Archive for the ‘Lead Generation’ Category

Inbound Marketing: How a B2B company used a content marketing strategy to improve customer experience

March 23rd, 2015

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Inbound marketing is typically a term reserved for B2C companies striving to draw customers in with flashy social media campaigns, witty tweets and beautiful infographics. B2B companies have the very unique challenge of asserting themselves and becoming a voice of authority in their respective industries, and inbound marketing can be a powerful way to do that ??the nuances of which are not just reserved for those speaking directly to consumers. Starting off, attracting the right people and the speaking to the right audience is essential in a B2B inbound marketing campaign. Using three simple questions that you can use to structure your own campaigns, see how Stephen Bruner, Marketing Manager of Vertical Markets, Precor, detailed ?how the fitness equipment company successfully navigated an inbound strategy with a complex sale at Email Summit 2015. ? Who are we speaking to? Before you start sending a message, you first need to understand who it is that you?re communicating with. Different audiences require different perspectives, pieces of information and credibility indicators than others. In the example below, Precor identified three key industries that it targets as customers. Each industry will demand unique selling points that will best serve the end user. For instance, a traditional club gym might care more about user-friendly entertainment systems and headphone connectivity ??features to distinguish them from competition ??whereas an educational facility, such as a university gym, would want to know about longevity and quality of products. 12 month awareness ? What message are we trying to convey? Once you?ve established who your audience is, establish how you fit into the conversation. This can best be done by either accentuating the positive elements that they already have or reducing, even possibly eliminating negative experiences. In the Precor example below, the team focused on reducing a pain point or anxiety that a future gym owner is facing. (Realize that Precor first targets a specific audience before refining the messaging.) Although the content is from Precor, notice that they are not selling product at this level. The content is simply establishing who the brand is in the mind of the future gym owner. The message being conveyed is simply presenting Precor as a resource for fitness center owners. Creating this type of shareable and digestible content makes it easy to follow Precor on Twitter, with the understanding that these articles will help owners alleviate pain points throughout their careers ??creating an association of credibility with the Precor brand at the genesis of the business. social example ? What do we want them to do? Lastly, establishing a year-long calendar for each persona is essential in maintaining a healthy relationship with your customers and followers. In Precor?s example below, you can see the color-coded strategy for each persona across the year, having ?flow-ups? through the second half of the year. As you analyze the content schedule, you can see a very clear funneling throughout the year, pointing each group toward a purchase. Pointing, that is, but not pushing. For example, from January to April, you can see the healthy content mix of infographics, videos, white papers, blog posts, with a few promos throughout. Fitness equipment is a complex sale, with expensive equipment and a limited budget. 12 month situational awareness ? This is a very intentional use of email and social content, driving the customer down the funnel with informative and sharable content. This plan establishes when a conversation will happen in a logical order throughout the course of a year, focusing on the long-term relationship between Precor and its customer. By establishing such a plan and creating a hub of content, Precor is not only helping customers make decisions, but also creating fans and building credibility within the industry as a valuable resource.   You can follow Jessica Lorenz, Event Content Manager, MECLABS Institute on Twitter at?@JessicaPLorenz. ? You might also like How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Leads [More from the blogs] Content Marketing Tips for Lead Nurturing [More from the blogs] Lead nurturing via email series and content marketing [More from the blogs]

