D365 In Focus: Transform Your Organization with Sales Tool Belt [VIDEO]

In this Dynamics 365 In Focus video, Venkat walks through the Sales Tool Belt app created by PowerObjects. We love to create apps and add-ons based on customer feedback and functionality requests, and the Sales Tool Belt is no different! We created this app to give sales teams easier access to their CRM information while they are traveling. It has a host of useful and convenient features for those of you on the go. Watch this video to learn more!

PowerObjects Proudly Presents: How PowerObjects Uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Lead Gen

Are your sales and marketing teams stuck in individual silos? At PowerObjects, we use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to join our teams together with one goal: Lead Generation. Leads are the name of the game, but not all leads are created equal. One solution is to use Dynamics CRM and marketing automation to gather and report data about individual marketing campaigns, lead funnel, and more!

[php slug=amp-video-embed]​

Join us on Tuesday, September 27, for a webinar that dives deeper into how PowerObjects uses our PowerPack Add-ons and Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help our marketing team nurture our leads to sales-ready. There is no lead gen solution or strategy that will magically create leads of quality, but this is a good example of how we found a tailored solution perfect for our needs.

The webinar will be presented by Chris Baldock, our Digital Marketing Data Analyst (aka our Data Dude). Chris knows data inside and out, and the great thing about Dynamics CRM is that data is the lifeblood and that makes everything flow. Get a little sneak peek about a few of the topics Chris will be going over by checking out this episode of The CRM Minute.

This is the first webinar we've put on of this kind, and you won't want to miss it! REGISTER NOW! This webinar is a bonus webinar in our Getting Started with Marketing Automation and CRM series. You can watch part one here and register for parts two and three as well. Don't miss a minute of this exciting topic.

Can't make the webinar? No worries! A recording of this webinar will be published on our website for anyone who can't attend. Register for the webinar and we'll send you a follow-up email with a link to the recorded presentation. That way you can watch it when it's convenient for you!

Happy CRM'ing!

Best Practices for Business Process Flows

A visual representation of business processes can add value to any organization, whether it's about working a sales opportunity to close or assisting customers through a support issue. Business process flows in Dynamics CRM are powerful tools for this purpose. In today's blog, we cover some basic best practices for working with business process flows in Dynamics CRM.

So, why use business process flows in the first place? There are many advantages to setting these up, provided that your organization already spent the effort researching and documenting key business processes after extensive requirements gathering sessions. Using business process flows can help:

Encourage user adoption and facilitate entry of key data.

Upon the creation of records with business process flows, users will see an outline of key information they need to fill out in order to keep moving forward. Users don't have to scroll down to find and enter required fields, as it's all presented on the first page. For reporting purposes, we can surface the key fields in the business process flow that management would require to run reports.

Standardize common processes.

Many organizations don't have well documented processes, and instead rely on the experience of their top performers to close sales and cases. Business process flows provide an excellent opportunity to implement the habits of those top performers and standardize it across the organization. It is important to seek out and gather the knowledge of these rock stars during the requirements gathering phase of the project.

Customize processes by user role.

Business process flows in Dynamics CRM allow system designers to show or hide processes depending on the user's role. This helps tailor the experience for sales teams that have unique steps to go through. The system can hide other irrelevant business process flows so the user is focused on the processes they need.

Get new employees up to speed with your business processes.

Some organizations have high turnover due to the nature of their industry. Implementing business process flows will help guide new employees on what their next step should be, thereby serving as their informal personal trainer. Key fields are surfaced on the business process flow
to make sure users document the most important information needed to stay productive and meet their performance numbers.

Best Practices for Configuration

After going through the design and implementation of business process flows, there are some noteworthy tips to share:

Get input from management and users on business process flow functionality.

First and foremost, it is of utmost importance to demo the business process flow
early on to your organization to receive their input on the functionality, as it will likely be a brand-new concept for many users.

