Customers want more for less……..more customers, more sales, more return on their investment and take less risk!
If you have ever spent a single £ on lead generation, you know how expensive it is and often how risky that investment is.
Many companies do a good job at generating leads – attracting prospects to a website, an exhibition stand or respond to an email, but the reality is that most prospects whom respond to your email, attend your stand or pick up your telephone call are just not ready to buy and certainly do not qualify as a lead………..yet.
Fact – on average only 20% of well qualified leads generated by marketing and passed to sales are successfully closed. The question is what happened to the rest?
The problem as I see it is that too many businesses are focussed on the front end of the funnel, aka the ‘suspect’ or ‘prospect’ phase.
For complex sales, up to 95% of qualified prospects on your website are there to research and not yet ready to talk with a sales rep, but 70% of them will eventually buy a product/service from you or one of your competitors. Brain Carroll, CEO InTouch
Lead Generation needs to focus more on Lead Nurturing, the process of building relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy, with the view to earning their business when they are ready to buy.
Key points you should consider:
- You cannot force someone to buy if they are not ready, only build a relationship based upon value and earn the right for them to buy from you.
- People buy from people and value, so build a relationship, earn their trust and sell on value to them.
- Most sales leads will eventually be ready, but you need to provide them with the right information at the right time, to help them with their buying decision.
An typical qualified sales prospect, ready to engage with sales has followed a lead nurturing process, which has delivered up to nine (9) pieces of content and generated five (5)+ telephone calls, just to reach the point where the prospect is ready to engage sales. Marketo 2011
Still not convinced? If not, ask yourself why? Is it because you don’t get it, or more that you don’t want to get it? This is the way you were trained and the way things we always done, so therefore it must be right!?
Well companies that excel in lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads and reduce % of leads ignored by sales from 80% to 25%.
The key to reaching this level of success lies within the alignment of Marketing with Sales. If you can effectively reach out to more prospects and nurture them so that you only pass a lead to sales once they are ready to engage with sales, you will likely increase the sales conversion rate and therefore deliver greater return on your marketing investment.
At the time of writing this blog post, I’m sat in a darkened room, my head aching as a result of hosting a 4-hour IT channel marketing strategy meeting with, whatever the collective noun for a group of channel marketers is. I sometimes suspect herd is most appropriate!
Their frustrations and challenges are still ringing in my head;
“Too many ad-hoc campaigns with limited measurement or follow through by channel partners utilising marketing development funds”, “Channel partners fail to pick up opportunities and nurture them – looking for the quick wins” and “Valuable information is lost through start stop tactics, lack of process or experienced people”.
It sometimes feels like a lot of finger pointing, mainly at distributors, which I think is a little unfair. The manufacturers are the ones with all the money and the resellers own the customer relationships, often ferociously guarded, but never shared. Unfortunately, distributors only value is to do exactly that – distribute product. Oh and to bank roll resellers by offering payment terms, whist making only an average of between 2%-5% margin on sales. They are often caught in the cross-fire between vendors and resellers and blamed for the majority of what is wrong in the channel.
I think that is a tad unfair, undoubtedly some of the broad-line distributors need to drastically evolve their model. But you only need to take a look at some of the Value Added Distributors, such as Avnet to see that certain distributors not only get it, but are really making significant strides in the right direction.
The reality is that the IT channel, as with all channels, is a supply chain. Each stakeholder from Manufacturer to Distributor and reseller is vital to each other’s success. Unfortunately, from my experience they just don’t understand each other sufficiently to overcome the current dysfunction in the way that marketing works in the channel. Our Channel Marketing Community http://linkd.in/360channel and quarterly Think Tank sessions; http://bit.ly/rshKbF has an active membership including many different vendors, distributors and resellers and has identified exactly this.
The findings from the Think Tank sessions have established some really interesting insight:
Each stakeholder within the channel needs to better understand and communicate with each other to foster improved co-operation and by doing so, deliver relationship-based marketing.