A/B Testing: How adding a second CTA increased clickthrough 291%

February 23rd, 2015

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

How do you serve ?ready to buy? customers and ?just looking? prospects on the same page? You don?t want to alienate one group while speaking to the other. However, you still need to offer both sets of customers the next step they need no matter their level of interest. To answer that question and more for one B2B SaaS nonprofit, Jon Powell, Senior Executive Research and Development Manager, MECLABS Institute, worked with Shari Tishman, Director of Engagement, and Lauren Wagner, Senior Manager of Engagement, both of VolunteerMatch. VolunteerMatch was selected as the ?client? for this year?s Email Summit live test. The team designed a three-part series of experiments, the first two leading up the interactive live test to launch tomorrow, Feb. 24, here at Summit. Since today marks the first day of Summit activities I?ll be giving you a behind the scenes look at Test No. 2 of the series. Check out the MarketingExperiments Blog to learn about the test background and call for treatment ideas and to learn about the results and what they mean. VolunteerMatchBefore we get into the specifics of this test, let?s review why this test is important to the series. The solutions page test will help us to understand the most attractive derivative value for actual sales-ready leads to include in the call-to-action section of the email for optimization at the Summit. Basically, we should be able to take what we previously learned about prospects and transfer it to another channel of testing: email.   Experiment background Primary Research Question: Which call-to-action variable cluster will achieve the highest contact page conversion rate? Secondary Question: Which call-to-action variable cluster will achieve the highest total page click-through rate? Test Design: A/B split test Before the test Prior to the test and its control, the VolunteerMatch team had already updated the call-to-action (CTA) on the product page. The original CTA read, ?Let?s Get Started Together.? CTA1 While the CTA did a good job of attracting customers across the spectrum of motivation levels, it seemed the pipeline became full of leads not motivated enough to move forward. This caused a lot of fruitless time for the sales staff. Motivation   That led the team to create a new CTA, which is the control for this test.   Control To limit the amount of leads entering the pipeline, so that there are more qualified prospects, the team changed the copy to ?Contact Sales for a Quote.? CTA2 Motivation2   However, this left no option for those prospects simply trying to learn more. This lead to the creation of the two-option CTA for the treatment.   Treatment When conducting analysis on the solutions page, click tracking showed that 2.39% of visitors were leaving the page to go to the demo page. Since that would be a useful place for prospects to learn more if they weren?t ready to buy, the team thought it would make the most sense as a secondary CTA. Instead of letting those lower-motivated prospects blindly stumble around the site, a demo CTA would allow VolunteerMatch to guide them there. CTA3   The copy of the Contact Sales CTA was also changed. The team hypothesized that ?Contact Sales? could have produced a high-level of anxiety in visitors. There was also a lack of clarity. What exactly does ?contact? mean? And what will a quote consist of? To help answer some of those concerns, the team developed the ?Speak to a Director? treatment of the CTA. ? Results Let?s look at the metric results to the secondary research question: overall clickthrough rate. Results   As you can see, adding another CTA increased overall clickthrough. The question after that would be if it this impacted the clickthrough to the Contact Sales CTA. However, there was no statistical difference between the control and the treatment. In fact, no visitor who clicked through to the sales contact form page on the control filled out the form. However, of those who landed on the sales contact page from the treatment, 30% of visitors filled out the form. Additionally, of the 8.1% visitors to click on the demo CTA, 12.5% of them converted on the demo.   What you need to know It?s possible to serve two groups of prospects on one solutions or product page. There can be fear when adding a second CTA that you will lose clickthrough or leads, but you won?t know if you don?t test. For VolunteerMatch, that wasn?t the case at all. The second CTA did not diminish clickthrough to the contact form page. Rather, it seems as if the update copy in addition with another option to learn more allowed better qualified visitors to click through, seeing as the rate of completion went up. Additionally, we were able to better guide lower sales-ready visitors to a page that might be better suited for them: the demo. Adding the demo CTA allowed us to decrease the need for unsupervised thinking on the part of visitors. If left to themselves, visitors might not have found the demo and could have left the site without gaining information that would have led to an eventual sale.   Email Summit live test Be sure to attend Jon?s session tomorrow after lunch with VolunteerMatch ???Hands-on Live Test Lab: Learn how to improve your already successful marketing? ??to contribute to the live test. If you?re not able to join us here in Las Vegas this week, we?ll be sharing a case study about the Email Summit live test in the MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing newsletter after Summit.  

If you liked to learn all of the top takeaways from Email Summit 2015, stay tuned to the?MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Newsletter. An event recap with everything you need to know will be published in the coming weeks.

You can follow Selena Blue, Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute on Twitter at?@SelenaLBlue. ? You might also like MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015?? February 23-26, ARIA Resort, Las Vegas Lead Management: How a B2B SaaS nonprofit decreased its sales cycle 99%?[MarketingSherpa case study] Lead Generation: The power of copy?[More from the blogs] 5 Traits the Best Calls-to-action All Share in Common?[More from the blogs]

Lead Generation: How an insurance company reduced acquisition costs in purchased leads

February 16th, 2015

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Generating leads organically can ease the qualifying process, throwing “bad” leads out that are simply not worth pursuing. Growing a list organically also allows marketers to know more about a prospect right from the get-go, passing more qualified leads on to Sales. However, when you start supplementing organic leads with purchased leads from a third party, how can you be sure you are getting the most bang for your buck? According to the Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing report, lead quality is the No. 2 most pressing business challenge for marketers today. Plymouth Rock, one of the largest insurance groups offering car and homeowner’s insurance in New Jersey, faced the challenge of ensuring lead quality. ?There are a lot of expenses associated with purchasing hundreds of thousands of leads annually, so we are constantly working to maximize acquisition economics,? explained George Hurley, Director of Marketing Analytics, Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey. The team at Plymouth Rock needed a way to ensure that the purchased leads were going to be viable with the ultimate goal of lowering acquisition expenses. Lead Generation ? Identify “risky” or “bad” leads With so many leads being purchased by Plymouth Rock, the team determined it would be cost effective to bring on a tool that would help identify bad leads instead of doing it manually. George and the Plymouth Rock marketing team categorize bad leads, or leads that do not sell, in terms of how that lead was generated. For example, if that purchased lead was generated in less than five seconds, that would be a lead Plymouth Rock would not want to pursue. With form fields containing multiple questions and often multiple webpages, George explained that oftentimes, it is impossible for a person to fill one out in less than five seconds. Concurrently, the fraud detection product can also tell the team if thousands of leads were generated from the same IP address located in a foreign country. If that’s the case, it’s highly unlikely they would be looking into insurance in New Jersey.   Change the way leads are purchased With the knowledge of how a purchased lead was generated, the Plymouth Rock marketing team now prefers to buy leads from aggregators and generators that are also using the tool to identify bad leads. Using the tool for lead audit and fraud prevention is now a best practice for the marketing team, which has lowered expenses at Plymouth Rock. ?We hope that others in the industry will follow this practice, driving down expenses,? George explained. The marketing team couples the data now known on how that lead was generated with another tool that provides insights into a particular lead’s authenticity. An example is a lead for “Mickey Mouse” at “123 Main Street” with a phone number of “867-5309,” which is clearly false information. ?There are very different purposes in the two technologies, but both work to eliminate leads that we believe to be bad leads,? he said.   Communicate successes across the organization By better understanding how purchased leads were generated, the marketing team has been able to improve the relationships with the sales team because they are providing better-quality leads. Results are communicated via monthly meetings with stakeholders, including multiple leadership departments, and the marketing analytics group pulls daily reports to demonstrate how leads are performing on any given day. ?We’re very heavily focused on the acquisition costs, so that’s a conversation piece we’re always having, but with the help of the advanced analytics team ? we are also looking into lifetime value metrics,” George said. Since using the lead audit and fraud detection tool, Plymouth Rock saw a 68.8% decrease in cost per acquisition and identified 528% more fraud. The team also noted that almost zero percent of medium- and high-risk leads converted, confirming the success of carefully analyzing how purchased leads were generated. ? You can follow Erin Hogg, Reporter, MECLABS Institute, on Twitter at @HoggErin.   Source: LeadiD ? You might also like Best B2B Lead Posts in 2014: Lead generation, lead nurturing and content marketing [More from the blogs] How the Halo Effect Drives Lead Generation [More from the blogs] Lead Generation via Influencers and Experts in 4 Steps [More from the blogs] Building Your Strategic Lead Generation Portfolio [More from the blogs]

