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CRM

5 ways marketers can optimise their lead generation activities  

Lead generation is one of the key pillars of a successful business, yet many still report wasting time on ‘bad leads’ that never convert.  For marketers working for small and medium sized enterprises in particular, it’s often a familiar story: how can efforts be optimised to ensure a limited budget goes the distance?  

Christelle Fraysse, CMO of cloud-based CRM vendor Workbooks, reveals five strategies to help marketers boost the outcomes and ROI of their lead generation activities… 

  1. Become data-obsessed

As marketers, we have access to a lot of data. But too much data will only lead to more questions than answers. Becoming data-obsessed is not about collecting as much information as possible, it’s about collecting the right, high-quality information to serve your purpose – to better engage your audience, for example.   

The first step towards optimising lead generation activities is to therefore consider what data is being collected and why. There should be two main focuses when collecting data: demographic and behavioural.  

Demographic data is important to truly understand the ideal customer profile for your business. This could include what the organisation looks like, the size of the business, the industry it operates in, where it is located, and the people within it (your core personas, job roles, seniority levels, interests, and whatever you feel is relevant for better targeting and segmentation). 

Behavioural information is also key and this includes what your prospects and customers are doing, how they are engaging with you and your content, what channels they are using, and what topics are resonating with them.  

The combination of both demographic and behavioural information becomes extremely powerful. It can be used to take personalisation to the next level, and it allows tailoring of communication during the qualification process and beyond to ensure relevant and timely outreach.  

  1. Grade and score your leads

Not all leads are created equal. Does a lead sit within your target audience and is it right for the business? Is this contact ready to engage with sales or is it too early? The quality of the lead may not always be good enough and this is often the main source of tension between sales and marketing departments. The sales team may feel leads are lacking in quality, while the marketing team say leads are not being qualified or followed up on in an effective, timely manner. Lead scoring and grading can address this and add value. 

First, sales and marketing teams must work together on the rules and principles that help to define a ‘good lead’ and ensure time is being spent targeting those of most value to the business. A lead must be graded directly against what your business’s ideal customer profile looks like. Upon collecting data, it is easier to make a direct comparison of the two and ensure a focus for both sales and marketing teams on those closest to the ideal profile.  

The second element is to score leads on behavioural information. If a prospect views a blog, it shows some engagement. However, if they also visit the pricing page, this demonstrates greater intent and higher scoring, and – if attending webinars – even higher points can be awarded, as it shows commitment. 

Grading leads creates opportunities to nurture them in a bid to upgrade their status. Score them and get them to engage until sales-ready, approaching them differently to those who have shown more interest and intent.  

  1. Work collaboratively with a common language

The relationship between the sales and marketing departments is often not the easiest to manage. The reality is that without a solid understanding between sales and marketing, the ability to generate quality leads is vastly limited. Is there a common understanding and agreement around what constitutes a sales qualified lead, a marketing qualified lead, and an opportunity entering your pipeline?  

Both marketing and sales teams must work on building this relationship by having regular meetings to ensure there is a shared agreement on goals and approach, and that a consistent language is used across departments. Without agreed definitions or consistent management of leads through the sales funnel, the business will be held back. The two departments must not simply co-exist. When collaborative working processes are introduced properly, that is when value will truly be created and the quality of leads will increase. 

  1. Track everything

As a marketer, you should track everything you do. In a number of organisations, marketing is still perceived as a cost and it’s essential to shift this perception and become known as a revenue generator in your business. Often, marketing budgets are in the firing line when cuts occur, but once you track and demonstrate value it allows the marketing team to be seen as an equal contributor. This will result in more trust and, potentially, access to a larger budget for future activities.   

The whole prospect and customer engagement process should be monitored and tracked, from the first click on the website, to the sales funnel, and the final closure. Visibility of when a deal closed and where marketing contributed to initiate or further the engagement and move the opportunity along the sales funnel, demonstrates value to your organisation and changes perceptions. This can help to fuel better relationships across departments and improve sales figures as teams work together.  

  1. Test, test, test!

The importance of testing should not be underestimated – refining your activities will maximise their value. For example, using AB testing on email layouts to see the impact on click-through rates can help to optimise the best email format, subject headers, and sender information. The same for landing pages on your website. Again, this comes back to data collection. The more data you collect and the more this is analysed, the better the return on marketing activities. 

Unlock value with CRM 

Access to high-quality data and insight is needed for marketers to optimise lead generation activities, whether you are a larger organisation or an SME. At the heart of this is a robust CRM platform.   

