When I am asked what is the biggest challenge marketers and sales team executives face (according to the 2016 State of Inbound Report) Lead Generation is still the #1 challenge. If you have a business, most would agree finding quality leads without breaking the bank, that turn to loyal customers is amongst the hardest things to master. Over the years, meeting with business owners and marketers alike, I have identified a list of questions to ask when building a road map that both the marketing and sales departments will follow to get the desired results. I am breaking this up into 2 posts so we can focus on "Marketing" in one, and "Sales" in the other.
Am I a magician that knows all? Absolutely not. While the questions below have lead to a successful process for campaign development, modifications need to be made for each business vertical to get the most out of it. Seeing as every back end and lead to customer process is different, minor tweaks of the following steps will get you where you need to be. So, where do we begin?
1. Business Metrics: Before anyone can begin to put a campaign together that will target the right personas, you must first KNOW who those target personas are. Who are you going after? What are they doing? How to they buy? Putting together a comprehensive strategy means knowing your ideal customer profile inside and out. By doing so, you will be able to create a conversion paths for leads to follow, in the hopes they will ultimately become your customer.
2. What is the Value of a lead? This sounds simple, but many clients I work with don't have a solid answer. Marketing campaigns require some sort of investment whether it be time, product, resources, platforms, or personnel. In order to keep desired return of investment in check you have to understand what the fruits of your labor can produce. For example, If a new customer represents $10,000 in revenue per year for you, then you need to create a marketing campaign that is tailored to close say 10 new clients per year for a lift in revenue of 100k. if you only spend 30k in marketing to get 100k-that would be a win, right?
3. How does your lead buy? How long is your business sales cycle? Most of the time I get the response: 'It varies'. Of course there are one off situations that will not be in line with how the normal customer buys whether is be faster or slower, but ON AVERAGE, what does this process look like for the buyer? In order to nurture leads accordingly down the sales funnel you must have an idea on how and when they buy. If your services are immediate, chances are sending them a reminder every 60 days wont get the action you desire. Same goes if the sales cycle is long. Verticals in the financial, real estate, IT, and SaaS companies find that sometimes their consumers take 6-12 months to decide on your services or product buys. Sending them an email every 3 days will totally turn them off. Knowing how your leads buy will up your chances of having effective lead nurturing and marketing campaigns set up in the future.
4. What is your offer? Is it good? If your product is $5,000 and you offer a $10 coupon-you probably won't get the desired engagement. Making your offer clear, concise, and valuable to the end consumer will move the needle for sales. It's important your message is delivered consistently so leads always have the opportunity to engage when they are ready.
5. Is your form/landing page set up for success? Are you asking the right questions? Knowing WHAT you want to know about your leads is important when setting up form conversion opportunities for leads via the website, social, email, and mass marketing wise. A good rule of thumb is to catch a wider net of not as good quality leads keep your form short to 3-5 questions (example: name, email, and 1-2 qualifying questions). If you want a smaller net of higher quality leads then add another 1-3 qualifying questions to the form. Remember, the offer will be either tailored or generic, so the form has to follow suit. If there are no conversions you have no leads to nurture, so form questions play a big role in how full your funnel stays.
6. Crafting email campaign follow up: Once a lead completes a form or converts on your website in some fashion, best practice is to follow up with an email that offers future options. These 1-3 next steps the lead can take are directly tired to your nurture process. Is it setting up a call after they convert? Is it asking for a free trial of your services? Is it to get a demo, or book a meeting, or buy your product? By offering a couple choices via an email follow up its a great way to alert the sales team as to where they are in the buying cycle. If a lead doesn't want to talk to someone yet, keep them in group A ad nurture them more as outlined above. If they want to buy today-strike while the iron's hot and connect immediately. Time kills deals, so getting that right means winning, or losing revenue.
The above are some basic questions to ask when laying out a marketing lead generation program. There are additional efforts that will be made depending on how in depth your marketing campaign gets, but for starting out, these are best practice to follow for success. Part 2 will focus on Sales and offer insight into how leads that marketing targets effects the sales team. Need more leads? LET'S TALK!