In today's world, marketing is no longer just one entity. There's outbound marketing, inbound marketing, digital marketing, direct marketing - the list goes on. So, where do you spend your marketing budget; what do you prioritise? We've been talking about this a lot here at INCo and as a result we've developed our marketing strategy around offering the most comprehensive direct and digital marketing services to our clients as we possibly can. It has become imperative to have a direct and digital strategy to ensure you maximise your potential leads and ROI on spend.
Consider Your Target and Pipeline Aims Carefully
It is vital to understand what the business needs to achieve on a monthly and quarterly basis in terms of revenue, and how marketing supports this number. When planning your lead generation strategy it is key to look at historical data relating to opportunity value, conversion ratio, current market conditions versus the previous year, your sales team and their ability to close, competition and relevance of your solutions. By reviewing all of the above variables you should be able to calculate the number of leads required for each solution or service that you need to bring into the sales funnel. Do not get too hung up on the number of leads as they start to come through; focus on their value and stage in the sales cycle and support sales in achieving their number.
Understand Your Market Needs and Challenges
It is an obvious statement that you need to know your market however; be specific. The buying landscape has changed and it is crucial to ensure that prospects feel that you understand them specifically and can address their business needs. You will no longer have the same success by driving a generic value proposition as prospects now have a wealth of opportunity at their fingertips. Prospects are searching online and through social media with regards to industry experience that fits with their business model closely. Every piece of content or material your company produces should be industry focused to demonstrate you can help the prospect resolve their issue. This includes your blog posts, e-marketing and credential statements, among other things.
When engaged in a business development conversation use industry specific terms, and highlight how you would or have resolved these in the past. Make sure you ask industry specific questions; whether direct or digital the communication must demonstrate credibility and convince the prospect to engage further and find out more about how you and your business can assist them.
Get Your Buyer Personas Right
Now that we understand the industry and the challenges it faces, it is essential to make sure we understand who we are talking to! At INCo, we talk to multiple decision makers on every campaign; our team are highly skilled in taking a knowledgeable and empathetic approach to discussing the challenges these decision makers have. One of the best ways to achieve this is to develop and document an in-depth Buyer Persona so we can really speak to the prospective customer and address their needs through a targeted campaign. Persona development is critical for all aspects of the campaign; it enables the Business Development team to craft a specific conversational approach to prospects, and our social and digital teams are able to create and share content that will target the needs and challenges faced by the audience that fits these personas, encouraging them to engage in the buying cycle.
It is much easier to establish credibility if you have taken the time to understand what your Buyer Persona is most interested in. This investment in time supports planning the campaign at every level as it sets the tone and the information required at every stage in the direct and digital conversation with the prospect.
Nurture Those Leads – There’s No Such Thing As a Bad MQL
For a marketeer there is no such thing as a bad lead. That’s not to say they are all sales ready though!
In marketing it is fundamental to ensure we understand who we are trying to engage with and what is going to compel the prospect to engage with us. All leads and marketing information provide data that assists us in fine tuning what a great lead looks like.
An MQL may not qualify for your campaign based on timescales; but I bet you will need leads next quarter as well as today! Nurturing, and therefore, lead development is one of the most critical elements of all direct and digital lead generation campaigns. These highly prized MQL’s have the greatest chance of converting if there is a well thought through email and content driven digital nurture path using relevant content which is followed up by a helpful, knowledgeable Inside Sales person / BDR / BDC such as many of the INCo Team.
What Is Going To Move An MQL To An SQL?
With high value B2B technology or transformational projects a sales person is not going to convince an organisation that they must invest in their solution or service if there is not a compelling reason or event that is driving the organisation to spend its hard earned profits. These compiling events are must be researched and fully understood in advance.
As we’ve mentioned above, in order to know this, you must first know your industry and Buyer Personas to ensure you understand what their compelling events might be and when and why they might occur. MQL’s are great and without them the future pipeline and sales forecast is in trouble, however, the key is converting these into SQL’s ready for the sales team to engage with and close the deal. This is where a direct and digital campaign outperforms all other marketing strategies. With direct alone you may be missing all the online evaluation and awareness gathering, and with digital only you are relying on the prospect to call you which is still a very risky strategy.
A robust integrated direct and digital marketing and sales approach will maximise your sales opportunities, lower your cost per lead, increase your sales pipeline and deliver more revenue which is what it is all about.
The Direct and Digital Handover from Marketing to Sales
With a direct & digital strategy at hand there is less of a handover required as, in line with a strong SMarketing approach, both sales and marketing will be collaborating to understand the buying cycle and who the target markets are. In addition, there will be a shared platform such as HubSpot or SFDC or indeed a well-integrated version of both. Marketing and sales will ensure that all data, contacts and digital footprint information has been captured and sales will be collaborating to assist progress MQL’s through to SQL’s through regular reviews and looking at the marketing leads that have been identified in HS or SFDC or similar.
The Engagement by Sales with the Prospect
As a result of a well-integrated intelligent direct and digital marketing process, sales are now being furnished with highly qualified sales opportunities and more information than ever about the prospect, their business and the need that they are trying to address. Sales must take advantage of all of this information and build a compelling business case to present to the prospect using all of the insightful intelligence gathered. The SMarketing team that embrace direct and digital, will find more leads, engage more deeply with them and will close more deals! For more information about progressing marketing leads through sales download our e-book.
The Feedback Loop
The great thing about a combined direct and digital marketing approach is that the leads have so much data and information at each stage of the buyers/prospects journey through the sales and evaluation cycle. Sales should feedback all the positives and negatives of a sales lead to their marketing colleagues once they are engaged with the prospect to allow them to modify or update the direct and digital campaign effectively. However, well integrated SMarketing teams will collaborate throughout the entire process to ensure that the right leads, qualified to the correct level, with the desired buyer persona decision makers are part of the ongoing management of the direct and digital lead generation campaign.
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