Why Do Salesforce Implementations Fail?

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"The old saying “begin with the end in mind” has real value in implementing Salesforce. Management wants increased sales. They understand that increases in certain actions, activities and behaviors will yield increases in sales. Salesforce.com was brought in to measure these elements and make them more visible (and therefore manageable) in the form of REPORTS."

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Many companies bring Salesforce.com into their organization with high hopes that they will receive increased sales, productivity and visibility into their company’s sales activities. With the right help and cooperation from management, some of these implementations go very smoothly. Sometimes, the opposite happens. Six months later, the system is not meeting expectations or worse, barely being used at all. In short, the ROI seems marginal.

Why do these other implementations fail? I’ve got news for you. If you have a failed implementation and you’re reading this, it's probably you!

Humor aside, we use Saleforce.com every day, in a high production environment, making thousands of calls and sending thousands of email. We love it. And while it’s not perfect, frankly we could not do our job without it.

Here are the major reasons Salesforce.com implementations fail and how prevent or remedy them.

1. Management does not have clear goals and objectives (other than to increase sales). The reports needed to manage sales activities are not available, either because Saleforce.com is configured in an incomplete way, the process does not match the requirements, needed data is not being captured or needs have simply evolved.

The old saying “begin with the end in mind” has real value in implementing Salesforce. Management wants increased sales. They understand that increases in certain actions, activities and behaviors will yield increases in sales. Salesforce.com was brought in to measure these elements and make them more visible (and therefore manageable) in the form of REPORTS.

Reports are the “end” described above. They contain details or summary information that is very useful in managing the actions, activities and behaviors of the sales team. Reports are derived from data captured (i.e. if a piece of data was not typed or imported into the system at some point, it generally can’t be included in a report (at least not in a simple way)). So all Salesforce.com implementations should begin by deciding what reports will be required by management and the sales team.

I like to sit with the stakeholders and write what's needed on paper, one page for each report. I ask “What will the report be called? What is its purpose? What will the column headings be? Will it contain details or will it be a summary? Will it be grouped or sorted in any way? How often will you run it? What will you want the sales team to do with it once it’s run?” I sketch out each report on paper and that becomes the beginning of the blueprint of the Salesforce.com design.

This can be a difficult step since management often has a hard time pinning down the exact actions, activities and behaviors they are trying to encourage and measure. That being said, the success of the implementation depends on how successful they are at this step.

Here’s a practical example. Maybe management believes that offering free webinars will increase sales since it worked well in the past. So the goal is to run well attended webinars.

How will Salesforce.com be used to promote these webinars to prospects and clients? Will a set of emails be sent, starting a few weeks before the first webinar? Then a prospect list with email addresses will need to be purchased and loaded and a compelling email invitation created.

Will prospects be called and told about the webinars? Then phone numbers will be necessary, a script will need to be created and a person designated to make the calls. To track call results, an activity report should be created and run on a regular basis to test the messaging, to make sure the calls are being made and to analyze the prospect responses. Will the report be grouped by prospect type (or industry)? Then that data will need to be captured or imported for each prospect.

Finally, reports should measure the success of each webinar, so that results can be tabulated. How many people registered and attended are important to measure, as well as what happened to the prospect once the webinar was complete to determine the ROI of running the webinar.

The devil is always in the details with these kinds of things since any one piece missing here can stop the project in its tracks.

Each major element in the “make more sales” process should be analyzed and implemented in a similar fashion. I realize that this can sound like a daunting process but don’t be intimidated. The first major element is always the most challenging. Once it’s complete, views and reports can be copied and edited for new campaigns and email content can tweaked and repurposed.

2. Salesforce.com does not support the way the sales team wants to use it so they view it as an obstacle rather than a tool to help them accomplish their goals.

If sales management and the sales team are expected to use Salesforce.com every day as a primary tool, they need to be involved in the design of the system. It's better to take a staged approach rather than to try to solve all of management's problems and concerns at the time of roll-out. Here's an example. Let's say that management has dictated that it's necessary to get the email address of any prospect entered into the system. So the email address is set up as a required field, which will keep the sales team from saving a record without a value being entered. What will they do? They'll make up email addresses so they can save the record. This is a good goal but situations and circumstances will occur in which the sales team will need to enter a record (perhaps even temporarily) without entering an email address.

