The answer is a complicated one simply because the challenge of generating leads, new sales opportunities and new customers is also complex — especially today.
Generally, a handful of signals indicate something’s not working right, and that often means you have something missing from the core set of ingredients required to run a marketing program that produces results and business outcomes.
While missing ingredients isn’t always the issue, it is very frequent. You could have the wrong product or service for the market you’re going after. Or you might have the right product or service but you’re going after the wrong market.
In our experience, however, that’s rarely the issue.
Here are some of the signals you should be looking for.
If you think your program should be generating more leads, more sales opportunities and more new customers, there might be something missing.
If you feel like the people planning, executing and optimizing your marketing program might not be 100% certain about what to do and how to do it, there might be something missing.
If it’s taking you too long to get content, campaigns and new lead generation tactics launched, there might be something missing.
If you feel like you’re doing random acts of marketing and just trying different ideas all the time, there might be something missing.
If you feel like you’re doing everything right but just not getting the results you’re expecting, there might be something missing here too.
We’ll look at each of these scenarios to help you identify if it is you and what to do about it.
First, some background on why it’s so complex today.
Your prospects are inundated with outreach digitally. Everyone is feeling it. Inboxes are full of garbage emails. Social feeds are filled with more garbage posts. It’s hard to make heads or tails of any online searches and websites. Even the educational materials companies are providing aren’t always helpful.
Your prospects are frustrated.
New privacy practices are making it harder to get in touch with your prospects.
People are not sharing their personal information like they used to. They are concerned about their information and working harder to protect it.
It takes more touches with more people inside your prospects’ organizations to even get anyone’s attention, let alone a meeting.
Prospects are not quick to want to talk. They are in control of the process much more than ever before and they have more resources at their fingertips to learn about your business without you even knowing they’re looking around.
What worked last year or the year before isn’t going to work this year. You’re going to need an entirely new playbook, an entirely new strategy, an entirely new set of tactics and an entirely new look at how you execute campaigns and use technology.
Here’s what’s likely missing from your current digital marketing, lead generation and demand generation efforts.
We see missing strategies ALL THE TIME. This means your company isn’t telling a compelling story, one that is emotional and engaging enough to get a prospect’s attention and get them to feel like they have to get to know you more.
Is this you? Here’s how to check. Go to your top three competitors’ websites and take a look at the headlines on their websites. Do any of them sound like yours? If so, you’re missing strategy.
Here’s another way to know. Does your website or do your salespeople have anything to say to prospects that your competitors don’t or can’t say? If the answer is no, you’re missing strategy.
I can keep going. Strategy is so important and multifaceted, yet we see it missing so frequently that it shows up in different ways.
Do you have your prospects’ buyer journeys mapped out? What I mean is, do you know every single touch point along that journey with your company, from the first click on the website to the signing of your paperwork? If you don’t have this, you’re missing strategy.
All this strategy work should be done before you spend a single dollar on any tactics. While the tactics are the place most companies spend most of their time and money, it’s not usually where the program goes bad. It’s the lack of strategy that’s causing problems.
At Square 2, we have a mantra — strategy before tactics — and it works every time.
We see missing tactics ALL THE TIME. This means you’re doing some tactics, like email marketing, but you’re not doing all the tactics necessary to generate the amount or quality of leads you’re looking for.
Today, you have to be highly orchestrated and use as many appropriate tactics as possible.
This means you have to at least evaluate every tactic available to you. Not every tactic will be a good fit and get included in your program. For instance, paid social ads on TikTok for a B2B accounting firm might NOT be the right tactic, but it should be considered.
Alternatively, paid social ads on Instagram might be the right tactic for that same company.
Are you doing anything with video or audio podcasting? Most companies are still resisting moving their content to this type of format, yet every data point shows people prefer to watch and listen rather than read.
Again, depending on your company and your prospects, these tactics need to be explored and potentially added to what you’re currently doing.
You just launched your new website, but is it optimized to be found on Google for the 20 keywords and keyword phrases that your prospects typically use in their searches? Most companies have to answer no. They didn’t think about search the last time they redid their site.
Today, there are so many tactics, and more are coming. Text messaging is becoming a highly effective way to get in front of people. Retargeting ads online after people visit your website is also becoming more common.
Leveraging intent data from someone’s browsing history and then targeting them with advertisements via social or a display network might be right for you. The number of tactics is increasing quickly, and the process for using the right ones at the right time and in the right way is challenging.
We see people failing to run ongoing campaigns or running very ineffective campaigns. These omnichannel pushes need to be highly strategic, designed appropriately and supported with specific campaign assets.
They also need to be one to one instead of one to many. Plus, they need to run long enough to get traction. Sometimes that means months, not weeks.
Does this sound familiar? You tried to do some paid social ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, but after a month of modest or even no results, you stopped the campaign.
Did you know the algorithms that Google, Facebook and LinkedIn use typically take a month to optimize? So, you stopped your campaign right at the time your program was about to start showing life.
These companies want your ads to work. The better they work, the more money they make. But you have to give your campaigns enough time to learn what’s working and what’s not.
You have to invest enough in your campaigns to drive the expected results. There are no secrets here, and rarely do people invest $100 and get 100 leads. It’s more likely that you’ll have to invest $1,000 to get 10 leads, but think about it this way: Would you pay $100 for a new lead? If the lead is good, I think most people would say yes, especially at B2B companies that sell products or services for over $50,000 in annual revenue.
Remember, these are people who reached out to you, not cold contacts. They have an expressed intent to at least learn more about what you offer.
Finally, your strategy, tactics and campaigns need to be built on a technology platform that allows you to automate as much as possible, track everything and optimize these efforts every single month.
Today, the complexity of running marketing campaigns can be eased a little bit with technology. Many steps can be automated with technology, making it easier to execute repeatable and scalable programs.
Technology also informs you about what’s working. In the past, marketers didn’t really know what was working — everything was qualitative.
Today, everything is quantitative. We know what’s working well, what’s working just OK and what’s not working at all.
This allows the marketing folks to try and fix what’s not working well or shut down what they can’t get to work well, saving you money and time so you can lean into the tactics that are working well.
It’s the combination of these four elements that always produce the kind of results most people expect, but getting each area up and running and then optimizing them all takes a lot of experience and skill.
There is one other area that might be missing.
Most in-house teams lack the skill and experience in at least one of these areas, making it hard to generate results.
Sometimes the agency or external team you’ve been using won’t be the agency or external team you’ll need going forward.
They might be missing some skill or expertise in one of the areas mentioned above. For example, we see agencies that are great at building websites but can’t help clients create the message necessary to engage visitors.
They might also be weak at creating content that turns visitors into leads. These are two important areas of expertise that might be missing from either your internal team or current external team.
There is something to be said for speed, too. Today, the faster you can get your programs up, the faster you can optimize them. And the faster you can spin up and launch a campaign, the faster you generate results.
But if your team is taking longer than expected to execute your plan, it could delay lead generation by months, putting your further behind your goals.
If you do find yourself thinking about your situation and realizing there is something missing, you can fix that by finding a partner that can quickly fill in the gaps, get that missing piece up and running, and provide the ongoing support you need to ensure that you don’t miss any important components going forward.
In today’s marketing mix, you can’t afford to have anything missing from your lead generation, demand generation and revenue generation efforts.