Good morning. My name is Alex Fishleder and I’m your MC for today’s presentation on “The Changing Role of Marketing in Driving Sales Revenue”.
The webinar itself is about 30 minutes long and we have time for a 10 minute Q&A session at the end. We invite you to submit questions as they come up during the presentation, but we’ll wait until the Q & A to address them.
Without further ado, I’d like to introduce our speakers for today.
Vivek Thomas is the president of Maximizer CRM Software,
SK: Thank Alex and welcome everyone. This morning we’ll be talking about the very different and expanded role that marketers are playing in the sales process, why traditional outbound marketing gets a failing grade, and why inbound marketing can be so effective. We’ll also take a closer look at keeping an eye on how prospects and customers are engaging with your brand and the importance of nurturing those relationships.
Okay, so let’s start with taking a look at what outbound marketing is, and why it no longer works.
In traditional outbound marketing, messages are pushed out to consumers through “spray and pray” activities like email blasts to acquired lists, tradeshows, advertising, telemarketing, cold calling and even press releases. The effectiveness of these tactics has decline severely over the past few year.
In Canada, there are almost 900 telemarketing businesses that employ over 40,000 people. While they generate annual revenue of around $3 billion dollars, their revenue has been steadily declining since 2009, and it is expected to continue to drop. Telemarketing companies are shifting their focus to customer service and technical support, and in the UK, telemarketing is considered a dying career, with positions expected to decline 11% by 2018. Source: Telemarketing & Call Centres in Canada Market Research Report | NAICS 56142CA | May 2014. Source: CNN http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/13/opinion/careers-tomorrow-townsend/index.html
Effectiveness of outbound marketing continues to decline because consumers have changed the way they interact with vendors.
According to Forrester, buyers are 67% to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even consider contact with a vendor, and many of them defer all contact until they’re ready to talk price.
I frequently get calls from list brokers, in part because the anti-spam laws don’t allow them to email me any more. We use a voip phone system that shows me who’s calling, and I simply won’t take their calls because they’re calling to try to sell me something that I don’t want.
So think for a minute about what you do before buying, let’s say, a TV. You probably read blogs about the value of different features, use Google to find 3rd party reviews, ask friends what they think, compare prices online, and then and only then do you reach out to a short list of vendors that you selected because you’ve determined that meet your needs. Maybe you visit a nearby store to ask questions, or even more likely, chat with the company online. If you feel really confident that you have all the information you need, you are very likely to just purchase the item online without ever talking to anyone at the company.
So where do emails and tradeshows and cold calling fit into the buyer’s research process? The hard reality is that they don’t, because they generally don’t deliver the information consumers are looking for at that point in time. Buyers are inundated with up to 2,000 unsolicited messages a day, and they’re getting better and better at blocking them out. According to HubSpot research: 86% of people skip television ads 44% of direct mail is never opened Over 10 million Australians, over 12 million Canadians and 19 million in the UK have registered their numbers on national ‘Do Not Call’ list Technology trade show spending is down 46%, unsubscribes are going up. The point is that consumers do their own research long before reaching out to a vendor, so the question then becomes how can marketing play in a role in engaging with them during their research process.
Ok, so let’s move on to Inbound Marketing, and how it works.
Inbound Marketing is all about setting your brand up to be found when consumers are doing their research. It involves attracting customers with content that informs and entertains them, and in the process allows you to establish longer and stronger relationships with them. It positions you as an expert in your field and a source of high value information. What used to be the the responsibility of sales is now on the shoulders of marketing. If done correctly, inbound marketing paves the way for a buying conversation with sales. This doesn’t mean that sales teams will be come redundant – in fact they have the most to gain from an inbound approach, but that’s a topic for a future webinar.
If you can provide the information that consumers need along every step of their buying journey, you will become a valuable resource and trusted advisor to them. So what can you use to drive “inbound” interest? How about a research report or whitepapers, how-to eBooks, blogs that contain easily digestible bits of information, infographics, webinars, and nurture campaigns all designed to provide information that is both interesting and useful. Content is most effective when it’s tailored to the role of the individual, so think carefully about who your decision makers are. The needs of Sales are different from the needs of Marketing or IT. It’s all about engaging with your target audience and providing insight and answers at each stage of their journey.