Vendors and Resellers need to stop bashing distribution, but at the same time distribution need to evolve their offering from the typical broad-line model to Value Added Distribution. By doing so, this will also help to improve margins for distribution.
All stakeholders within the channel need to adopt more targeted, relationship-based through-marketing initiatives into end user markets. Key requirements include; customer profiling, behaviour monitoring, personalised marketing, alignment of marketing & sales and ROI reporting. This does heavily rely upon improved communication & collaboration between each party.
The sessions are fascinating to experience, especially as an outsider. One thing is for sure, in a fast-pace and highly competitive space, marketing within the channel is rapidly evolving too. I strongly suspect that the real winners will be those that embrace change and adapt their go-to-market strategies first.
Well it only seems like yesterday that we all returned from the Christmas holidays (for some of us it was!) and already we have some really exciting news to share with the world!
We are proud to announce that 360 and our pals at Cyance have merged. 360 and Cyance have been working together for the past 2-years and we all believe that this merger will further cement our relationship and build upon the great success we have already achieved in partnership.
To read the press release in full, please click on the link below;
Here's to a really exciting 2012 and beyond!
Blog post written by Liam Pickard 360 Marketing Executive
As the amount of information available to decision makers grows it is becoming harder everyday to get your message across to the right people. There are so many avenues for prospects to use when they are identifying the business case for new purchases. So how do we as marketers make sure that the prospects choose our avenue?
“Research by Forrester tracking the relative performance of 38 marketing channels such as email, direct mail, and display advertising reveals that technology users on average use between seven to eight sources across the consideration and purchasing process” – CIM The Marketer December 2011
If decision makers are using seven to eight different sources to make a decision then the answer is simple. We need to try and guide them towards as many of our channels as possible. Being seen is difficult though when there are so many marketing communication channels available from printed trade magazines, the web, social media and now mobile marketing.
However, in the modern marketing world it is not as simple as pushing your message out, there are so many barriers to generating maximum eyeball time with your marketing messages and even then, creating a return from your marketing investment, means that eyeballs alone are not a metric that guarantees a successful outcome. The value is derived from delivering the right message to the right person at the right time and avoiding the scatter gun approach.
To create the maximum impact and ensure your messaging resonates with your target audience. It is important to provide the audience with choices on how to gain the information they need in a way they like to receive it. If we get the audience to read our email we can give them choices on how they want to find out more. Offering free reports, whitepapers or inviting them to join a forum or webinar are all ways of letting the decision maker choose a way that works best for them.
“Research by Forrester reveals that CFO’S IN Europe PREFER digital channels “-CIM The Marketer December 2011
Prospects have more choice regarding the way they identify the best solutions for their business needs. People can choose where and how they access the available information. Understanding where your audience is listening is crucial to effectively involving yourself in their decision making.
Through this method you can start to build up an idea of what the prospect is really looking for and what pushes their buttons. If you also create multiple touch points; you are in more of the eight sources, each prospect typically uses, whilst following their purchasing process and therefore more likely to influence them to buy from you. By pulling prospects in through compelling and relevant content that they have opted to receive, your thoughts become valued and trust can be built, hence ensuring that working with your business is the right decision to make for them.
The digital age is now allowing more choice and as a business it is time to really look at how you get your message to the market, using multiple channels and a mixture of push and pull techniques. All linked together and managed intelligently and in the right way for your customers and prospects. By doing so, you can go from throwing money away at intangible marketing activity to delivering dynamic and measurable marketing that is tailored to suit the needs of your target audience, in accordance with their role and stage of the buying process.
Our own Jon Clarke has joined 59 other selected business leaders to contribute a chapter on experiences gained during the recent recession.
The book, from the Business Leaders Book Club – Lessons learned from the recession, offers insight from 60 business leaders on how they managed to survive and even thrive during the toughest economic climate since the 1930's.