According to a survey by Workbooks, the main driver for a CRM initiative for 52 per cent of companies was to better manage data and gain insights. Yet many businesses are still failing to use the technology properly to unlock its true value, with only 47% of CMOs having a framework for data collection 

With the right CRM, it’s possible to optimise and transform marketing campaigns, segmenting and targeting them to the individual needs of a high-value list of prospects based on relevant, real-time data.  

Using shared tools across the business ensures a single view of the truth, a consistent process and the most efficient customer journey. Graded and scored leads and targets worked on collaboratively with the sales team increases the chance of closing the deal.  

For marketers, the ability to demonstrate true value throughout the engagement process through to the sale is vital to progressing as a revenue generator. CRM may be an investment, but the right solution will offer complete sales and marketingintegration to transform lead generation activities and ensure the recognition you, as a marketer, deserve. 

The secret sauce of successful paid digital marketing

By Steve Plimmer, ESV Digital

Marketing as a whole has some core prerequisites to be successful (measurable goals, a united and clear message to convey, smart budgeting). Paid Digital Marketing is no different but a unique strength of the digital space is a central factor in making all forms of digital advertising work. It’s not keywords, it’s not bids, it’s not directly being able to track and attribute conversions – for the latter, many advertisers don’t care about conversions so much. It is audiences.

Audience tracking, targeting and managing is Paid Digital Marketing’s secret sauce

There are certainly those who may claim the website is the real common denominator but you can have the best website in the world; if the users visiting it are low quality (poor intent, the wrong type of user in any way) it can’t get you results.

It is true that below-par websites will generally perform poorly but they’ll perform far above their fighting weight with good audience strategy.

Many advertisers are starting to get to grips with this fact, as PPC Keywords get diluted and many forms of control on search, shopping and display recede, because the biggest remaining lever of control (and insight) that seems to be surviving all this change is audiences.

What do we mean by audiences?

When speaking about audiences, I’m referring to literally any aspect of a user’s profile or behaviour that can be categorised, measured and targeted. This can include:

  • Location
  • Device
  • New or returning visitor
  • Prospective or returning customer
  • Engagement behaviour with the site or ads (e.g. video ads)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Life stage/event
  • Content topics of interest
  • Occupation

This is by no means an exhaustive list and these are all beyond the basic audience segment of those who search on a search engine and self-select to be an audience member of “people who searched for product x.”

Many of these have long been used by Facebook advertisers or on LinkedIn but now marketers have a host of powerful options on both Google and Bing Ads plus other Display networks.

Uses

What is the value and what are the potential applications for all these audiences? Before anything else, you need to look at the data you have pertaining to these audience types. Without this we cannot know if it’s salient to even do anything with age groups, for instance. Maybe all ages convert about the same rate. And don’t forget to review how they may impact your CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).

To gather data about audiences that are not sourced internally, you can sometimes just run a report with these segments – normally the most generic user properties, like demographics or location – but for the more advanced and granular audience types, you may be able to add those audiences as “observed” audiences for a time to gather data. Google Ads is a great example of this. Once you have allowed time to pass and the data to accumulate, you may be surprised by some audience correlations and conversions on your site.

Once you have an idea of where performance opportunities lie, you can then decide how to segment targeting, auto-bidding and messaging to address them.

Not all audience uses must be hard-data-led, however. They can also be used simply to segment messaging. Decide what USP of your offering will ring bells with a certain audience (or layered audience) but also position the brand and set an appropriate call-to-action, imagery etc. In addition, you can identify your core target audience per your business plan and shape your strategy, in part, that way. If nothing else, it’s a good way to focus your budget on the user profiles through which you fundamentally want to gain market share.

You can leverage your CRM data to segment existing customers in a limitless number of ways and target them (subject to audience size) in PPC and Facebook/Instagram.

An extra bonus of the latter is that some platforms can take your audience and make look-a-like audiences to expand your penetration of people similar to those who convert on your site. You can take this further by buying email address lists of curated people and upload them as customer match lists.

Conclusion

When you come to choosing digital marketing platforms to use, ask yourself (and the platform in question) what audience targeting features it offers. Then ensure audience segmenting, messaging and management is core to your digital marketing strategy. This may involve many internal stakeholders and partners to do it right (web development, app development, data warehouses, data analysis, CRM teams and so on) but without making efforts to leverage audiences your competitors are going to eventually eat your lunch.

For more information about ESV Digital’s search marketing strategy, get in touch. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.