Last week, I introduced the concept of Four Dimensional Lead Scoring, in which leads are no longer given a single score that must be dissected and interpreted, but rather assigned four qualifiers relating to Buyer Persona, Buyer Journey, Engagement and Velocity. At any time, a sales rep or marketer can look at a color-coded 4D snapshot of a lead and decide what to do next. Let's take that a step further now and address that "what to do next" idea. If we think about the buyer journey as a linear progression, what we normally do is create a content map that delivers appropriate content to buyer personas as they naturally progress through the sales funnel (i.e. in a straight line and often at arbitrary time intervals). What if we could be a bit more personalized and "agile" as our leads engage with us?
Many of us live in big cities with subway systems. Most of them have several "lines" that go from a starting station to an end station several miles away with multiple stops in-between. Usually these lines are color coded to keep things simple and easy to identify. The Blue Line in Boston's MBTA, for example, goes from Bowdoin to Wonderland with stops at Logan Airport and several towns along the way. What works really well is at several stations, you have the option to transfer to another line, which gives you the ability to travel just about anywhere in the system by reading a map. This is exactly what I have in mind for content mapping: a subway system with transfer stops based on buyer intentions and changes in status.
The GREEN LINE is the express train to sales. If a lead has all green scores in her 4D Lead Scoring plot, she gets a ticket to this line. Her stops along the way might include:
G1 - Top Funnel: Super relevant, highly targeted educational piece written by a peer in the industry. Something akin to a post by a columnist you subscribe to and read every day. For me, that would be a sports writer updating me on my favorite teams, games and inside-the-locker-room intel.
G2 - Mid Funnel: Exceptional value offer to engage. Personalized invitation to collaborate on topics of interest. Not a sales call. Ask the buyer what she would like to talk about and set up a call.
G3 - Mid Funnel: Personalized thank you and list of additional helpful, relevant resources.
G4 - Bottom Funnel: Personal (not personalized) call or email to set up a deeper consultation.
Note: The GREEN LINE is relatively short, and there aren't a lot of stops. The train is pretty fast too, so the timing between stops is relatively short.
The BLUE LINE goes just about anywhere and is really where leads get "sorted out." It's designed for people with mid-range (yellow) scores in multiple 4D lead scoring categories. On the BLUE LINE, riders sort themselves out by the content they choose and, most importantly, by the answers they give to conversion form questions. For example, if they answer "within one month" to a question about "purchase decision," that would change their Velocity score to the Green Level.
B1 - Top Funnel: A general education piece about trends in the industry or exciting new developments that aren't well known. You might introduce one or two questions about industry or role that can refine a lead's Persona score.
B2 - Mid Funnel: A process piece that lays out different pathways to success and possible outcomes based on real data. You might ask a question or two about current activities or next steps that update the lead's Journey score.
B3 - Mid Funnel: An options piece that presents a list of resources to download or attend. By choosing one or more of these options, a lead can self-segment by Persona, Journey, Engagement and Velocity.
B4 - Mid Funnel: A personalized piece listing the Top 5 most relevant blog posts based on the lead's engagement history and persona.
B5 - Mid Funnel: Personalized CTAs and Website Content continuously updated with the next BLUE LINE content that have not yet been consumed by the lead.
The BLUE LINE is the commuter train, and many of its riders are content to read the paper (on their iPads) or take a nap. Some riders have been on the train since last night! It takes a long time to get from the first to the last station on BLUE. No one's in a hurry, unless, of course, they push the Emergency Brake button and choose to get on the GREEN or RED lines right away.
The RED LINE is where unqualified leads go to be processed for removal from your funnel. Yellow and red 4D Lead Scores across the board (especially in the Persona category) automatically qualify these folks for a ride home.
R1 - Personalized piece that sends the lead to one or more "Dear John" pages where you list places to go for more information. Your workflow removes them from further lead nurturing, and you update your CRM with "unqualified" lead status.
R2 - Give them one more chance to redeem themselves with a contact form in which they can ask specific questions and/or select from a list of options for further communications.
R3 - Remove all personalized content from CTAs and website content and replace them with your standard, generic content.
You may have noticed that there's no Bottom Funnel content on the BLUE LINE. Why? Because in the fourth dimension, they need to transfer to the GREEN LINE to get to the Promised Land. At each "station," we are monitoring their 4D Lead Scoring, and a workflow is standing by to transfer them to GREEN status if certain criteria are met. For example, if a lead updates her Company and Role to a GREEN level in one of the forms on the BLUE LINE, we might immediately transfer her to the GREEN LINE and continue nurturing her toward a sale. Or if her content engagement suddenly accelerates (multiple visits or downloads in a single day), and she is otherwise qualified by Persona, we might hand her a GREEN LINE ticket or hand her directly to the Sales team.
So Transfer Logic is the fourth dimension, and it can go in multiple directions, from GREEN to BLUE and BLUE to RED, or the reverse and everything in-between depending on changes in 4D Lead Scoring.
Would this be easy to implement? No, it would require thoughtful understanding of buyer personas and buyer journey, and it would take a lot of careful planning to do it well. What would be the benefit of this approach? It would take us much closer to being able to automate the process of successfully sorting and nurturing leads—the real promise of marketing automation.
What are your thoughts? Are you ready to board the GREEN LINE?
Photo credit: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.