MarketingSherpa Video Archive

Lead Generation: How to empower your program like Siemens Healthcare

Pamela Markey, MECLABS, and Debbie Pryer, Siemens Healthcare

Debbie Pryer, Program Manager, Siemens Healthcare, is responsible for lead generation and management for more than 1,500 end users. In the healthcare segment of Siemens, service engineers are out in the field interacting directly with customers to repair medical equipment. Pryer’s big challenge when she came to Siemens was to align Service and Sales after a lead gen program was generating too many leads with a high rejection rate, creating distrust between the two departments.

Service engineers are looked to as trusted advisers for customers, so having them submit leads on an external website seemed like a great approach to generate leads.

With a monetary incentive for when Sales qualified the lead, the system seemed to be working until the number of leads skyrocketed to 12,000 after the lead incentive program was released to thousands of employees. Along with that, 65% of the leads were rejected, so while the program was generating leads, they were not high quality leads.

Pryer developed a plan to build back the trust between Service and Sales that had deteriorated, especially after a service level agreement was implemented for Service to only receive the monetary incentive after a certain number of leads were approved by Sales.

Watch this webinar replay, recorded on the stage at Lead Gen Summit 2013 in San Francisco, to learn Pryer’s approach with steps including:
  1. Auditing the situation and discovering where the problems are

  2. Program and process development of aligning complex systems

  3. Change management and behavior redirection

Download the slide to this presentation

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Video Transcription

Daniel Burstein: Hello and welcome to a MarketingSherpa webinar. We've got a very special treat for you today. We are broadcasting live from Lead Gen Summit 2013 in San Francisco. I'm going to turn you over now to our session already in progress with Pamela Markey and Debbie Pryer of Siemens.

Markey: Thank you. Welcome Debbie. We've had tons of fun working together, as that video just indicated. Debbie is responsible for lead generation and management for more than 1,500 end users. She's been there since 1999 and she's done how many sky dives?

Pryer: She always brings this up.

Markey: It's amazing.

Pryer: About 600. I stopped counting at 500. I'm still a baby.

Markey: That's amazing. So anyhow, Debbie, let's get into it. Tell us about Siemens.

Pryer: Well, first, I have to take a picture, because ... Thank you, because next year, I want to see some of you up here speaking. So volunteer.

Markey: That's awesome. We're actually broadcasting this as well online, so for the sake of those people, we just took some photos of the audience. So Siemens, talk to us about that.

Pryer: Well, Siemens is a really large company. If you haven't heard of it before, we have about $80 billion in revenue a year. We have about 370,000 employees, and we do business in 120 countries around the world, so we're not a small company. Pretty large.

We're actually divided into sectors. We have industry, energy, healthcare, and infrastructure. I happen to work in the healthcare division, and I actually drill down a little bit further and I work in the service group for Siemens healthcare.

So a picture of my boss. No, not really, not really. Ernst Werner von Siemens, the founder and namesake of the company, started back in about the middle 1800s with a telegraph patent, and I kind of like to say that's my BlackBerry that I carry around with me all the time, it feels like.

We've really focused on innovation. That is one of the pillars of Siemens, is innovation and always being kind of the first. In the late 1800s, we invented a spectacular X-ray tube that turned the medical imaging industry on its ear.

These are the guys that I work with. Well, I'm not that old, but I work with the service engineers who are out fixing the medical equipment and all of the infrastructure that it takes to support those engineers who are actually working with our end customers on small, portable devices like the one you see on the screen, an X-ray machine that can be wheeled up to a patient's bed, to this one, which is near and dear to my heart. It's a positron emission tomography scanner, and it takes images of the molecular as opposed to the anatomical structure inside bodies. It's very cool and fascinating technology.

One of the things about this, though, is our customers at the hospital and the emergency room and the imaging clinic can't run down to Best Buy and buy a new monitor or a new computer to put with that big piece of medical equipment, because we go through a very rigorous 510(k) approval for medical devices, and we're regulated through the FDA here in the U.S. So, you cannot just go pick up a new motor or a valve and go plug it into the machine. It's a very arduous process, and we're highly regulated, which reminds me, I have to do my legal disclaimer, and God love those attorneys.

I work for Siemens, but I am not here officially representing Siemens. Thank you very much. My husband is an attorney, too, but not for Siemens, so I get the legalities.

Markey: So, a huge company, very complex product, very complex sale and service and producing, we also have to service the product with new parts and that kind of thing, so we need to qualify those. This is a qualification step of our pillars of our whole Summit. It isn't a traditional qualification. We're not going to talk about scoring or that kind of thing, although I know you have lots. Maybe next year you can share that with us.