Chapter 18 of the book is written by Jon Clarke, MD of 360 Business Marketing Ltd and is titled; "A recession is no time to dig your head in the sand. Be brave and embrace change if change is needed".
In this new book, you will find out how 60 Business Leaders thrived and exploded their profits during the worst global economic downturn that the world has ever seen.
The uniqueness of this powerful book is that it provides a deep personal insight into the key decisions that these 60 business leaders had to make when faced with the recession.
Upon reflection it is these decisions that they believe were the most critical and effective actions that enabled their businesses to not only survive but thrive during the worst global economic downturn in living memory.
The book aims to provide prospective and existing Business Leaders with help, guidance and inspiration in a personal way which everyone can relate to.
There are 60 unique chapters in this book that will provide you with an abundance of practical ideas that will help your business grow and succeed.
If you would like to receive a 50% reduction on the paperback version of this book, please use the following promotional code before June 30th: BLC1018
Here is what is being said about the book;
“The Business Leaders Book Club offers something that most so-called business books don't: real lessons, from real executives, facing real challenges in this tumultuous age. This series is your chance to sit down with and learn from some of the sharpest practitioners in business today. Don't miss it.”
President, Extreme Leadership, Inc
Bestselling author of The Radical Leap Re-Energized and Greater Than Yourself
“This book provides valuable advice from business owners who have been on the front line and know the challenges of starting or running a business.”
James Caan, Founder and CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw
Download your fee e-copy here
If there is one constant in an ever changing world, it is that both consumer and business behaviour is always changing and evolving, influenced by developments with technology, global events and social change.
The recent economic downturn, coupled with the proliferation of mobile computing devices and the adoption of social media, means that the way consumers and businesses now consume media has created a rapid sea change in buying behaviour. The challenge for every marketer is to make sense of it all and to keep up with change.
"IMRG & Cap Gemini identified that UK online sales totalled more than £58 billion last year".
"Google UK IT buying trends survey 2008, cited that 80% of respondents identify the internet as the most important source for every stage of the buying process".
Google conclude that whilst most purchases are still made offline, the majority of buying decisions are researched via online channels.
However, this is not exclusively a challenge for marketing. I see it as a business problem, as the entire business needs to adapt to meet the ongoing demands of their customers. Failure to do so will inevitably result in either a quick, or slow and painful death.
"According to recent Ofcom research, consumers are spending almost a quarter of their time on the internet and social networks and 45% of their time watching TV, using their mobiles or other similar devices".
This may sound a tad melodramatic, but I have always believed that marketing’s sole purpose is to help sell and to help sell more. No matter which way you look at it, the number one objective for any business is to sell stuff, to do this you need to capture interest and sell through effective engagement.
We all know this right? But what if your customers have stopped listening or if they have now become more self-sufficient and can source your product, service and find answers to their problems without you? It may not be immediately evident that this potential change in customer behaviour is impacting upon your business, but for many, it has been the case for some time.
"Two or more channels are used by 78% of consumers to browse, research and make purchases and three or more channels for a single transaction are used by 30% of consumers. (ATG, March 2010)".
In a recent blog, I wrote about a keynote speech I attended by Prof Malcolm McDonald. He stated that the real winners are the brands that open their businesses up to their customers by enabling customer interaction across all channels and ensure that they are part of the conversation. Do it well and you obtain invaluable customer insight, if customer’s see that they have a visible influence on your business, brand, product or service. You will create customer loyalty, which in turn can create your most effective marketing asset, Word of Mouth.
"Consumers say that word of mouth is still the number one influence in their electronics (43.7%) and apparel (33.6%) purchases. (Retail Advertising and Marketing Association/BIGresearch Study, December 2009)".
