I often think about generating revenue as if it’s a recipe or, maybe more appropriate, a dinner party with multiple dishes. So, at this time of year, the Thanksgiving meal is the perfect metaphor for your efforts at creating the perfect balance of marketing, sales and customer service execution to grow your business.
Get it right and you have a wonderful experience. Get it wrong and people might be looking for other options next year.
The same works with your marketing, sales and customer service execution. Get it right and you’ll see massive growth. Get it wrong and you’ll be wondering why you’re not getting more leads, closing those leads faster and signing more new customers.
Let’s see what your meal should look like for Thanksgiving.
Recipes – Your Go-To-Market Strategy
Let’s not skip over this very important point: No matter how great a cook you are, you’re likely working from recipes. Even the professional chefs write down their ideas, form them into recipes and work on refining those over time.
If you started cooking Thanksgiving dinner without any recipes, your chances of creating the perfect meal and dining experience would be very close to zero.
The same is true with revenue. Without a strategy, you have almost no chance of being successful.
You need a solid marketing strategy that includes targeting, messaging, compelling stories, a remarkable offering, the right technology, the right team, aligned goals and an appropriate budget for achieving those goals.
You need a sales strategy that includes a documented and visual sales process, the right number and configuration of sales reps, the right sales CRM, the right tools for the sales reps to execute your process and the data to inform your progress and adjustments going forward.
You need a customer service strategy that includes a documented and visual process for handling your customers, the right tools to make that service experience effective and enjoyable, the right people to deliver that process and the ability to measure the effectiveness of your service experience so people buy more, stay longer and refer all their friends.
These recipes are all nonstarters. Without them, you won’t succeed. With them, you’ll be ready to move on to the actual cooking.
The Main Course, Turkey – Your Company’s Website
Just like the turkey is the focal point of your meal, your website is the focal point of your marketing efforts. Almost all of your marketing campaign efforts should be directing people to your website for more information and to convert them from anonymous visitors into identified leads.
Your turkey has to look amazing, and so does your website. People eat with their eyes, and your prospects are deciding if they want to stick around and learn more based on how they initially feel when they land on your site.
Then, of course, the turkey has to taste amazing. This means your website has to offer amazing educational content and an amazing experience. If you can deliver this, you should have people coming back again and again to get more, just like when people ask for seconds you know they love the food.
The Stuffing – Your Content
Everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving dinner isn’t always the turkey, and in most cases, it’s the stuffing (or dressing, depending on your part of the country).
In our world, this means the content you’re creating. After your website, it’s the most important part of your lead generation effort, so don’t underestimate its importance.
It has to be thought-leadership-level content. It has to take a stand. It has to be bold, disruptive and compelling. It has to cause your prospects to want to read, watch or share it.
It has to be available in a variety of formats, including video, audio, graphic and written. It has to be created in a way that allows your prospects to easily consume it, remember it and want to come back for more.
Today, consider ungating most of your content and letting more people experience it. Yes, you might get fewer marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), but you’ll be talking to many more people. And if you have the right late-stage buyer journey offers, people will come back and convert into sales-qualified leads (SQLs) at a higher pace.
You’ll have more sales leads and they’ll be of higher quality, resulting in faster closes and a higher close rate. That sounds tasty to me.
It has to be targeted to your perfect prospect, which means it has to answer their questions and educate them, and it has to help them feel safe and emotionally connected to your company.
Finally, it has to be deployed properly. It has to be placed on the right pages of your website. It needs to be used properly in lead nurturing, in email campaigns, on social media and in the sales process. You have to know when your prospects need information and serve it up to them proactively.
Cranberry Sauce – Lead Nurturing Campaigns
After all the bird and rich stuffing, you need a bit of a palate cleanser, and the cranberry sauce never disappoints. Bright, tart, cool and sweet, this Thanksgiving staple adds zip to the meat.
Your lead nurturing effort needs to deliver a similar result. If you want to simplify it to the core, lead nurturing allows you to continue the conversation after your prospect has left your website.
Just like any conversation, if the topics and the tone are boring, self-serving or flat, you’re checking out.
But if the topics are exciting, educational and helpful, you’re engaging even more. Lead-nurturing emails and content don’t often get the attention they deserve. It’s like opening a can of cranberry jelly and plopping it on the table – no bueno!
Instead, craft a well-designed and well-thought-out nurture strategy that presents highly relevant offers to keep your prospects engaged with your company. Proactively work to move them through their buyer journeys by giving them a chance to signal to you that they are progressing.
You won’t turn leads into sales opportunities if you can’t nurture your prospects who are running active buying cycles for their companies.
The Potatoes – Chatbots And Chat For Conversion
The potatoes, whether mashed, au gratin or baked, are another Thanksgiving staple. Today, chat must be just as available if you want to create a remarkable experience on your website and allow prospects to identify themselves as ready to talk.
Just like the variety of potatoes available, there are a variety of ways to use chat. You can answer questions, you can qualify visitors, you can direct visitors to parts of the site more easily, you can serve up additional content and you can tee up sales leads for sales.
You can even use chat to eliminate the gates from your content offers, which should free up your visitors to get everything you offer without worrying about sharing their email or contact info.
