The healthiest sales funnel has a diverse mix of leads, not all of which are sales ready. Targeting a mix of leads across all three stages of the sales funnel is a productive way of maintaining a healthy flow of leads that mature into sales ready leads. Here’s a look at the three stages of the sales funnel and some of the marketing plans that can keep your sales funnel healthy.
When someone sees a marketer’s message in any channel, be it online or offline, eventually there is usually an online touch point. I characterize this as integrated marketing. And, I characterize the online touch points as digital marketing because whether it was an email, a banner, or an organic search listing the catalyst is not always attributable to one online touch point. Therefore, integrated digital marketing is the most effective way to execute marketing plans that deliver measurable results.
We preach. We advise. We recommend. We execute. Yet, sometimes, we encounter a client that subscribes to the “nope, I want to do this my way” mentality. So, my colleagues and I created a list of our best advice on how to fail miserably at digital marketing. If we missed any cardinal rules, please be sure to let us know.
Your marketing team has embraced inbound marketing. They are creating content with calls-to-action (CTAs), blogging and working on improving SEO results. Search engine rankings are improving for desirable keywords. Your sales lead generation results are improving, although you can always use more leads. But, the sales team is having difficulty getting prospects to be responsive to lead follow up phone calls to engage in sales conversations. So, what can you do about it? How can you get prospects to engage in sales conversations?
Many B2B marketers fail to offer website visitors and social media encounters compelling reasons to engage. The biggest mistake in online B2B marketing is limiting CTAs to “contact us.” So often a website visitor is conducting research. They are simply not ready to “contact you.” But, if you offer a B2B website visitor something compelling that aligns with their stage in the buying process, they will often accept your offer. Traditionally, a popular B2B CTA has been a white paper download. This can be very effective, but it’s so common that it must be compelling. White paper CTAs with an image and a benefit statement usually perform best. E-books can perform even better than white papers.
After giving a presentation I like to chat with people about it to get feedback on what resonated with them. Not surprisingly, the topic, which almost always bubbles to the top, is blogging. I’m convinced that blogging has risen to the top of B2B marketer’s fears right up there with fear of public speaking and fear of heights. I continually hear about the fear of people leaving negative comments, or bloggers writing poorly, or not having anything to say, blah, blah, blah! I suggest their biggest fear is getting started! Business blogging is like jumping into a pool of cold water. It may take some getting used to, but once you acclimate and build momentum you’ll wish you had started five years ago like Indium Corp.
Inbound marketing allows a company to leverage content assets online to produce connections with people who have interest in your company’s products. Ignoring this leverage opportunity is very risky in a marketing economy where established competitors can surpass you with inbound marketing strategies quickly. Worse yet, newer nimble and inbound marketing savvy competitors can come out of seemingly nowhere and eat your lunch.
Enthusem is the only outbound marketing system (that I know about) that truly combines personalized outbound marketing with inbound marketing strategies. The online attachment to a personalized card is the content which marries the outbound touch to the inbound contact. When someone receives my Enthusem card one of two things can happen. They can read the card and toss it. Or, they can read the card and visit the online attachment. In both cases, I’ve created some awareness for my brand. In the latter, I’ve created a lead which I can nurture.
Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot describes his new book Inbound Marketing. He describes how marketing has been the same for 50 years but has changed dramatically in the past 5 years. Marketers who create remarkable content and spread it on the web get found and create customers.
Podcast interview with Gary Katz who authored Marketing Operations 2.0 as a chapter in my book. MO offers marketers a mindset to develop processes to help manage and measure all marketing activities in alignment with the entire organization.