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LeadGen: Forrester Groundswell Awards 2013 entry

Business Problem/ Challenge

In an internal strategic study done by HCL, one of the key insights for sales and marketing was that 64% of opportunities (available to HCL from existing or new customers) are either not spotted or are lost. The “not spotted” component of this 64% fuelled an internal study to a) strengthen current channels of opportunity sourcing, and b) study opportunity sourcing processes in existing customer engagements driven by the need to decrease the number of missed opportunities. The findings of this research revealed that the delivery employees (84% of 90,000 HCL employees are in delivery) are privy to many opportunities which are not pursued by HCL sales teams due to:

  • Lack of a process to capture these (22%)
  • Lack of motivation for delivery employee as business development is not their KPI (18%)
  • The delay in opportunity reaching the sales manager through informal channels (8%)

The other key problems HCL was faced with were:

  • ~75% of sales were achieving their new business booking targets through EE (existing customer, existing projects) with less focus on EN (existing customer, new projects) leading to slow growth in wallet share.
  • HCL’s sales productivity was the lowest among peers; while SGA costs were continuously rising

Solution:Vision and Execution

A thorough situation analysis and understanding of delivery / sales demographic and psychographic, led HCL to launch LeadGen – a program to augment the traditional channels of lead sourcing (like events) through delivery sourced leads. The premise of the “LeadGen” program was to create a platform that connects delivery to sales to service the end customer’s demand.  The delivery become central to lead generation for sales due to a) their ability, appreciation and understanding of customer’s IT business landscape b) everyday interactions with IT decision makers, business influencers c) proximity to the customer as they are based on customer premises/ dedicated ODC.

This concept needed strong process and governance support to produce stellar results in the revenue generation and employee motivation spheres. The revenue targets were being carried solely by the sales leaving the onus of generating and pursuing leads received from all channels, on them. Since there was no formal channel of capturing and tracking opportunities identified by delivery team and poor bandwidth of sales, these opportunities were lost or not pursued. With LeadGen, SET at HCL was made responsible for every opportunity received through the employee referral channel. The process of submitting a qualified business opportunity was made simple through the lead capturing form which is initiated by delivery employee on LeadGen’s portal. The lead is then assigned to a lead manager who is responsible for qualifying the lead after discussion with the employee and then assigning it to a sales manager. This lead manager is accountable for the lead and for collaborating with sales manager to provide a logical closure (deal signed, or lost) for each lead.

This is a closed loop process where LeadGen Team collaborates with sales and also receives a feedback on each lead as per discussion with the customer and understanding of situation by the sales manager. Marketing teams can excel at generating pipeline, but unless they look at the same numbers as sales, you won’t get the right follow up on the demand you create. LeadGen lead tracking follows the same stages and metrics as the sales generated leads in HCL. Consistent lead classifications and stage-gate metrics are the building blocks that make this single view of the pipeline possible.

An intuitive portal was launched to act as an interface between delivery employee, LeadGen team and sales manager. The delivery employee’s role is to identify a qualified lead and enter the details through the lead capture form. The LeadGen marketing team is responsible for the 2nd level qualification and assignation of lead to sales, who in-turn further qualifies the lead with the customer representative referred by the employee. Marketing and sales together take a Go/ No-go decision on each opportunity based on our capability, attractiveness of lead, strategic importance, contract value etc. On a Go-decision, sales manager accepts the lead in the SFA system and actively pursues till closure. The contributing employee gets an automated notification at every step due to integration of systems, keeping them dynamically informed on opportunity movement.

A typical sales pursuit, assisted by LeadGen team, flows as: P0 – Opportunity Identifiedà L4 – RFI – L3 - RFP – L2 – Shortlisted – L1 - Contract Negotiation –  L0-Won/ Deal Signed

A focused approach to the 3 Ps – Product Enhancements, Promotion (Product Marketing) and Process People; was key to the success of this initiative.

Product Enhancements – LeadGen’s user friendly portal is the primary link between all major stakeholders. The delivery employees use it as a channel to submit leads, learn about the program, access HCL capability decks/ brochures, and track the status of their individual leads. Marketing team uses the portal to take action on the leads before assigning to sales and to download automated reports on visitor log, cumulative lead status report, etc.