Here are some interesting stats on how consumers feel about content: 80% of decision makers prefer to get information on a company through articles than ads (Content marketing institute) 82% like reading content when it’s relevant (Content marketing association) 61% are more likely to buy from companies that produce custom (Custom content council) 78% feel organizations that deliver tailored communications are interested in building good relationships with them (Content Marketing Specialist, McMurry/TMG reports)
The Goal is to deliver real value by Producing content that informs, educates, and engage potential customers Position your company as an expert that knows the marketplace, understands customers’ needs, and has a solution that addresses them
So, how do you know what content will be of interest to your target audience? Outline the information needs and behavior of your top 3 – 5 prospects Create a content map that outlines the information needed at each stage Tailor fit your content to your target audience – for example, content of interest to IT is very different than content for business users Before you start implementing a content-driven inbound strategy, make sure that everyone in the company, including sales, is committed to it. JUSTIN: What are the dangers of not getting company wide commitment? Sk: I’ll give you an example of the dangers of not doing this: I know of a company that used to flip all leads from tradeshows over to sales, even though the conversion and close rates were very low. When Marketing changed to an inbound strategy that involved nurturing the event leads so that a tradeshow prospect had to perform several activities like download a whitepaper and attend a webinar before they were passed to sales, there was a big uproar because Sales wasn’t getting as many leads. Even though they would eventually get a smaller number of more qualified leads that would close faster and generate more revenue, they didn’t like the abrupt change in lead flow, and the marketing department went back to turning leads from tradeshows over to sales even though it was highly unlikely that the prospect was ready for a buying conversation. JUSTIN: what can you do to minimize sales angst during the process SK:
A big challenge that marketing typically faces when implementing an inbound strategy is producing the content that fuels the process. Some organizations have staff dedicated to writing it, while many others outsource it to subject matter experts, but that can be quite expensive. I recently requested a proposal for a 12 month curriculum of whitepapers, eBooks, blog posts and case studies and the quote came in at over $300,000 US. I had to quickly find other sources of content, and one of the avenues I’m pursuing is the Sales Department. Sales can be an amazing source of content because they hear about the specific problems that customers are facing, and they know from years of conversation what customer’s need to make a decision or get approval from their manager. They also likely know what related topics your target audience is interested in. Sales can help you map out the buyer’s journey provide information that can be used in your content share content via webinars and online groups introduce you to happy customers for case studies Extend your reach on social media (LinkedIn groups, Twitter) Alex, maybe you can share some insight on how Maximizer’s sales team is helping to share the content we publish….
Ok, so you’ve mapped out your buyer’s journey and produced relevant content. You’ve published and promoted it via blog and other outbound techniques, and prospects have given you their contact details in exchange for access to it. Now what? Justin, you’ve spent a lot of time setting up tools that drive outbound marketing,and measure and track leads – can you tell us more about them?
JUSTIN: I’d be happy to. To successfully execute on an inbound strategy, you need an infrastructure that manages the entire relationship from awareness to close. This means tracking the actions of prospects and customers, building an ongoing dialogue to guide them towards conversion, and analyzing what happens after they convert. There are two key components this infrastructure requires: marketing automation software and a CRM solution. Let’s talk about how each of these can help you manage inbound marketing.
Let’s begin with Marketing automation. Solutions like HubSpot and Marketo allow you to score, nurture and build relationships with prospects before they’re converted into a qualified lead and passed on to sales via your CRM system. If you haven’t used a marketing automation solution before you might be wondering what exactly this means. These solutions provide an easy way to manage individuals and their interaction with your organization and website. For instance, when someone fills out a form on your site, say for an ebook download, marketing automation software lets you automate how you follow-up with them, tracking everything as you go. If your organization isn’t using marketing automation software I highly recommend looking into it. It’ll transform the way your company does marketing, and here’s why: Using a marketing automation tool, you can time the execution of your content and follow-up to match where your prospects are in their buying journey, see what content prospects and customers are hungry for, and tweak your communications based on non-response or other feedback. This is lead nurturing.
So, let’s get back to content and talk about how that ties in. If someone reads your blog article because it was shared on LinkedIn, does that make them ready to buy your product? Almost certainly it does not. This is where nurturing comes in. On this slide you can see that we’ve laid out an example sequence – though by no means does it have to occur in this order – of how an individual moves through awareness into interest, consideration, and finally the decision making process. [Sandy comment: The diagram appears very linear but it really doesn’t have to be that way. For example, if a prospect enters your funnel by registering for a webinar, they will likely still find your related whitepaper and eBook valuale. So when you followup with reviews of your product, you can also include a link to the whitepaper and so on. While of course we want to sell products and services – and you will – ultimately this process isn’t directly about making a sale. It’s about building a trusted relationship between the prospect and your company. Your content aims to solve problems and position your organization as a thought leader so when individuals get close to their purchase decision, your company is top of mind as one that can meet their needs. Lead nurturing is an essential component of this as it helps turn individuals into advocates of your company. It’s the process by which you control the follow-up. Just how effective is lead nurturing? Forrester research reports that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. So it’s essential.
