Turn Leads into Sales Opportunities How to Incorporate the Internet into Your Go-to-Market Strategy Many B2B marketing professionals want to learn how to leverage the Internet to help drive sales for their companies. As they prepare their initiatives and budgets, they are seeking clear answers to many questions. www.theROMgroup.com
Introduction Many B2B marketing professionals want to learn how to leverage the Internet to help drive sales for their companies. As they prepare their initiatives and budgets, they are seeking clear answers to many questions similar to the following:
This eBook provides answers to these questions and will give you a clear understanding of how your company can use the Internet to help achieve your sales goals. The Results You Can Expect from a Web Marketing Program
Increase top line sales revenue by 15%+ Increase lead generation by 20%+ Reduce cost/lead 15%+ Increase sales opportunity conversion rates by 10%+ Increase sales opportunities/leads generated by 20%+ Shorten average sales cycle times by 25%+ Reduce marketing and advertising waste by 100%+ Increase marketing ROI by 85%+ 2 www.theROMgroup.com
Is My Web Site Doing What It Should?............................................................................
Do I Need a Blog?...........................................................................................................
Do I Need Social Media?.................................................................................................
Should I Be Using More Video?.......................................................................................
What Do I Do with Web Site Visitors?.............................................................................
How Can I Capture Leads from My Web Site?..................................................................
What Do I Do with the Leads I Capture?..........................................................................
What Tools/Software Should I Be Using?.........................................................................
What Expertise Do I Need?..............................................................................................
Can My Current Staff Do This?.........................................................................................
How Do I Involve Distributors and Dealers?.....................................................................
How Do I Involve My Sales Team?....................................................................................
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Is My Website Doing What It Should? To answer this question, you need to first establish a description of the action you want your Web site visitors to take upon viewing. Here are some examples of how B2B companies use their Web sites:
Generate sales leads (direct or in support of sales channels) 2. Generate and execute sales transactions (e-commerce) 3. Create a community of subscribers and repeat visitors
Because your Web site requires a significant investment and serves a critical strategic role in driving sales for your company, it should also coalesce the ideas of sales and senior management. How Do I Judge My Web Site?
If you approach Web site creation as simply the graphic look and appeal of the site and whether it is attractive or not, then you will get bogged down in a subjective assessment. Too often this is where most companies struggle. How often has someone in senior management said something like, “my wife thinks our Web site is ugly“?
It is far more productive and effective if you analyze your Web site based on how well it helps the visitors do what you want them to do. Notice that the examples of Web site purposes above describe an action you want the visitor to take. Web sites are not passive displays of information. They are not show rooms or brochures. Your Web site must drive visitors to act. Once you understand the purpose, then you can begin assessing how well it is doing its job. Your Web site must drive visitors to act. Once you understand the purpose, then you can begin assessing how well it is doing its job. 4 www.theROMgroup.com
www.theROMgroup.com 5 Assess Your Current Website In assessing your current Web site, ask these questions: Do we have a clear purpose for the Web site? Do we have agreement among marketing, sales and senior management on the action we want our Web site visitors to take? When someone, who has no knowledge of us, our company or our products, visits our homepage, is it easy for them to quickly understand the following:
Confirm they are in the right place to do what they want to do
Do all the Web site elements make it easy for visitors to take the action we want them to take?
My Web site Needs Help - Where Do I Start?
If you use the criteria above and discover your Web site needs help, what do you need to do next? Hire a Web site designer? Have your Web master change it?
First, changing your Web site is a major initiative. Don't let anyone tell you it can be done quickly and easily. This doesn't mean a Web site can't be overhauled in weeks or even days. It means there are many details and elements you must have absolute command over to ensure success.
We strongly recommend you hire a professional HTML programmer, well versed in video. It is likely you will also need a few other professionals to complete the team:
Web designer: well versed in both Dreamweaver and Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and Illustrator)
Video producer: well versed in Adobe Premiere Pro, or a comparable video editing program. This position could also be filled by a hobbyist within your company.
