Three Things Revenue Marketers Do Differently

“Let’s see. What campaigns can I run to achieve as little as possible?”

Said no one ever.

From the smallest business in America to the largest enterprise on earth, the purpose of marketing is to increase awareness and grow the business.

But let’s assume we all agree on that and also that marketing has become a fiercely data-driven game.

Marketing with purpose is the law of the land: the democratization of data is transforming the marketer’s role from brand and PR, to data analyst and ops expert.

And not just marketing.

Today’s Fortune 500 CEO is more accountable than ever, largely because the entire organization is focused on data and outcomes.

In its annual report, the Conference Board found that among Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index companies that were at the bottom of performers, the CEO succession rate jumped five percentage points, from 12.2 percent in 2015 to 17.1 percent in 2016. That’s well above the rate over the past 16 years.

Of course it’s not just because of the availability of data, it’s also because the world is watching—and responding—when CEOs behave badly (Uber).

But I digress.

The fact is, no matter the size of the team or industry, the wind of change is here. Marketing is shifting to a revenue center—a role once reserved for Sales alone—and marketing leaders must create new business, expand existing business, and consistently drive growth.

So what do revenue-focused marketers do that’s so different? Let’s focus on three things.

 

  • They Align with Sales Every Quarter

    As much as we talk about sales & marketing alignment, how many of us actually dedicate the time and energy to it every quarter?

    Yep, end of quarter is crazy for sales. But regardless, you really do need to book a conference room and spend an afternoon reviewing the previous quarter’s performance and making sure you’re aligned on pipeline and revenue goals.

    Take the time to dig into the numbers—exploring quality of leads, engagement within key accounts, and tackling questions like:

    • Which campaigns moved the needle?
    • What activities drove the best inbound leads for sales follow up?
    • Are we targeting the right people or do we need a refresher on personas?
    • Were there any surprises?

    As marketers, if we don’t have that solid alignment, how can we realistically plan for the upcoming quarter and remainder of the year?

    Having been in some organizations where marketing avoided (literally) involving sales in planning, it doesn’t work and no one wins.

  • They Create Plans that Make Sense

    And by that I mean plans that tie closely to revenue goals.

    That’s why the first item is so important. Your quarterly and annual plans must work back from revenue goals, which are set by the business and understood by sales & marketing. From that key goal, you’re looking at historical data, conversion rates, and average deal size to figure out how to allocate budget.

    B O N U S
    Not super mathy? Download this Lead to Revenue Template to help you get started. And if that doesn’t quench your thirst, check out the Modern Marketer’s Guide to Planning for a deeper dive.

    A typical marketing org probably has demand gen, digital, content, and ops. Everyone on the team should own their piece of the plan, with individual goals and MBOs that map back to revenue targets.

    If Sales Development falls under marketing, review performance and brainstorm new ways to optimize and recharge. Do a sanity check to make sure SDR outreach is a complement to sales and marketing activities, and not drowning your prospects in over communication.

    As a team, there’s no better feeling than celebrating marketing’s impact on a great quarter. Cheers!

  • They Know Which Metrics Matter

    And have a way to get at the data without entering the 10th circle of Excel hell or waiting for ops to pull reports. (by the way, Sponge includes great dashboards made for marketers so you’ll never have to retrofit Salesforce again).

    Assuming you’re using marketing automation and a CRM system, have these metrics in your back pocket:

    • Lead to opp conversion
      Sure, this metric relies on sales follow up and performance, but it also reflects lead quality. Track this conversion rate monthly but also go back a year or two and observe trends.
    • Campaign opportunity influence and ROI
      Whatever you do, have access to a dashboard that shows which campaigns and content are influencing opportunities during the quarter.
    • Email performance
      Opens and click-throughs are a great way to check the temperature of your nurture campaigns. Email is still the best way to engage leads once they’re in your database. Poor performance could be a sign of exhaustion, lack of compelling offers, or crummy content.
    • Funnel velocity
      Work with marketing ops to ensure you have a way to track lead flow from beginning to end. When the CEO asks, “How long does it take a lead to convert to an opportunity?” you should probably have the answer ready to go.
    • Happiness
      Remember what happiness and fulfillment feel like? Don’t lose sight of your team and your customers. Don’t get so caught up in data and hitting your numbers that you sacrifice quality and sanity.

Want more on metrics and revenue-driven marketing? Don’t miss this on-demand webinar:

how revenue marketers own their metrics

Marketing’s Shift from Brand to Revenue

When you really think about it, doesn’t it blow your mind?

I’m talking about how the digital age has completely changed marketing and sales—especially buyer behavior. By now we’re all well aware that research happens quietly online, long before a human becomes a “lead” and lands in your funnel.

Imagine talking about a funnel 15 years ago.