Pryer: I would love to.

Markey: We're going to talk about that more in the next session with Adobe, but let's jump into about really what the situation was.

Pryer: Our customers are at the heart of everything. They drive Siemens, if you will. They're customers running CT scanners in an emergency room that can't be down for 10 minutes. We have service engineers to the tune of about 1,200 of them that are out at the customer sites and they're fixing that equipment and they're talking to the customers. They're face to face.

Those service engineers become the trusted adviser of our customers. They know them. They're right there with them, day in and day out. We have about probably 400 salespeople in the medical device sales piece of it. The salespeople are out there at the customer site maybe once or twice a year, but our service engineers are out there every day, front and center, with our customers.

We came up with this: Wouldn't it be great if we could ask those service engineers? They know what the customer wants. The customer wants to upgrade their software. They want to get into neurology instead of just oncology. They know when they need to buy some new piece of equipment; theirs’ is old. Whatever the case may be. Those service engineers have those leads because they're talking to the customers. How can we capitalize on that?

Back in 2005 we asked them to submit leads into service marketing, which is where I work. Sorry about that. So, they'd submit leads on emails or on a spreadsheet, and we in service marketing kind of turn around and email those to our sales colleagues and, great, they'd talk to the customer, or not. We know that story, too, and I won't go into it.

In 2009, we came up with this kind of test way to see if it would work better if we created this external website and allowed our service engineers to submit leads. They would go to this external website and made it really easy for them to submit a lead. Then, we asked our salespeople to log into that website and go grab that lead and work that lead and report back to that external website when they work the lead. They do that, but we have as Pamela said, very complex sales, and that sales cycle can be 18 months, two years before the customer actually buys it from the time of the lead.

So, Sales would have to remember to go back out to that website, log in and approve that lead. What we found out happened was Sales would go to that website, grab the lead and click on an approve button, boom. Customer hadn't bought it yet, obviously, so we weren't really tracking that really well.

The other piece that we put into this was for the service engineer, for submitting that lead, when the customer purchased it, we'd pay them $100 or $50 or $200, some random dollar amount. You don't want to set the dollar amount too high that we pay them for that lead, but something reasonable. So, within 24 hours, Sales goes in, clicks on an approve button, boom, they get their $100 the next day. We put it on a reloadable debit card because they're submitting leads all the time.

That first year that we had that external website up, we got about 3,000 leads compared to when we were just doing the emails and the spreadsheets we'd get a few hundred leads a year. Three thousand leads, woo hoo! It was really successful. So, we opened it up and we let anybody in the service organization submit leads. Now, we've got about 6,000 employees in the service organization. They would submit leads, and you can imagine what happened when you let a few thousand people submitting leads and they see, "I could get $100 for this and it could be my Christmas fund and I could make $200 or $300."

So, that next year after we opened this external website, we ended up with 12,000 leads. The next year we actually jumped to 16,000 leads. You can imagine what happened here. These leads are not qualified in any way. They're just people submitting them on a website. Our employees, submitting leads.

They may have talked to the customer and the customer said, "You know, we're really thinking about getting this new mammogram machine," and the lady on the phone said, "We have a new pink one. Do you like pink?" The customer said, "Yeah, I like pink," so she submitted a lead for a new pink mammogram. Well, Sales gets that and you know what happens. 65% of those 12,000 to 15,000 leads got rejected. Sixty-five out of 100 leads got rejected.

Markey: Huge, huge quality problem.

Pryer: Huge. Not quality. We were just focusing on volume and the quantity of those leads. Somebody in their infinite wisdom put into place this, let's tie it to the service engineer's year end bonus and let's put a quota on them. They have to submit five leads and get two leads approved. You can imagine the games that started happening around that.

Playing the numbers game, everybody realized, if I submit five leads and get two approved, that's what, 20% now. I better submit 30 leads to get two approved and I'll be safe. I'll submit 40 leads and I'll get two approved out of that, because I don't want it to impact my year end bonus. So, the quota, that obviously had to go.

Markey: The first time Debbie and I talked, this is my favorite thing, she called this era at Siemens with this particular program the Wild West.

Pryer: It totally was the Wild West, man. Anybody could submit any kind of lead they wanted for anything and then jump up and down and yell at me or someone because Sales hadn't actioned their lead and, by golly, it was a good lead. You can imagine the things Sales said about those leads when they're rejecting 65% of them.

We had this really good concept of a program, and as Flint has talked about, so many times you learn from those mistakes, and it's what you take with that learning and what you do with it. We didn't have a closed loop system here from the lead, going to Sales, going back to the customer with the customer in the center of it. We didn't have that. We had this real monorail kind of process.

