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Inbound Marketing Leads Are Fine, But Sales Opportunities Are Better

How To Drive Massive Increases In Sales Opportunities For Your Sales Team

Marketing is going through a massive transformation. Marketing teams and digital marketing agencies are all being asked to deliver much more than fancy creative. Today, they’re being asked to deliver leads, and not just any leads. They must deliver high-quality, sales-qualified leads that quickly move to sales opportunities and potentially new customers.

If this is the new normal, then business leaders, CEOs and even VPs of marketing at companies going through this change in expectations need to adjust their strategy to make sure they produce compelling creative and the sales opportunities expected.

This shift requires an adjustment in thinking and an adjustment in the selection of tactics. It requires a more holistic understanding of the buyer journey and how both marketing and sales delivery impacts the overall business results we’re all looking for under this new set of expectations.

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Five Insightful Inbound Marketing Metrics For The CEO

Whether you are a CEO or a marketing executive working with your CEO, the Chief Executive Officer often has a different perspective on the metrics associated with marketing performance. For the most part, CEOs don’t care about visitors, conversion rate or leads.  What they care about is the overall growth. However, there are a handful of key metrics that do provide insight into your inbound marketing effort’s overall impact on the business.
 
Sales Opportunities – While I could make a compelling argument for why leads are an important metric, most C-level execs care more about actual sales opportunities. That makes sense as well. Typically, about 10% of total leads are immediate sales opportunities for the sales team. The remaining 90% of the leads are people in the awareness or consideration phase of their buying process. One of the advantages of inbound marketing over other marketing approaches is the ability to build in automated lead-nurturing activities to move these people from awareness to purchase more quickly.
 
Close Rate – If your inbound marketing is doing well, prospects should be entering your sales funnel more qualified than in the past, contributing to an increased close rate for all of your sales opportunities. This requires your sales team to be guiding as opposed to selling. They must also use all the content you created as part of your marketing program and tell the right stories at the right time. If your sales team isn’t aligned perfectly with your marketing effort, your CEO isn’t going to see the improvement in close rate that he or she might be looking for.
 
New Customers – This is an easy one, but it might not be easy to track a specific new customer back to your inbound marketing efforts. In our opinion, it shouldn’t matter. Since the beginning of time, marketers have been trying to attribute sales to a single marketing tactic. The reality is that most people are exposed to a large number of marketing tactics before they decide to hire your company. In fact, good inbound marketing should feel like you are having a conversation with your prospects, and it’s the overall experience that turns them from prospects into customers.
 
Cost Of Acquisition – This is a great metric for your CEO, and it's one that is relatively easy to calculate. Take a look at all the costs associated with getting new business. This has to include everything. Then divide by the total number of new customers, and you end up with the cost to acquire a new customer. We can work to reduce that number, and in most cases, inbound marketing allows us to lower that cost of acquisition metric significantly.
 
Sales To Current Customers – In many cases, current customers present a significant opportunity to increase revenue. But most people spend their time and money looking for new customers. Inbound marketing campaigns directed at current customers and designed to make sure all customers know about all the products and services from your company can shake a lot of low-hanging fruit off the tree, metaphorically speaking.
 
More specifically, you should be considering your customers as a separate market segment from the segments that make up your prospects. Inbound marketing campaigns targeted directly at your customers drive a variety of key metrics that all positively impact the business, including retention rates, average lifetime value of your customer and referrals.
 
Each of these key CEO metrics relates to revenue, which is typically a major driver for most executives, and inbound marketing directly drives those metrics that lead to revenue. Another suggestion: Create a CEO Dashboard that includes a current performance benchmark around these metrics and then update the metrics monthly.
 
Start Today Tip – Associating numbers with marketing is a big part of the changing nature of marketing itself, and while marketers have one perspective, CEOs clearly have another. The metrics mentioned in this post are relatively easy to gather, and a regular conversation with your CEO about the performance of your marketing is critical to getting support, maintaining budgets and building credibility within your company.
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