3. Lack of administrator level knowledge (mass importing or updating leads, sending mass emails, tracking which emails have been opened, configuring Salesforce.com) causes utilization to get bogged down. Helpdesk support is lacking so questions or problems that come up are not addressed immediately, forcing work-around solutions by the sales team.

Businesses need their implementations of Salesforce.com tweaked all the time. These tweaks are the result of new management requirements, data irregularities, new campaigns and sales team requests. There needs to be a mechanism to address these requirements quickly and painlessly. The same mechanism should also provide a Help Desk capability for the sales team so that questions and problems are addressed immediately. Having an administrator on-site is ideal but really only practical for larger organizations. An administrator can be trained but this can be a long and expensive process and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Salesforce.com offers various levels of support and there are companies that offer support. This will allow the small daily bumps in the road to be addressed quickly and keep Salesforce.com humming along.

4. Management does not stand behind the implementation (meaning get help as needed) or require that the sales team use the tool completely.

If the implementation gets off to a rocky start and the sales team is offering resistance, sometimes management caves and the effort is soon abandoned. They fear that the sales team may lose productivity, get frustrated and perhaps leave the company. The answer is to get the sales team to help drive the use of Salesforce.com rather than be at odds with it. The way to ensure this is to use a “pull” methodology rather than a “push”.

This can accomplished in a number of ways. Creating a contest in which the sales team members who complete their Salesforce.com work in a satisfactory way win a prize is a good one. In these situations, I’ve learned that prizes are better than money for the following reasons. 1) People like gadgets 2) People who would yawn about $39 extra in their paycheck will go to tremendous lengths to win a $39 item in a sales contest. 3) They will tell all of their friends, neighbors and relatives that they won the item in a sales contest. Try this:

Buy a few cool new gadgets that you think your sales team will find desirable (ipod docking stations, AM/FM radios emergency radios, digital cameras, portable LCD TVs, etc.) priced in the $25-$100 price range. The items should have an increasing value up to the limit so some are more desirable than others. Set them somewhere where they are visible to the sales team and the whole office. This is important since seeing them and having the whole office talk about them really stirs up the competitive spirit. Explain that you will be awarding these prizes to any sales team members who complete all the things that you are requiring in Salesforce.com weekly (keeping Opportunities updated, completing prospect records, sending out one mass email, adding 15 new prospects or whatever actions drive sales). Whoever does the best job (should be things that are measurable and objective) chooses 1st, 2nd best chooses second and so on. Try to have enough prizes so everyone has a chance to win something.

Repeat this process as needed, varying the requirements and prizes. For example, August could be “cold call month” (most cold calls wins). October can be “demo” month (most demonstrations wins). Just make sure that ALL of the measurement, tracking and documentation has to be done in Salesforce.com or else it doesn’t count.

5. The sales team receives initial training or attains a beginner level on their own. No additional training is ever given to makes Salesforce.com more self-service.

After a few months of using Salesforce.com effectively, the tendency is to believe that no more training is necessary. This is a common mistake. Salesforce.com has a tremendous depth of features and capabilities. Ongoing, periodic training is important as it makes unused features accessible and keeps the sales team interested in wringing the most from the investment in Salesforce.com. Enhancing Salesforce.com knowledge can also reduce supports costs.

A professional training firm can be employed or the person within the sales team with the best Salesforce.com aptitude can be recruited to prepare a monthly or quarterly lesson. There are many books and online tutorials that can help.

 

Top 10 Cold Calling Tips (part 1)

SuccessFailure6-3-2014

Focusing on Success

"It's important to focus not on the number of calls that don't result in a sale (or an advance towards your objective) but rather on the number of calls that do. With enough calling, there will ALWAYS be advances. Some of these advances will turn into sales."

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Part 1 of 2

1. Be Courageous

Cold calling takes guts and a thick skin. Sales in general is full of rejection and cold calling certainly has it in abundance. But to be successful in sales you have to be able to drive results and the phone is one of the quickest ways to do that. What if you make a bunch of calls and everyone says no? Like most things in life, it's better to face the results directly and understand your position completely. New lists can be acquired, new markets approached and scripts can be altered. It's better to understand and make adjustments based on what's learned than to do nothing and hope for the best.