Nope, we were sitting in conference rooms talking PR, events, collateral, and swag. We were thinking hard about corporate colors on the website, not about SEO, real-time web personalization and conversion.

Enterprise sales reps were scheduling golf outings and sending monogrammed BBQ sets to their top prospects (wait I guess that’s called ABM now).

Ah the simple days.

Fast forward to 2017 and there’s so much data on any given prospect, that our role as marketers barely resembles what it looked like even 10 years ago. Brand, PR, and events are still a thing, but what’s the real driver of increased marketing budgets over recent years?

It isn’t brochures.

It’s the rise of MarTech, the democratization of data, and the need for specialized talent to manage it.

According to the Gartner 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey, 75% of marketing leaders say they now own or share responsibility for P&L. And sales leadership? According to a 2016 HubSpot survey, 57% of sales reps believe buyers are less dependent on salespeople during the buying process.

Marketing is now the keeper of critical data and insights that propel growth. If revenue discussions were once reserved for the CEO, COO and sales leadership alone, those days are over: marketing has earned a strategic seat at the revenue table.

Yet even with the martech explosion and availability of data, the average B2B marketer still spends hours every week aggregating data, wrestling with Excel, and struggling to unpack some pretty important insights, like:

  • Length of time leads spent in various funnel stages
  • Campaign performance in aggregate, comparing campaigns to others
  • Comparing plan vs. actuals—what assumptions were accurate and which were off
  • How to forecast impact on revenue based on historical performance and how to adjust accordingly

Most organizations have a way to track leads and opps or engagement within accounts. It’s not the lack of data—it’s the ability to do meaningful things with it.

In spite of sophisticated technologies and increased responsibilities, many teams still struggle with the ability to connect data to revenue or forecast marketing’s impact on the bottom line.

According to The CMO Survey, sponsored by Duke University, Deloitte, and the American Marketing Association, marketers say barely a third of available data are used to drive decision making in their companies. The second largest barrier that prevents them from using analytics is the lack of people who can span the world of marketing analytics and marketing practice.

Of course we need analysts and business ops talent, but the real need is for the marketing team—in its entirety—to be focused on contribution to revenue.

How do you get there? Here’s a simple breakdown:

  1. Marketing and sales alignment to define a shared understanding of revenue goals
  2. A marketing plan that makes sense and tracks back from revenue goals
  3. An efficient way to track marketing’s performance throughout the quarter
  4. The agility to adjust if you’re not meeting your goals
  5. Understanding key metrics to track and what to report to different audiences
  6. Team ownership: providing every member of your team with a way to measure their activities’ impact on engagement and revenue

Sharing ownership of a portion of the P&L means aligning with sales and setting realistic goals based on revenue targets, average deal size, and average conversion rates. Once you’ve reached agreement on revenue goals, create a marketing plan that works back from those goals—setting lead and opp targets the team can realistically achieve given your budget and resources.

Need guidance on creating a revenue-focused marketing plan? See The Modern Marketer’s Guide to Planning.

In the real world, it’s pretty easy to gloss over goal setting and funnel modeling, but lead & opp (or ABM) targets that tie back to a revenue goal is key to creating a marketing team that consistently contributes to pipeline and drives growth.

Otherwise, aren’t we just committing random acts of marketing?

In our upcoming blogs, we’ll share more detail on planning and execution within a revenue-driven framework. Meanwhile, dig in here:

Happy Hour Will Resume After Q2 Planning

FML it’s end of quarter again.

It’s late. I have so many tabs open I’ve lost track of where I am. This would be waaay better with wine (yanks laptop off docking station, runs for door).

I’m pretty sure you can relate to late nights during end-of-quarter planning. Of course we track throughout the quarter, but the EOQ round up is a big deal—and rightfully so. Your plan for the upcoming quarter is only as good as your audit of the past.

It helps to focus on a few key questions, like:

  • Did the company achieve its revenue target? What was marketing’s contribution?
  • Which campaigns generated the most leads? The fewest?
  • Which campaigns had the highest impact on pipeline?
  • How did the funnel perform compared to your assumptions?
  • Did anything unexpected happen? What and why?

Whether your team adheres to a lead target, an opp target, or an ABM strategy that focuses on engagement within key accounts, ask the right questions, get the answers, and document that data in your quarterly plan. When you gather the team for a marathon planning sesh, the “Look Back” slide should be your starting point—inviting the team to unpack what worked and what didn’t.

In this on-demand webinar, three CMOs discuss how they set the marketing vision, inspire their team, and create plans that drive growth. Watch Planning for Growth in 2017 now.

Stop. Start. Adjust.

Stop, Start, Adjust is an annual and quarterly exercise that forces brevity and clarity around where you’ve been and where you want to go. Assuming your lead and opp targets don’t fluctuate wildly from quarter to quarter and you know your goals, dedicate a session to outline the practices that need to go away completely, that need to begin in earnest, and that need to be optimized for better performance.

