When it comes to marketing strategies, you’ll find lots of tricks and techniques on launching creative marketing campaigns and driving conversions. While those are valuable conversations to have, sometimes teams put the cart before the horse by focusing on refining those tactics when they haven’t yet addressed more basic steps on campaign strategy and metrics for success. One commonly overlooked area? Volume.
Consider your team’s productivity. By setting the right expectations up front in terms of volume and leads, and by prioritizing the appropriate metrics, you’ll position your pipeline for stronger sales. The trick is to increase volume strategically, so your team brings in a higher number of quality leads. You’ll make better use of your team’s time and enjoy stronger results and bigger profits on the same budget.
Here are five steps to bigger and smarter B2B marketing volume.
1. Get Focused
This is where your engagement strategy begins. No doubt you’ve already spent time focusing on your targets. Get laser-sharp on your industry segments, and identify geographical areas and the size of the businesses you’re targeting, as well as other qualifying information for your product.
The buyer personas within your segment are a critical component. You should develop your personas from good primary research involving tailored surveys, both online and through telecommunication or in-person conversations, with your targeted industries and buyers. Your personas will continue to evolve based on your learnings and approaches.
You’ll also need to map out the buyer’s journey for your product. Too many teams make one of two mistakes here: They either try to recreate the wheel for each campaign, or they think in terms of transactions, rather than the buyer’s mind throughout their buying decision. By mapping the buyer’s journey up front, you can leverage those insights and develop campaigns that talk to the buyers’ needs at various points of the decision making process.
2. Know Your Data
The effectiveness and productivity of your campaigns is reliant on the clean and accurate data that feeds them. According to Sirius Decisions, 25 percent of the average database is inaccurate. This isn’t surprising, given that teams often build up a base of information quickly without deliberate management. The result is wasted valuable time and budget going after the wrong targets.
Keeping your data clean and current does more than empower you to personalize effectively and develop content that resonates. You’ll also maximize your budget by having your team pursue only the right people at the right time.
3. Get a Marketing Automation Engine
You have two options here: You can either buy a platform yourself or hire a provider as a managed service. Either is a valid option, but be aware that marketing automation is not plug-and-play. It involves a steep learning curve and the right staffing. If you choose to use a provider as a managed service, you’ll get the benefits of the provider’s expertise without the hassles of managing or maintaining the system. If you choose to deploy and manage your own system, just be sure to manage internal expectations for when campaigns can start to roll out, and plan on training your team.
You can choose from top-of-the-line platforms to more basic models, but you do want your system to feed into your CRM. This is critical for boosting productivity and sales effectiveness; if your systems don’t talk to each other, you’ll encounter a number of unnecessary delays, misalignments and stumbling blocks. For instance, follow-up will be difficult, you’ll have to export files manually, and sales people will update information that doesn’t make it into your master system, creating frustration with outdated records.
4. Have the Right Conversation
To accelerate your pipeline, you’ll want to tailor your outbound conversations as precisely as possible. You’ll need to discover where each prospect is in the buyer’s journey. Is the prospect only consuming content and getting educated? Does their contract come up for renewal next year, and they’re exploring their options?
Knowing where they stand in their process helps you frame the conversation and shortens the time from contact to close. Remember that digital is only part of the journey—it’s not the entire journey. You need to layer in a conversation with the prospect through teleservices to identify their stage in the journey. Your data and engagement statistics should be help you strategize and escalate the path to ROI. But don’t forget the importance of the human touch along the way.
5. Align Sales and Marketing
We marketers talk about this a lot, but more as a general goal than a practical tactic. The truth is that aligning with sales and building trust among departments will spark an immediate rise in productivity. Agenda items here include developing a common set of definitions on what a lead is and agreeing on when that lead is qualified for sales. The teams will also need to agree on a standardized process and timeline for lead follow-up.
Without this alignment, you’ll have a disgruntled sales team who complains that marketing is giving them the wrong leads, and an equally disgruntled marketing team who wants to know why good leads are dying on the vine. But once they’re working in tandem, you’ll have a feedback loop of continuous improvement.
The first step in a high rate of closed deals is a rich pipeline flowing with leads. Focus on boosting your team’s productivity and making the most strategic use of their time, and you’ll see a rise of lead volume that translates into a rise in ROI.
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