Marketing’s New Edict: Drive New Customers And Revenue Or Die Trying
If you Google “demand generation” you’ll find similar definitions to the one I found: the focus of targeted marketing to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products or services. That makes sense, but it’s probably a definition created four or five years ago.
Today, demand generation is about the creation of high-quality sales opportunities that the sales team can close quickly, producing the level of revenue defined by the company’s business objectives.
The definition I found on the web sounds a lot like what marketing used to be — get your name out there. The definition I’m offering sounds more like what we do — generate revenue for our clients. I’m guessing most people are expecting marketing to produce revenue, and so are we.
Here’s a quick assessment to see if your demand generation tactics are producing the right outcomes to help your company hit or even exceed its revenue goals.
1) Your On-Site And Off-Site SEO Is Driving Up The Number Of Visitors To Your Website
If you want more visitors to your website (and you do), then you must practice on-site search engine optimization by blogging and making sure your site is technically ranking. Then you should practice off-site search engine optimization to make sure you have highly respected backlinks to your site. Off-site best practices include making sure social media is driving visitors to your site and that you’re actively publishing content and working with influencers to drive people who don’t know you to your website monthly.
2) Your Content Creation And Publication Is Driving Up The Conversion Rate
Want more leads? Create more compelling content. Want better, more qualified leads? Create better content that’s more contextual to your best prospects’ biggest challenges. Then take that amazing content and publish it where those same prospects are spending their time. It’s not easy, but it works.
Once you start tracking conversion rates for the entire site and conversion rates for individual pieces of content, you’ll find patterns that help you focus your future content creation efforts on those subjects that drive your best and most qualified leads.
3) Your Lead Nurturing Campaigns Are Engaging Prospects Via Clicks And Visits
Just accept this now: Not every person who converts on your site is going to be ready to buy today. In fact, 90% of them are NOT going to be ready. Recent studies show that nine out of 10 people who visit your website are in the top of the funnel. '
When you think about it, that makes sense. I mean, it’s a funnel, right? More people will be in the awareness stage (TOFU) than in the consideration stage (MOFU) and the decision-making stage (BOFU).
The key then comes to lead nurturing. How do you continue the conversation? How do you continue to poke at their pain, help them feel safe with your company, educate them in a compelling way and disrupt their status quo? And how do you do all of that without being annoying or interruptive? It’s not easy, but it is very doable. The better you are at this, the more quality leads you’ll see fall into your funnel even while you reach out for net new names.
4) The Percentage Of Sales Opportunities To MQLs Is Increasing Monthly
You’re getting leads, but are they the right leads? Are they quality leads? I think all leads are good leads, but some leads are better than others. If your demand generation is working correctly, you should see an increasing percentage of marketing-qualified leads turning into sales opportunities. This means the sales team is talking to MQLs and those people have the budget, have a pain and are interested in talking about hiring you.
5) The Average Lead Score For Sales Leads Is Increasing
When it comes to lead generation, quality is important. If you had 10 high-quality leads, you’d be in better shape than if you had 100 lower-quality leads. You want your sales team optimized and working on the best leads all of the time. One way to figure that out is with lead scoring. Based on the prospect data and/or their behavior, they earn a score. That score should be increasing month over month, validating that your demand generation efforts are producing an increasingly quality lead.
6) The Percentage Of Sales Opportunities Going To Proposal Is Increasing
There’s a line we just crossed over, and it’s the line between marketing and sales. We’d like to see that line removed, but the fact remains that moving a sales opportunity to the proposal stage is a sales rep’s job. If you remember our new definition of demand generation, we want marketing and sales working together to increase the percentage of sales opportunities that move to the proposal stage. This means your sales team is effectively telling stories, positioning your company, guiding your prospects and helping them feel safe with their potential purchase decision.
7) The Percentage Of Proposals Closing Is Increasing
The same holds true for this metric. If your proposal sucks, I don’t care how many leads you get or how high the lead score is. If your proposal, agreement, recommendations, contract or presentation deck is all about you, if it’s too long, if it’s not focused on the business outcomes for your prospective client and if it doesn’t offer a co-created solution that you worked on with your prospect, you’re probably not getting the business. Marketing and sales have to work together on this stage, and it needs to be elegant, powerful and move prospect to act.
8) The Time It Takes To Close New Customers Is Decreasing
Do you know your current sales cycle? The time starts when your prospect makes first contact with you. That could be a visit to your website, a call, an email or an in-person meeting at an event.
From that first contact until the time they sign your paperwork, that’s the length of your sales cycle. Ours is 55 days, 15 hours and 6 minutes. Do you know yours? Ours is down two days from last month. That’s a metric we’re obsessed with, and you need to be, too.
9) The Average Revenue Per New Customer Is Increasing
If your marketing and sales processes are tight, you should see increases in average revenue from new clients. This means your sales team is telling prospects the whole story, working with them to solve all of their needs and presenting complete solutions. It means your prospects understand the value you’re offering as compared to your cheaper competitors and they’re still choosing to work with you.
10) You’re Exceeding Your New Customer And Revenue Goals Monthly
This is the most obvious one. Almost everyone should be keenly aware of the monthly sales targets. Everyone should know at the end of the month whether you hit the numbers or not. Make sure you share this with everyone. Make sure you identify what you did to help hit the numbers when you do and perhaps what you didn’t do when you miss the numbers.
Make sure that missing the numbers never becomes a trend. Miss it once, OK. Miss it twice, now you have a trend. Instead, respond when you miss it with a series of improvement tactics designed directly and surgically at the areas that are suffering. If you have this data, the placement of your energy should be obvious. That’s why an approach like this is the difference between success and failure.
Everyone knows the tactics, but very few people know how to apply the tactics, optimize the tactics and prioritize the tactics based on business outcomes. Now you do.
If you can answer positively to all 10 of these assessment questions, you should be proud of yourself. It means your demand generation activities are producing the right business outcomes and your investment in marketing and sales tactics is paying off big time.
But if you have to answer negatively or you’re uncertain about even one of these assessment criteria, I’d encourage you to hit the pause button and rethink your entire approach to demand generation. Marketing people and digital marketing agencies are increasingly being tasked with producing results, revenue generation, new customer acquisition, improvements in share of wallet from current customers and more. Don’t wait for someone to start asking questions about what you’re doing, the results you’re producing or the ROI you’re generating. Instead, get proactive and start making the changes you need to make today to drive new customers and revenue for your business tomorrow.
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