Product Marketing – HCL delivery employees are 76,000 in number and operating in 31 countries. The target audience of this program varies in psychographic and demographic profiles according to band, location, and work-experience. Awareness among target audience was the first challenge for the product marketing team. Due to the size and location variance, more evolved marketing campaigns were required to garner awareness and reach the ultimate aim of referral. Below is a snapshot of targeted campaigns focused on campaign objectives:

Table 1: AIDA Model

AIDA Model

Although a plethora of campaigns were executed by the product marketing team, the key campaigns with success metrics are listed below:

  • Early Bird Campaign –A campaign to reward first 50 qualified leads within a month of the launch of the contest. The contest resulted in 167 leads within a month of the launch.
  • Roadshows –ODC to ODC campaign on LeadGen to market the program to all engagements, to address queries on the program and get buy in.
  • Meet the LeadGen Star campaign – Celebration of success stories of employees whose deals were won. These stories acted as a motivator to the target audience resulting in increased participation.

Process: From the time a lead gets entered in LeadGen to the closure, marketing team governs the process through a structured approach. SLAs (service level agreements) are defined for the follow- up and disposition of leads, with sales team, to ensure swift closure.

Business Results

The business results delivered in FY 12-13 (1st July 2012 to 30th June, 2013) were:

Sr. No. KPI Name KPI Description Unit Of Measurement KPI Target FY12-13 KPI Achievement
FY 12-13

1

Value:

Booking/Wins

Mn US$(TCV)

$50

$60

Average Deal Size

Mn US$(TCV)

$0.3

$0.6

2

Volume:

Pipeline

# of Leads

200

613

Mn US$(TCV)

100

120

3

Velocity:

Time to Close

Days

200

158

4

Efficiency :

Cost of Sales

Mn US$

0.035

0.030

5

Effectiveness:

Win Rate

%

20

40

LeadGen program contributes to changing the perception of marketing from a cost centre to a co-contributor to the top B2B priorities at HCL: 1. customer acquisition, 2. customer retention, and 3. revenue growth. The booking performance soared from $1 M in FY11 à $10 M in FY12 à $60 M in FY13 with a CAGR of 621%. Number of leads received in the 3 years grew from 85 in FY11 to 122 in FY12 to over 600 in FY13. As every lead is qualified by SET, the number of qualified leads for sales grew from 54 in FY11 to 62 in FY12 to 443 in FY13, clearly showing the growing understanding of qualified lead concept by the target audience, evidenced by the qualified rate of 75% in this year from 51% rate in FY11.  The average funnel conversion ratio through LeadGen at 15%, is much higher than the traditional channels of lead generation at Top Performer companies*, at 1.5%.

Table 3: Average Pipeline Conversion Ratios

Average Pipeline

  MQL SQL Pipeline Won Deal End-to-End

LeadGen in FY13

75%
(N = 459)

70%
(N = 323)

65%
(N = 210 )

28%
(N = 90)

15%

Closing Statement

LeadGen Program’s vision is that by the end of FY16, HCL delivery team will be capable of carrying P L targets for100% of existing and incremental revenue from existing customers (EE+EN) so that the HCL sales force can focus solely on the acquisition of new customers. This ambitious goal requires a tremendous cultural transformation at HCL delivery.  The 3 year road-map for LeadGen is as follows:

S. No.     FY 13 FY 14 FY 15 FY16

1

Platform

 

Web

Web/Mobile

Web/Mobile

 

2

Employee Band

 

E0-E4

E0-E6

E0-E6

 

3

Process

 

Semi-Automated

Automated

Automated

 

4

Performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booking/Wins

Mn US$
(TCV)

60

 250

500

1) LeadGen – 100% EE with delivery.

2) EN qualified opportunities from support function continue to be serviced by marketing.

 

Average Deal Size

Mn US$
(TCV)

0.6

0.9

 1.5

 

Pipeline

# of Leads

614

1000

2000

 

Funnel              

Mn US$
(TCV)

 120

500

 1000

 

Time to Close

Days

158

140

100

 

Cost of Sales

Mn US$

 0.03

0.15

0.25

 

Win Rate

%

28%

38%

45%

HCL needs to build and foster sales capability in the delivery team to handle the sales targets in the next 3 years. LeadGen product management team has adopted a “Crawl, Walk, Run” approach to attaining this goal. Starting this financial year, LeadGen team will be administering sales training programs for delivery team to enable them and boost their confidence for business development.

In FY14, this program has been given the status of a “transformational program” to support its success through higher earmarked budget, leadership buy-in and support, and expansion in team size to enable achievement of the $250 M new business booking target.

 

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