There’s a shift happening in many B2B organizations. Marketers are swapping out their catch-any-lead-that-comes-in inbound marketing nets for the more targeted harpoon approach of account-based marketing. The latter involves different marketing strategy, different technology, different metrics, and different processes both on the marketing and sales side.
As the name account-based marketing implies, your sales and marketing efforts are focused on a pre-defined list of target accounts that match your ideal customer profile.
Since Salesforce does not link leads to accounts, your reps will want any leads from your target companies immediately converted over to the matching account record in Salesforce so they can track all account activity in one place.
Understanding the Lead’s True Status
If you have marketing automation workflows making decisions based off of Salesforce Lead Status values, this early lead conversion creates some real challenges. Here’s why:
In a typical inbound marketing process, a “converted” lead status usually means there’s been a conversation, the lead has been qualified, and is interested. But with account-based marketing, leads are often converted prior to any conversation.
So now you have two types of “converted” leads. One means the lead is engaged and interested, the other means the lead could have no clue who you are, or what your company does. To provide the most appropriate and relevant next action, marketing needs to know what the real status is.
The problem is that Salesforce’s out-of-the-box contact record doesn’t leave marketers, or their marketing automation platforms, with a field to reliably gauge where the contact is in the buying process. However, if during the lead conversion process, a rep adds a prospect to an opportunity, marketing will have a clear indicator. But if the prospect wasn’t added to an opportunity, there’s no way to know the lead’s true status.
So here’s what you do.
Step 1: Create a contact status
To get a more telling view of engagement and interest for converted leads, create a custom picklist field on the contact object called Contact Status, and give it the same values as your Lead Status picklist.
(Your sales and marketing process might warrant slight variation between the two, but for the most part they should be the same.)
Now you can get a much more granular view of what’s happening with a given contact. You can use this Contact Status in your nurturing logic, in any automated task creation logic, for building exclusion lists in your campaigns, and more.
But remember to adjust your marketing automation smart lists to now look at both the Lead AND Contact Status.
Here’s an example of how to do that in Marketo:
Step 2: Create Marketo smart campaigns to automate the correct initial value of the Contact Status
Your reps will have to keep the new Contact Status updated as they work a contact, just as they would with Lead Status on a lead. But there is one important step you can automate, and that’s setting the correct initial value of the Contact Status immediately after lead conversion.
For example, if a rep receives a lead with a Lead Status of “Assigned,” and they immediately convert it to an account prior to any engagement, set the Contact Status to pick up the same Lead Status value it had just prior to being converted. To do this, you’ll need some smart lists and a smart campaign.
Here’s a smart list to identify prospects who were converted, where their most recent Lead Status value prior to being converted was “Assigned.”
You’ll want to create a separate smart list for each Lead Status change to converted. Depending on how many values you have in your Lead Status picklist, you’ll end up with a folder of smart lists similar to this.
Once you have all your smart lists built, you’ll setup your smart campaign where the trigger is Lead is Converted.
And in the flow, after a brief initial wait step, you’ll use the Member of Smart List in your choice logic to determine what the initial Contact Status should be.
It’s a fair amount of work to setup. But if your reps are going to convert leads to contacts prior to engagement, your marketing campaigns and your automation workflows will benefit greatly by having more to key-off of than just Has Opportunity or Does Not Have an Opportunity.