Best Practices

The out-of-the-box stages available in a typical Sales business process flow for an Opportunity are:

1. Qualify

2. Develop

3. Propose

4. Close

These stages are a good starting point, but you are not limited to them as they may be renamed and new stages can be added. Custom processes that may benefit from visual stages should also be discussed and evaluated.

Chart the business process flow design by user roles.

Should the audience prove receptive to the functionality, the next step is to chart the different business process flows as needed according to the different segments of user roles. An example of this would be the need for different business process flows for unique sales business units, as they may sell different services and are evaluated according to different performance standards.

Add all required fields to the business process flow.

To facilitate data entry for users, it's beneficial to add all required fields to the business process flow for easy access. Please note that business process flows can assign some fields as required before the record can transition to the next stage.

Use business process flows as checklists.

For the initial implementation of a business process flow, it may be useful to advise the organization that they should be used as a "checklist" of sorts. This means there may fields that may not traditionally be on the record, but are exclusive to the process. These typically take the form of Yes/No fields.

If you are the system designer, don't be afraid to add custom fields that will be used exclusively for the business process flow. When creating them, it may be beneficial to prefix them with bpf to differentiate them from other fields on the database and reporting side.

Use shorter labels.

Due to size limitations of business process flows, it's important to keep concise, short labels as CRM will not display the full label if it's too long. Luckily, business process flows allow you to assign unique custom labels for each of the fields when in customization mode.

Also note that business process flows can only contain up to nine fields comfortably by stage. Any more fields than that may be overwhelming for users and may not display properly on the users screen.

Add a Stage Category to record views.

Need to add the stage information of the business process flow to record views? No problem! Simply add "Stage Category" or other relevant field to Views.

Go into View customization, select Add Column, choose Record Type as "Process Stage," and add "Stage Category" as a column to your View.

Business Process Flows

As we've seen, prep work and research is needed before we can consider planning the design of our Business Process Flows. However, once properly implemented, they can add immense value by helping to establish common processes among your users.

Got any tips to add to the list? Let us know in comments or check out: Two Tips for Business Process Flows!

Happy CRM'ing!

How Sales and Marketing Can Get the Most out of CRM . . . Together!

Competition is good; it motivates, it makes us better, and weeds out poorly executed ideas or plans. But sometimes competition within different business departments can be harmful to the business as a whole. A great example of this is the discord that can exist between sales and marketing. Today we'll be talking about how to get your sales and marketing teams to work better together with CRM!

Sales and Marketing

The Great Divide

Technology has helped bridge the great divide between sales and marketing but often these two departments are placed in silos and have zero communication. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools have helped businesses bridge that gap. Through a company's CRM, you can monitor a lead's journey from new to closed-won. Of course, as you may know, it is easier said than done. To get the most out of your CRM there needs to be an understanding, a contract if so inclined, between sales and marketing. This agreement helps the sales team and marketing team understand and remember what their goal is: business growth.

The Question

There are regular discussion topics when marketing and sales have a meeting. Well, really just one: LEADS. How many leads do we have? Where are we getting more? When are we getting more? How much have these leads bought? What is the return-on-investment (ROI) for this campaign?

Answering the last question is our focus and is the blueprint for bringing sales and marketing together. Why? Finding the ROI brings the cost of the campaign (marketing) and how it turned into business (sales) together to give us an answer. On the flip side, if you think about the answers to the other questions we asked there would be blame thrown on either sales or marketing. Blame is how the divide grows but ROI is something everyone can get behind. ROI helps make business decisions.

So we turn this on you. Do you know what the real ROI is on your marketing campaigns? If you're not sure, it's time to find out.

The Tool

If you're on our blog, you most likely have a CRM or have worked with a CRM. If you don't have a CRM, welcome! It's never too late to begin receiving information about your organization from CRM software. By 2017, the CRM market worldwide will hit $36.5 billion. With that type of money there are plenty of options to choose from, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one of the top choices.

