I was never great at math. University accounting and finances were my biggest struggles. I gravitated towards the marketing and creative classes. I’ll be showing my age a bit when I say that our marketing classes were about billboard placements, tag lines, and the creative. But gone are the days of ‘arts and crafts’ marketing departments. Today, modern revenue-focused marketing is all about the numbers. And to my surprise, I love it!
Measuring the contribution that a marketing initiative has on revenue is not always easy. Marketers must ask themselves: Did this program deliver a return on our investment? And more importantly, they must be able to prove it. That’s why today’s marketers can’t get enough data, and are always on the lookout for new metrics and benchmarks to track their performance and see how they measure up.
As a Client Success Manager here at LookBookHQ, it’s my job to help marketers get more value out of their marketing programs and help clients strategically plan for successful program and campaign results. So, as you hit the refresh button for the year ahead, here are a few things that will help you enhance the effectiveness of your marketing programs and tie revenue back to your marketing spend.
Efficiencies in Process – Automate!
If you’re looking to generate a higher ROI on your marketing activities, automation is a good bet. According to Venturebeat, “80 percent of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77 percent saw the number of conversions increase.”
Automation enables marketers to be more effective and efficient. While the first wave of marketing automation focused primarily on email with the rise of the MAPs, many B2B marketers are pushing automation deeper into the fabric of their core marketing processes.
One area where automation can benefit marketers is sales-readiness KPIs to track known customers’ past behaviour through the funnel. The idea is to look at the data to understand what steps led to a purchase. Take these learnings and create your own custom lead scoring criteria based on any characteristic or behavior. Make it easy for sales to identify the most qualified leads by assigning lead scores automatically. Use your lead scores to prioritize follow-up for your sales team or set up workflows to notify reps when their prospects reach a certain lead score threshold. Reward your leads with higher scores for bottom of the funnel downloads, and fast-track them straight to sales if they convert on high value triggers. For subtler indicators, automate programs to move leads progressively into new stages and nurture them along the way.
The primary role of marketing is to support sales. Understanding how sales-readiness can be recognized automatically through marketing automation and passing that information along to your sales team should be your No. 1 priority. With a tightly aligned sales and marketing process, you can deliver value and increase revenues on a continued basis. Support the bottom line and prove your efforts!
Behavior-Based Segmentation – There’s No One Size Fits All Buyer
We can’t treat all buyers the same. Knowing who your audience is, what they care about and how engaged they are will make a big difference in your marketing results.
Here at LookBookHQ, our marketing team segments their list based on the level of engagement prospects have with our content. By identifying who is less engaged versus highly engaged, they are able to dynamically change the frequency in which a prospect receives email touches. If a prospect is blowing through content (a sure sign of serious engagement), they will speed up the frequency. Alternatively, they’ll slow down the frequency of marketing touches for those who seem less engaged or don’t click through on content offers.
Failing to segment your audience based on sales readiness can be a huge missed opportunity. In 2017, make sure you’re slicing and dicing your email database into various segments to “reward” people who show clear signs of being more engaged. You can start small with segmentation; you don’t have to tackle it all at once. Take a look at your audience, and see if there are any stand-outs or natural differences.
Here are some examples to help you segment effectively:
1. Past Purchase History – Identify the segment of your list that has purchased from you before. Send them targeted emails with content that caters to their interests. Use these opportunities to upsell and cross sell this audience.
2. Last Interaction – Segment your prospect list based on their last interaction with your brand. Split them up based on time since last purchase. For instance:
The Frequent Buyers Group: This group likes your product; target them by:
- Upselling product or plan upgrades.
- Offering promotional deals.
- Promoting new features or products.
One-time Customers: For this group, your emails should be targeted at drawing them back to your brand by:
- Offering personalized discounts on former purchases.
- Highlighting the company’s positive attributes.
- Sending reminders to renew/repurchase.
3. Funnel Stage – Each contact’s stage in your sales funnel should determine what email/content asset your prospects receive next. New contacts/leads need to be nurtured. Warm leads need to be well-informed of the product, and eventually sold. Customers need to be presented with cross sells or up sells. Every stage should have its own unique email marketing campaign and content experiences.
The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients. To do that, you’ll have to take the time to craft targeted campaigns that consider not just list segments, but also lead data, and trigger events that help customize your email campaigns further. When you have identified these buckets, you can create targeted direct segmented marketing campaigns designed to speak directly to the specific audience and where they are in the buying journey. In my experience, marketers who do this successfully see higher click-through rates, better deliverability, and generate more revenue from their email sends than those who aren’t.
My colleague Matt Everson recently wrote about why marketers need a new definition of a marketing qualified lead – one that focuses on quality. If you haven’t seen this article, I urge you to give it a read because how you define your MQLs will have an impact on revenue – more quality at the top of the funnel can change how everything else plays out further down.
What happens to funnel conversion rates when you shift the focus from quantity to quality? Typically, I see marketers take one of two approaches when rolling out their lead scoring process. Depending on the company’s stage of growth, the goal might be to attract net new leads by casting a wide net to get as many leads as possible. In the initial stages of implementing a lead scoring model, this is a great place to start when the aim is to attract a high volume of leads. It’s easy to iterate and tighten up the lead quality thresholds later.
However, generally we see that most of our customers are more focusing on generating a higher quality leads over a high volume. Improving lead quality tends to be an important objective of modern lead gen strategies. Due to their higher likelihood to buy, marketers understand the importance of targeting their most qualified leads. Quality leads tend to progress further – and often faster – through the sales funnel compared to most top of funnel leads.
There is no one-size-fits-all method for attaining the best balance when it comes to prioritizing lead quality versus lead quantity. Marketing and sales should work to find the right criteria for quality assessment that are based specifically on the goals of the company, the growth stage and level of overall marketing sophistication. The best strategy involves testing, implementing, monitoring and analyzing on a consistent basis.
Before you roll out your first campaign after updating your lead qualification approach, be sure to put some benchmarks in place so that you know how many MQLs your previous model was yielding for a typical campaign. After you have rolled out your new MQL definition, the first 24 hours of launching your first campaign should be quite telling and give you a quick snapshot to see if your new approach is tracking well. Make sure you keep sales in the loop so they know what to expect in term of lead volume and are on board. Continuously monitor performance and look for an immediate impact!
Whether you’re segmenting your lists, automating marketing processes or looking to refine your lead scoring model, focus on attracting the right prospects to your company. When you have more of the right prospects, you will convert at a higher rate – and spend less time chasing people who aren’t likely to buy. Determine who your quality prospects are based on their real engagement with your content, use that actionable engagement data to inform your lead scoring model, and keep your eye on the prize with an end-to-end reporting structure that spans marketing and sales.
You spend a lot of time, effort and money creating killer marketing campaigns, and like any successful investment, you want to make sure you’re spending sensibly. Continue to observe, measure, adjust and iterate accordingly to ensure you see maximum returns.