The Ability To Predict Leads And Match Program Tactics To Lead Generation Is Key
Marketing today requires a highly complex set of tactics that need to be tightly orchestrated, and that’s just to get leads. If you want those leads to be high quality, turn into sales opportunities and then convert into new customers, now you’re talking about sales process upgrades, and the complexity just keeps getting trickier.
The questions that CEOs ask me all of the time are “am I getting enough leads?” and “are we getting the right amount of leads for the investment we’re making in marketing?” Those questions are hard to answer, but any digital agency worth its salt should be able to show CEOs exactly what they’re getting from their efforts and exactly how many leads, sales opportunities and customers are coming through the pipeline.
At Square 2 Marketing, we use an assessment methodology and a handful of custom-developed tools to help us keep tabs on these important metrics. Here’s how you can know for sure if you’re getting enough leads.
Properly Aligning Expectations With Investment
Whether you get “enough” leads or not is a relative statement, meaning you’re comparing one set of results with an expected set of results. “Enough” implies a comparison. Knowing whether you’re getting enough leads has a lot to do with the level of investment you’re putting into sales and marketing programs.
For example, if you want to grow your revenue from $5 million to $10 million and you’re only investing $5,000 a month, then you might not be getting enough leads. Now some of that might be underperforming programs, but some of it might also be (and probably is) that while the program is performing, at that level of investment it can’t produce enough leads to get you to your goals. This is a reality that a lot of agencies don’t talk to their clients about and a lot of companies don’t always understand the intricacies associated with this connection.
Make sure to work out all of these details, expectations and the alignment up front, before you start with an agency or start your program at the beginning of the calendar year.
True Funnel Analytics
We use a model, which is an Excel-based tool, that helps us to see a client’s current funnel metrics from top to bottom from website visitor through new customer. We then model the required state to hit the client’s revenue goals.
This gives us a clear picture of where we need to get a client’s marketing and sales effort. It also gives us a complete picture from click all the way through to close. This is critical and often overlooked by a lot of digital marketing agencies.
Having your funnel metrics benchmarked along with a set of metrics you’re working toward provides incredible insight into what to work on first. For example, if you see your conversion rate on sales opportunities to new customers is lower than average (Forrester reports the average at 26% and 34% for top-performing companies), this gives you direction on how what to tackle first. It also lets you keep tabs on these numbers as they improve month over month based on the energy you’re applying up and down the funnel.
Rifle Shot Key Conversion Metrics
It’s almost impossible to tackle trying to move all of the metrics in the funnel analysis. Most companies don’t have the resources, the budget or the expertise to go after all of them. That’s not bad. It makes sense to rifle shot one or two of the most significant. If you can increase the close rate on submitted proposals, that’s going to have a big impact on revenue. If this metric is already high, then getting more leads to convert into sales opportunities is going to have a big impact.
The same approach can be applied to the marketing metrics, too. Pick one or two that are critical and focus your energies on moving those. This is especially important at the start of a new engagement with an agency or a new initiative with your in-house team. Once you move one number, it’s going to be much easier to move other numbers because you’ll have the tools and the methodology to execute the lift.
Dialing In The Configuration Of Tactics
Knowing these numbers also gives you invaluable insight into how to configure the specific recipe for your marketing. Need more work at the top of the funnel and more leads? Weight your marketing toward demand generation tactics. Need more sales-qualified leads or sales opportunities? Weight your marketing toward more inbound tactics that drive people already in awareness or consideration stages.
If you have enough leads, you can tailor your program to focus on sales upgrades like qualification techniques, nurture strategies and sales process improvements that pull more leads through and out the bottom of the sales cycle as new customers.
By using intelligence, data and analytics to configure your sales and marketing efforts, you can make your budget go further and produce the right results sooner.
This balancing also comes into consideration when you look at long-term and short-term goals. If you need leads tomorrow, weight your program heavily with lead gen tactics like pay-per-click. If you can wait and be a little more patient, weight your program more heavily with tactics like organic search, content marketing and lead nurturing. This also helps with expectations and goal attainment.
Align Sales And Marketing
The days of sales and marketing fighting over who is causing any revenue deficit are coming to an end. Today, sales and marketing teams are becoming one single revenue team. As the CEO, the sooner you align these two teams, the faster the results improve. You’re building a complete “click-to-close” experience for your prospects, and you need your marketing and sales teams aligned seamlessly to deliver this experience.
Creating a marketing and sales experience that matches today’s buyer behavior is going to require some new skills in both your marketing and sales teams. It’s also going to require new thinking that might feel uncomfortable at the start. For example, your current sales playbook might call for sending four emails before you give up or making five phone calls before you archive the lead. I’m going to tell you that both of those plays are outdated and counterproductive. How do you feel when you keep getting bad emails from sales reps? Not good.
Instead, consider blowing the entire sales process up and starting to think about it with a green field mentality. Build it back up the way your prospects buy today. Fill it with education, advisory and guidance-oriented content, and you’ll quickly find prospects who are engaged and excited to talk to you. You’ll also find they close faster and more frequently. Harvard Business Review reports that 90% of CEOs are not willing to respond to any type of cold outreach. If you’re targeting CEOs with old-school marketing and sales tactics, you’re ruining your brand and your chances to turn those businesses into customers. Stop it and get a better plan together immediately.
Square 2 Marketing – Innovating Marketing And Sales To Match Today’s Buyer Behavior!
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.