Copywriter: understands how to write educational or buyer centric copy
First, changing your Web site is a major initiative. Don't let anyone tell you it can be done quickly and easily.
www.theROMgroup.com 6 Do I Need a Blog? If you want buyers to find your Web site, then you need a blog. Google loves blogs. They tend to be educational versus sales oriented, and Google knows that most people using their search engine are looking for answers, not products.
How to Get Started with a Blog
There are two dominant platforms for blogs: WordPress and Blogger. Blogger is owned by Google. However, there is no evidence showing Google gives more weight to Blogger than WordPress in SEO.
Choose one of these platforms, and you can set up your blog in minutes. Now, the really hard work begins - writing blog posts.
Here's a trick that works. Write "how-to's" in the general topic area of your products and services. If you make plumbing products, write "how-to's" about plumbing that your buyers would find helpful. This is a powerful way to drive Web visibility and grow your Web site visits.
How frequently do you need to post? Twice a week is fine for most blogs that are used primarily to drive Web visibility.
Be careful when you are searching online for information on how to get your blog started. Most advice on blogs focuses on creating a big list of subscribers and making money as a blogger. Some of this advice might be helpful. Most, however, is not. Write "how-to's" in the general topic area of your products and services is a powerful way to drive Web visibility and grow your Web site visits.
www.theROMgroup.com 7 Do I Need Social Media? If you want buyers to find your Web site, then you need social media. Google loves social media. Just like blogs, Google views social media as providing helpful and timely information for people searching online.
How to Get Started with Social Media
If you're a B2B company, you will want to set up accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, SlideShare, WhitePapers.org, Flickr and YouTube.
LinkedIn and Facebook are networking sites. Facebook will be helpful for Web visibility. LinkedIn will be more useful for connecting with key groups of buyers and recruiting employees.
SlideShare, WhitePapers.org, Flickr and YouTube are content- sharing sites. If you create eBooks, whitepapers, PowerPoint presentations and webinars, you will want to upload them to SlideShare so they can be found using search engines. You will want to do the same thing with your whitepapers on WhitePapers.org.
Any photos of your team, your products, events, awards, etc., you will want to upload to Flickr so they can be found by search engines. Finally, most of you are aware of YouTube. Video is very popular on the Web and you will want to take advantage of it with YouTube and now SlideShare. Google loves social media. Just like blogs, Google views social media as providing helpful and timely information for people searching online.
www.theROMgroup.com 8 Should I Be Using More Video? When 67% of Internet usage is video-based and 70% of Internet users go online to watch videos, the answer is obvious. Yes - but with caution. Very few B2B marketers can pull off an "entertaining" video: one worth watching for entertainment purposes alone. One of the more popular B2B "entertaining" videos showed a large crane with a pincher tool carefully removing pieces of clothing from an attractive model at a tradeshow (watch video). It was PG-rated and it did illustrate the precision of the crane's controls. Plus, it was funny. Once a B2B marketer sees this, they will want to create one of these for their company and too often they fail. Being funny is hard and requires great skill and talent. Even then, there is little guarantee it will work.
It is far better to focus on product demonstrations and how-to videos. How-to videos are very popular. Keep them short - less than two minutes. Allow them to be downloaded and be sure to allow them to be shared via social media. How to Get Started with Video
The great news about video is that "medium" quality works best for B2B. That means good lighting and quality imagery are important but, you do not need a production company to produce it.
Video is very much a DIY (do-it-yourself) proposition. If you talk to your employees, you will very likely find someone who has made video production a hobby. Tap into this.
Once you've produced your videos, have a professional HTML programmer add them to your Web site. Be sure they optimize the page for video to ensure it runs smoothly.
www.theROMgroup.com 9 What Do I Do with Website Visitors? For most B2B companies, the primary objective of their Web site it to generate leads. That means you need a way to convert Web site visitors into leads. The best way is to offer educational content that features information of high personal relevance to the site visitors. We call this "buyer centric content."
Buyer centric content answers buyers' questions, provides solutions to buyers' problems and gives them "how-to's" so they can get things done. Your Web site visitors will share their contact information in exchange for important "how-to" information that will help them take action or move an initiative forward.