How Much is Your Address Book Worth?

February 2nd, 2015

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

How much is your address book worth? I know that seems like a silly question because very few people even have a little black book that contains all of their contacts? phone numbers and addresses. I can remember when my father had a sturdy metal rolodex sitting on his office desk that contained all of his priceless contact numbers. I would sit at his desk and spin the cards around like I was a contestant on “The Price is Right.” Fast forward 25 years and now we carry our cell phones, which have instant access to our address book, CRM, LinkedIn and other network applications and can easily connect you with millions of people around the world instantly. As part of my research and training, I read a series of books on the subject of lead generation through strategic connections with people. I followed the advice and directions that I read in the books and was able to connect with two best-selling authors and set up a phone conversation with them about their methods and principles. Here?s an introduction to those two authors and their responses to a few of the most common questions our researchers at MECLABS Institute are being asked regarding B2B Marketing:   How to be a Power ConnectorJudy Robinett is the author of How to Be a Power Connector:?The 5+50+150 Rule (McGraw-Hill, May 2014), a book that provides instant, effective strategies for meeting the people you need to know and bonding with them fast to further both your goals and theirs. Judy is a business thought leader who is known as ?the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex.? She has been profiled in Fast Company, Forbes, Venture Beat, Huffington Post and Bloomberg Businessweek as a sterling example of the new breed of ?super connectors? who use their experience and networks to accelerate growth and enhance profitability.     ?Guerrilla MarketingSohail Khan is the author of Guerrilla Marketing and Joint Ventures:?Million Dollar Partnering Strategies for Growing ANY Business in ANY Economy (Morgan James Publishing, Nov. 2014), a book that explains a step-by-step guide on how marketers can set up and use joint ventures to help your business grow. Sohail is the world’s premier “joint venture expert” as featured in, Fox Business, CNN and CBS. He’s also the creator of the “Million Dollar Partnering System,? a well as being a sought-after business growth speaker, coach and author. Sohail works with corporate, business and educational establishments worldwide. ?   B2B Lead Roundtable: Whether the marketer is working with a startup or for a Fortune 500 company, there always seems to be budget limitations for marketing. As a B2B Marketer with tight constraints on time and money, should we invest in networking at events and associations? Judy Robinett😕 A power connector focuses on being in the ?right room.? If you are able to invest in networking at events and associations, be strategic about investing in the ones that your future customers are involved in. Most people attend the same events with their friends and wonder why they never get any new business or quality referrals.? Research your customers and find out where they network, and then do the same. Sohail Khan😕 Guerrilla marketing is not about having the biggest budget or the largest marketing department; it?s about achieving success using unconventional means. There are free digital groups you can join such as LinkedIn Groups and Twitter that allow you to get really close to your targeted prospects. ? B2B: How do I know if I need to expand the size of my current network? JR😕 It is more important to have the right people in your network than to have a huge network. I learned this principle when I lived in a very small town. Between the people I worked with, my neighbor who was a state legislator and other volunteers I served with, I found myself being able to connect with any resource opportunity I needed. I focus on making sure my network of people expands wide across various industries and geographic locations and filled with people of influence and power that we have mutual trust. ? B2B: What is a strategy you use for connecting with a decision maker if you have never had contact with them before? SK😕 I will give something of value far before ever asking for anything in return. For example, I have given away my books, one of my training courses which sell for about $500 and I have also trained a company?s business development team “Joint Venture Strategies” for free in order to gain trust with large clients. I believe in the law or principle of reciprocity when prospecting. For the most part, people respond to kindness with kindness. Once I have given value, there is no longer need for a ?cold call.?? From then on, my interactions with the people I have served are warm and friendly.   B2B: What are some unique tools you use to connect with build relationships? (other than phone, email, and LinkedIn)?? JR😕 I was introduced one day to the co-founder of the ACT! Software, which was amongst the first in CRM available. He co-founded a new CRM tool called Vipor CRM, which I use to track and manage my connections. SK😕 I use Twitter to connect with people. A recent statistic said that there are over 750 tweets delivered every second. It is a great place to generate a response and engage with people.   B2B: Why is it so important to become a ?Power Connector? like your book describes? JR😕 Nothing happens in this life without people being involved. The old networking model was transactional; it was based on who you know and what you know. The world has shifted to a relationship model based on who knows you, likes you and trusts you. At the end of the day, you want to be connected to people who have your back and will lift your future.   B2B: Why should a company consider a joint venture or strategic alliance? SK😕 The joint venture or strategic alliance is set up to be a mutually beneficial arrangement for all parties involved. A company can contribute areas of strengths in return for another company compensating for areas where there may be gaps in resources or abilities. The goals for strategic alliances can be for cost-saving initiatives or revenue-generating campaigns. When joint ventures are organized and managed correctly, you can minimize risks and leverage rewards. That is a win-win situation. ? In conclusion In my conversations with both Judy and Sohail, the most important principles are this: connect with the right people and add tremendous value to them. ?People don?t buy from websites; people buy from people? ??Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS (parent company of?B2B Lead Roundtable) If you would like to know more about Judy or Sohail?s books, you can visit them at the links below. Judy ??How to Be a Power Connector Sohail ???Guerrilla Marketing and Joint Ventures   Each week MarketingSherpa features a book giveaway. This week includes both of the books referenced in this post. Check the MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway?and sign up for a chance to win a copy of these books. ? You can follow Josh Wilson, Content Writer, MECLABS Institute on Twitter at?@TheVillagePush.   You might also like How to Use Social Networking Sites for Lead Generation?[MarketingSherpa case study] Marketing Careers: 3 tips to help your networking efforts [More from the blogs] How to Use a Multichannel Campaign Strategy to Reach Key Decision-Makers [MarketingSherpa webinar archive] B2B Marketing: The 7 most important stages in the teleprospecting funnel [More from the blogs]