Here’s an example of how the exercise can take shape:

Once you’ve nailed Stop, Start, Adjust, move on to budget. Do you have the budget to support new initiatives or fine-tune what you already have? Can you reallocate anything from the Stop column? Here’s a few practical tips that’ll help you stay on track:

3 Guidelines to Throw on Your Whiteboard Right Now

1. Be bold enough to kill anything that isn’t working

Seriously. Do not be afraid of losing leads. If you have campaigns or channels that generate leads with abysmal conversion, take them out back and shoot them. Free up that budget to try something new. You have nothing to lose.

2. Revisit your target personas

Funny how we lose sight of who we’re actually marketing to in the midst of all the number crunching. Make sure everyone is clear on who your target personas are and aren’t—and evaluate whether your programs do a good job of reaching them. Be prepared to abandon generic offers that cater to everyone and no one.

3. Budget with agility

Start with the big buckets and assign budgets accordingly, then follow through with a budget review every two weeks and adjust as necessary. Give your team the freedom to spend smarter on campaigns that move the needle.

 

Planning doesn’t have to be painful. Read The Modern Marketer’s Guide to 2017 Planning and learn how to create effective plans, inspire your team, and put some damn fun back into B2B marketing.

 

That Time I Got Advice about My Marketing Career

In 2011 I was running content marketing at a software company in Burbank CA.

There was a good Mexican place down the street, a notable Armenian café around the corner, and the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains rolling down to meet the road behind the office. Coyotes would hang around the parking lot at dusk.

The place itself was meh—an 80s building with a depressing façade and joyless cubicles inside. Mostly beige from what I remember, open and light, but every bit as bleak as a brown Caprice Classic. My favorite memories of that place are the people I worked with and the enormous pine trees I could see out back, over the maze of cubicle walls.

Another memory that stands out is a bit of advice from my boss. I’m pretty sure he meant well, but I remember driving home that day wondering where I really fit in. It was simply this: “Robin, you’re creative. You need to stop tinkering. Just focus on writing and quit all this tinkering.”

Even though this was only 6 years ago, it was relatively early days for marketing automation and inbound. Marketo was still a shiny new toy—and holy crap! I couldn’t stop tinkering.

His point was that I was hired to produce compelling content—to tell stories, craft narrative, and connect with IT dudes who might care about storage virtualization and I/O optimization. Yet there I was messing around in Marketo, running A/B tests, and trying to figure out if leads were converting to opps, and if opps were turning into deals.

Why? Because no one creates content for the sake of creating content.  Plus I’m a curious person.

My content was part of email campaigns, paid social campaigns, Google search and display—my content lived behind landing pages that had to convert for lead gen. My content served the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel, and armed Sales with material to slay the competition and win business. My content was actually like that Run DMC song about Adidas (in my own mind anyway).

But seriously, even though this was only 6 years ago, it was relatively early days for marketing automation and inbound. Marketo was still a shiny new toy—and holy crap! I couldn’t stop tinkering.

To me—like so many of us—there was nothing more satisfying than not only creating the content itself, but also setting up a campaign, sending it out into the world and measuring what came back.

Here were the tools that made it all possible.

Sure, I’m creative, but I’m also a B2B marketer. What’s the point of all this creativity if I have no idea if my shit is effective? I still live in the real world of leads, opps, conversion, pipeline and revenue.

In fact nerdy unicorns who possess that rare mix of creativity, analytical thinking, and operations chops are replacing the old guard—the CMOs who focus on corporate communications, brand, and PR.

Anyway, fast forward to present time. These days I focus less on content creation and more on demand gen, ABM, and funnel optimization. I spend crazy hours bouncing from Marketo to Salesforce to Google Analytics to Excel, piecing together data and trying to answer some of marketing’s most basic (yet still very tough to unpack) questions: What the hell is working? What’s not? How should I allocate my marketing dollars over the next 4 quarters?

Sure. I wish it were easier to untangle the metrics behind multi-channel B2B marketing. Yep, I sometimes wish I could go back to focusing more on the creative side.

But here’s the greatest thing about marketing in 2017: it’s not a matter of one or the other anymore. In fact, nerdy unicorns who possess that rare mix of creativity, analytical thinking, and operations chops are replacing the old guard—the CMOs who focus on corporate communications, brand, and PR.

While I appreciate the advice and the nod to my talent, I’d rather apply data to my creativity, and use every tool in the toolbox to help marketing teams hit goals and drive revenue.

So If you need me, I’ll just be right over here. Tinkering.

Sponge can turn you into a marketing unicorn. Hop on a demo right here.

Staying on Top of Your Metrics

Marketing plans vary so wildly from team to team, it’s amazing we have a common language at all. Yet how we codify our roles and our contribution to an organization are very similar—whether we’re B2B, B2C, or in entirely dissimilar industries.