"Tech decision makers give user-generated sites equal importance to traditional media sources when considering tech purchases. Decision makers consider their personal experience (58%) first when short-listing tech vendors, followed by word-of-mouth and industry analyst reports, tied at 51%. Advertising (17%) and direct marketing (21%) were listed as the least important information sources when short-listing possible vendors. (Study: "Tech Decision Maker," Hill & Knowlton, January 2009)".
All of this is against the backdrop that today the average consumer and business buyer has an ever decreasing attention span. They are likely to have spent many hours researching online and now expect you to come to them. They are also less interested in online “unique special offers” because, quite frankly, they are not unique and rarely capture attention.
In a highly competitive market, we are all targeting users with an ever decreasing attention capacity, so marketers must work harder to grab attention.
To help face this challenge, I have created an essential 4-step guide to help build a marketing strategy that delivers increased sales and customer loyalty;
Profile your customers by understanding their needs, buying & decision trends, how they source your products/services/solutions and use this insight to build an integrated and seamless strategy to communicate, interact, nurture and engage using a combination of push and pull marketing and customer service techniques. The key phrases here are “integration” and “seamless” and remember this is not just a strategy for marketing, it requires integration with the entire business.
Understand the true value of your sales and marketing campaigns and channels by measuring and attributing value across all customer touch-points within your business or brand during a buying lifecycle. By doing so, you can tweak your campaigns according to what works and either adjust or drop what does not. To do this you need the tools and processes in place to capture and report on customer interaction with your business, across all channels and the entire online and offline customer engagement and nurturing process.
Build customer communities and forums, in places where your customers prefer and actively encourage conversation and feedback through proactive customer interaction. If your customers feel that they are stakeholders in your business, their loyalty will increase and you will create brand ambassadors that will spread the word at an amazing rate. Use customer communities to capture and respond to the good and the bad, as failure to address poor customer experience will travel ten times quicker compared to positive experiences.
Think carefully about the tools you use, the people you hire and the processes you deploy to make your strategy work. Marketing automation is vital to consistent and effective delivery, for integration across all channels, to help manage every customer touch-point and will enable you to scale up your operation.
However, it may also pay to outsource all or part of your requirements to a specialist agency. Often agencies have a wider perspective and more experience as they have done it before, across many different businesses and learned what works best. You can circumnavigate many pitfalls if you select the right agency.
Similarly, if you are a small business, you may not be able to afford a fulltime resource or the right tools to make your strategy work.
Any CMO or agency Director will tell you that our industry has a tendency to overhype “the next big thing”. By definition, our industry is primarily focused on promoting the latest product, service and thinking. Consumers and businesses are inundated with a high degree of white noise, which is difficult to navigate and separate the biased opinion from the objective. However Marketing Automation should not be pigeon holed as the “next fad” and instead seen as a solution to automate marketing communications, content flows and customer engagement based upon individual behaviour, to drive increased value into a business.
Why is this important? In my opinion, mass marketing techniques such as advertising and scatter gun mailing are all but dead. The Holy Grail for every marketer is to find an effective way to communicate, resonate and engage with customers and sales prospects. The advent of CRM applications, website monitoring tools and social networks have gone a long way to harness the power of customer insight and enhance interaction. However, the challenge for every enterprise is to centralise and automate marketing activity in an integrated way, across all marketing channels, whilst at the same time treating people differently according to their behaviour, stated preferences and perhaps most importantly, their role and stage of the buying process.
As an owner of a b2b demand generation agency, it is essential that we deliver remarkable lead generation campaigns with compelling ROI, whilst maintaining good profitability. Striking the balance between competitive value for our clients, whilst maintaining good margin for our business, requires excellent people and the right blend of highly engineered processes and marketing automation technology.
But choosing the right technology can be a real minefield. Every business will have its own specific needs, but how do you ensure that you make the right choice and how best to integrate this technology into your business? I have spent many years within the IT software industry and have experienced firsthand how complex and risky these projects can be. You can multiply that risk by a factor of ten when the introduction of software requires re-engineering of business process.