Whichever you choose (we recommend Microsoft Dynamics CRM obviously) it's important to make sure you can get the most of your CRM data. Most CRMs can give you basic information on leads, lead source, phone calls, status, and plenty more right out-of-the-box. The one thing you need to make sure you have is the ability to score your leads. Being able to score leads helps you understand where individual leads are in your pipeline, how long does it take to closed-won, what content the lead has consumed, and most importantly, your ROI.

At PowerObjects, we have developed add-ons for Microsoft Dynamics CRM that help us understand the data behind the leads. Some of the top add-ons we use include PowerWebForm, PowerWebTraffic, PowerScore, PowerMailChimp and PowerNurture. With these add-ons we can see where the leads came from, how many times they've visited the site, what the lead's score is within our funnel, and create personalized marketing materials for each persona. We use all of this information to make better business decisions and understand our ROI through CRM.

FYI

Within a blog of 1,000 words or less, there isn't a lot of time to discuss the behind the scenes work that goes into getting the most out of your CRM. To this day our PowerObjects team meets on a weekly basis to discuss our plans for lead generation and understand what is working and what isn't. Before we even began our own projects, we sat down with multiple stakeholders within the organization. We discussed what works with our lead process and what doesn't. We created rules that outline the project's objectives. We used data and an understanding of our business to create persona buckets that we can place our leads into and nurture them with personalized content. We created nurture campaigns for each persona. Plus, we created a sales and marketing macro funnel to help visualize where a lead enters and where it goes as it interacts with our content.

To get started, keep the process as simple as possible. Keeping it simple can help you implement a minimal solution quickly. Getting it started ASAP will help you collect data and modify your marketing and sales campaigns to better fit your leads' desires. This process needs to be monitored constantly and reported on, at least, bi-weekly.

Pro Tip: Find someone that understands the capabilities of your CRM. This person can be in-house or a company of record but you should have an expert that can create the rules and edit the lead scoring without issue.

The Answer

The answer to how sales and marketing can get the most out of CRM together isn't easy. Some will say it's a sales problem, others will say it's a marketing issue, but it's important to remember that your problem isn't an individual department one, it's a business problem. CRM is the glue for your sales and marketing departments. It will help you find your ROI and then optimize your lead generation. Giving you a process to create customers more efficiently but most importantly grow your business! Learn more about CRM and all the ways it can help your organization with these interactive videos!

Happy CRM'ing!

So You Got Leads: Now Nurture Those Suckers!

Congratulations, you've got leads! Now what do you do with them? That is an excellent question, and one that we'll discuss today.

Leads

First, let's define a lead as someone who may be interested in your services, products, or content, but is not yet "sales-ready." More and more, leads are spending a significant amount of time doing independent research and discovery before they're every ready to talk to a sales person. Your goal is to help nudge them in that direction by nurturing them.

Basically, you want to get your lead funnel from looking like this:

New Leads

To looking like this:

New Leads

A nurture program is a way to touch those leads who could possibly be a customer in the future, but aren't ready yet, and get them closer to that sales-ready point.

So how do you create a good nurture campaign for those leads? It comes down to creating quality content, a steady "drip" of emails, and a system for automating the whole process. Let's dig a little deeper into each of these areas.

Create compelling content that is emotional, informative, or entertaining.

Content is still king in so many ways, and in a nurture campaign good content can help push those leads down the funnel and get them closer to sale. Remember, the whole goal is to get them closer to sales-ready.

Here are some content tips to keep in mind.

Think about the timing and frequency of your nurture emails.

Part of the concept of nurture is that you create multiple touchpoints over a period of time, and those touchpoints have a cumulative effect on your leads to move them down the funnel. You'll have to figure out the frequency of emails that makes the most sense for your organization, your products/services, and your audience.

Find an efficient way to automate your nurture program.

As an organization totally focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, our approach naturally uses the capabilities of CRM to create nurture campaigns. When you combine CRM with our PowerPack add-ons for marketing automation, you have powerful tools at your fingertips to nurture leads effectively and efficiently.