Your objective with this content is to "engage" Web visitors and communicate that you are a helpful resource for them. And that leads us to the next common question…
www.theROMgroup.com 10 How Can I Capture Leads From My Site? The old method for capturing leads employed an email form on your "contact us" page or relied on waiting for the Web site visitor to pick up the phone and call you. We're not saying Web visitors won't do this, they just don't do it very often.
Rather than wait for direct contact, which actually occurs at the very end of the purchase decision process (typically after a buyer has already selected a vendor candidate), use your educational or buyer centric content to capture contact information.
This is a two-step process on your Web site. First, you need to promote the content and make it easy for Web site visitors to find it (see examples to the right).
If the Web visitor finds the offer of the content valuable, they will click on your promotion and arrive at the second step in the process: registration. A registration page (a.k.a. landing page) offers the content for download and features a form for the visitor to fill out.
News Video Articles Registration Form Capturing visitor data
www.theROMgroup.com 11 What Do I Do With the Leads I Capture? It is possible for your HTML programmer to set up a database for collecting registration contact information. If your plan is to forward leads straight to sales for action, this could work for you. However, this is not what your Web visitors are seeking. In fact, they will react negatively if you call them shortly after they register on your Web site. What they want is to be nurtured. To do this, you need a lead nurturing software program like those offered by Marketo or Lead Life.
Lead nurturing is the process of keeping in contact with a stalled lead (not yet ready to buy) for the purpose of remaining top-of-mind when the lead becomes ready to buy. Lead nurturing helps you capture sales from the 50% that are not ready to buy today, but will buy in the near future. Due to this, lead nurturing will increase your marketing ROI by 85% or more.
A key element of successful lead nurturing is blending automated email nurturing with phone interviews.
Lead nurturing helps you capture sales from the 50% that are not ready to buy today, but will buy in the near future. Due to this, lead nurturing will increase your marketing ROI by 85% or more.
www.theROMgroup.com 12 What Tools/Software Should I Be Using? Web site: Avoid any form of CMS (content management software). At first you may see this as simplifying management of your Web site. However, when you go to modify something, you will quickly discover it is virtually impossible to change. The best method is to have a professional create your Web site entirely in HTML/PHP. This makes it very easy to change and ensures better functionality, as well as scalability for the future.
Blog: There are two dominant platforms for blogs: WordPress and Blogger.
Social Media: If you are a B2B company, you'll want to set up accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, SlideShare, WhitePapers.org, Flickr and YouTube.
CRM: The best by far is Salesforce.com
Lead Nurturing: Marketo and Lead Life are the most widely used.
A professional web developer will make it easier to change and ensures better functionality, as well as scalability for the future.
www.theROMgroup.com 13 What Expertise Do I Need? The following is a list of the unique expertise and skill sets required to execute a successful Web marketing campaign:
HTML programmer experienced with video.
Web designer well versed in both Dreamweaver and Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and Illustrator).
Video producer well versed in Adobe Premiere Pro or comparable video editing program. This person could be a hobbyist within your company.
Lead nurturing program manager well versed in managing the lead nurturing software and data, including creating accurate analytic reports.
Copywriter who understands how to write educational or buyer centric copy.
Research-trained phone interviewer to conduct follow-up phone interviews with leads as they get closer to becoming sales opportunities.
There are several unique skill sets required to execute a successful web marketing campaign.
www.theROMgroup.com 14 Can My Current Staff Do This? Don't let the expertise and skill demands listed above scare you away. If you lack the expertise or staff internally, there are many professionals who offer these services.
The key to making this all work is integrating this diverse expertise in a team that works collaboratively for a common objective.
WARNING: Most traditional advertising agencies and interactive agencies tend to employ product-centric messaging, which is traditional "push" sales messaging. Product-centric sounds like this: "Our buyers don't know they need our product, so we need to persuade them that they need it." It makes your product the hero. In the words of Clayton Chirstensen, your product isn't a hero, it's just a tool your customer hires to do a job. Getting the buyer centric message right is tricky and may require an external perspective to help you on the right track.