There are only positives here, no negatives. There are no risks associated with adding chat to your website, only rewards. But you should hurry. Chat is becoming more prevalent, and chat-blindness is also quickly becoming a thing.
Here is a story about a company that removed their chat bubble and with just a link saw a 62% increase in conversations. It’s real, so pay attention to it.
Green Beans, Brussel Sprouts Or Asparagus – Late-Stage Buyer Journey Offers
This is a must-have item at the Square 2 table. No, not the green beans. Almost everyone knows the greens are the least popular part of the dinner, but you have to serve something green.
Late-stage buyer journey offers are the item that always produces the most leads and almost always gets missed when clients run programs on their own.
These offers are the most important part of our content strategy. These offers are what the sales team will deliver when someone wants to talk to you, so how you write, design, position and execute on them is critical.
To be clear, these are going to replace your Request A Demo, Schedule A Call, Contact Us, Get A Quote and Speak With A Rep offers. No one wants any of these (even the demo). To your prospect, these are all poorly disguised sales calls.
Instead, make sure these offers are designed around your prospect. Make sure they add value.
One of our most successful is our website grader offer. We’ll grade your website and tell you what needs to be upgraded or fixed. No obligation, no charge. It’s a high-value offer for our prospect. In exchange, we get to talk about their website and business.
Ultimately, we get to tell them how we can not only fix their website but get it to generate more leads for their business, making it a win-win. Now our prospect is starting to know, like and trust us – all critical to getting a new customer.
For more details on creating late-stage buyer journey offers that drive revenue, check out this article.
The Rolls – Lead Scoring
I don’t know about you, but I’m always in favor of as many kinds of rolls as possible.
Dinner rolls, crescent rolls, biscuits and crusty bread? Yes, please! Lead scoring is similar in our eyes.
The better your model, the more models you run and the more complex your models, the more accurate your scores and the more you can do with those scores. In the end, this drives efficiency in your marketing and in your sales execution as well.
While most people look at onsite behavior and collected data to drive their lead-scoring models, we like offsite behavior, too. In other words, intent data. The combination of onsite and offsite behavior gives your lead-scoring model an even more dynamic number and provides added insight into how you use the number.
Once you know what your prospects are doing off site and on site, plus a little bit about who these people are, you can make some good decisions, starting with how to respond.
Do you enter them in a more aggressive lead nurture campaign? Do you signal a rep to pick up the phone and call them? Should the rep send them an email? All these actions might be appropriate for someone with a very high lead score.
Striking when the prospect is hot helps you to leverage their behavior and match it with an equally proactive response from your sales team. If the data is good, you have an opportunity to turn a prospect into a sales opportunity in minutes instead of days or weeks.
Plus, you’ll be leveraging your sales reps in a highly efficient way. They’ll be spending their time with your best prospects.
The Desserts – Customer Campaigns And An Upgraded Sales Process
I love desserts. The more, the merrier. At our house, there are as many desserts as people at dinner. But in the case of your recipe for revenue generation, let’s focus on two of the best desserts, which are customer campaigns and sales process upgrades.
Marketing to customers is often subverted when you start talking about revenue generation. People think revenue almost always comes from new customers, new logos and new projects when in fact the best place to look for new revenue is your current customers.
They already know you, like you and trust you. They’re already buying from you and hopefully having a great experience. But how many of your customers purchase everything you offer? Probably not many.
While you’re designing your prospect campaigns in 2022, spend some time designing monthly customer campaigns, too. Make them about your customers, not about you. Don’t talk about products or services but rather about the business outcomes your customers have derived from your products or services.
Simply sharing these stories will encourage current customers to ask about how they can get some of that value as well.
Sales process upgrades are the second dessert. If your customer campaigns are your apple or pumpkin pie, then the sales process upgrades are the chocolate.
Look for places in the sales process where momentum slows, stops or gets bumpy. We call that friction. You want to eliminate as much friction in the sales process as possible.
Do you have a place where prospects go dark? Do you have a place where prospects take longer than you expect to give you the direction or agree to move forward? Is your close rate lower than 50%?
Identify those areas and work to fix them, remove friction, smooth out the process and supplement the experience with additional educational content. Test these upgrades with a few opportunities and see how it works. If you find success, roll it out to everyone on the sales team.
Libations – Revenue Operations
Finally, the best meals are always paired with a bottle of fine wine, a cocktail or even an appropriate soft drink. Your revenue generation efforts are no different.
You’re going to enjoy your drink all through the meal, and you should be looking at ways to optimize the performance of your campaigns and general revenue operations every day. This effort never stops.
Make sure someone is assigned this role. Make sure they understand it’s their job to find optimizations inside marketing, sales and customer service. It’s their job to keep the technology running at an optimized level. It’s their job to make sure your data is accurate and that your dashboards reflect the performance of your efforts accurately.
Today’s revenue execution is omni-channel and highly complex. You need a team of people to ensure the operational side of marketing, sales and customer service is working perfectly or run the risk of your revenue grinding to a painful slowdown or halting altogether.
If it’s hard for you to find someone in the organization to handle this lift, consider working with a partner, contractor or agency to fill in this gap. They should bring best practices and expertise to hit the ground running, giving you a lift that might just be the difference between hitting and missing your revenue goals.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.