Kick Start Your Sales Cycle
In the digital economy, marketing has a role that starts before the prospect enters the pipeline and continues throughout the revenue process past the closing. Increasingly, marketing starts the sales cycle by generating leads. With increasing focus on marketing efficiency and effectiveness, many successful marketing organizations have focused on inbound marketing as an effective way to start the lead generation process.
Studies by HubSpot and others have found that leads generated by inbound marketing campaigns (blogs, email, SEO, social media) cost 62% less than those initially generated by disruptive marketing (PPC, telemarketing and trade shows). In addition, inbound marketing is also 2 to 7 times more efficient at converting leads to sales than disruptive marketing (HubSpot 2012 State of Inbound Marketing). Phone calls have been found to work best when they are a quick follow-up to something a prospect has downloaded that indicates they are interested and are far enough along in their buying process to be receptive to an in person call.
There are 6 Components to an effective online or inbound marketing campaign.
1. Start with a compelling marketing offer.
This must answer a question or solve a problem for the relevant stage in your target prospect's buying cycle (Add graphic). Make it remarkable.
Characteristics of a successful offer include:
- Targeted to the Right Buyer Persona at the Right Time in their buying process
- Relevant to the chosen segment
- High Quality and Valuable to Your Target Audience
- Aligns With the Service and or products You Offer
2. Place it on you website with effective CTA buttons and Landing pages. Here are best practices for CTAs:
- Make it clear what the offer is
- Make it Action-Oriented - begin with an action verb, such as "Download"
- Keep it Above the Fold
- Make it Stand Out
- Make the CTA Match Your Landing Page Headline
Connect the CTAs to a landing page that collects the prospect's contact information. Optimum landing pages include the following steps
- Explain the Value of the Offer
- Write Headers That Match the Call to Action
- Use Bullet Points
- Create a Short Form - Only ask for the information that will help you or your sales team follow up with or qualify the lead.
- Place Content above the Fold
- Remove Menu Navigation and Links
- Include an Image
- Perform the Blink Test -Visitors to your landing page should be able to understand the offer, what the value of this offer is, and what they need to do to get the offer in less than 5 seconds.
- Redirect to a Thank You Page
- Test before using
3. Create lead nurturing workflows to answer key questions along the buyer's journey.
Workflows are an automated series of emails or other communications that pre-qualify early-stage leads before handing them over to sales. Workflows are also known as advanced lead nurturing, marketing automation, drip marketing, and auto-responders. Their goal is to make your new leads more sales-ready.
By using workflows and nurturing your leads, you save your sales organizations time because you educate and qualify the lead over time.
4. Market to your email contacts.
Now that you have ensured that all new prospects who will grab your marketing offer will receive the appropriate follow-up communication, you can start thinking about sending traffic to your landing page.
First, think about ways to notify your existing contacts about the new marketing offer you have released. Your email list should be one of the most powerful contact databases that you have access to. (Your social following represents another growing database of evangelists.)
Emails can be very effective if you segment your contacts list. Your contacts are not all the same. In order to do effective, targeted marketing, you need to break your contact database up into smaller groups or segments.
Creating smaller segments allows you to group your contacts by their interests, industries, geographies, etc., and then create experiences and messages specifically for each segment. This will increase engagement, and help move your contacts farther down the funnel.
5. Promote your offer through blogs and social media.
Now that you have announced the release of your new marketing offer to existing contacts in your email database, you can start looking for other opportunities
to drive traffic to your landing page. This is where you can leverage your blog and social media channels. Blog and social media can increase the reach of your content and support your lead generation efforts. Just remember to always a call-to-action: a link to your landing pages with the marketing offer.
Take excerpts from the content in your offer and feature it as blog articles or advertise it through social media and ask your followers for comments and shares.
6. Measure every element of your campaign. Do more of what works and fix or remove what doesn't
In the end, don't forget sales alignment. Lots of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) that don't fit sales needs end up in an MQL backlog. And Sales Qualified Leads without timely sales follow-up are a waste of time and money. As a result, all successful lead generation campaigns depend on strong alignment and working service level agreements (SLAs) between marketing and sales.
For more information on each of these steps, download our whitepaper "Creating a Winning Digital Campaign."
For more on sales alignment, see our recent blogs : Connecting Marketing to the Sales Cycle and Alignment A Must for New Business Pipeline