This series of articles is about turning marketing activity into increased sales.
Yes, contributing to your sales funnel is the ultimate point of marketing but the reality is that very few C-level executives understand what is required, how it should be tracked and measured – and what systems should be in place to ensure that back-end processes support front-end marketing activity.
The Path to Purchase consists of Lead Generation, Nurturing, Conversion, Reporting, Data Analysis and Campaign Optimisation.
In this series we will dissect best practice from around the world, discussing how you can ensure that:
- Budgets are committed to campaigns that will generate the right type of leads.
- Budget spend is not wasted due to poor lead nurturing processes.
- Marketing can prove its contribution to pipeline, revenue and profits.
1. Lead Generation: Sniper vs Shotgun approach.
Too many businesses, too often, go for a shotgun approach to their marketing, the immediate necessity for leads pushing all kinds of activity to generate (often short-lived) interest in the company’s products or services.
During this process of “generation at all cost” the more critical disciplines of “lead qualification” and “lead nurturing” fall by the wayside – more often than not simply because sufficient systems and processes do not exist to aid marketing in this task.
The net result being that:
- Sales receives a lot of “rubbish” leads that create nothing but unnecessary admin
- The overall conversion rate of leads into prospects, and prospects into sales, is low – meaning ROI on marketing suffers, while the cost of sale is high.
The starting point is looking at the types of leads a campaign targets.
Above the line or traditional marketing activity such as radio, television, billboards and the like does have a place and, most certainly, can be effective, especially when supported by a strong digital campaign and feedback mechanism… but, by and large, these do remain quite “shotgun” in the nature of their approach.
Compare that with the digital landscape where publishers and specialist agencies can provide access to audiences that suit a very specific demographic.
Say, for example, that you are in the IT software business and want to connect with IT Managers, CIOs and the like with your marketing.
There are several bespoke online platforms that you can approach to run surveys and other content marketing to their database.
In addition you can support that with highly targeted social media marketing, Google AdWords, strong (content-driven) Search Engine Optimisation to improve your website’s search ranking, improved UX (user experience) to improve the conversion ratio from site-visitors into leads, data analytics to aid in the making of smarter business decisions and a range of other activity that all combine to give your brand a greater “share of voice” online.
This type of marketing is strategic, targeted and measurable, with the added benefit that campaigns can be optimised to offer the best possible conversions on budget spend.
This is not something you are going to achieve by printing a million paper flyers or placing one ad in an expensive magazine. If you want to target the right audience you need:
- a clear strategy on who exactly it is that you want to speak to
- analysis of which channels are available to reach that audience
- clear campaign goals against which campaign performance can be measured
- clear and accurate reporting structure
- insightful and meaningful data analytics
These are the key steps to consider before embarking on any marketing campaign and, while it may sound logical and obvious, the reality is that there are many companies (across the board from SME to Enterprise) where one or more of the above five points are absent.
In the absence of the above it is likely that 80% of your marketing will speak to an audience that cares little about your brand, products or services – leaving sales frustrated and your CFO wondering what all the spend was for.
It is frustration that can easily be avoided.
Next month we’ll get into the processes and systems required to successfully nurture leads from acquisition through the pipeline to deals closed.
Key to this are marketing automation, lead scoring and internal communications / sales processes.
I look forward to engaging with you then.