Lead nurturing via email series and content marketing

January 5th, 2015

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Lead nurturing involves a number of activities and channels such as ?under the hood? tracking and scoring of prospects behavior and engagement with your campaigns as well as follow-up telephone at times whenever that tactic fits into an overall lead nurturing program. However, the key channel for lead nurturing is email ??particularly using email to send a series of relevant content pieces or offers to prospects as they move through the buying funnel. In previous B2B Lead Roundtable Blog posts, I?ve offered a group of MarketingSherpa case studies based around a particular content area. Today, I?m going to highlight one case study ??Email Marketing: 133% ROI for B2B’s first-ever lead nurturing program?? on a lead nurturing program launched by Crowe Horwath, a public accounting and consulting firm.   Background on the campaign Christine Elliot, Director of Content Strategy and Digital Marketing, Crowe Horwath, understood the value of lead nurturing to both fill leaks in the sales funnel and improve ROI. When she began working with the ?performance group,? a business unit within the firm, Christine was pleased to learn that she didn?t need to pitch the value of launching an inaugural lead nurturing program. The program was based around a 12 to 18-month sales cycle and targeted C-suite executives and large financial institutions with at least $1 billion in assets.   What the team did during the campaign The first stage was determining content for the program, in this case, based on four topic areas:? Dodd-Frank, anti-money laundering, process improvement and core systems. From there the team mapped content to the early, mid and late stages of the buying cycle. In launching the lead nurturing program, the campaign began with a list of 4,000 executives who would receive a monthly email offer for a piece of content. To even be entered into the lead nurturing program, email recipients had to download content from an invitation email. Invitation email   After engaging and entering the program, list members no longer received invitation emails and instead began receiving one email every three weeks with an offer for free content. Content email   The team had 12 pieces of content for each of the three buying stage tracks for a total of 48 pieces of content. The nurtured leads became sales-ready after either downloading three pieces of content or just one piece of late-stage content.   How the team refined the campaign Once the program launched, both Marketing and Sales met to review the newly nurtured leads and discuss how the program was performing. These meetings led to improvements to the program:

  • Instead of filling out a lengthy form, prospects only had to answer a single question to download content. These questions even had the options of ?none? and ?other? so prospects didn?t even have to provide any meaningful information, but according to Christine, most did. One question asked recipients if they preferred to receive email on a different topic ??a question that might change the nurturing track they were currently on.
  • Lead scoring was improved after analysis of every person in the program, and the team found out that factors impacting lead quality included: asset size, title and behavior such as changing tracks, forwarding material or downloading at least three pieces of content.

  How the campaign performed What were the results of this campaign?