The way I see it, is that the risks are high but the rewards are even greater. In fact I will go so far as to say that if you are in a tough economic climate or a competitive market you must introduce marketing automation into the equation. If executed correctly you will ensure that your marketing business is effective and scalable. I’m somewhat surprised that adoption of marketing automation still seems to be relatively slow.
According to a new B2B Marketing Lead Generation & Nurturing Benchmarking Report, only 20 per cent of respondents had implemented a marketing automation platform, and only a further eight per cent were currently considering implementation. A quarter of respondents had ruled it out altogether. This does seem at face value quite odd, considering how game-changing this technology could be, and even more when you consider that respondents to this survey were highly focused on leads.
These statistics suggest that many companies either don’t understand the benefits that marketing automation can deliver, or they regard the risks associated with implementation too great. However, another way to look at it is that if you are using or starting to use marketing automation now, this low level of adoption is good news: it means your marketing is likely to be more effective than that of your competitors, and your sales team more effective in converting those leads.
At 360, we recognise that many businesses face a number of significant challenges around effective demand generation marketing. The decision to stick or twist on the subject of marketing automation is daunting enough without having to steer your business through the myriad of solution vendors out there. That’s why many of our customers choose to make proof of effective use of marketing automation, part of their selection criteria when choosing a marketing agency like 360.
Image source: www.focus.com
In a tough sales market, every pound invested in marketing has to deliver sales. Along with this, there are increasing demands for Marketing Development Funds (MDF) – from resellers, distributors and industry groups. How do you know what will work? How can you measure the results? On top of all this, marketing departments are under pressure and are often tightly resourced.
The problem is that the IT channel has a lack of time and resources, which means that all too often IT vendors don't take the time to fully understand their audience. Distributors and Resellers want results, not marketing. Vendors throw money at the channel, often without the ability to sense what works well. There is little useful market segmentation and without a feedback loop, you never know if what you're doing has any point. Activity should never be an excuse for a lack of discipline.
The whole IT channel – from vendor, through distributer and reseller, to the end user – is in danger of becoming increasingly dysfunctional, and the use of MDF is one of the chief causes.
The original idea behind MDF was perfectly sound. Every quarter, vendors would make funds available to distributors and resellers in the hope that they would use them to generate more sales of the vendors’ products. In the good times, this money was freely available. But, now that the economic climate is much harsher, vendors are asking to see a return on their investment; we call this the “marketing vs sales dysfunction paradigm” (MSDP).
MSDP usually takes the form of a quarterly tactical plan showing what events or sales drives are to take place. Once vendors are convinced of the benefits of this battle campaign, they nod sagely and hand over the funds.
The dysfunction occurs because holding an event or pushing out marketing messages is not the same as creating sales. Channel players know that, by offering to host a high profile series of seminars that promote a vendor’s products, the vendors will rub their hands in glee. The seminars get the manufacturer’s boxes in front of resellers and end users: the people who make multi-million pound buying decisions. What could possibly go wrong?
The problem is there is often no system in place to track actual ROI on events or campaigns: the number of their products sold, and the income gained, as a direct result of a distributor’s or reseller’s quarterly tactical campaigns. An event might attract high spenders – but unless they are properly nurtured, they are unlikely to turn into buyers. Marketers might be brilliant at planning and hosting events, but unless there is formidable attendee follow-up from a talented, highly-incentivised sales team, the results are often negligible.
So what is the solution? Well, Marketing is real-time. You must act, measure and respond to a rapidly-evolving environment. Do your marketing in the fast water - target people with products and solutions they want, deliver marketing messages that people actually want, with content that will enrich their lives, using communication channels that are preferred by the target audience. Be interesting and relevant. Even better, be remarkable.
360 are experts in channel marketing and have worked with many market leading vendors, distributors and Resellers over many years. We have written a series of IT Channel insight research documents, co-authored by our Marketing Director, Gemma Telford – ex-UK Marketing Manager at Ingram Micro.
