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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. 

How to bridge the sales and marketing alignment gap – once and for all

By John Cheney, CEO of cloud-based CRM vendor, Workbooks

Alignment between sales and marketing should be a priority for any business leader looking to generate growth. Of course, experience tells us it’s easier said than done. Their destination may be the same, but often sales and marketing teams have been at odds when it comes to getting there, relying on different approaches, using different success metrics and speaking different languages.

And yet, sales and marketing alignment is not new to the agenda. So why is it still so difficult to achieve? According to Gartner, less than half of organisations (49 per cent) have a common lead definition that was developed and agreed upon by sales and marketing teams together – more than one-third fewer organisations than expected. At Workbooks, we put this alignment gap down to three things:

    1. A lack of communication
    2. A lack of insight into each team’s customer interactions
    3. Disparate and disconnected technologies

The business impact of these can be very costly. Lack of coordination between sales and marketing is not only a cause of frustration for employees; according to a study by LinkedIn, it wastes an estimated $1 trillion annually in the United States alone. Even for those organisations whose sales and marketing teams appear to operate harmoniously, it’s enough to make you question: “How could we be doing more?”

It starts with you

The first step to achieving greater alignment between sales and marketing functions is to recognise the importance of doing so – and prioritise it for your business. Ensure an open dialogue between the two departments, where you can discuss the important questions: Are sales and marketing goals truly aligned? Are teams communicating as well and as often as they should? Does each function really know how the other is communicating with prospects and customers? Have you agreed common definitions – for example, what is a qualified lead (you might be surprised to hear two very different answers!)? Could teams work collaboratively – and more productively – using shared tools? Ultimately, what financial impact could a better alignment of sales and marketing functions have on the organisation?

Most businesses that probe a little deeper in this way conclude that there is room for improvement. The question then becomes: “How can we make it happen?”

Share goals, performance targets and metrics

Much of the frustration we hear from sales professionals when discussing marketing relate to two things: insufficient focus on revenue generation and unviable or unqualified leads. Marketers, on the other hand, often feel that salespeople do not show enough interest in – or acknowledgement of – long-term brand building, that they are not following up on leads provided, and not providing feedback on why leads may be qualified out.

Spend time at the outset communicating the importance of short-term revenue growth and long-term brand development, and ensure both teams are clear on what the sales and marketing process looks like. Then put in place KPIs that measure both teams on their contribution. Shared goals and KPIs should always be centred around the pipeline and revenue; this will go a long way towards bridging the alignment gap, with both teams agreed on the metrics they will be measured against.

Enable with technology

By 2025, 75% of the highest growth companies in the world will deploy a revenue operations (RevOps) model, according to Gartner; a move away from siloed and linear sales enablement functions towards revenue enablement activities that support all customer-facing roles and connect every single part of the business.

This level of alignment will take time, effort, and commitment across the organisation – it is not something that can be achieved overnight. Technology can, however, make the transition faster, simpler, and more effective. It can also help ensure these changes stick. Specifically, CRM systems can provide a single source of truth, centred around the customer. Using these systems provides access to features such as dashboards and reports where sales professionals and marketers can easily see the sales pipeline and track performance and conversions at each stage of the buyer journey, allocate tasks between departments, and make required changes to marketing and sales campaigns that are visible to all.

Crucially, a CRM system is both a result and a prerequisite of successful sales and marketing alignment; it requires everyone to have agreed a common language, set mutual KPIs, and showed a willingness to work together. But business leaders and their CRM providers must also keep in mind why sales and marketing alignment has yet to be achieved, and these reasons can differ from business to business. Look for a technology provider that wants to understand these nuances, get under the skin of your business, and agree clear business outcomes based on your objectives, to ensure maximum return.

Workbooks aids CRM management with Enrich

UK-based CRM vendor Workbooks has launched its data enrichment tool, Workbooks Enrich, which is designed to increase productivity and make life easier for marketing and sales departments through richer information on contacts in their CRM.

Enrich automatically searches the web and pulls in data to provide users with a far more detailed view of the people and organisations they are engaging with.

This information enables greater personalisation of sales conversations, marketing campaigns, and customer service engagements. Consequently it drives far greater effectiveness across those core business areas, delivering significant returns to Workbooks users.

To date, organisations have either managed without this information or salespeople, marketers and customer service reps have had to search for it themselves. Workbooks Enrich does all this work for them. They simply enter the contact email address and Workbooks Enrich gathers any public information available on the web, including data from sites such as LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and Twitter, and enhances the personal and corporate profile for that contact in CRM – at the click of a button. It is delivering efficiency as well as effectiveness.

“As consumers we are very used to finding the information we need available at the time and place we need it,” says Workbooks CEO, John Cheney. “With Enrich we’re changing the game. We’re bringing the ease and functionality of the consumer world into the business world, providing our users with immediate access to valuable data. We help our customers get 360-degree insights into the people that matter most to them. It’s yet another exciting addition to the fast-growing Workbooks suite.”