  • 33% of invited executives entered the program
  • A 75% to 80% open rate for nurturing emails

This was the first automated nurturing program at Crowe Horwath, and it became a model the team uses to deploy similar programs across the company. “Now we’re expanding all over the firm,” Christine concluded. If you found this short excerpt of the case study, clickthrough to read the entire case study with more detail on each step of the program.   You might also like Lead Nurturing: Pilot campaign increases conversion 32.6% with automated emails [MarketingSherpa case study] Lead Nurturing: How intent data lifted a B2B email campaign’s CTR 248% and forwarding rate more than 400% [MarketingSherpa case study] Multichannel Marketing: Combining email and content marketing leads to 35% conversion rate for Elsevier [MarketingSherpa case study]

Best B2B Lead Posts in 2014: Lead generation, lead nurturing and content marketing

December 29th, 2014

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

The holiday season is always a time of reflection for what we have and what we have accomplished over the past year. However, it is also a time to reflect on all we have learned that can help us improve the blank slate that is 2015. Read on to find out what B2B Lead Roundtable Blog posts were shared the most as well as the three topics B2B marketers valued most in 2014. You can utilize this information to better inform your 2015 strategy.   Topic #1 ??Lead generation is king Lead generation was a huge topic for 2014 and for good reason. Every lead nurturing campaign, every lead conversion, every sale depends on first generating a lead. But what’s the best way to optimize your lead gen efforts?   Develop a strategic lead generation portfolio The best marketers don’t rely on one specific tactic to generate leads. Instead, they utilize a diversified portfolio of channels. The best way to build this concept is to approach your marketing strategy in the same way a portfolio manager would approach a mutual fund. Namely, this means diversifying your leads, establishing a schedule of when you’ll address said leads and testing every element in this process. This post offers ideas on how to expand your lead generation portfolio, and features a free downloadable copy of a mind map for lead gen from Brian Carroll’s Lead Generation for the Complex Sale. Lead-Generation-Channels   Improve the alignment between Marketing and Sales Not having your marketing and sales teams aligned can be a costly mistake. Luckily, this is also an avoidable mistake. By simply implementing a few key strategies, such as scheduling frequent meetings between these two teams, you can easily re-align interests and strengthen your overall lead efforts. Learn 31 tips on how to align Marketing and Sales when it comes to lead generation.   Put you customer first When you’re in the trenches, it’s easy to get caught up in marketing acronyms, data and analytics. What you need to remember is that, ultimately, lead generation comes down to connecting with people. This personal connection comes down to one idea ??empathy. Learn about the importance of putting the empathy back into customer interactions, and then read some simple strategies for achieving empathetic marketing.   Topic #2 ??It’s all about nurturing. Lead nurturing, that is More than anything else, lead nurturing can help turn a lead from marketing qualified to sales qualified and hopefully into a sale. Here are a few tips we learned this year to help you optimize this process.   Stop with the cold calls In the Internet age of uber-informed and advertising-adverse consumers, cold calling just doesn’t work like it once did. Instead, in order to score leads, and ultimately drive conversions, marketers need to make themselves a valuable resource to their prospects. This requires a customer-centric approach that involves staying relevant and informed on what the customer wants to learn and then being helpful and building trust through effective nurturing content. Read on to learn how to modernize your lead strategy.   Learn what qualifies as lead nurturing What is and isn’t lead nurturing? A silly question, I know, yet it is one that several marketers continue to answer incorrectly. This seemingly simple concept is one that is actually more nuanced than it seems. Lead nurturing involves providing prospects with relevant and valuable information and helping them on their buying journey, regardless if they ever buy from you. This specialized treatment is much more likely to result in a conversion than sending out generic promotional emails. Learn the exact definition of lead nurturing, and read some examples about what does and doesn’t make the mark.   Don’t forget about emails Email is an indispensable tool for today’s marketers, but sometimes the relevancy gets lost between the subject line and send button. Not keeping your customers first in your email sends can lead to something worse than an ignored email ??it can lead to an unsubscribe. Read about the benefit of adding lead nurturing to your emailing strategy, and discover six ideas for how to keep relevancy at the front and center of your emails. exacttarget   Topic #3 ??Words, words, words: The almighty power of content It’s the easiest aspect to overlook, but it’s often one of the most important components in your marketing strategy ? your content. Whether it’s the copy in a brochure or a case study about what you’ve accomplished, what you say to your customers and prospects, and how you say it, matters. Here’s what we’ve learned in 2014 to make content marketing the best it can be.   Build a customer-centric content strategy How do you create content that your customers will read? Simple — listen to what they want. Content marketing is an excellent way to introduce customers to your brand as well as to establish yourself as a professional in your industry, but in order to create the best content, you have to first listen to your customers. Watch Ninan Chacko, CEO, PR Newswire, as he explains the five steps to effective content marketing in this Lead Gen Summit 2013 replay.   Utilize storytelling in your call scripts When it comes to teleprospecting, it turns out “what” you ask your prospects is just as important as “when” you ask them. In a 2014 MarketingExperiements Web clinic, testing the time of the “ask” in a call script led to a 31% response increase. The difference? The treatment structured the call script as a story. Learn more about why transforming the call script into a story resulted in this dramatic increase. control-call-script   You may also like The Most Important B2B Marketing Metrics for CEOs [More from the blogs] 10 Ways to Optimize Your Lead Conversion Rate [More from the blogs] 3 Factors that Connect Value Prop to Prospects [More from the blogs] B2B Marketing: A recap of content and customer-centric marketing in 2014 [MaketingSherpa case study] B2B Email Marketing: Ferguson Rewards trade show optimization achieves over $10 million [MarketingSherpa case study]

