Demand Generation Requires You To Go Live When Done, Instead Of Holding Until Perfect
At the risk of making all of the businesspeople reading the blog uncomfortable, you have to let go of this idea that marketing needs to be perfect before it’s launched.
Your website is ready to launch, but you just want to read it over one more time. No! Your new strategic messaging isn’t quite right, so you want to make a few more tweaks to it before you let us start using it. No! The new e-book needs one more round of revisions before you’re comfortable making it public. No!
Why would I say something like this? This work represents your firm. If it’s not perfect, it’s a reflection on you. Taking extra time to make it perfect is going to pay off in the long run. We should be careful what we say publicly.
These are all valid points, but they don’t outweigh the power of moving work outside the safety of the agency and into the public domain for one reason and one reason only: You want marketing results and revenue generation. We want to get that for you, but to do it that work needs to see the light of day.
While we care what you think about your business, we care more about what your prospects think about your business. If we never publish anything or take too long to publish anything because we’re spending cycles reviewing it and wordsmithing it internally, it’s going to set us back. The faster we get content, materials, messaging and interactive assets out, the faster we can get results, optimize those results and grow your company thanks to an increase in leads, new customers and revenue.
Here are some very specific ways to move faster with your team, either internal or external.
Review Everything Only Once
I’ve seen this time and time again: You review something, give us notes and comments, we revise it, and then you make notes and comments to your own revisions. It’s pointless. When you review work your marketing team produces, look at it once. Spend focused time on the review, not while you’re doing three other tasks. Don’t think you’re going to give it a quick review now and then you’ll look at it in more detail later. Give it the time and respect it deserves once.
Your comments are important, but going over and over work isn’t going to produce better results. Review it once and give the team concrete changes that impact the technical aspect of the content. Don’t edit it for tone or style. Edit it for accuracy only. This is going to accelerate your ability to produce content, ease the time required for you to oversee everything and generate better results.
Take A 'Let’s Test That' Approach To Everything
Everyone thinks they know what to do. The reality is very few people know exactly what to do, but the smartest people in marketing today know that they need to test everything. Why? Today, marketing and sales is so scientific and so quantitative that almost every aspect of your sales and marketing effort can be quantitatively measured and then tested.
So, if your CEO thinks the home page should be blue, you can test it compared to any other color. After just a few weeks, you’ll know for sure based on the conversion rate on the home page whether blue or your suggested color produced better results. No more assumptions, opinions or perspectives. Just cold, hard data.
This “let’s test it” approach works with almost everything. If you’re only closing 50% of your proposals, let’s test a different proposal format. Let’s test a different story that goes along with the proposal. Let’s test setting different expectations going into the delivery of the proposal. Let’s test an adjusted review session on the proposal.
All of these tests will produce a significant lift in your close rate. That’s why it’s worth almost any amount of money to work with a company that can help you create the tests, manage the tests, interpret the data, implement recommended improvements, and then keep tabs on the improved close rate and reduction in the sale cycle.
Understand How Easy It Is To Change Digital Assets
It’s hard to let go of the past. I get it. In the old days, you had to make sure that everything was perfect before it went to print. Folders, brochures, direct mail, trade show panels — they all had to be perfect. But today, everything is digital. If you’re printing anything, I’m begging you to stop and shift that budget elsewhere.
The beauty of digital assets is they can be changed every single day, and if you want my no-fluff opinion, they should be changed regularly. Think differently about your marketing materials. If you’re reviewing their performance and getting feedback from sales, you can go in and make changes every week. For example, this paragraph needs to change because we talk about this service differently, or this headline needs to change because it’s not resonating or moving people to act. Make it agile and you’ll see a major improvement.
If you’re going to start managing your marketing and sales materials like this, you don’t need them to be perfect out of the gate. Done is better, out there in the field is better and live feedback is better than waiting an extra month to make it perfect.
Eliminate Opinions, Perceptions And Assumptions
Opinions are like….well, you know, everyone has one. Everyone thinks their perspective and approach is right. In the end, most of us do what the boss says, regardless. Those days are over. If everything we do in sales and marketing is driven by data, results and real-time quantitative analysis, then we don’t have to defer to the big boss anymore when it comes to direction and decisions.
But if you want to move in this direction, you have to get your assets “out in the marketplace” to start collecting data. You have to make your website live even if it only has four of the eight pages. Start getting data on those four pages and your next four pages will perform exponentially better. Publish your e-book, whitepaper or tip guide even though you think it could be better with a few more rounds of revisions. Guess what? Your prospects might not even want that. Publish it and find out before you invest more money in making it arbitrarily better.
Set Goals For Everything
Now that everything is so metrics-oriented, there’s a lot more good news. You can set performance goals for everything. For example, new content is coming out tomorrow. What do we expect it to do? What are our expectations for views, downloads, leads, sales ops and customers?
The same holds true with sales. We’re rolling out a new proposal/agreement template. What do we expect it to do? Increase the close rate from 50% to 70% over the next two weeks? Shorten the sales cycle by one week? Everything you do is going to have a measurable improvement objective that you can track. But if you wait for that proposal/agreement to be blessed by everyone on your team, to be picture perfect and to have five or six iterations, you’ll be pushing off the benefit and missing weeks of live prospect data and feedback to help you continue iterating on your upgrades.
I want everyone to understand that I know how hard it is to let go. I know it makes sense to want marketing and sales support assets to be perfect. But the fact is, you just don’t know. No matter what experience you have and no matter what you think, live data on the performance of your assets is always going to help you make better ongoing decisions than your assumptions, perceptions and opinions.
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