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Posts Tagged ‘lead nurturing’

“Why Nurture?” and Other B2B Marketing FAQs

December 17th, 2015 by Alicia Folwarski

A Fireside Chat with Austin’s B2B Marketing Agency for Tech Companies

FiresideOver the years, the Launch team has worked with quite a few B2B Tech companies in Austin, which means we’ve met and consulted with more tech executives than we can count. As different as they are, we hear a lot of similar sentiments over and over, which we’ve compiled in this blog in an interview with Alicia Folwarski, who captains marketing automation on the Launch team.

Q: Give me one good reason why emailing a purchased list of targeted contacts isn’t a good idea?

It’s not a bad idea, but there are definitely better ideas. What’s less-than-ideal in this is what companies want to say in those emails. Their messages are typically very forward, like an offer for a free consultation. This is the equivalent of walking up to a pretty girl at a bar with an opening line of “Let’s go out.” Only it’s B2B, so the chance of chemistry, good looks or a lack of judgement working in your favor is next to none.

Nevertheless, the company will do this and sometimes get a few responses, consider it a success, and wash, rinse, repeat. But what’s happening is they’re picking the low-hanging 1% of very ripe fruit and leaving the other 99% to rot. What about the other contacts in your list who perfectly fit your prospect profile? You could, with a little effort, be cultivating these into opportunities, and growing the conversion of this purchased list from 1% to 5% or 10%. When we’re talking about ROI for that purchased list, the implications get weighty fast.

Q: You’re talking about marketing automation, aren’t you?
Marketing automation is helpful in this process, and you can see that in the trend of businesses adopting it. However, marketing automation answers how when we should still be talking about what. We need to know what to do and have a very clear picture of why, before skipping ahead to how.

So let’s go back to the non-responders of your purchased list: they’re not ready now, but what are you doing to make them ready? You can continue taking your marketing budget and purchasing lists to email blast over, or you can invest that money in your own business to create a scalable process that cultivates the not-quite-ready contacts (i.e. most of your prospects) to become low-hanging fruit a few months down the line. The end-result is an end-to-end process that can walk someone completely through their buyer’s journey, from awareness to close.

What I’m really talking about is nurturing your database.

Q: How do I nurture contacts without the expense of marketing automation?
Start with content. What kinds of people are interested in your product? What else are those people interested in? If your product is a project management software like Projectplace (the fastest growing software in its space), offer blogs of tips and tricks to being a great project manager, share statistics about project management, take those statistics and make them into an infographic or an eBook. These are really what marketers are talking about when we say “thought leadership” or “top-of-funnel content.”

Q: What is the role of thought leadership in B2B sales?
If closed/won is sealing the deal, thought leadership is the playful banter and deep conversations of the B2B world. Not everyone needs it, but most do.

In relationships, typically, it takes a few dates to consider committing to someone. You have to get to know them. The bigger the commitment, the longer it tends to take. Exclusivity? This can be decided in three to ten dates. Marriage, joint bank accounts, or investing in a house together? Try a few years.

If your product is a large investment to most companies, let them get to know you first, and do it in a way that is completely scalable. If your product isn’t such a huge investment, letting prospects get to know you via thought leadership gives them a reason to come to you. This is inbound marketing.

Q: Thought leadership takes too long. It’s a waste of time and money. Why is this all that marketers seem to want to talk about?

Three stats for you:

  • 41% of marketers confirm content marketing (largely thought leadership) has a positive ROI in their company
  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy from that company
  • 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles than ads

Want more insight on your marketing plan? Contact us!

Photo Credit: Criana

marketing automation maintenanceMarketing automation is like any other complex technology — it requires maintenance.

We don’t buy cars without the intention of changing the oil every so often, because we know from experience (or the experiences of others), that not maintaining a car costs us a lot of time and money down the road. As more and more companies adopt marketing automation and approach the 3,001st mile, they are learning the same principal applies to their automation solutions.

Complex things require regular check-ins to continue delivering the value we originally purchased them to deliver, and it is the same with your marketing automation solution.

Trickily, just like pesky oil changes or a small mishap in alignment, issues in your automation solution are not a big problem at the moment they begin, but the things we let slide in our databases can cause a lot of pain down the line. So much so that businesses frequently chuck out all the work they’ve done and choose to start over completely, losing monumental value and wasting hours of work over a perfectly preventable issue.

How can you avoid this pain? Or, if you have the nagging feeling that you’ve been neglecting your automation solution– how can you fix it going forward?

1. What’s an oil change look like for Marketing Automation?

The most common thing we find in clients is that at some point in the past one to three years, their processes have changed. What failed to happen at the point of change, was a full consideration of the domino effect that seemingly small change would have. The question, “If we move this block, what else is impacted and what do we need to re-calibrate?” was never fully asked or answered.