For instance, we can use PowerEmail or PowerMailChimp as a means of creating the campaign content and sending out emails. We can build the nurture campaign flow with PowerNurture. And we can also tie in additional add-ons such as PowerWebForm (to generate the leads initially), PowerSurveyPlus (to take information-gathering surveys), or PowerWebTraffic (to see what your leads are most interested in on your website).

Leads

So there you go—a primer on how to start thinking about setting up an email nurture campaign to get those leads ripe for the pickin'. Feeling inspired? Give PowerNurture a try for yourself and see how easy it is to create drip campaigns in Dynamics CRM!

Have fun, be creative, and happy CRM'ing!

FantasySalesTeam, from Microsoft is Going to be Your New Obsession

The Super Bowl may be over, but that doesn't mean the fun is! For all of you Fantasy Football lovers, your favorite sport game is about to “touchdown” in your office! FantasySalesTeam, from Microsoft, a new feature part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional and Enterprise editions, has been released for previewing. What is FantasySalesTeam and what does it do? In today’s blog we’ll give you a little peak into the new game. Annnnnnnndddddddd hut!

red-people-outside-sport

FantasySalesTeam is a new gaming solution that is designed to help sales organizations set their teams up for success by utilizing fun team-based competitions. The game can help boost sales productivity, revenue, and user adoption for sales organizations who are struggling with their team building and overall success.

If you’ve played any sort of fantasy sports game, you know the general idea. FantasySalesTeam uses its own fantasy sports-themed games to engage users to “draft” teams within their organization. What’s the point? The team mentality inspires participants to really get involved and invested in each other’s success. Because anyone can see the results, participants are inspired to collaborate as well as compete with other teams to create positive and impactful cultural changes within an organization.

Here are a few of the things you can do with FantasySalesTeam:

If you already have Dynamics CRM Online Professional or Enterprise editions, you can get FantasySalesTeam for FREE! Want to learn more? Check out the FantasySalesTeam preview release. There’s also a support forum you can reference for any questions or support. Give it a try and let us know what you think, and most importantly, have fun!

Happy CRM’ing!

How to Hide the Lead 'Qualify' Button without Coding

Leads are an integral part of the sales process for most organizations, and with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the lead qualifying process is seamless and user-friendly. Leads become ‘Qualified’ when there is an Opportunity. For some organizations, all of the sales staff can qualify leads, however, there are others that prefer leads to only be qualified by a sales manager or supervisor. Luckily for those using Dynamics CRM, the lead Qualify button can easily be hidden from some users, all without coding!

You can decide the CRM permissions and capabilities for a particular user by modifying their ‘Security Role’. Please note that in order to alter Security Roles in CRM, you need administrative access. Let’s get started!

Say for example, you wish to modify the Security Roles for the salespeople within your organization. You need to make sure that only the sales manager is able to qualify leads and that for all other users, the lead Qualify button is hidden.

First, you need to access the Security Role settings for the group or individual you need to modify permissions for. In this example, we are going to change the settings for all users designated as ‘Salesperson’.

As you can see from the image below, once we pull up the permissions, we can easily change what is and is not allowed for entities within CRM records and designate whether access should be granted or denied. The permissions you can modify are create, reset, write, delete, append, append to, assign and share.

1

As you can see below, now, no Qualify button is available for this user.

2

Clicking on Lead Qualify button will also create the following records:

  1. Account
  2. Contact
  3. Opportunity

Hence, if we restrict the ‘Create’ privilege for all security roles except for the Sales Manager for either Accounts or Contacts, or for both, then all users, with the exception of the Sales Manager, will not see the Qualify button when they view active leads in CRM. Now only the users with the desired permissions will be able to qualify leads.

That’s all for today! If you want to learn more about the lead process in CRM and how it can benefit your organization, check out our CRM Book for more great tips. And remember, PowerObjects has many great solutions for your business, including lead management software, salesforce automation, and more!

