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One Funnel, Multiple Cohorts: Tips for optimizing different lead management processes

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11 November 2021

“Apples, oranges, and bananas.” If you ask my Mom how she describes her three daughters (of which I’m the youngest), this is what she’ll say. While we’re all her children, we are as different as the day is long: different professions, different motivations, different dwellings, different past times. Appealing to the diverse needs of your different children is one of parenting’s super powers.

If only we could be as nimble when it comes to appealing to a diverse batch of leads. Your customers likely come from all over the spectrum: from enterprise companies with large buying teams, to SMB and mid-market companies. And in a world of highly individualized marketing and sales, we need to generate a variety of leads and nurture them as they make their way through the funnel.

So does that mean we need to parcel out your lead management for each cohort? 

The short answer is no. However, consolidating your lead management process into one funnel will make lead management more efficient and effective while also differentiating among leads to direct different motions toward small, highly targeted groups.

Keep reading: We’ll explain how. 

Unique Considerations for 3 Types of Organizations

Every type of organization has its own unique considerations. 

  • Enterprise customers often bring large, unwieldy buying teams to the table and have more drawn-out buying processes, leading to longer sales cycles. However, deal sizes are larger.
  • SMB and mid-market customers have smaller buying teams and a shorter sales cycle; the tradeoff is slightly smaller deal sizes.
  • eCommerce buyers have their unique considerations, too. Much more self-directed than traditional buyers, eCommerce owners drive their own purchases and sales and often turn to one-time transactions. 

If your organization caters to all three, you might find yourself in a tight spot. How do you sort and nurture your leads while also executing different marketing motions for each cohort? 

For example, enterprise customers might need highly individualized content and messaging over a long period of time, whereas SMB customers may just need the right top-of-funnel content to assure them you can fill their needs and a quick follow-up before making the handover to sales.

Efficient Lead Management

So, to effectively reach your leads, do you need three separate lead management processes? Not necessarily. In fact, many martech stacks won’t allow you to perform multiple lead management processes accurately. 

Instead, consolidate your lead management process into one funnel with multiple cohorts. 

Choosing one comprehensive CRM to handle your lead management has three primary benefits: 1) automated lead processing and data generation, 2) a more efficient, integrated system that keeps all your data in one place, and 3) better visibility, so you can stop lead loss before it happens. 

A martech consultant can help you choose the best CRM for your needs. 

Just because all your leads are in one system doesn’t mean their marketing motions shouldn’t be differentiated. Your process should start with developing a holistic plan for different marketing and sales scenarios. For each scenario, you should identify three things:

  1. Clear definitions for each stage in the funnel. When is a lead marketing qualified? When is a lead sales qualified? 
  2. Keys to conversion or high-probability indicators. Identify the top signals that indicate a lead is ready to buy. Lead scoring can help you visualize this—but first, you need to define the key factors that lead to a purchase. 
  3. Service-level agreements (SLAs). If you don’t have the handoff between marketing and sales down, you’re going to lose leads. Your SLAs should lay out who does what and when, for each customer type. They should also identify clear metrics for success. 

Once you’ve got that down, you can use martech to identify, group, and measure each cohort. Tracking lead data and keeping it in a single system can help you quickly (and even automatically) sort leads into cohorts, while lead scoring can help you track what your leads are doing and where they’re at in the funnel. 

Much of lead management is simply not letting leads fall through the gaps. Effective lead management avoids duplicate data and wasted time by keeping all of your leads in one place but also allows you to differentiate buyer groups and execute different marketing motions based on the unique needs of each cohort.

Ashley Shailer
By: Ashley Shailer
VICE PRESIDENT,
MARKETING
Ashley has spent more than ten years designing and implementing world-class demand creation and lead management strategies that leverage the latest in marketing technology. She’s held client-side and analyst roles in marketing systems and marketing operations, and consulting roles that leverage her unique expertise in lead nurturing, account-based plays, content, messaging, and social media strategy for more than 40 clients.

In her spare time, she can be found enjoying a good super hero movie, a solid single malt, and dessert (not necessarily in that order).
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Ashley Shailer
By: Ashley Shailer
VICE PRESIDENT,
MARKETING

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