. Work With Devices You Already Have

Today there is no reason not to simply convert your mobile device(s) into a lead capture tool. Apps now allow that to happen (obviously Overpass by Captix is one alternative…I mean we ARE in marketing here). When looking at these apps consider not only support for both iOS and Android, but also ease-of-use and how quickly you can get sales up and trained on the app itself. Do yourself a favor and test out the app first, then pick a guinea pig in sales to test this out while they are traveling around over the next month. Remember, lead capture is not just about events, a good lead can be captured while running through the airport to make  a connecting flight. Can the app allow sales to capture the lead and the relationship context?

2. Capture Context Not Just Phone Numbers

Speaking of relationship context, be sure that the app can not only collect all the pertinent info on a business card or badge, but that it also allows sales to then collect relationship context. This might simply be an easy way to collect notes, or a survey that can be personalized in real-time depending on the needs of the sales person Legacy rental devices are known for being difficult to change when it comes to surveys so be sure you can do this on the fly to capture the context that builds the relationships.

3. Integrate Into YOUR Workflow

Next-gen lead capture is all about enhancing your current marketing investment through integration of captured leads. Be sure that you have seamless integration every popular marketing automation and CRM solution. But more importantly confirm that your team can easily route lead context data whether at a major trade show, regional roundtable, or dashing through the airport.

Next-gen lead capture allows marketers to collect context to build relationships, control the customer conversation, and realize never before witnessed ROI. But it takes a vision of how to evolve your current measurement standards, technology tools, and sometimes mentality. In Part III we’ll start to face some of the more tactical challenges of next-gen lead capture…the business card as a gateway drug.