Happy CRM’ing!

Sales Buzzwords of 2015: The Best, The Bad, and The Blah

 

Buzzword-Blog1

In the world of sales, things move a mile a minute. You can win or lose a sale in a matter of seconds, and stiff competition is just par for the course. As a salesperson, you want to make a positive, lasting impression on your potential clients, and in order to do that, you need to sound professional and knowledgeable. Depending on your industry, you may find yourself using what are commonly called, buzzwords. Buzzwords are words or phrases that are popular and trendy at a particular time or in a particular context. They can be great when used to convey relevance and showcase your knowledge base, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily use them all the time. In fact, some are so cringe worthy that they probably shouldn’t be used at all!

The problem with overusing buzzwords is that you can run the risk of alienating your customers if they are not familiar with the terms you’re using. It’s important to keep in mind that just because you know what they mean, doesn’t mean the customer does. Buzzwords often have little real meaning and serve more as a way to impress your audience with modern industry slang rather than deliver any real value. Sure they might sound impressive, but what value are they actually adding to your sales process?

So how exactly do you know what buzzwords to use and what to avoid? We put together a list of the best, worst, and the meh buzzwords we’ve been hearing so far this year. Let’s get started with the best!

The Best

mCommerce: Short for mobile commerce, mCommerce is an all-inclusive term that encompasses any sort of monetary transaction taking place on a mobile device. Just like the now mainstream eCommerce, we predict this buzzword will soon be used and recognized by most of the business community. Mobile solutions are becoming a must for businesses because adopting mobile technologies gives you the ability to connect with your customer base 24/7. Offering mobile solutions to your customers can give you an edge over the competition, so become familiar with this one and use it when you can.

Value Add: What customer wouldn’t want added value? In today’s market, businesses are looking to get the most bang for their buck, so if you can add value to something they are already purchasing, it’s a win for both of you! Just make sure that what you are adding on is something your customer can use and achieve measurable results from. Adding a feature isn’t the same thing as adding value, so make sure you understand your customer and their needs before offering extras.

Partnership: At PowerObjects, we have always valued building partnerships with our customers, believing that by helping them succeed, we succeed. More and more businesses are adopting this ideology and customers are starting to expect it from their business relationships. By stressing to your potential clients that you are interested in building a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with them, you show that you believe in their success and that you truly want to be a part of it. A great example of this is PowerObjects’ strong partnership with Microsoft. After all, you don’t win Microsoft Partner of the Year three times unless you truly practice this ideology! Yammer

The Bad

Ping: If you’re reading this and wondering what the heck a Ping is, then you already get the point of this one. Ping is a term that refers to an IM, or instant message, in a service like Skype for Business. Keep using it internally if it’s applicable to your office, but stay away from it when talking to customers.

H2H: This is a great example of just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! H2H stands for human to human, which is a different take on the more traditional B2B, or business to business. We get it. You see people, not corporations. But there are better ways to emphasize that. It is also good to note here that a quick Bing search returns approximately 21 different definitions of H2H. So unless you really did mean to refer to hand to hand combat, it’s best to stay away from this one.

Customer Focused: This one always throws us for a loop simply because aren’t all businesses customer focused? After all, without customers, you don’t have a business. What’s particularly irksome with this one is while you may think it makes your business sound dedicated to your customers, it’s really more of an empty phrase that doesn’t carry a lot of meaning. Instead, try using a different term like “partnership” as we mentioned above or show your customers how you focus on them by delivering measurable results and offering support and services that help with their business needs. Showing not telling is the key to this one.

The Blah

Best Practice: Best practice refers to a process or methodology that has consistently been proven to deliver desired results. This one has seen an increase in use across a wide range of industries, but that also means that sometimes the term is used too liberally and often out of context. Best practice and standard procedures are different things, and just because your company happens to do things a certain way, doesn’t mean you should slap the “best practice” label on it. Try to make it your best practice not to use this one too much.