Before we start talking about CRM we need to have a discussion about how leads actually end up in the relationship management platform. Within your marketing automation tool, you can set up scores for all the activities and related material in your content map. For example, you might give a score of 5 to someone who visits your website, 10 for attending a webinar and downloading an ebook or whitepaper and 50 for requesting pricing. In this example let’s say 50 is the score that determines a qualified lead. A prospect will have to perform multiple lower score activities or submit a price request before they convert to a qualified lead and flow into your CRM system. Once that happens, the sales rep responsible for that territory gets a notification and can look at all the activity performed by the lead before they call. The rep can use the insight into the needs of the prospect to tailor their conversation with them.
Let’s talk about CRM. Sandy mentioned earlier that the Sales team benefits significantly from an inbound marketing strategy, and she wasn’t kidding. The leads that flow from your marketing automation system into your CRM software are prepped, warm and receptive – leading to a shortened sales cycle and increased likelihood of closing. Rather than focus on hundreds of single activity leads, and do the nurturing themselves, Sales can focus only on the ones that are primed to talk to them.
CRM systems have traditionally been used by sales, but many Maximizer customers also use our CRM solution for marketing campaigns and customer service. SANDY EXAMPLE: That’s a good point Justin. We actually use the marketing module that’s included in the Maximizer solution to send out an “abandoned lead” curriculum and a “lost deal” curriculum. For example, when Sales changes a lead’s status to “Abandoned”, it triggers a four email curriculum designed to re-engage the prospect. When Sales changes a lead’s status to “Lost”, it triggers a survey designed to gather information on why the prospect choose another vendor. Our CRM system contains live, current information on the status of both leads and customers, so it makes sense to send the curriculums out via Maximzer rather than our marketing automation tool.
Your goal as marketers is to get as much relevant information into the CRM as possible so sales can do their job – which is close deals So what does this mean from a practical perspective? Well really it’s all about contextual information. When a salesperson goes to make a call what will they want to know? Basic details like who they’re talking to, yes, and all the other standard information, but I’ll raise two important additional points as it relates to inbound methodology: How engaged an individual is with your brand What have prospects been looking at – have they filled out a pricing request? Did they download a whitepaper you produced on, say, how to build a website? This kind of information is invaluable to sales. Well how do we get this information into your CRM? In my opinion the best way is via automatic connection, a process that syncs based on the scoring methodology we talked about earlier, so for example we have a connector that automatically links HubSpot and Maximizer together. It means we don’t have to do any manual data entry, which is another painstaking and time-consuming way of getting information into your CRM The other way is to use native CRM strengths like web-to-lead forms that can automatically send information to your CRM system, though you might be limited in the amount of web based data that makes its way into your system.
Thanks Justin. I’d like to talk for a minute about how the data and analytics in your CRM system can be used to provide insight into whether your inbound strategy is on track and successful. You need to start with your revenue target and work backwards to determine how many qualified leads, or MQLs that marketing needs to generate to meet your goal. Using historical data stored in your CRM software, you can identify your average deal size, number of deals you need to close to hit your revenue target, the number of sales opportunities required and the number of Marketing Qualified Leads you need to generate.
For example, if your revenue target is $1 million, and your average deal size $10,000 dollars, you need to close 100 deals to make your number. But not every lead converts to a closed sale, so you need to again use historical data to figure out your conversion rates. Let’s say you find out that only 1 in 5 sales opportunities close. That means you need 100 x 5, or 500 Sales Opportunities to make your number. But not every lead become a sales opportunity, so you also need to look at your historical conversion rate of Leads to Opportunities. If 1 in 10 leads covert to opportunities, you need 500 times 10, or 5,000 MQLs to make your number. Now you can track on a weekly or monthly basis how many MQLs are coming in from your inbound content strategy – along with what content is working the best, and make investment decisions and adjustments based on result.
So, to recap what we’ve covered today, if you haven’t already started moving towards a content-driven inbound marketing strategy, now is the time to do so. The steps involved are: Developing a buyer’s journey Mapping out the content required at each stage Developing the content Setting up lead scoring and nurture workflows in your Marketing Automation system Sharing lead behaviour details with Sales, and tracking lead metrics within your CRM system
It is quite a bit of work to set up an inbound marketing strategy, but you should start to see results within 6 months and the long term payoffs are huge.
We have several resources that provide more details on how to apply an inbound approach – including this eBook on “How to use marketing to increase sales”,
You can find resources like these, and more on our blog and website
You can find resources like these, and more on our .com and .uk websites
The Changing Role of Marketing in Driving Sales Revenue