Marketing Automation: Lessons from 4 case studies

December 1st, 2014

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Marketing automation technology has become an indispensable tool in the complex sale marketer?s arsenal. Lead generation, lead nurturing and determining the time for the handoff to Sales would be extremely difficult without that technology. Add lead scoring and tracking through that final conversion to sale and the task is flat out impossible without automation. Luckily, for B2B marketers there is a wide range of marketing automation options out there from relatively simple solutions that help streamline email marketing to full-blown packages that seem like they do everything but automate the lights and thermostat at the office. To help illustrate how some of your peers are utilizing marketing automation, in this B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, I?m sharing four MarketingSherpa case studies that cover everything from how automation improved lead gen to how that tech directly impacted the bottom line. Case Study #1 ? Marketing Automation: 200% increase in lead volume for software company after implementation SmartBear Software, a B2B cloud mobile software company, was rapidly growing and decided to implement CRM software and marketing automation software as a single process to ensure the two technology pieces would be easily integrated. When choosing the automation vendor, Keith Lincoln, Vice President of Marketing, SmartBear, said three main criteria were considered:

  • Ease of use
  • Scalability
  • Integration with the new CRM system

Once an automation vendor was chosen, the team decided to bring in an outside consultant to expedite the implementation. Keith said this consultant helped speed up the learning curve through training and was able to get the automation solution up and running within a five-day workweek. Automation in place, the team started slow with a few email campaigns, faced some internal challenges, but then quickly began to implement lead nurturing to handle a high volume of leads in different product groups. Lincoln said the automation solution was even integrated with SmartBear?s webinar platform. Results? Lead volume grew 200%, 80% of global leads were generated with automated trial downloads, and 85% of SmartBear’s revenue was generated by the trial download leads.   Case Study #2 ? Lead Generation: Revamped marketing automation and CRM technology drives 75% more leads In this case study, Managed Maintenance Inc. (MMI), a provider of management services for technology assets, faced a different problem than SmartBear from the case study above. Where SmartBear implemented automation and a CRM solution together to ensure those pieces were integrated, MMI had marketing automation and a CRM in place, but the two were siloed and weren?t synched ? Marketing?s and Sales? activities and data were completely separate. The solution was to audit the current technology setup, and it was determined that MMI needed to replace both the automation and CRM tools together and, similar to SmartBear, implement the new software pieces together to ensure they would be integrated. Once that occurred, Marketing at MMI was able to begin lead scoring and lead nurturing, and maybe even more importantly in terms of company culture, Sales and Marketing became more aligned because the new technology implementation allowed visibility from lead gen to conversion to sale for everyone involved in the whole pipeline. After completely revamping marketing automation and CRM technology at MMI, lead generation was up 75% over the previous year.   Case Study #3 ? Marketing Automation: Implementation drives $550,000 in net new revenue at Crain’s Crain?s Business Insurance is a trade publication that faced the challenge all publications are undergoing right now with declining advertising revenue, but at the same time, its industry customers began buying up-front research and content. Because the company has reporters with more than 300 years of combined writing and editorial experience, it was positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. In order to do so, Crain?s implemented marketing automation, revamped and integrated its databases. The company had three databases: print subscribers, online registrants and the newly created marketing automation database ? and integrated its content creation process into the marketing automation system. Integrating content creation into the automation solution meant creating content categories and segmenting the database into those different groups to align content creation with certain reader segments. From there, Crain?s implemented lead scoring, and even utilized analytics coming from marketing automation to influence the ongoing marketing strategy. This campaign led to:

  • Nearly $550,000 in brand-new advertising revenue for demand generation services
  • A 43% increase in registered online newsletter subscribers
  • A 2% increase in paid print subscribers
  • Conversion rate of 2.6% from anonymous website visitors

  Case Study #4 ? Marketing Automation: IT company boosts leads 59%, generates $1.5 million with system implementation This case study combines a dramatic lift in lead gen along with an impressive impact on the bottom line after CentricsIT, at data center solutions provider, implemented marketing automation. Mandy Hauck, Manager of Marketing Communications, CentricsIT, was the company?s first marketing employee, and walked into what could be called a fairly unsophisticated marketing strategy largely consisting of email blasts. Her background was email marketing, but early on she reached out to marketing automation vendor based on a coworker?s connection with that vendor?s CEO. After a call with the vendor?s sales rep, Mandy knew she wanted to implement automation at CentricsIT and conducted internal marketing to get both Sales and company leadership buy-in. Part of this process included attending a conference on the automation solution in place and learning ways to get Sales involved in planning how automation would be used at CentricsIT. Before automation, the company didn?t have a refined method of tracking its leads or nurturing them. Leads were thrown into Mandy’s inbox for her to manually forward to Sales.?After implementation,?leads were automatically directed?from landing pages to sales reps.?In the first year of marketing automation at CentricsIT, lead gen increased 59% and $1.5 million in revenue was directly attributed to the new technology   For even more value Hopefully you have found something of interest that might help your marketing automation implementation, optimization or pain points. The title of each of these summaries links to the full MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter article with detailed steps and creative samples, so if any of the case studies shared in this post grabbed you, do click through so you can get the full value of the information and campaigns your marketing peers shared with us.   You might also like B2B Marketing: 7 tactics for implementing marketing automation from a fellow brand-side marketer [More from the blogs] B2B Marketing: 5 privacy factors to consider when using marketing automation [MarketingSherpa how-to] B2B Email Marketing: How a publishing company used marketing automation to increase CTR 1,112% [MarketingSherpa case study] Marketing Automation: 25% more engagement, 0% unsubscribe in 4-email series [MarketingSherpa case study]