Expert: Meh. Salespeople often use this one in reference to themselves, their co-workers, or their company as a whole, and while this one isn’t necessarily bad, it is overused. If you are legitimately an expert on a product or service, great! Good for you! However, if your company is only proficient in a subject area or with a product, state that up-front. Using the word expert implies that there is little to nothing about the product you don’t know. Give credit when credit is due. This will save you from awkward and embarrassing conversations down the road.

Freemium: This buzzword tries to be clever, but for us, it just falls flat. Freemium, a combination of “free” and “premium”, is a business model where you give a base product away for free and then sell additional products to the user that can be used with that base product or service. Skype would be an example of this kind of business model. Freemium is also a perfect example of a word your clients might not understand, so use this one with discretion depending on your audience.

That’s our buzzword breakdown! Now it’s your turn to weigh in. Did we leave any out? What are some words you are tired of hearing? Are there any buzzword you use regularly? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas below. We would love to hear from you!

Until next time, happy CRM’ing!

Understand Business Process Flow Timers

How long is your sales cycle? Is this a question you are commonly asked and need to answer? If you said yes, Dynamics 365 has made it a little easier for you to answer that question now using Business Process Flows.

Business Process Flows have had some significant improvements in Dynamics 365. One feature which has often been requested is the ability to see how long a process has been in a stage as well as how long it took to complete. Dynamics 365 has taken this into consideration and not only displays the timers on the Business Process Flow for the current stage but also the total time spent in the business process flow. In addition, Dynamics 365 also stores the historical data for the total time to complete the business process flow in an entity. This stored data can be used for business intelligence and potential process improvement. Let's take a look:

In the example below, the Opportunity is currently in the Develop stage of the Opportunity Sales Process for 6 days.

In addition, we can see that this opportunity has been in the Opportunity Sales Process for a total of 13 days and 21 hours.

business process flow

Dynamics 365 now creates an entity for the Opportunity Sales Business Process Flow and creates a record for each instance of the business process. In this entity, Dynamics 365 keeps track of data relevant to the business process flow which can be used for business intelligence, among other purposes.

While the time in the Current Stage is not stored, the total time spent for the Sales Process will be stored in the entity with the Business Process Flow name (Opportunity Sales Process, in our example) when the Opportunity Sales Process is completed by the user. We can use an Advanced Find to query this data:

business process flow

Note that Duration is only populated once the Business Process Flow is Completed or Aborted.

business process flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this data readily available to us we can now begin to understand more about how long it takes to move through a business process from start to finish.

Comma Delimited String of Process Stage IDs That Represent Visited Stages of the Business Process Flow Instance:

Although, not a timer, another potentially beneficial data point captured in the business process flow instance entity is the path that was taken to get to the closure of the process. This field captures the stages which were visited while the completing the business process. This helps understand if stages were skipped when analyzing the process.

Note: If a user moves back a stage and then moves forward once again, the system does not capture the movement back and forward in this field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Search our blog for more helpful posts about Business Process Flows here!

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Integrating Sales and Financials in Dynamics 365

Have you ever thought to yourself, "how do Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Financials really work together?" Well, wonder no more because PowerObjects and Boyer & Associates are joining up to showcase the out-of-the-box integration between the two!

On Thursday, March 2 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Lee Witkop, PowerObjects' Area Sales Director and Marcus Haug, Boyer & Associates Senior Vice President will perform a live demo and teach you how they integrate and what tools they integrate with. This event will give you the opportunity to have all your questions answered by the experts.

Lunch will be provided to all attendees! Check in begins at 10:30 am. We hope to see you there - REGISTER NOW!

Can't wait to start learning? Check out these Microsoft resources and videos now:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Information

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials Information





Happy CRM'ing!