When you reach voice mail, your message should say you'll be sending an email with a link to your website/brochure/whitepaper/case study. If they click through the link (which you will be watching for with your email tracking system, right?) they are a warmer prospect and should be called persistently but gently until you reach them.

If you don't have their email address, your message should say "I'd like to send you a link to our website/brochure/whitepaper/case study but I don't have your email address. If you are interested in receiving it, please call me back and leave your email on my voice mail or email me at ...". A small percentage will reply but the ones who do will be solid leads.

It's important to focus not on the number of calls that don't result in a sale (or an advance towards your objective) but rather on the number of calls that do. With enough calling, there will ALWAYS be advances. Some of these advances will turn into sales.

2. Have an Objective

What is the objective of your call? Is it to make a sale on the first call? Are you trying to set-up an over the web demonstration or face to face meeting? Your objectives need to be clear to you or you can't steer the call in the direction you want. Your process and script need to support your objective. If you have multiple potential objectives, you need to be ready to think on your feet and follow the path of least resistance. Or be ready to steer the conversation back on track. Finally, your objective needs to be attainable and help you and the prospect. Don't just tell them everything you know and let them off the phone without trying to advance the sale. Example:

Prospect - "John, thank your for outlining your lead generation process for us. Let me think about it and get back to you".

Cold caller - "Thank you for taking my call this afternoon. At this point, most people like to see a demonstration of our capabilities before making a decision. When would you have some time, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, to take a closer look?".

3. Get to the Point

People are busy and can't afford to waste time. Don't waste their time! Tell them where you are calling from and why. Ask them for permission to proceed: "Is this a good time to talk for a minute?". Ask them how they are involved in what you calling about. If they're not the right person, ask for a referral, thank them for their help and move on. If they are too busy, say that you really just wanted to schedule a time to speak and ask for an appointment.

4. Be a Human Being

Human beings have patterns of social engagement. If I offer to shake hands, generally the other person responds in kind. If I say "good morning", people usually reciprocate. To not do so violates our social norms and people won't do it without a good reason. People also have patterns of dealing with unexpected or unwanted telephone calls. They generally listen until the caller takes a breath and then say "I'm not interested" or simply hang up. The skill the caller needs to develop is an ability to break the latter pattern (hanging up) and engage the former (human social engagement). So act like a human being on the phone. Don't talk at people, talk with them. Respect that you may be catching them in the middle of doing 10 things or not at their desk. If they start to abruptly disengage, say "I'm sorry, it sounds like I caught you at a bad time. When would be a better time to call?" Sometimes they'll say tomorrow, at which point you'll ask "what's better, morning or afternoon?" Whatever they answer, say "how about" and name a time.

5. Question to Engage

People are more comfortable when they feel in control of the conversation. And people tend to like to talk to people who are good listeners. So let them talk! The best way to get them to start is by asking questions. Once you unlock the door holding in the words, the call will be extended and move in a positive direction. The skill to be developed is to learn to ask open ended questions, warmly and naturally, in a sincere way. People are good at detecting when people are being false so be real. Also, avoid asking questions that can be answered with the word "no". Example:

Wrong Way - "Are you involved with generating sales for your company?". "No", click.

Right Way - "How are you involved with generating sales for you company?". "Well I get involved when..."

Once they start talking, you can engage and qualify them with further open ended questions. Then close for the advance or sale.


 I'll be posting tips 6-10 over the next couple of days.

The Best Customer Success Story Ever!

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"One of the most effective ways to internalize value and map solutions to your prospects, is to thoroughly understand what your existing customers have gained by working with you. Focus on what your customers are saying about you and commit their exact words to memory. Why are they so happy? What positive results have they experienced by using your solutions? What was by far the greatest advantage that they found by using your products or services?"

KrissyKoza8-12-2014 Krissy Koza is a career sales and marketing leader, coach and speaker.  She enjoys helping sales people become top revenue producers.  She can be reached at KrissyKoza@gmail.com.

