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Posts Tagged ‘lead scoring’

Content Marketing: Your questions on B2B online lead gen, metrics, content from SMEs and more

June 21st, 2013
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In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, I interviewed Eric Webb, Senior Marketing Director, Corporate Marketing & Brand, McGladrey, about his impressive work with the accounting firm’s content marketing.

You can now watch the video replay of that webinar – “Content Marketing: A discussion about McGladrey’s 300% increase in content production.

But most of the questions I asked him weren’t my own, they were from you. In fact, we got tons of your questions about content marketing, and Eric has been kind enough to answer some of them here today on the MarketingSherpa blog.

Even better, Eric also provided you a tool his team used to help with its 300% increase in content production. Click below to download the template …

Submission form – with example

 

And now, your questions…

B2B online lead gen as a topic. Mor, online marketing manager

Eric Webb: We use content to generate leads 70% of the time. Via Demand Generation, and social media, we promote specific content that resides behind a form. We may ask qualifying questions as well to help discern where they are in the buy cycle.

To do this, you need to repackage the topic to leave a breadcrumb of content that helps you accelerate the sales process. You may have a white paper which shows they are in discovery of the issue, then a podcast with a client and a case study. If they download these, they are likely more interested and are considering or feel they can benefit in some way from the solution.

Finally, a self assessment or an offer for a free 30-minute talk with the expert tells you they are truly interested and deserve a call.

 

Creating content for niche industries and clientsMaddie, marketing analyst

EW: I recommend looking to industry publication editorial calendars for ideas, clients and outside speakers.

 

Specific metrics and related incentives for the content creation team, please.Marshall, CEO

EW: For content, the metrics we most watch are clicks and downloads, or form conversions if behind a form. We don’t necessarily offer an incentive except recognition for the SMEs (subject matter experts) on how the content they create is performing. But, you clearly could offer an incentive based on form-conversion leading to an opportunity.

 

How much content is necessary?Christian, director of marketing

EW: Depends on your objectives – if you are just trying to build awareness, then you may measure retweets, likes or +. You could also look at a benchmark of current visits to a section and just say 10% above that. But ultimately, you have to determine what your objective is.

 

How do you re-purpose other’s content?Christian, director of marketing

EW: We do curate content to help fill out a section and drive more time on site or to attract more people. But only the first paragraph and then we link out to their site. Otherwise, we look to vendors or partners to provide some of their content in totality.

 

Besides social, blogs and email – any other outlets?Christian, director of marketing

EW: Networking sites like LinkedIn updates and groups. Partner sites, publications and association sites; some of our most clicks come on the heels of someone commenting in a news article and providing a link to our content. Slideshare. Reddit. Digg.

 

I love the idea of creating energy around content for SMEs and am looking forward to learning more about this.Dee, founder

EW: Basically it comes down to being able to provide a breakdown of specific metrics by each content piece (clicks, downloads, form fills and opportunities). Develop a monthly report to show the value that the content is creating and highlight the author. Also, if you have a PR group, get them to promote the author as an expert, showcasing their content to reporters.

 

How quickly do you plan from idea generation for content to getting it up and available?Nick, manager

EW: It depends on the topic. A blog post is usually a few days, depending on approvals required, but a white paper can be weeks and months, especially if it’s a regulated industry. We try to get teams to use content calendars and think at least three to six months out by assigning topics to SMEs.

 

How to develop a thought leadership culture in the workplace?Kim, senior email marketing manager

EW: I noticed a change when you could report the metrics. And, with our marketing automation system, we now are close to showing a measure of influence of total revenue and direct attribution of particular campaigns and content offered to opportunities.

Explaining how your audience buys – their buy cycle – and then being able to show how they read through content to ultimately filling a form and wanting to engage helps as well. Consistency is key.

Read more…

Lead Nurturing: 12 questions answered on content, tactics and strategy

March 20th, 2012
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B2B and other lead nurturing marketers are beset with challenges. Many are struggling to improve nurturing, scoring and alignment with the sales team, but they have a laundry list of questions.

I received 21 questions from the audience in recent a webcast for the American Marketing Association,The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content” (a replay of the webcast is posted below). Yesterday, I answered nine of the questions in a post on the B2B Lead Roundtable Blog. Today, I am answering 12 more below.


Questions on content

Q: When your sales team consists of medical reps who sell to doctors and show up at their offices twice a month, how do you nurture? Especially considering doctors aren’t Internet savvy?

A: I disagree doctors aren’t Internet savvy; there are social networks for the medical community that engage a quarter of a million physicians. That said, equip your sales team to ask for each doctor’s preferred means of communication: email, video, executive summaries, reports, etc. It could be a simple questionnaire.

 

Q: Should we consider paying outside subject matter experts to develop educational content?

A: Leverage internal experts first to build authority. But be sure the content you’re sharing will be valuable even if the prospect never buys. If your content doesn’t meet that standard, then you’ll want to think about using third-party experts to fill the gap.