The CRM Minute: AssureSign and Dynamics 365 Work Together Like Magic [VIDEO]

Are you in sales? Are you overwhelmed with keeping track of your documents? Are you sending contracts to multiple countries and about to lose your mind with all the currencies and tax information to keep track of? Well, today we solve all those problems and more with a little CRM integration for Dynamics 365 called AssureSign. Hear from Liz and Kyle as they show you what AssureSign can do for your sales processes and your sanity.

As you can see, streamlining your sales process within Dynamics 365 is easy with AssureSign. Discover how PowerObjects enabled their sales team to spend less time sending, and more time selling by implementing AssureSign’s Electronic Signature Software in our upcoming webinar. You’ll learn how PowerObjects uses AssureSign within Dynamics 365 to:

Liz and Kyle will be joined by Michelle Cloninger and Anna McDonald of AssureSign to answer all of your questions. And if you can't make the webinar, don't sweat it! A recording of the webinar will be published on our website for anyone who can’t attend. Register for the webinar and we’ll send you a follow-up email with a link to the recorded presentation. That way you can watch it when it’s convenient for you! REGISTER NOW!

Happy CRM'ing!

4 Steps to Properly Score Your Website Leads

If you're lucky enough to have so many leads you don't know where to focus your attention, then lead scoring is for you. In a nutshell, lead scoring allows you to assign points to leads based on certain criteria, allowing you to focus your efforts on leads that have higher scores.

So how do you come up with a system for scoring leads? First let's brush up on our sales funnel basics, then we'll dig in.

If you visualize the sales funnel, it basically represents a state of sales-readiness for all your leads. At the top of the funnel, you'll tend to have a big pool of "cool" leads that have done something to indicate their interest in your product/service, but are not really close to buying. Towards the middle of the funnel are "warm" leads that have shown an ongoing interest in your product/service, but still aren't quite there. And at the bottom of the funnel, you've got leads that are "marketing qualified leads"—aka "sales-ready"—aka hot, hot, hot and ripe for the taking!

Score Your Website Leads

Your goal is to focus your time and energy on those hot, marketing-qualified leads, and not waste your time on the leads at the top of the funnel. That's where lead scoring comes in!

Many customer relationship management (CRM) systems have lead scoring capabilities or add-ins. For instance, PowerObjects uses the PowerPack add-on PowerScore to automatically dole out points to leads based on a wide range of criteria. You may have a different system. No matter what technology you are working with, the basic steps you take to determine how to score your leads should be pretty standard.

Step 1: Figure out what your goal is.

For most sales-type organizations/departments, the goals tend to be straight forward. Your main goal could be to identify which leads are "hot" by analyzing their behavior and/or characteristics to determine which are most likely to buy within a certain timeframe. For some organizations, the goal may be to sort out the leads who are most likely to be open to a phone discussion with a sales rep. For others, it may be just filling out a form on a website. The goal will be unique to every organization.

Step 2: Designate a score you want your leads to get to.

Score Your Website Leads

Step 3: Determine your scoring criteria based on lead behavior.

Step 3. Determine your scoring criteria based on lead behavior.

Scoring can be based on set characteristics of a leads, such as how big the lead's organization is, whether they are in a target demographic, if they fit a certain geographic region, or have a history with your business.

Scoring can also be based on the leads behavior, so think about the types behavior that indicate positive action in your leads. These are some things you can use to give leads scores through the PowerScore add-on:

Step 4: Profit!

Kidding (sort of). But really, once you've put in place the scoring rules, these "hot" leads that have made it to your goal score should, in theory, be the most valuable, and reward you with a higher close rate and/or a faster time to close.

Further Reading: Using Nurture Campaigns to Coax Your Leads Down the Funnel

Okay, so you know the goal—getting those leads to "sales-ready"—and you know what behaviors you want to score your leads on. Next you'll want to think about ways to help your leads down the funnel. That's where nurture campaigns come in! Check out our blog on how to develop compelling content that nurtures your leads and gets them to the bottom of the funnel!

Happy CRM'ing!