To download #1 from the 360 IT Channel insight series, click here; How to generate profitable leads in the IT Channel
After many years of board meetings in a number of businesses, I have learned that marketing is not sufficiently represented at board level. Directors do not always treat marketing as a vital component to business success.
Each business is different and it is dangerous to generalise, but I have a number of theories why this may be the case. It may be because marketing is seen as an intangible contributor towards product and service promotion. Or it could be that many C-level executives and shareholders don’t truly understand marketing and instead assign responsibility to sales.
One thing is for sure: the right marketing strategy for your business can be the difference between success and failure. Obtaining board level buy-in is not merely a “nice to have”. It is essential.
I recently attended a keynote speech by Professor Malcolm McDonald, until recently Professor of Marketing and Deputy Director, Cranfield University School of Management. He has written over 40 books, including the bestseller ‘Marketing Plans: How to prepare them, how to use them’, and has worked with many of the world’s largest brands.
Malcolm made several insights about this issue that struck a chord. Here are two key reasons why marketing is often misrepresented.
- According to a recent Harvard Business Review, 90% of C-level executives do not know the components of a marketing strategy
- In the US alone, 30,000 new products are launched every year, yet 90% fail due to poor marketing strategy
Malcolm also rightly pointed out that doing the wrong thing well will mean you die quickly. You have to get the strategy right before you focus on the tactical.
In my experience, you need understand how your own board approaches investment. The board’s primary purpose is to protect and increase shareholder value. Unless your marketing strategy is aligned with that overriding purpose, and is driven by a demonstrable business case with tangible return on investment, you will fail.
According to Malcolm, you need to position your marketing strategy as “delivering sustainable competitive advantage, with a return measured over the cost of capital investment”. This may sound like a chairman’s statement in an annual report, but it succinctly reflects how marketing is assessed at board level. In basic terms, you need to speak the same language and apply the same logic to your marketing strategy by creating a sound and robust business case. If you can demonstrate that your marketing plan will increase turnover and profit, leading to increased shareholder value, you have a potentially winning formula.
Obtaining buy-in to your strategy at board level will require, shall we say, robust cross-examination by seasoned corporate animals or very single minded, power-hungry business owners, each with their own agenda that may not be compatible with your strategy.
I have heard many marketers claiming that “the board just don’t get it!” If I’m honest, I have said it myself on more than one occasion. The challenge is to overcome these obstacles by having a well developed marketing strategy; to ensure that you talk in the same language as the board; and to be well prepared for interrogation, as you may feel like you are starring in an episode of Dragon’s Den.
I can assure you that this television show is a walk in the park compared to many of the board-level cross-examinations I have experienced in the past.
What about the fact that 90% of C-level executives do not know the components of a marketing strategy?
I agree with Malcolm in that a successful marketing strategy must comprise the following components:
- Deep understanding of the target markets – dynamics, trends and needs-based knowledge.
- Market segmentation of the target markets, which may include demographics, geography, psychographics and behaviour (preference, buying process and value).
- Key differentiators – SWOT analysis compared to your competition; and what value this offers to your target markets, based upon your needs-based analysis.
- Integration – a long-term strategy as to how the required systems, processes and people will be integrated into the business to execute and deliver upon the business objectives.
- Statement marketing – a quantitative and qualitative definition of your value to your target markets, and how that differentiates you from the competition.
To ensure that you secure investment from the board, it is also essential that you analyse each component of your marketing strategy in the same way that many businesses assess their portfolio of products, services or businesses.
I personally use the Boston Matrix, developed in the late 1960s by Bruce Henderson of the Boston Consulting Group.
You need to break each aspect of your strategy into logical components and plot it into the matrix according to its strength and attractiveness to your target markets. Follow the principles behind this approach to assess which components represent the cash cow; will yield low growth, but require minimal investment, the rising stars; where greater investment is required to maintain a position of strength in a growth market opportunity, the unknowns with unclassified potential and of course to avoid any “dogs” with a weak position and low growth opportunity.