 

Q: If you keep sending your contacts repurposed content (although the same information), won’t they be annoyed?  Wouldn’t they prefer fresher info?

A: Research suggests it takes at least seven to nine interactions for a message to be remembered.  If you have a complex offering, your audience will appreciate you breaking it down and presenting it in a variety of ways so they can better understand it. We have to look at our content from our customers’ point of view, not our own. Don’t be afraid of repetition — embrace it.

 

Q: What’s the right amount of emails with video versus straight emails?

A: You need to know your audience and how they prefer to consume content. Test and measure.


Questions on tactics

Q: My team has auto-communications that go to prospects once a week for eight weeks, and we have a team of callers that supplement this. Do you believe this will help nurture/re-engage older leads?

A: It could. Here are some thoughts and ideas:

  • Nurturing is about building a relationship based on trust to continue a conversation. It’s not just about sending irrelevant information that could cause prospects to emotionally unsubscribe.
  • Examine the cadence of your emails to determine if once a week is too frequent. Nurturing is a marathon, not a sprint. Nurture them at least the length of your sales cycle.
  • Look at your results. How many opt-outs do you have? What are the call-to-lead conversion rates? How many opens and clickthroughs are your emails getting? The key is measurement.
  • These resources will help:

Five nurturing tips to create relevant and engaging emails

How ECI Telecom Developed a Content-Marketing Program from Concept to Completion and the Surprising Results

 

Q: How do you know which marketing tactic attracted your customer? Email? Direct Mail? Print? TV?

A:  That’s a challenge every marketer faces in the complex sale. The answer depends on whether you’re measuring first touch or last, and if you’re focused on gathering names or closing the deal immediately.  Leverage your CRM to capture every touch point: Have they attended a webinar, downloaded a whitepaper, or registered for a newsletter? All of these actions contribute, so measure all of them. Make sure your CRM allows you to track multiple campaigns.

 

Q: What is the best way to treat leads from a purchased list versus inbound leads?

A:  Your answer can’t be quickly summarized, in fact, a book could be written on the topic. However, these blog posts will help:

How to Build a Quality List and Make Data Drive Leads

Lead Generation Check list – Part 5: Treat your marketing database as a valued asset

Do you expect your inside sales team to practice alchemy?


Questions related to strategy

Q: Any thoughts on lead engagement for B2C versus B2B?

A: In B2B, more people are involved in the buying decision, but, ultimately, people buy from people and the lines between these groups have blurred. MarketingSherpa will soon release its first-ever lead generation benchmark report that includes feedback from more than 1,900 B2B and B2C organizations on their lead generation challenges. In the meantime, here are some resources:

Lead-Gen: Top tactics for a crisis-proof strategy

B2B vs. B2C: What does it really mean?


Q: How does lead-nurturing ROI compare for B2C (rather than B2B)?

A:  As I mentioned above, MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report will be published soon and will have a very detailed answer. Again, reference this post: Lead-Gen: Top tactics for a crisis-proof strategy


Q: Can you set up a simple lead nurturing strategy without lead scoring, and then add scoring later, when you have data to evaluate?

A: Absolutely. In the beginning, simplicity is best.

 

Q: What’s a good lead score for a technology company?

A: You’re in charge of developing your score based on your requirements. There’s no industry-wide scoring system. Here are some lead scoring resources that will help:

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

The Lament of the Inside Sales Team: Data, Data Everywhere, but Who’s Ready to Buy?

How to Use Lead Scoring to Drive the Highest Return on Your Trade-Show Investment

Funnel Optimization: Why marketers must embrace change

 

Q: Do you have a buying process model and a list of stages of the sales cycle?

A: Please refer to Pages 7 and 17 in my free e-book: Start With A Lead: Eight critical success factors for lead generation

 

A link to a replay of the webcast is included below. Do you have additional questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments.

 

 

 

Related Resources:

The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content

How to Get the CEO to Support Your Next Marketing Plan

B2B Marketing Research: 68% of B2B marketers haven’t identified their Marketing-Sales funnel … and it shows

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

B2B Marketing Research: 68% of B2B marketers haven’t identified their Marketing-Sales funnel … and it shows

March 9th, 2012
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B2B marketing has always been complicated, and has only become more complex over the last few years thanks to evermore empowered buyers, new technologies, a difficult economy and growing international organizations that make navigating potential buyers and influencers in target companies harder by the day.

So, I sat down with Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS, for a look at her recent discoveries from her 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report to see what marketers are telling us about these challenges …

 

 

Here are some of the research discoveries Jen and I discussed in the video, along with the source charts: Read more…

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

January 26th, 2012
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In last week’s blog post, I looked at the importance of lead nurturing. Some readers wanted more, so this week, I’ll dive even deeper into the complex B2B sale with a few data points and some very actionable tips on lead scoring.

