Marketing is becoming an increasingly stressful endeavour as marketers are tasked with doing more with less. True marketers, have access to an ever-increasing array of channels for engagement, marketing tools to deploy campaigns, and data to provide insights. Yet the opportunities offered by these digital advancements are usually accompanied by shrinking budgets and smaller teams. This leads to limited effectiveness, which can, in turn, reduce marketing budgets further - a vicious catch-22.
The most effective circuit-breaker is for marketers to demonstrate their value back to the business. A key opportunity resides in tighter relationships with sales. By working in partnership, marketing can deliver more value to sales, leading to better results and revenue – and virtuous relationship circle between marketing and sales.
But how to get this circle spinning? Here are five key ways marketing and sales can work together to optimise lead generation campaigns.
Create Meaningful Goals for B2B Lead Generation Campaigns
It seems obvious, but the fatal flaw with many lead generation campaigns is that they do not start with specific objectives. At a minimum, we should know how many leads the campaign needs to generate and how much sales pipeline a campaign is expected to contribute. Alas, most written objectives state that they simply want to ‘drive leads’.
This sets the campaign up for failure right from the start because the success of the campaign cannot be ascertained.
Having an idea of the value marketing will drive the business and enable you to fight back for budget in what is a constant push-pull between growth and cost management. Simply starting with where you want to be, a credo for all goal-oriented individuals, will save a tremendous number of headaches later down the line.
Get a Handle on Full Funnel Data
A big challenge in developing meaningful objectives for marketers is that many marketers are not empowered with the knowledge needed to provide specific figures, including the average value of a sale or the conversion rates from marketing qualified lead to sales lead.
You have Google Ads, LinkedIn, your website, and CRM all humming for your campaign. They all have data and results, but you’re struggling to bring it all together to show campaign results other than clicks, visits and downloads - and that's not enough. What your company is interested in is what these figures actual mean for pipeline.
By working with the sales team up front, you can plug in calculations leading to sales by adding the conversion rate from marketing qualified lead to sales lead to value of sales leads by incorporating an average deal size. This allows you to demonstrate an estimate of the return on marketing investment if you haven’t yet activated an all-singing, all dancing marketing-automation platform.
Learn About What Your Customers Want
One of the biggest challenges for the time-poor marketer is gaining direct access to customers, especially in organisations where sales also tend to be the gatekeepers of the customer relationship. By working with sales to understand the pain points and behaviours of the target audience, marketing can develop more relevant and effective content and messaging.
The sales team is deeply familiar with your target audience and will typically have much more interaction with customers. They are an excellent source of insights around the pain points and needs of customers, which can be used to develop into content assets and marketing materials.
Improving The Quality Of Your Leads
Having a good rapport with sales ensures that campaigns can still be optimised, even when data is telling you that they are meeting your objectives. Even when a lead generation campaign is generating “leads”, you may not be getting the business results your projected. You don’t want to find out at the end of the quarter that a few of the leads, in fact, resulted in no revenue.
By working with sales early on to assess the quality of leads generated, the campaign can be course-corrected to improve results. Where is the campaign falling down? Are the leads not decision makers? Do you need to work with your media partner to target a more senior audience? Are you reaching buyers too early (or too late) in the decision-making process? Buyers are generally over halfway through the buying process before they are ready to reach out to sales. They need to be well equipped with content prior to that interaction so they may sign up for an informative asset that educates them; in which case, an asset that reflects buyer intent would create more valuable leads for sales.
B2B Sales Cycles Are Often Longer than Three Months
If you’re in a business that operates on quarterly budgets, you may be tempted to focus on quarterly wins; however, in most of our clients’ product categories, decision making can take anywhere from six to eighteen months. Pipeline is a valuable metric, but ultimately it’s revenue that will matter most.
At Splendid Group, we recommend a lead generation program that can be executed with a quick start each quarter as budget is allocated. Always-on search, inbound marketing and marketing automation programs combined with quarterly activity is the most effective way progress leads throughout that sales cycle from a marketing perspective. In doing so, we’re supporting extended sales cycles that genuinely reflect buyer behaviour.
Talk to us about planning your next lead gen campaign with better sales integration for more impressive business results.