Getting the buyer centric message right is tricky and may require an external perspective to help you on the right track.
www.theROMgroup.com 15 How Do I Involve Distributors and Dealers? In today's new buyer centric world, distributors and dealers are transaction-focused sales tools. They bring value in their ability to get the deal closed. They are no longer an effective resource for generating sales leads. To get the most from your distributors and dealers, you need to treat them as your sales team. Feed them the highest qualified sales opportunities you can so they can spend more time closing deals, generating more revenue for you. Here's how to do this:
1. Establish Lead Capture Mechanisms at the Channel Level
One of the advantages your distributors and dealers offer you is the natural traffic they produce. But they only focus on traffic that is ready to buy and ignore the traffic that is not ready to buy. These are "leads." Set up a process your distributors and dealers can follow to collect lead contact information and forward it on to you for nurturing. When the lead becomes ready to buy, return it to the sales channel.
2. Establish Sales Opportunity Delivery Processes
You will want to create a strong process for connecting a sales opportunity with a channel partner. Too often a lead is tossed over the wall to a dealer and the dealer treats it as a "suspect" and typically the last thing they want to handle. The key to the process is actually connecting the sales opportunity lead with the channel contact. In absolute terms, this may require the phone interviewer to broker a conference call between the buyer and the channel partner. Sound a little too much like hand-holding? The truth is your phone interviewer can talk to a buyer who is absolutely ready to buy, then hand the name and phone number to a dealer. The dealer can call that buyer right back and get voice mail. Sometimes the dealers leave a message. Sometimes they don't. They may try two or three times and simply give up. The buyer, who is still very interested is left trying to understand why your company isn't making an effort. Getting the buyer centric message right is tricky and may require an external perspective to help you on the right track.
www.theROMgroup.com 16 How Do I Involve My Sales Team? As with your sales channel partners, your sales team is transaction focused. They are no longer an effective resource for generating sales leads. To get the most from your sales team, you need to feed them the highest quality sales opportunity so they can spend more time closing deals and increasing revenue. Similar to the sales channel approach, you need to do the following with your sales team:
1. Establish Lead Capture Mechanisms from YourSales Team
In the course of their daily activities, your sales team will be introduced to sales leads (via events, meetings, referrals, etc.). As with sales channel partners, sales people focus only on the leads that are ready to buy and tend to neglect the leads that are not ready to buy. You need to set up a way to capture the contact information of these leads and collect it from your sales people so you can nurture them (and then return them to the sales people when they are ready to buy). 2. Establish a Sales Opportunity Delivery Process
You will want to create a strong process for connecting a sales opportunity with a sales person. Too often a lead is tossed over the wall to a sales person. The sales person treats it as a "suspect" and typically the last thing they want to handle. The key to the process is actually connecting the sales opportunity lead with the sales person. In absolute terms, this may require the phone interviewer to broker a conference call between the buyer and the sales person. Sound too much like hand-holding? The truth is, your phone interviewer can talk to a buyer who is absolutely ready to buy. Then, after handing the name and phone number to a sales person, the sales person follows up only to get voicemail. Sometimes the sales person leaves a message. Sometimes they don't. They may try two or three times and then simply give up, leaving the buyer to wondering why your company isn't making the effort. To get the most from your sales team, you need to feed them the highest quality sales opportunity so they can spend more time closing deals and increasing revenue.
www.theROMgroup.com 17 Conclusion At this point, you may be thinking that using the Internet in your go-to-market strategy may be overwhelming. Don't let the scope of it discourage you. It's a new marketing world. The old tools and processes no longer work. It requires new tools and processes. What is most compelling about Web marketing are the results it delivers:
www.theROMgroup.com 18 The ROM Group Can Make It Easy The ROM Group is a Web marketing firm that provides high performance, outsourced lead generation and lead nurturing programs for B2B sales teams.
Unlike many other options, The ROM Group does all the work. We create the content, manage Web sites, write/manage blogs and manage social media, manage lead generation programs and lead nurturing programs. Then, deliver a steady flow of Class-A sales opportunities to the sales team.
If you want to increase your marketing ROI and you want to make it easy - The ROM Group can help. 3311 Packerland Dr. Suite A De Pere, WI 54115 www.theromgroup.com