 

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There is no doubt that the best source of new business is existing business. This is not an original notion - but one that I feel is often overlooked and under valued in popular sales methodologies and effectiveness courses. As a corporate sales coach, I often find that most good sales representatives can speak fluently about published case studies and the most popular marquee accounts in the client base. If your company serves it’s customers well - there should be endless anecdotal information that can be shared across an enterprise. I encourage sales professionals to seek out and share the stories of how their solutions truly help their customers day to day. We spend so much time talking about selling benefits and business value. What better way to truly sell value than to leverage the passion of your happy customers? Make a commitment to immerse yourself in the success of your satisfied customers. Here are some ways you and your organization can profit:

Gain powerful anecdotal evidence. One of the most effective ways to internalize value and map solutions to your prospects, is to thoroughly understand what your existing customers have gained by working with you. Focus on what your customers are saying about you and commit their exact words to memory. Why are they so happy? What positive results have they experienced by using your solutions? What was by far the greatest advantage that they found by using your products or services? What did that really mean to the top and bottom line? Get the knowledge that you need to turn around and tell powerful, anecdotal stories to your target accounts. We spend a lot of time trying to memorize sales and marketing spiels when the most powerful words are the ones spoken by our own customers. Become a great story teller and use real life anecdotes to paint the picture of success for your prospects. This is an effective method to get your prospects to visualize your solutions and the positive business outcomes of working with you.

Renew your passion. If you looked at the most successful, elite sales people across any organization, you will always see a passion for what they sell. This is not something that can be taught or something that is easily faked. The belief that your products and services will undoubtedly help your customers is one of the most powerful sales tools that you have at your disposal. Over time, work issues can dilute our belief that what we do is for the greater good of the customer. There is no better way to renew your energy and passion for the job than speaking with happy customers. A sales person with passion truly wants to understand their customer’s needs and how an offering fits into that picture. When a sales person is fully invested in "The Best Customer Success Stories Ever", that passion will translate into success for customers and prospects.

Turn referrals into new customers. As you are having these great conversations with your customers (and they are telling you exactly why they are so satisfied) this is an opportune time to ask for referrals. They just told you how and why you have helped them, and there is no better time to remind them that you would greatly appreciate any referrals or introductions. Asking for those important introductions is a crucial piece of the sales life cycle, yet only 30% of sales people ask for referrals on a regular basis. Those sales people who actively seek and exploit referrals earn four to five times more than sales people who don’t. Studies show that referral business allows close ratios as high as 60% to 80%. Referral business also reduces your sales expense and the length of your sales cycle. When a prospect is introduced to your organization through someone that he trusts, you are more likely to close a larger sale as a result. Put a plan in place to get referrals. Provide a clear picture of the type of referral you are looking for and do your homework on the front end of these meetings to identify contacts that you would like to meet. This exercise also helps you get informal testimonials that you can use in your sales cycle. Make it easy for your customers to say yes by offering to do the work for them. Write the introductions that they can send on your behalf and offer to write your own testimonials if they would be willing to send them back to you with any changes or edits.

Create Repeat Customers. When you meet with your customers and ask them to share success stories, this will remind those customers why they bought from you in the first place. Your customers will begin to resell themselves on you and your solutions and it will encourage them repeat the cycle. Existing customers are five times more likely to buy from you than brand new prospects. Happy customers may be ten times more likely to buy! Success, happiness and passion are contagious. Catch it! 🙂

A Sample Training Exercise.

Produce and share short audio segments titled “The Best Customer Success Story I Ever Heard”. Archive and share these stories across an organization.

The task is to find a customer, interview them and produce a great customer success story. Some customers will naturally be more forthcoming with relevant information and some will need more prodding with good questions and leads like “tell me more about that…” The segment should only be a few minutes long (as long as it takes to tell a good story) but you will need to think about relevant questions to ask ahead of time.

The success story should focus on the results that the customer has realized. The story should not focus on sales process…fast forward to the point where they are an existing, happy customer. Why are they so happy? What positive results have they experienced? The success story should always be from the customer’s perspective. The ultimate goal of the story should focus on the results.

You can record the audio by using a Webex meeting or an audio recording via phone or tablet.

If you are looking for ideas, I have listed some interview questions that would allow you to build onto a great story:

“Tell me as much as you can about how we helped you.”