Because of the numbers that we were talking about, we also drew attention of, you guessed it, legal and finance and regulatory. “What are you saying, Debbie? You've got 12,000 leads and 3,000 of those leads led to X number of hundreds of million dollars in revenue.”

The senior vice president of Sales who would say, "Are you telling me without your lead program we would have sold X hundred million dollars less without your program? You have no credibility, Debbie." There's just all kinds of issues.

Markey: And literally, Debbie, because you're a team of how many?

Pryer: One. You're looking at her. You're looking at her.

Markey: To get the heat.

Pryer: To get the heat, exactly. I get the heat from a lot of different, the people submitting the leads, the salespeople getting the leads, the finance group saying, "Are you kidding?" The compliance group saying, "You've got people clicking a button giving our employees money? Are you kidding?" So, yeah, I'm that kind of proverbial whipping boy on this program but I'm so passionate about it and I absolutely love it.

What we found in all of this though, really beyond all of those measures, is we broke the crust between Sales and Service. Sales and Service have to work together very closely. We know that there are silos many times. Sales does this and Service does this, and they don't usually meet and Sales says, "Well, Service is blah," and Service says, "Well, Sales is blah." You know the lines. This lead program kind of drove a bigger stake in between that when we were really trying to get them closer together and get those silos to touch each other. It didn't really happen. We lost a lot of trust with this lead program.

Markey: So, pretty big problems. This is where you came in. You were in charge of figuring this whole thing out, and I know you took sort of a three-step approach. We're going to dig into each of these steps, the audit and discovery, the program and process, and ultimately the change management, which I know is a lot bigger than you expected it to be. Let's talk about your audit.

Pryer: The audit, let's see. I applied for the job, talked to a good friend of mine who said, "Don't take the job. You'll get beat up. You will get beat up. Don't take the job." I went, "But I like the challenge," and I do. I love that challenge. So I took the job, and literally the first week I was in the job was handed a 75 page audit report with everything that was wrong with it and told this is your first task is to fix it.

One of the biggest things that I saw was this Sales and Service integration, that we weren't bringing everybody together around the customer. We were actually driving a wedge and they were being pushed further apart. That was one of my overarching goals, is to bring Sales and Service together around the customer. Everybody's on their own cracks. I call it kind of spaghetti junction. Everybody has their now, Sales wants this, Marketing wants that, Service wants, Legal wants, everything. So, it was to bring everybody together and the goal is let's get us all on the same track.

Again, we had this very monorail process and we knew that there were a lot of problems in there. I could pinpoint a lot of those because I had the audit. I already had a road map of what was going wrong. I had to now figure out what to do to make it right.

Markey: Right.

Pryer: I think it was Flint yesterday who said if you have a problem and you try to bring automation to it, then you just have an automated problem. I knew that wasn't the answer for us. I knew it wasn't just bringing in an automated lead management program. We had to remove that external website where we send everybody to submit leads and go click on an approve button, and we had to bring it all inside and tie it internally and get into everybody's work stream, and that's the process.

If I did this, focusing on Service wants this and Sales wants that, I'm going to bomb and I'm going to have just as big a problem. What I really have to do is keep that customer in mind, that end customer who's out there running that X-ray machine every day with patients who have major health issues. I have to keep them in mind.

Markey: And it's not about, like you say, you can't just automate the mess. There's no silver bullet technology. You wanted to use what you had existing.

Pryer: That was key and critical for us because we're so large and we have 1,200 service engineers working in one ERP system, which is SAP. I'm not selling SAP here, folks. And we have Sales working in another system, which is Siebel, which is where they do opportunity management and quoting and marking it as sold, which then Siebel sends it back over the SAP for invoicing. So the systems are tied together somewhat, and I knew that I had to capitalize on those internal systems.

The key here was looking at process, looking at, as we've talked about so many times in this conference already, is putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. Now my customer service, where do they work, how do they work, what do they do? Sales, where do they work, what do they do? Then capitalize on where they're at and what they do, and slide those leads into what they're already doing. That was my “optimize the internal systems.”

Markey: And then the program development, which was not easy.

Pryer: Shoo. When you're talking a department of one, I don't have an IT department of 20 behind me and I don't have, yeah, the IT guys. That probably...I won't even go into how complex that was to get SAP to talk to Siebel with a data warehouse component in there to capture all of the data, to report out on it. Getting all of those systems tied together was just head bobbling. I mean just this kind of thing. Wake up at 4:00 in the morning with sweats going, "Did I remember to do this? Did I remember that? Did I tie this to that? How will this button work when you do this or that?"

