ZoomInfo Workflows Enhanced (Part III)

Continuation from yesterday’s article about ZoomInfo Workflows (Part I).

ZoomInfo hinted at an even broader vision of automated lead qualification and workflows in a recent blog that listed four categories of qualifying data:

Source: ZoomInfo, “How To Automate Lead Qualification for Increased Response Rates,” March 8, 2021 Blog.

ZoomInfo does not support programmatic advertising, chatbots, or Slack notifications, so there is significant running room for product development, particularly around expanded intent.  For example, a recent study by XANT found that inbound lead response rates decay quickly, but reps fail to respond promptly, and many fall between the cracks.  The study analyzed three years of inbound leads at over 400 companies.  XANT looked at 5.7 million inbound leads and found that 57.1% of first call attempts took place after a week or more, and only 0.1% of inbound leads were responded to within five minutes.  However, firms that responded within those first five minutes had an 8X conversion rate versus later return calls.

“Maybe we simply didn’t realize what we were leaving on the table,” wrote XANT.  “Maybe we over-rotated on targeted ABM strategies at the expense of speed-to-lead.  Marketing automation shouldn’t replace meaningful and quick sales engagement.”

XANT proposes a second problem that slows lead response times: the manual assignment of leads to individuals, resulting in two sets of delays – the lead routing process and the sales reps’ ability to respond quickly when a batch of leads is handed to them.

Tying inbound leads (emails, webforms, chatbots) to workflows is the next step beyond enrichment.  It allows for immediate lead scoring, assignment, and routing decisions, speeding up the response rate while determining each lead’s best course of action.  The Trigger / Filter / Action methodology for intent and event-based leads fits perfectly with these other inputs.  Furthermore, Chatbots and FormComplete often gather a few extra qualifying details that would be filter inputs.

“There is perhaps no greater need than for sellers to be calling on the right people at the right time,” said SalesTech analyst Nancy Nardin.  “Fortunately, the level of accuracy and timeliness of data has improved by leaps and bounds with the emergence of AI, and improved data collection, cleansing, and enrichment.”

XANT: Inbound Lead Response Rates

In March 2011, the Harvard Business Review published “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads,” which discovered that companies were slow to respond to sales leads, and there were considerable benefits from rapid responses.  The study is often cited, but there was little subsequent data to determine whether these issues and opportunities still held.  Fortunately, XANT recently replicated the study, looking at three years of inbound lead response and contact rates.

The new study analyzed 55 million sales activities at over 400 companies.  XANT looked at 5.7 million inbound leads and found that 57.1% of first call attempts took place after a week or more, and only 0.1% of inbound leads were responded to within five minutes.  However, firms that responded within those first five minutes had an 8X conversion rate versus later return calls.

“Maybe we simply didn’t realize what we were leaving on the table,” wrote XANT. “Maybe we over-rotated on targeted ABM strategies at the expense of speed-to-lead.  Marketing automation shouldn’t replace meaningful and quick sales engagement.”

XANT proposes a second problem that slows lead response times, the manual assignment of leads to individuals, resulting in two sets of delays – the lead routing process and the sales reps’ ability to respond quickly when a batch of leads is handed to them.

“Leads sit, go cold, and revenue slips,” warns XANT.

To address the slow response problem, XANT added a shared record option to their Sales Engagement Platform.  The goal is to work every lead with named accounts properly routed and other leads delivered to a shared pool with priority leads immediately offered to reps.   XANT provides AI tools and a rules-engine to auto-assign leads from target accounts and load others into a shared pool with prioritized leads labeled urgent.  The top-rated leads are then offered to the sales team on a round-robin basis, ensuring that all reps have access to top leads and that priority leads have rapid response rates.

“With records in a shared pool, reps won’t get bogged down or locked out,” said XANT. “High-performing reps can blow through their leads quickly and continuously draw from the shared pool.”

XANT describes Shared Leads as another robot that improves the efficacy of sales reps.

“Whereas many treat automation as a way to email spam, we treat it as an enhancement to improve engagement and sales,” explained XANT Head of Product Mark Littlefield. “The basics of Robots include auto-enrolling records, opportunity funnel progression, prioritizing tasks, triggering reps to customer events, performing reliable data entry, and a lot more.  With Shared Records, we’re bringing teams the flexibility to compile records into shared folders or automatically assign them to the right reps so they can accelerate their speed-to-lead and their time-to-value.”