First, let’s look a few data points from the 2012 MarketingSherpa B2B Benchmark Report, featuring Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MarketingSherpa, as the lead author.

This chart shows the value of scoring leads based on a survey of CMOs:

 

Click to enlarge

 

Here is commentary on this chart from the report (italic emphasis is mine in the quote):

 

Once organizations establish lead qualification practices and define the criteria for a qualified, sales-ready lead, they need lead scoring methodologies to accurately and precisely identify qualified leads. Lead scoring is the process of adding and subtracting points to a lead’s value over time based on various lead attributes or demographics, and behaviors.

Lead scoring is one essential component of an overall funnel optimization strategy; however, the above chart analyzes one of the key benefits of only implementing this one feature. On average, organizations that currently use lead scoring experience a 77% lift in lead generation ROI, over organizations that do not currently use lead scoring.

 

Okay, so lead scoring is clearly a good B2B marketing practice, but the next data point isn’t so positive. Our research, through a survey of 1,745 marketers, found that 79% of B2B marketers are not engaging in lead scoring.

This week’s B2B newsletter article – “The Complex Sale: Lead scoring effort increases conversion 79%” – is a look at how Bersin & Associates, a human resources and learning professionals research and consulting firm, implemented an entirely new lead scoring program over 2011.

I interviewed Paula Reinman, Senior Vice President Marketing, Bersin, to learn the process Marketing and Sales at the company went through to create and implement a lead scoring program that fit in with the existing marketing automation software and CRM environment.

I think if you take the time to read the case study, you will take away a solid sense of implementing lead scoring, but as they say in New Orleans, this week I’m offering some lagniappe, a little something extra from Paula in the form of six lead scoring tips.

Hopefully these will help either improve your lead scoring activities, or even spur you to set up a program of your own if you aren’t currently engaging in lead scoring.

Here are Paula’s lead scoring tips:

  Read more…

Funnel Optimization: Why marketers must embrace change

September 29th, 2011
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We just wrapped the production of our 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. The overwhelming theme in this study of 1,745 B2B marketers is that the B2B marketing environment is becoming increasingly more challenging over time.  In year-over-year (YoY) comparisons of the research, the perceived effectiveness of tactics has seen severe declines. MarketingSherpa wanted to get to the bottom of what’s really happening.

Marketers are all aware of the changes that have taken place in the market. Buyers research their purchasing decisions online, not by calling Sales. Marketers get that. But what are they really doing about it? Read more…

B2B Lead Generation: Why teleprospecting is a bridge between sales and marketing

March 24th, 2011
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For complex B2B sales, there is no better capability than teleprospecting for optimizing funnel efficiency.  I suspect that is one of the reasons more and more marketing executives have taken ownership of this function from sales.

One of the reasons that teleprospecting is so important is that it is (or should be) a bridge between upstream marketing campaigns and downstream sales teams.  For marketing, the teleprospecting team cannot only convert marketing responses into sales-ready leads, but provide marketing with clarity on how to improve its demand generation efforts.

Let me provide two simple examples:

1. Fine-tuning lead scoring models

There is probably no more promising capability than lead scoring.  To evolve the rule set, marketing must take aggregate funnel data from teleprospecting and fine tune the scoring model.  For example, usually 20-50 percent of the leads will be unreachable after four or five dials and three or so personal emails from the teleprospecting representative.  By comparing a large pool of these unreachable leads with leads that do respond to follow-up of teleprospecting representatives, marketing can often find different characteristics that correlate to responsiveness and dial up the lead score accordingly.

2. Fine-tuning messaging and media strategy

If a large percentage of potential customers the teleprospecting team does reach are out of the target market, then marketing can often fine-tune its messaging and its media/search strategy to improve the percentage of responders who are actually in the target market.

If the teleprospecting team receives similar, simple feedback on the sales-ready leads, that feedback can help the teleprospecting team improve it’s practices.  For example, if there is a disproportionate percentage of sales-ready leads that do not respond to the follow up by sales, then the teleprospecting team (or some subset of the team) most likely needs additional training (or talent) in order to better qualify prospects.

What’s important is that there is a repeatable process and that the operation measures the right things.  What’s also important is that marketing views the teleprospecting capability as a mechanism for improving upstream marketing efficiency and that the teleprospecting operation views sales feedback in a similar light.

In this light, the real question isn’t whether sales or marketing owns the teleprospecting function, but that everyone sees the potential for teleprospecting to better connect marketing to sales and drive optimization of the funnel.

Related resources

Free Web clinic, March 30th — Converting Leads to Sales: How one B2B company generated $4.9 million in additional sales pipeline growth in only 8 months

B2B Marketing: The FUEL methodology outlined

How and When to Use Content in the B2B Sales Process (Members library)

Free MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter

Double-Check Lead Quality with Telemarketing Audio

November 5th, 2008
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Are you recording the telemarking calls made by your in-house or outsourced lead nurturing team? If not, you could me missing an important resource for:

Read more…