2014 came and went. Now it’s time to get going on 2015 and make a real difference in the New Year.
If you are like most people including myself, you make a small list of things you want to do better. Be a better dad and husband, eat healthier, ski more, etc.
How about the business side? Putting your business hat on, here are a couple of digital marketing resolutions to consider.
#1 – Make Sales Your Best Friend
According to Marketing Sherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. These are type of stats that result from Sales and Marketing not being on the same page.
After all, if Marketing is getting all these great leads and Sales doesn’t follow-up, the overall business suffers. On the flipside, maybe Marketing is producing bad leads—you know, the ones purchased from Ken’s Lead Emporium. The end result of either scenario is wasted investment.
One actionable recommendation is to setup an offsite with your Sales leaders to hash out plans for the year. Even if your Sales and Marketing teams are fully aligned, use this session as an opportunity to make the relationship better.
The end goal is to exit the session with clear TEAM goals.
- Reevaluate lead lifecycle definitions and find gaps.
- Establish SLAs or adjust existing ones based on feedback.
- Make adjustments where leads are getting lost today.
Besides the above, make Sales your friend—it will lead to future success when the roads periodically get rocky.
#2 – Improve the Customer Journey
Maybe you have a 10-email string of nurturing emails. That’s a great start but make this year the time to improve that journey.
At the very least, develop content designed to hit buyers based on where they are in the buying journey. Establish thought leadership content for early stage buyers and fast track them to late stage content (like pricing, etc) when they show purchasing signals.
Other paths to consider: Industry, geography and job function are other paths that companies tend to use for journey development.
#3 – Change the Metrics Game – Focus on Conversions, Not Volume
Got a pulse? Volume based metrics like number of leads, number of impressions and number of site visitors are important. However, these metrics are like a person’s pulse—you are alive but are you really living?
Instead, begin to focus on value based metrics based on your organization’s funnel. At a high level, how are leads driving revenue? This closed-loop analysis helps organizations build a repeatable and measurable business model.
For example, which of the below hypothetical funnels would you rather have?
Of course, you would choose Scenario B which provides those most return on investment (assuming equal spend). Marketing is sending over fewer (yet, more qualified) leads which improves Sales productivity and increases the close rate.
You will never have a Scenario B until metrics and processes are put in place. This can take a few quarters so the sooner you start, the sooner these metrics will become reality.
A couple of key performance indicators around the funnel include:
- Overall MQL-to-Won Conversion Rates – Scenario B shows a 16:1 conversion rate which is very strong compared to the 100:1 in Scenario A.
- MQL-to-Opportunity – The above scenario A shows a weak conversion rate due to Marketing passing over too many unqualified leads.
- Opportunity-to-Won – A 4:1 or 5:1 ratio is a benchmark for most B2B organizations.
#4 – Hold Marketing Accountable – MQLs
If there is one number Marketing should focus on, it’s the MQL figure as opposed to the raw lead count.
Instead of only saying Marketing produced 700 trade show leads, take that analysis to the next level. Of those 700, how many turned into MQLs? Now, Marketing can start comparing the success of various marketing channels to ensure marketing investment is optimized.
Even though the raw inquiries suggest that the tradeshows outperformed the webinars, the below example demonstrates the opposite–webinars are 3X more cost effective than tradeshows when it comes to MQLs. If this was your organization’s numbers, you might decide to reallocate some event dollars to webinars.
#5 – Get Your Systems in Order
Many companies have the strategy but don’t have the technology or expertise to execute. Sure, you can go to LA from New York by car but that isn’t the most efficient way to travel (Unless of course you want to see the world’s largest ball of twine).
Invest in the technologies that will bring your business to the next level. If you don’t have a solution from one of the categories, consider putting aside some budget to acquire one in the next year.
- CRM – The go-to tool for Sales management.
- Marketing Automation – The backbone marketing platform that just about every company needs.
- Data Cleansing and Appending – Bad, outdated and duplicate data lead to a lot of wasted time. Consider getting your data updated.
- Predictive Analysis – Predictive analysis is the hot trend in marketing automation that takes traditional lead scoring to the next level.
- Business Intelligence – Get deeper insights than what your marketing automation and CRM solutions can provide.