If you can demonstrate tangible value in what marketing offers to your company, your board will buy in. If you cannot, they will quite rightly dismiss your ideas. It’s that simple.
I have written numerous previous blogs on marketing and lead generation best practice and in my humble opinion, I have lost count on the articles and blogs I have read that offer similar advice on b2b marketing best practice. So if we all took the same advice and followed best practice, how on earth do you ensure that your sales and marketing messages stand out and reach your customers?
In an attempt to try and cut through the vast swathes of the good, the bad and the ugly of marketing strategy, I have tried to take a practical approach to the challenges many b2b organisations are faced with today.
Challenge #1 – The World has changed, so deal with it.
Some of us accept the need for change and do something about it, but the vast majority of us do not. This is understandable, as with the adoption curve applied to most markets, the vast majority always jump on the band wagon once the early adopters have paved the way for the rest of us.
But what happens when the pace of change speeds up? A week is a long time in politics but it’s an age in the technology sector. The continued advancements and adoption of technology and in particular software, are enabling an ever increasing pace of change in customer habits and buying trends. Every business must keep up with the change in how customers source and buy products & services, or run this risk of failure.
Challenge #2 – Don’t be left behind, but just jumping on the band wagon is not good enough either.
15 years ago direct mail marketing reached saturation point, 5 years ago advertising started to decline, today email marketing has arguably reached its peak and today, everyone seems to be switching their attention to social media, but for how long?
It is now harder than ever to ensure your sales and marketing messages get through to your target audience, especially using interruptive techniques, unless you have a global brand such as Apple or a truly remarkable new product that has the power to revolutionise the world.
18 months ago my agency was one of only a handful talking about multi-channel marketing and social marketing, now everyone’s an expert! I personally receive at least 100 unsolicited emails every day, between 20-30 daily social network email digests and 00’s of daily contact status updates from my social networks, many of which I just don’t have time to read and I almost always ignore online adverts. So how on earth can you ensure that your messages stand out from the noise around your customers?
Well, you firstly need to go where your customers go to seek advice on buying products and services and make sure you are part of their conversation. You also need to have a clear strategy on how you firstly understand a customer’s buying process, where they are in that process at any point in time and then deploy the right blend of outbound and inbound marketing techniques to raise awareness and influence them to engage with your business.
Challenge #3 – I did as you suggested, but it still does not work!
Well if everyone is adopting best practice advice from the myriad of experts out there. You could argue that we will all converge towards a multi-channel, social media, social CRM, inbound, outbound marketing mountain of despair and end up scratching our heads as to what to do next.
The good news is that whilst there is a risk for many businesses ending up on the marketing mountain of despair. If you apply a generous portion of practical business sense with a helping of sensible investment, you will succeed. But is does take time, consistency and a constant assessment of what works and what does not. Treat is as an investment and give yourself a realistic and achievable time to realise the return on your investment.
Here are some essential practical tips on how to successfully develop the right strategy –
- Research your target audience and understand their buying trends for the products and services your business sells
- Create a marketing and lead generation strategy for your business that is aligned to your customers buying habits
- Develop a clear reason for evolving you approach with well defined and realistic objectives
- Invest wisely in marketing automation tools and sound process to ensure that you can meet your business objectives
- Obtain management buy-in and set realistic expectations to avoid falling flat on your face at the first hurdle, treat it as any investment with a robust business case and a clear route to ROI
- Be realistic around progress and performance – ROI measurement is essential but it will not happen overnight
- Create a lead nurturing process; deliver messages and manage leads according to where each customer is in their buying cycle and their preferences to increase engagement and conversion to sales
- Integrate marketing automation tools and processes into your sales tools and processes, failure to do so will result in poor conversion rates and limited or no return on investment