Marketing Automation and SMBs ? an Overview

November 10th, 2014

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Before my current role as manager of editorial content, I was the senior reporter for MarketingSherpa. As such, I interviewed hundreds of great marketers and industry thought leaders for case studies and how-to articles. I?m still writing some case studies, but not nearly at the pace I did for over four years. Because of that past, it is fun to have the tables turned on me, and a few weeks ago I agreed to be interviewed on the topic of marketing automation and small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The interview covered a range of ideas within that topic area and I wanted to share some of my extended answers with the B2B Lead Roundtable Blog audience.   Why marketing automation software is relevant to SMBs A major factor is how marketing automation can help optimize the SMB marketers time. The marketing department at an SMB is typically small just based on the size of the business, but at the same time the customer base ? the database ? can still be very large and automation software can help with activities such as lead nurturing. If you think about an enterprise-level company, automation is almost a requirement to augment the CRM software. There?s just too many records in the database to handle this world of highly segmented and personalized marketing any other way. For the SMB marketer, let?s say you have a one-person staff. I?ve spoken with many marketers doing great stuff with only one person. Maybe you have one, two, three people on your staff. You want to maximize their activities. They are doing creative things instead of some of the grunt-work associated with handling email campaigns and the like. Automation does a lot of things under the hood that you just physically can?t do even if you wanted to.   How the disconnect between Sales and Marketing can be alleviated with technology For this section, I?m going to reprint part of my original answer during the interview:

I think I?ll provide an interesting answer for you. The first part is Sales and Marketing alignment is a challenge. I?m hearing more success stories which is awesome. The technology is bringing people together because, if nothing else, Sales instead of getting more leads, they?re getting more qualified leads. Technology helps out on that end. I think Sales and Marketing should be in alignment anywhere. Every time they?re in a silo, it never helps the company for those two pieces to be adversarial or siloed at all. If they?re working together, it?s always going to be better. The change is, if anybody?s been reading a lot of industry stuff is the CMO is taking over the CIO and CTO, in the C-suite. Very interesting. If you think back six or seven years ago, if you told the CMO they were actually going to have a seat at the table and not be the voodoo doll at the end of the table that it was a black hole for the budget and no one paid attention to, they would laugh at you. Now, because of all the technology and different pieces, and the fact that they?re buying this technology and they?re handling this technology, and the data that?s coming in — now marketing activities are no longer a black hole. Now they?re trackable. Now there?s ROI that can be attached to it. Now all of the sudden, CMOs are surpassing and taking over the role of the CIO because they?re buying the technology and telling the CIO, now you make this work for me. I think the actual alignment issue now is between marketing and the IT department. I would like to Marketing and Sales as a team become aligned with the IT department, but given where we are, and just the direction things are going, if you look at various pieces of research of some of the bigger research firms, that?s the direction that things are going. I read articles every single day about the CMO and the CIO need to get together. They?re not getting together because of this. I think the bigger challenge now is for Marketing and IT to be in alignment, and obviously technology is that piece there. I think technology helps get Marketing and Sales in alignment, but technology is the reason that marketing and IT have to get into alignment. If they don?t, it just makes things a lot harder for everybody.

  Creating a culture that allows for marketing automation implementation at an SMB This goes back to some of that Marketing-IT alignment. Within marketing, the case for implementing automation should be fairly obvious ? ?This is going to make our world easier. We?re going to have to learn how to use it. We?ve got an initial training going on, but in the long term, it?s going to make our lives easier.? Automation is going to allow the team to track its activities, and hopefully begin handing Sales a higher quality of lead, rather than a higher quantity of leads. The internal sales job to Sales should be just as easy with the quality of leads argument in place. When getting buy-in from the company C-suite or leadership, the IT department can be your worst enemy or your best friend. By fostering an aligned relationship with them, they can advocate the that internal sell. You want them to be part of this process, one, because they?ve written those contracts. They?re going to see the pitfalls before the marketer does. They know this is a really nice SLA on this contract. The agreement looks good, but IT will see a loophole that might not be obvious to a marketer. IT will know if the new tech piece will actually integrate with the current set of systems already in place. I think having IT on board with an automation implementation gives a lot of credibility across the board when creating a culture from leadership down to the sales team. ? You might also like Industry Insights with David Kirkpatrick [Original interview from the SalesFusion blog] Marketing Automation: 200% increase in lead volume [MarketingSherpa webinar replay] Lead Generation: Revamped marketing automation and CRM technology drives 75% more leads [MarketingSherpa case study] B2B Marketing: 7 tactics for implementing marketing automation from a fellow brand-side marketer [More from the blogs]

Lead Generation: How to build your own list

September 26th, 2014

Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter case study — “Lead Generation: Content and email combine for high-quality list building” — covered an effort by cloud replication and disaster recovery startup company, CloudEndure. The overall basis of the campaign was a process created by CloudEndure’s Vice President of Marketing, Ramel Levin, before he joined the startup. This process Ramel called BYOL, or “build your own list.”

