Posts Tagged ‘Sales and Marketing alignment’

Navigating the Four-Phase Social Media Process

October 9th, 2012

Everyone has been playing social media ROI hide-and-seek for some time now. How does social media drive sales? Does the extent to which a firm engages or fails to engage in social marketing impact the bottom line at all? Or, as some have suggested, is the return on social efforts akin to the Loch Ness monster — we’re pretty sure it exists, but nobody seems to be able to track it down.


 What if we’re looking at it from the wrong perspective?

What if social media is more of a process, a series of steps taken at every point in the sales process, which, in totality, makes it more likely to convert leads to clients but, in practice, is difficult or impossible to measure? Or, what if social media has to be done for a certain amount of time and at a certain level of devotion before those benefits manifest?

For instance, a recent study by Dr. Sounman Hong of Harvard University suggests that newspapers’ adoption of Twitter is positively associated with their number of online readers (readers = revenue, right?), and that the strength of the association increases the larger the social network is.

Common sense seems to suggest that social subscribers are added over time, and that a bigger subscriber list, in most cases, indicates a more mature social presence. In other words, we grow into our ROI by continuing to paint the fence and mature our social media efforts.

Another recent study, this one by James “Mick” Andzulis, Nikolaos G. Panagopoulos and Adam Rapp, goes so far as to break this social media evolution down into practical subdivisions. Now we begin to see a pattern emerge. Their take is that our social media efforts evolve though a series of four phases:


Click to enlarge

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Lead Generation Strategy: 5 signs you’re selling like it’s 1992

July 12th, 2012

Back in 1992, if you wanted to find information about a company or its products, you had two choices:

  1. Spend hours at the library poring over periodicals, annual and industry reports, and magazine and newspaper clippings. (Do you remember microfiche?)
  2. Meet with a salesperson.

Life was simpler then: You could reach quota by sending some direct mail, making a few phone calls, and scheduling a few meetings. After all, the customer had very few alternatives to inform themselves. You could succeed without a solid strategy; all that really mattered was the size of your Rolodex. Lead generation as we know it today didn’t exist. Frankly, it really didn’t have to.

Those days are long gone, yet too many organizations are still selling like it’s 1992.

How do I know?

All it takes is a quick review of MarketingSherpa’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report (free excerpt at that link). Of the 1,745 B2B organizations that participated, 61%  still have that big-Rolodex mindset – they send any lead that responds to a marketing campaign directly to sales. Furthermore, check out the chart at the right: The vast majority has not applied strategy to any aspect of lead generation.

These statistics are just a reflection of the day-to-day behaviors and attitudes that keep sales and marketing organizations stuck in a time warp. Here are five of them:

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Lead Nurturing: You could be losing as much as 80% of your sales; here’s how you keep them

March 1st, 2012

Multiply your company’s revenue by five.

That’s the sum of what lead nurturing could produce considering that long-term leads — the ones often ignored by salespeople — represent as much as 80% of your sales. (In Chapter 18 of his book, “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale,” Brian Carroll outlines the startling research.)

I know this is an extreme oversimplification, but it does represent the potential that is leaking out of your pipeline.

So now that I have your attention, let’s talk about what you can do about it.

If you want to ensure these future customers remain in your funnel, you must have a relevant,

consistent conversation with them. I am not implying you pick up the phone this minute and start calling them (although that’s a good idea further down the marketing funnel — when you want to be certain Sales won’t toss out that lead you thoughtfully nurtured).

What I mean by “conversation” is engaging them with information — content like articles, newsletters, whitepapers and videos — that they’re eager to read, share and act on.


Make sure they can benefit from what you give them regardless of whether they choose to buy from you.

But, of course, if you utilize lead nurturing correctly, potential customers will choose to move forward with your organization when they’re ready to purchase.

You’ll be the one they know and trust.

You’ll have made their lives easier by helping them make their purchasing decision. You’ll also have avoided the mistake of pushing them too hard, too fast.

I wish I could say that lead nurturing is as easy as simply collecting a few articles that promote your latest products and blasting it out across your email lists. But, like anything else, results begin with smart planning. If you want lead nurturing to work, you have to set the groundwork by completing the following:

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

January 26th, 2012

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:

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