Quick qualification and import of event leads into Salesforce.com helps the Intergraph sales process.
How do you more quickly get qualified leads into your sales pipeline after events? Just ask Intergraph Corporation (Intergraph), a global provider of engineering and geospatial software that helps customers in more than 60 countries build and operate plants and ships, create intelligent maps, and protect people and critical infrastructure around the world. By transforming its lead capture process, Intergraph has been able to:
- Qualify leads at the time of lead capture
- Get leads into the sales pipeline in minutes rather than weeks
- Reduce lead decay and leads lost to fast-acting competitors
- Improve cooperation between sales and marketing teams
Inefficient, Paper-based Lead Capture
Every year, Intergraph attends more than 50 events and user conferences in the U.S. alone. While generating leads has always been a top priority at these events, Intergraph lacked an efficient method for qualifying leads and getting them into the sales pipeline quickly after events. “We used paper lead sheets at shows to collect basic demographic information,” explains Faun Langston, the Salesforce.com application manager at Intergraph. “Because we have a global sales force, it was a tedious and time-consuming manual process to enter leads into Salesforce.com after each event,” adds Jeff Paddock, senior event manager at Intergraph.
What’s more, everyone had their own way of processing leads. “Sometimes I got Excel spreadsheets, sometimes lead sheets,” recalls Langston. “We would get countries with different spellings, lines of business, and other relevant information with no standardization of data, making it difficult to import the leads into Salesforce.com. It took hours and hours of work and often we had to call the people collecting leads to clarify information.”
Finding the Right Partner
When Intergraph was ready to make a change, Langston and Paddock looked to a company they thought would have some answers. “At a global event, we asked Salesforce.com employees how they track leads,” says Langston. “They pointed us to Validar’s booth.” It didn’t take Intergraph long to realize that Validar would be the right partner to help Intergraph streamline its event lead capture and qualification process.
Asking the Right Questions
The first step in transforming Intergraph’s event lead qualification process was switching from a paper-based lead capture process to an electronic one. Instead of completing lead sheets, Intergraph employees at events began to use card scanners and barcode readers to capture leads with Validar Lead Capture.
The second step was introducing lead qualification questions during the lead capture process. Intergraph employees now ask budget, authority, need, and timeframe (BANT) questions to assess the lead’s sales readiness and ability to authorize sales. Depending on the answers given, leads are immediately ranked as “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D” based on company-wide standardized criteria.
Importing to Salesforce CRM
At the end of each day or after a show is over, the ranked leads are imported into Salesforce.com using Validar Lead Import for AppExchange, which interfaces directly with Salesforce.com. Whereas it once took up to a week to get leads to the sales team, it now happens within minutes—and takes only a few clicks. Instead of relying on Langston to import all the leads into Salesforce.com, each person working an event does it themselves, removing the bottleneck.
“The sales team can put aside the ‘D’ leads that need nurturing and immediately follow up on ‘A’ leads,” says Langston. “We no longer worry that the sales team isn’t chasing people with a one-hundred-million dollar budget and a willingness to purchase in the next three-to-five months. The sales team knows who they are at a glance.”
Paddock adds, “It’s a lot more efficient than what we were doing before. What’s more, we’re able to capture more information about our leads. Within minutes of a show’s close, we have leads in Salesforce.com that are automatically coded into the right sections for the sales team.”
Making It Easy
One of the things Langston likes most about Validar solutions are their ease of use. Because people on the show floor are responsible for uploading the leads they’ve captured into Salesforce.com, it was critical that the process be extremely intuitive. When Intergraph explained that it still wasn’t easy enough for less technical people to upload leads, Validar worked with Intergraph to modify the solution so that virtually anyone could easily upload leads. “With Validar’s help, we addressed user issues with an intuitive, one-click solution for uploading leads following an event,” says Langston.
“Validar Lead Import includes a wizard that walks users through processing a lead, which makes it easy to get lead information in to Salesforce.com,” says Langston. “Validar also provides metrics about the event for easy viewing and analysis in a portal.”
Benefiting From The Results
Using Validar software, Intergraph has transformed its event lead capture and qualification process into one that’s highly effective in transferring qualified event leads into the sales pipeline. “We are providing ranked leads to sales and marketing in a productive timeframe.
When asked about their experiences working with Validar, Langston and Paddock agree that Validar is much more than a software vendor. “Validar’s customer support makes it one of the best partners I’ve ever worked with—the level of collaboration we have with Validar is amazing,” says Langston. Paddock adds, “We can call them 24/7 and get help. Once they solved a problem we had at an event through no fault of theirs within two hours—on a Sunday. Validar is not just a vendor. The company is a long-term partner that provides Intergraph with a solution vital to our event lead process.”