The case study features some of the steps involved in Ramel’s lead gen idea, but since he developed it for a company he worked for before joining CloudEndure, the exact steps he took in putting the process together were not part of the case study.

For today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, I wanted to provide more detail on how Ramel created his BYOL concept.

Ramel said he was in a business setting speaking with a startup company that did website translations when the BYOL idea came to him.

“I was asking them, ‘How do you generate leads for websites that need translations?’ He (one of the employees at the startup) started telling me about all the different ways he was doing it, and he talked about the traditional ways of doing email blasts, going to conferences and doing advertising for pay-per-lead and PPC,” Ramel said.


One method for building high-quality lists

After a bit of thought, Ramel decided that building a list of higher-quality leads would be more effective for this company, and here is the process he developed to do just that.


Step #1: Identify the first stage of target companies

Ramel stated, “So I told him, ‘How about doing the following? How about scanning the top one million websites, based on Alexa or Quantcast, or any other ranking service … and find out how many of those websites have only one language.”

He said, for example, scan the top sites in Germany, and make sure they only have pages in the local language. If the company is in the United States, its website only features pages in English.

Read more…

Lead Gen Tactics from 4 MarketingSherpa Case Studies

August 25th, 2014

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Our sister publication, MarketingSherpa, publishes three weekly newsletter case studies, and in the B2B beat in particular, those weekly articles routinely feature a story covering marketers tackling lead generation for the complex sale. For this B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, I want to offer four of those case studies published over the last couple of years addressing that very topic. If you only have a few minutes, this post provides highlights from each case study. But, if you have more time, or if one really strikes you, click on the link for the entire article and supporting creative samples.

Case Study #1 ? Local B2B Marketing: 150% boost in lead generation

This case study covers how a commercial cleaning and janitorial services franchise created an Internet-based direct response marketing machine. Before this program was created, the company had a rudimentary Web presence ? essentially no Internet marketing and no digital marketing strategy in place. To create the program, the team began with the website and from there, added paid search and SEO to the digital marketing initiative. Another major piece was ongoing testing and optimization on all the new online marketing channels. This effort led to lead generation through website form registration, and even phone calls from prospects who initially found the company through the digital marketing. What were the results?

  • 3.37% average conversion to sale across all Internet traffic sources
  • 150% increase in lead generation from 2010 to 2011
  • 1,500% ROI on SEO in 2011
  • 200% ROI on PPC in 2011

Case Study #2 ? Lead Generation: Revamped marketing automation and CRM technology drives 75% more leads

Technology is a major factor in effective lead scoring and nurturing once that lead has been generated. A provider of management services for technology assets serving the mid- to large-enterprise market found that its technology setup had a problem ? the automation solution and CRM system were operating in tech silos and, most importantly, not sharing data. To meet this challenge, the team audited the current situation, and ended up replacing both existing marketing automation and CRM solutions, and found new technologies that were more integrated. With the integrated technology in place, a lead scoring process was created, the contact list was built out, leads that Sales couldn?t close were nurtured, and the enterprise even found a higher level of Sales and Marketing alignment. Also, after the first year, lead generation improved 75%.

Case Study #3 ? Lead Generation: Targeted event marketing effort leads to 300% ROI, generates 140 qualified leads

Technology and automation are vital and valuable pieces of marketing today, but the personal touch still has its place. A provider of OEM equipment for printing companies created a campaign that combined event marketing with direct mail, email and teleprospecting both before and after a trade show to create brand awareness and new opportunities. In this campaign, the company segmented its prospects for targeted marketing, came up with different incentives ? such as trips to the company headquarters, or admission to a major league baseball game ? for each stage of the campaign, utilized PURLs to track response to the campaign, and used telemarketing to highly qualify prospects. This particular campaign resulted in a 300% ROI.

Case Study #4 ? B2B Lead Generation: 300% ROI from email and teleprospecting combo to house list

This final case study is about how a drug information provider for health IT companies leveraged the knowledge that its conversion rate was much higher with already engaged prospects, so the goal was to increase ROI by focusing on what the team called ?known? contacts. The effort began with segmenting the list to uncover those known contacts. From there, the segmented group received an email with the goal of priming the recipients for follow-up calls instead of seeking a direct response to the email send. The first call was made within several hours of the email send. Four days after contacting via telephone, a second email was sent. This email?s messaging featured a personal touch and referenced the earlier email and phone call. The second email was also followed up with a call. The campaign resulted in a 13.4% average conversion rate, with a conversion being a scheduled meeting, and 15.9% of prospects scheduling meetings becoming customers. All of this amounted to a 300% ROI on the campaign.

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Sign up for MarketingSherpa Newsletters to receive these case studies straight to your inbox every week Lead Generation: How to empower your program like Siemens Healthcare [Video] B2B Lead Generation: 6 social media tactics from 7 experts [How-to article] Marketing Research Chart: Most widely used lead gen tactics [MarketingSherpa Research Chart of the Week] Questions Every Marketer Should Ask of Lead Gen Forms [More from the blogs]