Hopefully you will get several benefits as examples. Are there any questions that you should ask to quantify those benefits and get more specific information like numbers, ratios, percentages etc? Any questions that you could ask to make it a more compelling story?

“How did this customer describe the experience of working with us? What did they say about how we helped them? Do you remember any words or phrases specifically that paint the picture of a really happy customer?”

“Is there anything else that you think I should know?”

Have fun with this exercise!

5 Tips for Trade Show Success

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"Sit in the audience and listen to them describe their strategy, what products and services they use and in what direction their enterprise is moving. Learn what trends are happening in their industry and how they plan on responding. It can be amazing. You'll never learn more about what’s happening in an enterprise than you will in these sessions."

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I’ve attended and worked many trade shows over the years, as a business owner, a general manager and as a division manager. Just about every show can be productive if your expectations are in line with reality, you plan a bit in advance and you have a solid approach. Below are some techniques to get the best return on your investment no matter what trade show you attend.

Driving Traffic to Your Booth

Driving traffic to your booth before the show is a simple technique but often under-valued. The idea is that you want maximize the number of prospects you talk to, to create excitement that will draw in other prospects to your booth and give your sales team a chance to close any business that has been “dangling”. Having current happy clients mingling with future clients can also be very productive.

So start by inviting all of your clients, anyone you have ever presented to, leads, prospects, friends of your firm and colleagues in related businesses, to stop by your booth (provide the booth number). Explain that you will have the latest information on your product or service and will be offering some element of your service for free (I prefer this as you will get people who want your service but want a deal, rather than people who just want a free iPad). If your company will be presenting in a break-out session, panel discussion or keynote address, make sure you include that information as well.

If you have or can get last year’s attendee list there’s a good chance most of them will attend again this year. It's the same with exhibitor lists (if they can be prospects for your business). If the list does not have contact information, the names and contact information can be found using an online company database like Data.com or one of the free ones (try your local library). This takes a bit of time and energy but it’s well worth it, since the list can be updated every year and used again and again. When we provide this service, if we don't have a specific name to search for, we try to match on the most appropriate title. Remember to take out competitors and other non-buying names.

Email everyone on your list, providing your booth number, inviting them to stop by and providing information on what you are giving away and your breakout session (time, location, title, speaker). Provide the same information to your social media connections on LinkedIn and Facebook.

When we’re promoting an event for a client, we go a step further. We try to reach individual attendees by phone, requesting that they meet with our client on a specific date and time at the booth. Since trade shows often have uncertain schedules, we ask for the person’s cell phone number so that our client can reach them during the show to firm up the time and location. Those who provide their cell phone number are generally serious prospects.

Making Meals Productive

Trade shows offer terrific networking opportunities. You’ll want to try to meet several prospects at every meal. At the same time, you don’t want to appear overly aggressive or desperate. Remember, anyone can make everyone around them feel uncomfortable. The skill is in meeting people in a smooth and transparent manner.

First, attend all the meals, especially breakfast. Even people who skip meals like to have coffee (or something) so make sure you’re there on time. I like get there early and sit at a table that’s empty. As people approach or sit, I immediately say “Good morning, I’m Jerry” and offer to shake hands in a low key, friendly manner. After they shake I slide them my business card. If they don’t offer one back, I don’t immediately force the issue. There’s no sense in pushing if he or she is not a prospect.

So have a little small talk ready (the weather, sports, current events) that anyone would be able to relate to. It’s always useful to know where someone’s from and what company they work for, so ask them. It’s also a qualifying step but more on that later. Since I’m now having a friendly conversation with the person at my table, more people will usually approach. I’ll briefly interrupt my conversation to say good morning, offer my hand, slide them my card. Usually at least one person will offer their card in return and that can trigger a general exchange of cards, even with the people who were reticent.

When the table is mostly full, in your mind you should start to separate the individuals into categories. Are they a prospect, referrer or an information source?

If they are in the right role, in the right kind company, in the right geography, they are a prospect. You’ll want to engage in a meaningful way with all prospects at the table. Open ended questions are a good way to do this, for example “How are you involved in (product/service) for your company?” You can also ask if they’re familiar with your firm and then take the opportunity to tell them a little. Don’t take too much of their time and try to get them to accept an "advance", for example have them agree to speak by phone in the weeks after the show. Make sure you connect with all prospects (if you can) before moving on to referrers and information sources.

