Baseball, barbeques, beaches and planning for the end of 2015. When you get back from enjoying the fireworks, here are a couple of digital marketing strategies to bring you into 2016.
#1 - Make Sales Your Best Friend
According to Marketing Sherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. These are the types of stats that result in Sales and Marketing not being on the same page.
After all, if Marketing is getting all these great leads and Sales doesn't follow-up, the overall business suffers. On the flipside, maybe Marketing is producing bad leads--you know, the ones purchased from Ken's Lead Emporium. The end result of either scenario is wasted investment.
One actionable recommendation is to setup an offsite with your Sales leaders to hash out plans for the year. Even if your Sales and Marketing teams are fully aligned, use this session as an opportunity to make the relationship better.
The end goal is to build alignment between Marketing and Sales.
- Reevaluate lead lifecycle definitions and find gaps.
- Establish Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or adjust existing ones based on feedback.
- Make adjustments where leads are getting lost today.
- Besides the above, make Sales your friend--the process will lead to future success when the roads periodically get rocky.
#2 - Improve the Customer Journey
According to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is a common cause of this poor performance.
Maybe you have a 10-email string of nurturing emails. That's a great start but make this year the time to improve that journey.
At the very least, develop content designed to hit buyers based on where they are in the buying journey. Establish thought leadership content for early stage buyers and fast track them to late stage content (like pricing, etc.) when they show purchasing signals.
Other paths to consider: Industry, geography and job function are other paths that companies tend to use for journey development.
#3 - Change the Metrics Game - Focus on Conversions, Not Volume
Got a pulse? Volume based metrics like number of leads, number of impressions and number of site visitors are important. However, these metrics are like a person's pulse--you are alive but are you really living?
Instead, begin to focus on value based metrics based on your organization's funnel. At a high level, how are leads driving revenue? This closed-loop analysis helps organizations build a repeatable and measurable business model. I covered this topic a few week's ago in Tom Brady Passes a Lot: Why Marketers Shouldn't Rely on Volume-Based Metrics.
#4 - Hold Marketing Accountable
If there is one number Marketing should focus on, it's the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) figure as opposed to the raw lead count.
Instead of only saying Marketing produced 700 trade show leads, take that analysis to the next level. Of those 700, how many turned into MQLs? Now, Marketing can start comparing the success of various marketing channels to ensure marketing investment is optimized.
#5 - Get Your Systems in Order
Many companies have the strategy but don't have the technology or expertise to execute. Sure, you can go to LA from New York by car but that isn't the most efficient way to travel (Unless of course you want to see the world's largest ball of twine).
Invest in the technologies that will bring your business to the next level. If you don't have a solution from one of the categories, consider putting aside some budget to acquire one in the next year.
- CRM - The go-to tool for Sales management. Vendors include: Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, NetSuite and others.
- Marketing Automation - The backbone marketing platform that just about every company needs. Vendors include: Marketo (Mid-Enterprise), Hubspot (SMB with a social focus), Eloqua (Enterprise/Oracle focus), Infusionsoft (SMB focus) and others.
- Data Cleansing and Appending - Bad, outdated and duplicate data lead to a lot of wasted time. Consider getting your data updated. Vendors include: ZoomInfo, Ringlead, NetProspex, InsideView, Oceanos and others.
- Predictive Analysis - Predictive analysis is the hot trend in marketing automation that takes traditional lead scoring to the next level. Vendors include: Infer, Fliptop, Lattice Engines and others.
- Business Intelligence - Get deeper insights than what your marketing automation and CRM solutions can provide. Vendors include: KISSMetrics, InsightSquared, GoodData, Grow (for SMB) and others.
Jeff Coveney is the founder of the RevEngine Insider blog and regularly consults via RevEngine Marketing. Jeff is also recognized by Marketo as one of its fifty worldwide Marketo Champions and recently wrote the eBook Six Steps to Transform Your Lifecycle into a Revenue Machine.
Follow Jeff Coveney on Twitter: www.twitter.com/revenginemarket