Microsoft annually runs thousands of marketing campaigns to create leads for a dizzying number of different lead “catchers”. These lead receivers range from Microsoft 3rd party partners, to in-house sales teams in various geographies around the world. While marketing knew how many raw leads were created, they could not see the actual end result that was generated (ie: revenue). Ultimately the ability to optimize and improve marketing’s performance was hampered by the lack of insight into:
·What leads were generated by marketing? (along with sales-created leads)
·Where did marketing’s leads get routed to?
·How much revenue was generated?
·What was wrong with the 90+% of leads that don’t generate revenue?
Curtis led a multi-year project to gain a detailed understanding of the lead pipeline ecosystem. He also leveraged interviews with sales representatives and external partners to investigate the follow up of leads, since there was no way to connect specific revenue to marketing campaigns. From this, Curtis documented the hundreds of ways a lead can “fall out” of Microsoft’s lead pipeline process, from the campaign launch to the billed revenue. Reasons ranged from system errors, such as “customer not interested” or “lead data not uploaded correctly”, to cases where the sales team didn’t follow up as they didn’t need the type of leads marketing generated (connected sales/marketing issues).
To address these challenges Curtis hired, built, and managed a multi-functional team to:
·Launch a robust new platform tracking the millions of marketing generated leads
·Create an intuitive visual reporting capability (the Lead Impact Map) to show where leads went and more importantly, the amount of leads that generated results
·Implemented a dedicated resource to monitor the lead pipeline and regain leads that may have been lost, for example, those assigned to sales people who have left the company
·Work with marketers worldwide to educate and diagnose campaign performance issues
·Work in partnership with corp marketing teams to educate the field about how to solve sales and marketing coordination issues
Deploying first to the United States, the program was successfully rolled out to the rest of the world in mid-2011. The immediate benefit was massive. Thousands of valuable leads were discovered which were not being followed up on because of system or routing issues. In the first several months alone, the project recovered tens of thousands of leads worth over $6M. The project was so successful that the US pilot was published as a case study by the Visio team. When interviewed by Curtis months later during the global rollout, the Visio sales team reported using the case study in virtually all customer sales calls.
The project had a much larger impact by giving marketing teams visibility, for the first time, to whether their leads actually impacted performance numbers as intended. Curtis worked directly with a number of corporate marketing teams and subsidiaries around the globe to build a culture of optimizing marketing spend toward bottom-line impact rather than raw impressions.