Designing a Buyer-Centric Revenue Process: A TOPO Case on LeadMD
The B2B sales and marketing universe has been writing and talking about buyer personas and the buyer journey for the last ten years. Many organizations have built buyer personas and attempted to map the associated buyer journey. For those organizations that have partaken in the buyer persona exercise, their results far exceed those organizations that have not. However, buyer personas are still very subjective and include a lot of opinion. The next step for many organizations is the opportunity to quantifiably narrow in on the personas that have a higher propensity to buy. Predictive analytics provides the opportunity to use a wide set of data to do this.
As part of TOPO’s commitment to identify and research the revenue processes of fast growing companies, we studied LeadMD‘s buyer-centric sales and marketing process. LeadMD’s case is interesting not only because they used Everstring’s predictive analytics solution to quantify their personas but because they also used psychological profiling to add more quality data into their process. They then went a step further and created differentiated processes (marketing, sales, product, post-sales) to more effectively convert these personas. As a matter of fact, they even created psych profiles on their sales people in order to match them to the buyer persona best suited for them, and are using the psych profiles to hire the right sales reps. This process, detailed below, has led to incredible results, including 82% predictability of leads most likely to become customers, 175% increase in Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) passed to sales, and a 2x increase in Sales Accepted Leads (SALs).
The LeadMD Buyer-Centric Revenue Process
When a lead comes in, it is scored beyond the traditional behavior scoring (scores based on lead activity trackable via their marketing automation system), and instead incorporates three more advanced factors based on fit and psychological data:
- Intent – Lead has completed a high converting registration form. These are registration forms that have historically proven to have the highest conversion rates.
- Engagement – Lead has demonstrated buyer behavioral patterns that have historically proven to predict buying activity.
- Fit – Lead fits into company variables that predict whether the company is more likely to become a customer.
The lead score determines whether the lead is then routed to sales or to an SDR. Once the lead advances to sales and the persona is identified by a sales rep, the buying process is tailored to that specific buyer persona. This includes routing the lead to the rep best aligned to their persona, taking the lead through a tailored, persona-based buying process, and matching the buyer to products that they are more likely to buy. After the deal is won, LeadMD’s process ensures continued success by matching the new customer with the customer success representative best aligned to their persona. Finally, the model continues to improve by leveraging machine learning capabilities within Everstring which is their predictive analytics solution. Beyond allowing Salesforce.com to feed win/loss data back into the system, LeadMD increased the level of quality data by developing sales and buyer surveys to validate and optimize their model.
Key Takeaways from LeadMD’s Buyer-Centric Revenue Process
The LeadMD revenue process was one of the most unique operations that TOPO has researched and as a result, produced some very unique learnings.
- The current methodology for creating and validating buyer personas is fundamentally flawed. It relies on inaccurate CRM data and untested anecdotal beliefs about what an ideal buyer looks like.
- Traditional lead scoring is too one-dimensional to accurately predict buying intent. Traditional lead scoring is limited to gauging the consumption of your assets. The score only reflects the buyer preference for your content. As a matter of fact, LeadMD found that a purely behavioral lead score predicts only 2 percent of the variance in amount purchased by buyer.
- Ideal customer fit is typically based on one or two variables and thus not predictive. The standard way to segment customers is based on variables such as company size or vertical. While better than nothing, this approach still lacks the precision that multiple variables provide.
- Predictive analytics provides the opportunity to quantify your buyer personas and identify them in real time. Buyer persona development has been imperfect in the past, but predictive analytics wasn’t available to test and validate your personas before going to market. In the case of LeadMD, they use Everstring for their predictive analytics.
- Psychological modeling allows you to gather a deeper insight into the mindset of your buyers than current methods used today. Incorporating the psychological profiles as one of the key components of the buyer persona increases the predictability of the model to 82 percent.
- Apply psychological modeling to your sales and customer success team to match buyers with the best suited sales and service reps. In order to deliver a truly buyer-centric sales process, LeadMD routes leads to the sales person who is the best match for the persona. Customers are then routed to the customer success manager best suited for their persona, which provides an end-to-end buyer-centric experience.
- Develop differentiated marketing and sales processes for each persona. Once personas have been developed, identify and validate the true buying process your buyers prefer, then create a process that can identify personas and route them to the respective sales and marketing programs.
- Package your products specifically for each persona. In your data gathering phase, quantify the product the various personas are more likely to buy and package each product specifically for the persona most likely to buy it.
A truly buyer-centric sales and marketing process will yield significantly higher conversions. Most organizations agree with that statement, but rarely do they create a buyer-centric process from lead to post-sale. LeadMD has seen significant conversion lifts across the entire sales-marketing process.
If you’d like access to the TOPO Case: Designing a Buyer-Centric Sales Process, contact TOPO at www.topohq.com. If you have specific questions for the lead analyst on this report, Craig Rosenberg, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.