If they are the right kind of company but not the right role or geography, they are a referrer. You’ll want to give them enough information about your offering to help them understand who the best contact would be. Then ask for a name. One of the advantages is they may only know the name of the person in charge of your area of interest so you will be getting a high level contact. You'll also have the name of the referrer to help you get their attention.

If they are not a potential buyer but they are in a related business that also calls on prospects in your space, they could be referrer but more importantly, they can be an information source (this is especially helpful if you are new in the space). They may know the best industry groups, trade shows and have many contacts that could prove useful. As a referrer, they will need to be cultivated over time since they will be protective of their clients. You’ll want to get them to agree to talk after the show to discuss how you might help each other moving forward.

Once you've done what you can with that table, excuse yourself and make your way to another table unobtrusively. Then start the whole process again.

Prospecting Booth to Booth

If your product or service is likely to be purchased by people working in the exhibitor booths (business owners, CEO/President, VP Sales, VP Marketing of small and medium sized businesses), then it makes sense to visit each booth, dropping a card off and taking the card of the potential buyer. Some of them will contact you after the show but that's fine. Be sensitive to the fact that they are trying to make sales for their own company so don't tie them up talking about your offerings when their booth is busy. During a lull, it's fine to take a moment to introduce yourself and tell them you'll follow up after the show.

Break-out Sessions

Break out sessions are terrific for meeting top executives in large enterprises. They're good for meeting people in other top roles too. Here’s how to go about it.

When you get to a trade show, the first thing you should do is sit down with the show program and a pen. Review all of the break-out sessions, panel discussions, seminars and keynote addresses looking for speakers who are potential buyers of your products or services. These could be people who are the CIO, VP HR, VP Marketing or CFO in companies like Fidelity, Bank of America or Exxon (prospects who have tremendous authority but are virtually inaccessible).

Go to their session. Sit in the audience and listen to them describe their strategy, what products and services they use and in what direction their enterprise is moving. Learn what trends are happening in their industry and how they plan on responding. It can be amazing. You'll never learn more about what’s happening in an enterprise than you will in these sessions.

At the end of the session, when everyone else is walking to the rear, walk to the front of the room. The speaker will be in a good mood since their presentation is finished and presumably went well. Introduce yourself and tell them that you really enjoyed their presentation. Hand them your card and ask if they would mind sending you a copy of the slides. Often they’ll look at your card and ask what you do, giving you the opportunity to engage for a moment. If they don’t offer a card, politely ask them for one so that you can email them about the presentation. If necessary, jot down their email address on the back of one of your cards. After the show, wait a week then email them, restating that you enjoyed their presentation and asking for a copy of the slides. Once you have them, wait another 3 weeks and email them asking if they would be interested in taking a closer look at your products and services. Be prepared to receive a referral since the the evaluation may actually begin at a lower level in the organization. With the top executive's endorsement, you should be able to parlay that into a meeting.

After the Show

There a few schools of thought on the best way to handle post show follow-up. Cherry picking the top handful of prospects and putting the rest in a drawer are not among them. But that's what many companies do. So, to quote a good friend of mine, "Do something, even if it's wrong!" This is another way of saying doing something is better than doing nothing, even if it's not perfect. So do something!

The challenge is that within 4-5 days of the end of the show, everyone who has a plan for following up will do so. All at once. The prospects will be inundated and it will be difficult to get their attention. So ideally, try to come up with a way to get the leads into your system during the show. That way you can start contacting them via email immediately, while they're still at the show. If you are getting the leads electronically, it's pretty simple but there are other ways. We use a little Cardscan device to scan business cards as we get them. This will give you a jump of the rest of the exhibitors.

You can also use social media to connect with prospects and that has the benefit of being almost immediate. For example, if you meet someone and exchange cards, using a smartphone, as you walk away, you can invite them to connect using LinkedIn.

Finally, any leads collected need to be contacted at least 6-12 times over the next year, in a sort of email drip marketing campaign. When they start clicking through your links and completing forms on your website requesting more information, they're ready to be contacted by your sales team.