Case Study

Designing Symphony RetailAI’s Lead Management and Scoring Processes to Unlock the Full Potential of HubSpot and Salesforce

Symphony RetailAI is the only provider of end-to-end, AI-powered merchandising, marketing and supply chain solutions for retailers and CPG manufacturers. Through a seasoned team of retail experts and a global partner ecosystem, they serve more than 1,200 organisations worldwide — including half of the world’s top 30 grocery retailers and all of the top 25 global CPG manufacturers – through the Microsoft Azure-powered Symphony Retail Cloud.

Symphony RetailAI approached BabelQuest for help refining its lead management process and implementing lead scoring to improve the quality of the leads progressing to Sales and to encourage the sales-to-marketing feedback loop.

The business challenge

Symphony RetailAI recognises the critical importance of customer data, but its CRM and the systems it was using to track its own customers’ journey from marketing prospect to sales-qualified lead and beyond weren’t providing the level of insight they needed.

The sales team relied on Salesforce, the marketing team made use of HubSpot and the business development representatives moved between the two. Both systems were filled with valuable data but the company was only reporting out of Salesforce. This meant Marketing had no visibility over what was happening to its leads and no way of knowing that in many cases, they were being handed over too early for Sales to properly work.

Global Marketing Information Systems Manager Kara Staegemann came to us with two main challenges that she wanted to solve:

1. What was happening to marketing-generated leads when they went across to Sales?

2. How could they get more insight into the contacts they were generating, to better nurture them and improve the quality of the leads being handed across to Sales?

Overhauling the lead management process

It was important that Symphony RetailAI solved these challenges as quickly as possible. To hit the ground running and deliver the expertise that Kara needed, we assigned the project to our HubSpot Platform Consultant, Gem Rugg-Gunn, on our Expert Practices team.

Through a consultation process with Kara and other key stakeholders from Symphony Retail’s sales and marketing teams, Gem identified three courses of action:

1. Building properties to capture buyer stage and interests

Gem began by labelling every form that appeared on the Symphony RetailAI website with one of three labels from across the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision. Based on which of these labels a lead selected when filling out a form, a corresponding property then appeared in their contact record. If a lead filled out multiple forms, then the selection that was furthest along the buyer’s journey carried the most weight in terms of how the contact’s property appeared in their record. This provided Kara and her team with an accurate estimate of how qualified the marketing-generated leads were even before they went across to Sales, as well as giving insights that could then be used to improve the effectiveness of their lead nurturing and segmentation.

Gem then carried out a similar exercise for ‘categories of interest’. Kara and the team provided a range of appropriate product categories, which were then added to the forms using a multi-selection field. This further enriched the customer data in the CRM, provided a more accurate insight into which product categories were of interest and, combined with the buyer stage, highlighted content gaps in the journeys for different interest areas.

2. Mapping lifecycle stage to the lead journey process

Gem worked closely with Kara and her team to understand Symphony RetailAI’s lead journey process. This equipped her with the information she needed to recommend and map appropriate lifecycle stages and their definitions.

One particular challenge was that the way an SQL was defined in Salesforce didn’t match with how an SQL was being defined in HubSpot. Aside from the technical issues this raised, it was creating friction between Sales and Marketing. Gem reviewed the lead journey process across both systems to define the point at which a lead should become an MQL or SQL in HubSpot and how that mapped with Salesforce to identify when a lead becomes an opportunity.

To help Kara and her team identify the right time to hand over MQLs to Sales, Gem implemented AND (Advanced, Nurture, Disqualify). Now, when an MQL is passed to the sales team, reps can assign a qualify status (either A, N or D) that informs a dashboard from which Sales can report on every single marketing lead to reveal what the outcome was and whether it’s advancing to deal status, being nurtured or has been disqualified.

To unlock the full potential of HubSpot and see the maximum value from the platform, the right processes need to be in place for the team to make use of the technology. Like many organisations of Symphony RetailAI’s size and complexity, there were multiple stakeholders across different departments, each requiring varying capabilities. Gem worked closely with Kara and other leaders from across the business to understand those requirements before recommending the technical solutions that satisfied everyone.

“A key part of this was visibility — specifically, giving Kara and the global marketing team visibility over what was happening to the leads they were producing and the ability to improve their marketing based on the results.”

Gem Rugg-Gunn

HubSpot Platform Consultant, BabelQuest

3. Defining lead management and scoring

Because Symphony RetailAI hasn’t used lead scoring before, Gem worked with Kara and her team to explain how it operated and understand what they wanted from it. It was important to Kara that some forms went straight to MQL — for example, a demo request or contact us form — but the process also needed to qualify leads as MQL when they met certain criteria.  

Gem went through multiple processes to make the scoring system. Along the way, she invited Kara to think about different aspects of how they could score, for example:

  • Who the contact was
  • How much authority they had
  • Other attributes that helped to build a picture of the lead and their buying power
  • Which company they belonged to
  • The company’s size
  • How much revenue it generates
  • Their activity

While many of these scores would be static, the final point — activity — would be dynamic depending on whether or not they had filled out a form, if they have visited the website, and how frequently they had done so in the last 90 days, for example. These points combined to give a final overall score to help the marketing and sales teams score leads at a glance, with the opportunity to deep-dive into how the score breaks down, should that be helpful.

"Immediately, we could see that some leads were getting more points based on who they were or what company they were associated with. For others, their score was predominantly activity-based. This wasn’t just proving which leads were qualified but why, which is a really valuable insight for both Sales and Marketing to know."

Gem Rugg-Gunn

HubSpot Platform Consultant, BabelQuest

Better visibility, clearer reporting and the ability to get more out of HubSpot going forward

The level of visibility that Gem has helped Symphony RetailAI to unlock is a result in itself. As Symphony Retail themselves know well, business transformation comes in many shapes and sizes. We’ve made reporting dashboards that give them marketing effectiveness insight and a lead scoring dashboard that together enable them to report out of HubSpot now. The benefits aren’t just in the platform itself; for the first time, Kara’s team is able to receive a consistent stream of feedback on leads from Sales, which they never had before. 

The whole project took two months from start to finish, maximising the time to value from the work Gem delivered. Best of all, her consultative approach has helped to permanently upskill Symphony RetailAI’s in-house team of HubSpot experts. Since then, they have gone on to make a score at the company level that calculates the sum of all the contact activity from that company. Given the size of many of Symphony Retail’s customers, and the level of complexity within those organisations, this will prove invaluable in terms of being able to score and eventually penetrate new international companies or global markets. 

“Kara has a lot of good, technical HubSpot and Salesforce expertise internally. They just needed someone external to help them think outside of the box, someone who could step back and provide a fresh perspective. We’ve given them all the foundational tools they need to keep managing and scoring their leads going forward.”

Gem Rugg-Gunn

HubSpot Platform Consultant, BabelQuest


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