Anyway. The next kind of biggest challenge that I knew that I had was that Sales and Marketing alignment, getting everybody on board to where this lead program was believable, that those leads really are quality leads. We're going to qualify them. We're not just going to throw leads over the wall. Prove it to people. And I have to get them to buy into it and stand up in front of others and say, "Yeah, it may have been a problem in the past, but we're making it right and we're going to make this lead program work." That was huge.

Then, of course, getting the resources as a department of one. I actually work in a very large department of about 10 or 15 people, which is in a department of about 40 people, which is in a group of about 6,000 people. So getting the resources, talking IT people into doing and making the changes. This whole thing took me about 18 months from the time I started the audit and discovery to figuring out what we really needed to do, to getting all the resources aligned to how we would do it, in writing IT specs and technical documents and requirement documents out the wazoo.

Getting all of that and translate it from what the business wants and needs into IT really programming it and coding it was a big challenge. It so much would have been easier to buy a lead thing and bolt it in, but it wouldn't have worked for us.

Markey: So change management. Like you mentioned, getting buy in and making it work and getting everybody on board. These huge organizations, Sales and Service, you had to figure out how to really just change the way they've been receiving their $100.

Pryer: Exactly. You have to remember, in the old program, in the old Leading the Way, Sales would go in and click a button. Boom, you got your $100 the next day, and that doesn't happen anymore. There are stage gates and there are tied leads to opportunities, to quotes, to sales orders, and to be able to prove it, to really prove that that lead went on to an actual sale.

Now, when they're submitting leads, they don't have any clue, these service engineers who submitted that lead, they don't have any clue when they're going to get their $100 for that lead because now they're really tied to that sales cycle, which may be 180 days from now, that lead that they submitted six months ago may close.

We really had a big mind shift of how it worked for them. They didn't get their $100 the next day. You can imagine. It was a new system and there was all kinds of things changing and happening. So we came up with this kind of massive communications plan, and I'm not suggesting that everybody has the resources to do this kind of communication or this in-depth, but if you don't put together some kind of communications plan of what you're going to communicate, to whom and when, you're setting yourself up for a lot of heartache.

I totally underestimated that change management piece of this program. Really didn't estimate the heartburn and flame throwing that it would create. So we did emails. We did newsletters. We did direct mail pieces to people's homes. We did everything that you can imagine.

That was pre-launch, before we took the Leading the Way program and completely took it down to nothing and rebuilt the new lead gen program for them. Then we had a post launch where we made training mandatory. They had to take training before they could submit a lead. We did training for Sales. Totally separate and trained them on how they work.

Markey: You have two separate groups that need to shift in different ways.

Pryer: Exactly. Totally different on submitting a lead. Totally different on how you handle that lead once you're the salesperson and you get that lead. We did training sessions down to individual levels of a small group of five salespeople at a time. It's those relationships that you build and you convince them. As you all know, probably, salespeople don't like to be trained and told how to do their job. They know what to do with leads. How dare I come tell them what to do?

So, I focused on creating cheat sheets, and I found a different way to get around telling them that they were being trained. It was more of a, "Hey, this is a quick tip. Let me tell you how to do it." We also surveyed people all the time both before and after to kind of a pulse check. What did you think of it? How did it work for you? What do you like? What do you not like? Constantly getting feedback from people, and, again, more direct mail to their homes. Internal presentations, I've spent, golly ...

Markey: Like a year, you said.

Pryer: Yeah, probably a year on the road. Just going out to all of the different groups of Sales and Service around the country here in the U.S. talking to people, anybody that will listen to me talk about this lead program and how it can help them and their customers.

Markey: And what was the response from Service and Sales when you...

Pryer: Woo. When I first started going out? Well, you have to remember they were angry about the old program because Service said it was a black hole. They're submit a lead and never hear anything back from Service. Sales would say it's a crappy program because I'm getting crappy leads.

So when I went out to talk to people, I was already kind of under their thumb because they were angry about the old system. Now they're like, "What are you going to do to us now and make this new program that's going to be horrible?" I've kind of been able to turn a little bit now to more proactive on the leads instead of defending myself or defending the leads program.

Markey: And, you mention always coming back to the customer when you talk to these guys. So, again, like marketers, we want to raise up the discipline of marketing and being focused on the customer, and serving in that way is the way that you're able to get through.

Pryer: Absolutely. Another thing that we did that was key and critical were these help tools. We ask people to submit quality leads and they look at me like I'm a three-horned devil toad frog, "And what do you mean by a quality lead? All of my leads are quality leads. I talked to the customer and they said they wanted that pink machine. It's a quality lead." Well, not really.