The small adjustment is often a change in their lead statuses, lead scoring model, or a change in the CRM currently synced to their automation solution. Whatever the change, the intricacy of marketing automation translates into everything is affected by everything. Just like a non-car-expert would have difficulty projecting the total impact of not changing the oil in a car, it takes an expert in marketing automation to account for all of the little (but important) details impacted by process changes.

2. How do I know I’m not getting full value out of my automation solution?

There are a few tell-tale pain-points:

  • There isn’t a clear connection between your reporting and your ROI
  • There is some degree of dissonance between your marketing team’s definition of a qualified lead and your sales team’s definition of a qualified lead
  • There is a disconnect around where a lead came in and where it is now
  • There seems to be an increase in bounce rates and a decrease in overall engagement
  • Something just seems off

3. How do I fix it?

I could point you to a quarter dozen videos on how to fix any number of issues on your car, but unless you’re familiar with such work, you would still need to know what the core issues were before settling on one to follow. And even then… you’re welcome to work on your own car, but I’m probably not taking you my squeaky Jetta.

I could also point you to just as many (if not more) customer support blogs on any solution to fix any number of issues. Like your car, it still requires familiarity and expertise to know what the core issues are so that you can cure the actual problem and not just the symptoms.

I’d encourage you to consult someone you trust, who has serious expertise in marketing automation. Perhaps you don’t need them to do the actual fix, but getting someone who knows what they’re doing to make recommendations could save you a lot of time chasing symptoms and a lot of money missing leads.

 

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How Can Lead Scoring Improve the Sales Process?

June 12th, 2014 by Christa Tuttle

Lead Scoring Cartoon
One way to ensure that marketing delivers quality leads to sales is to implement a lead scoring methodology: a collaborative process where prospects are ranked based on interest and buying intentions. According to Aberdeen Research, “Companies that get lead scoring right have a 192% higher average lead qualification rate than those that do not.”David Lewis, Founder and CEO of DemandGen International says, “Lead scoring is not a crystal ball to tell you whether or not a prospect will turn into a customer- it’s a tactic to makethe sales team more efficient using qualification and prioritization.”

Creating a Lead Scoring Model

A lead scoring model is comprised of multiple levels of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) where prospects are ranked according to where they are in the buying process. After calculating a prospect’s score, marketing can further engage to move qualified leads through the sales funnel and closer to conversion to a sales qualified lead (SQL).

Below find sample MQL levels and a lead scoring model that assigns points based on specific activities. As marketers calculate the points assigned to a prospect, they can determine necessary steps or activities to further engage and move the qualified leads down the funnel.

Sample Marketing Qualified Lead Levels

MQL 3 1-9 points
MQL 2 10-49 points
MQL 1 50+ points

Sample Lead Scoring Point Allocation

Activity Points
Open Email 1
Click Link in Email 10
Link Back to Website 5
Download Curated Content 5
Social Media Engagement 1
Download Content 20
Download Premium Content 50
Contact/Demo Request 50
Register for Webinar* 40
Attend Webinar* 30

Lead Scoring Helps Align Sales and Marketing

The process of creating a lead scoring system encourages alignment of sales and marketing teams because of the collaboration required to implement such a process. When both teams jointly establish an objective definition of a qualified lead, there tends to be better communication and productivity throughout the sales cycle. Working together, the marketing and sales teams can keep the sales cycle moving efficiently by taking appropriate actions to keep the lead moving through the funnel.

Determining an Effective Model

When a lead scoring model is operating effectively within an organization, the key benefits include:

  • Tighter marketing and sales alignment. Sales and marketing teams have collaboratively defined a process for determining lead quality.
  • Improved marketing value and effectiveness. Marketers clearly understand targeted lead characteristics and are better able to create inbound and outbound programs to drive quality leads to sales.
  • Increased sales efficiency and productivity. Sales is focused on the most valuable leads versus those that are unqualified or have low perceived value.

Need help with lead scoring or with your marketing strategy? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

Image source: DemandGen Report: The Secrets of Successful Lead Scoring

I recently had the opportunity to present at the RISE Conference here in Austin. Given the audience was filled with entrepreneurs in various stages of starting or running a business, I focused my presentation, “The Top 3 Ways To Uncover More Qualified Leads for Sales”, on often overlooked and easy-to-implement ideas that lead to generating more leads. After a short presentation, we spent time discussing the companies of various audience members and the specific needs and challenges they were experiencing related to lead generation. It was a lively discussion, and as an outcome they were able to walk away with several tangible next steps that could be implemented back at the office.

Enjoy the slideshow and hopefully you will walk away with tangible ideas as well. Learn more about our lead generation services, and be sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for more B2B marketing content.