Earlier this week, we outlined some of the main talking points from our first inbound marketing workshop held in Dublin, but there were so many more takeaways and tips that we thought we would take a look at what else our Sales Director Ross had to say.
Having outlined that the main problem businesses and digital marketing agencies are facing is not an inbound one but a lead generation problem, Ross emphasised the challenge at hand for SMEs: Only 20% ever succeed in getting past the tricky start-up stage.
The challenges are many - gaining recognition, being found in search, generating the leads and closing those sales that will help a business to grow – and in order to avoid being in that 80% who flounder, a close working relationship between the marketing and sales teams, sometimes uneasy bedfellows, is vital.
That’s where smart marketing, or smarketing, comes in.
With 70% of a consumer’s decision-making process today already done before they even go near a salesperson, how can digital marketers make sure to bring them along the correct buyer journey and leave them ready for a sales call?
First off, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is needed, where both the sales and marketing teams can make sure they have the same understanding of the market, an agreed upon strategy to engage with that market, and are working towards the same goals. This outlines the following:
- What does the company need as a bottom line?
- What is our Average Order Value (AOV), or Average Customer Value (ACV)?
- The length of the sales cycle
- The close rate to commit to
- The current lead value
Overall, what you need to decide upon is a scalable process that determines how many leads you need to hit your targets. For instance, if 100,000 visits see 0.01% conversions into leads, that gives you 100 leads, of which you can perhaps expect to close 10%, meaning you close ten customers. If each closes at a value of €10,000, that means your benchmark is €100,000.
With that in mind, your digital marketing team needs to figure out how they are going to go about getting those visitors to your website in the first place.
The answer, as always, lies in producing great content people will want to read. But it’s not enough to just post the content and hope people flock to it. Google is the most valuable brand in the world, the king, and with good reason – they dictate how well a website ranks on what is by far the biggest search engine in the world, so knowing how to appeal to them and show value to their customers, and yours, is essential.
One of the biggest tasks for the digital marketing team or digital marketing agency is to get the keywords right, so that consumers looking for certain topics can easily find the information they need within your web pages.
The world of keywords has changed considerably though. Google has become incredibly good at lateral language processing and understanding user intent – what is it the user is actually looking for? What the search engine giant can’t afford is to be wrong. Some 92% of their revenue comes from ads, so they can’t afford to produce crappy results to a search.
What does that mean for the digital marketer? Well, it means that they must make sure that what they say they talk about on their web page is actually what they are talking about on their web page, rather than just front-loading their content with loads of keywords about a topic that is not then covered on the web page. You should never produce content for content’s sake, and keyword stuffing will turn your website and blog content into a turkey.
With 25% of Google searches every day being random searches, they need to be able to determine what the true content of web pages are, and how they fit with what the user is looking for. That’s why great content, relevant backlinks, and a shift from terms to topics is needed. It’s no longer about putting in that single keyword, but a string of them in long-tail format that better match the search.
If you do this successfully, you can get the increase in visitor numbers to your site, but what then? As discussed in a previous blog, you need to be able to provide further relevant material that is useful and appropriate to the user, to bring them further along the sales cycle. You’ve got their interest, and now it is time to funnel them along from consideration of their challenge or need towards the decision that you can offer a solution.
With a fully optimised website that includes analytics and reporting as one of its key elements, the sales team can determine what potential customers are searching for so that you can tailor questions around what you know they are trying to solve, and what content is working to convert more, and better, leads.
Knowing the quality of the leads and where they are in the buyer journey or sales cycle means you can target only those who are likely to become customers, saving you time and effort.
Of course, in a working closed loop strategy, the sales team should also report back to the marketing department with what they have found, so the marketing team can focus on what works best and where they can improve.
Ensuring you look at all lead activity across your site is so important because it allows you to see the entire marketing and sales process from end to end, including:
- Site Visitors & Their Sources
- New Leads & Their Sources
- Closed Customers & Their Sources
You can also show month-on-month performance and growth and double down on the content that works, because, very importantly, you can’t improve on what you can’t measure!
With smarketing, it’s all about teamwork and working in harmony. Your sales and marketing teams can combine forces to bring visitors to your site, funnel them through the stages in their purchasing decision with effective and compelling CTAs, landing pages and offers of more relevant content, until they are ready and waiting for the sales team to do their stuff. If all work in harmony, the business is bound to grow.
If your interest has been piqued by what Ross had to say, check out our blog for further insights and tips on creating an effective inbound digital marketing strategy. In the meantime, download our Lead Generation Survival Kit so that you can learn how to start turning visitors into leads.