So what we did was we talked to Sales, to the senior vice president of Sales, and I went as high as I could go in the organization and said, "What does it mean to you? What's a quality lead? What do you want coming in with the lead? Give me three things. What answers do you want with your leads?" He said, "Okay, I want this answer, I want this answer, and I want this answer. If you can't submit a lead with those answers, don't even submit it." I went, "You're on, buddy."

So all of our leads, that's like the prequalification piece. Those answers have to be there with those lead or they don't make it over to Sales. Tip of the month. We continually are telling them we're seeing a lot of this kind of lead with this kind of bogus information. We kind of keep that communication up there every month about leads and what we're looking for.

We did this video in response to the kind of take this and shove it thing, and we did this video for our people to reach as many of the 1,200 employees as we could and said, "Look, if you can't submit a lead, we really mean it. We're serious. Don't submit it if you're going to submit junk." So here's what we're really looking for. We created videos for them, too. It wasn't just we sent out an email and walked away and hoped that we get leads. We're really all in it.

Markey: Again, that's a massive communication plan for internal stakeholders to raise up the quality. We all don't have the resources, but you can download these slides and just used ideas. What are you missing in your arsenal of communicating to Sales or externally? These are just some great ideas that have been built out. So, these are the three steps of your approach. Talk to us about the results, like any MarketingSherpa case study.

Pryer: The results, and once again, you know that I had to meet with legal and be able to come here today. I can't present any financial results, but this one to me is incredible. We're driving the number of leads down. We don't want that 12,000 15,000 with 65% of them rejected. We want it a reasonable number and we want really high qualified leads. You can kind of guess the numbers there when in 2010 it was 12,000 or 15,000. You can kind of see we're down around the 5,000 6,000 range for this year.

The next thing that I look at is when those leads come in, what's the conversion rate? Did they really turn into a sale? One of the things that we measure as a key performance indicator are net new opportunities. Of our leads that we're sending over to Sales, how many are they turning into opportunities? Not just how many go on to eventually book, but how much are we bringing to the table?

In the old world, 39%, we think, of our leads created a net new opportunity, and now 46% and it's getting better every month. So our leads are really turning the table here for Sales to be able to go out and talk to customers.

I don't use an approval rate of leads to look at, and I know this may sound whacky, and it took me months to get my boss convinced of this, but a rejection rate is actually really talking to us about the quality of the leads, so I use that. It used to be 65%. Where we're sitting at, 25% of our leads get rejected now. Sales might already be working on it. It may be a duplicate. Whatever.

In the old world, this to everybody is so key, we did not have a way to measure how long Sales was taking to action our leads. Our executives committed to actioning our leads within less than two weeks. That's key, huge for us. Would I like it to be one day to action a lead? Absolutely. But it's a starting place.

We do success stories, man. We talk about the successes on a one by one lead basis, and we send that out to vice presidents around the country in zones on equipment sales, on service sales, on every kind of measure you can imagine, so we celebrate our successes.

I strongly encourage you to do that, is talk about those leads that are good. It really goes beyond financials and our CFO saying, "How much money did you make? How much money did you bring in?" When you look at that cost of the lead and the revenue, don't even ask me. The key here is that we're rebuilding that trust between Sales and Service. We're getting everybody back on the same page, but going down the same track towards the customer with that customer in mind. It's all about the customer.

Markey: Now we're nearly done, but you have some key success factors to share, things that really worked for you. Do you want to go through some of your favorites?

Pryer: I know Pamela asked me for this and I sent her this diatribe of about 20 pages long of my laundry list of don't dos. I kind of turned it into, man, if you build this around your customers, your lead gen program, keep your customers in mind. What are they feeling? What are their pain points? Everything else just kind of will come together. Yeah, you've got to do prequalification. I'd suggest mandatory training people in your lead programs. Create help tools that are ongoing to help your folks if you're doing some sort of internal lead program. Reporting KPIs is down at number ten, but I guarantee you management will just nail you to the wall if you don't have it.

Markey: So, again, this is her approach. It doesn't stop there, though. I know you're doing lots of things now. Here's the list. So Debbie is not stopping. She's continuing with her optimization throughout.

Pryer: Won't read it, but processes. Just can't tell you how important processes are. We're going to open it up selectively to a few groups of other employees to submit more leads. A new target lead program that's just kind of dreamed up and IT said, "Yeah, man. That will work." So, I'll tell you more about that next time I'm here.

Markey: Next year.

Pryer: Exactly.

Markey: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Debbie, for telling us your story.

Pryer: Thank you.