What’s one thing we all have in common? The very real need to change quickly when we have to.

Marketing goals are tied to the goals of the business: if leads are lagging or not converting, you need to spot the problem and make changes. Access to real-time metrics is key to data-driven, agile marketing.

When planning for the year ahead, any marketing team should consider flexibility. Let’s say you plan to roll out two big campaigns in the first half of the year with multi-channel programs rolling up under those campaigns.

What if your campaigns are on track, but you’re not hitting the number of leads you planned? Your goals and themes won’t change, but your channels and strategies might have to—and that’s what agile marketing is about.

Apply the 80/20 rule to your marketing plan: 80% of your campaigns and activities should be planned in advance, while the remaining 20% can be committed later as you test, learn, and iterate.

For example, if social is proving ineffective for driving leads, you’ll need to rethink your social strategy or consider replacing it with another tactic to close the gap. A tight relationship with sales and a pulse on real-time metrics are key—if something’s not working, you need to react quickly to turn things around while there’s still time to impact pipeline.

The diagram below shows an example of opp targets, lead targets, and two BACs (big ass campaigns), with channels for promotion:

Your marketing plan will most likely include an estimate of how many leads you’ll generate from each channel for each campaign.

But what if the leads you bring in from content syndication don’t convert? And what if you hit a snag in your email marketing due to list exhaustion or a blacklist? Take it from experience, it can happen, and when it does, it’s ugly. You’ll need to find a way to close the lead gap as quickly as possible.

Looking back at the end of a quarter with a shrug, “Welp, that didn’t work. Should’ve done something else,” helps no one. But using the 80/20 rule, staying on top of your metrics, and planning for agility can. It’s your best bet at staying on track—no matter what comes your way.

What key metrics should you measure? Why should your marketing plan start with company revenue goals? Here you go: The Modern Marketer’s Guide to 2017 Planning.

Aligning Brand and Demand

Introduction

Is brand awareness a part of demand generation? No, the pure definition of demand generation nullifies this notion. Demand generation is the process of generating measurable demand for your product or service. Brand awareness on the other hand is more about maintaining a visible presence between your company and consumers. This is a practice that is not always measurable by today’s marketing metrics.

With that in mind, it is important to align your demand gen efforts with your overall brand strategy. Yes, the two are different components of the marketing mix and brand awareness is difficult to measure; but the two do have coinciding metrics that they both need to achieve. Here are the top four metrics for aligning brand awareness and demand gen:

  1. Revenue Generated
  2. Return on Investment
  3. Leads Generated
  4. Website traffic

In this post we will walk through each one of these four metrics and explain how they are reached on the demand side and how they are reached on the brand side. For this post we will be referencing a case study done by Act-On in their E-book, Rethink Marketing [Automation].

The case study by Act-On interviewed over 900 marketers about their KPI’s (key performance indicators) in terms of either demand, brand, or customer marketing. We will be focusing on brand and demand for this post and the metrics that closely align between the two.

Brand Marketing

KPI's of Brand Awareness

KPI’s of Brand Awareness (Source)

Demand Generation

KPI's of Demand Generation

KPI’s of Demand Generation (Source)

1) Revenue Generated

Revenue generated is an easy metric to wrap your head around. It simply is the amount of revenue created by a marketing “action”. This could be the revenue that comes from a full campaign, or it could be the revenue that comes from a single piece of content. Revenue generated is an important metric for everyone in the company because it applies directly to executives. Executives always want to know how much money is being made by the marketing team. This makes revenue generated an important metric to keep track of. As marketers you should be able to tell which campaigns are generating revenue. If a campaign isn’t generating revenue it needs to be changed or killed.

Brand Marketing Outlook

It seems strange that branding is concerned with revenue generation. It is difficult to track branding efforts effect on the bottom line. What many fail to realize though is that social media falls under the umbrella of branding. Social channels can be an effective means of not only prospecting, but nurturing leads once they have entered the funnel.

For example, image you have just finished recording a webinar with an SME. This webinar is aimed at on-boarding prospects into the sales funnel. Now that the webinar is done do you just wash your hands of it? NO! Now is the time to push that content out to more people. Your company’s social channels are a good source for remarketing your content. You can track who clicks on this content and if they wind up making a purchase at the end of the sales funnel to add to revenue generated. Most companies understand that sales are a long process and will assign a portion of revenue generated to a prospect clicking on a social media link to show how much total revenue was generated from branding.

“50% of B2B marketing executives find it difficult to attribute marketing activities directly to revenue results as a means to justify budgets” -CMO.com — Tweet This Quote Tweet: 50% of B2B marketing exec's find it difficult to attribute marketing activity directly to revenue results as a means to justify budgets.

Demand Gen Outlook

Demand generation has an easier path to seeing revenue generated from marketing activities. A lot like with brand marketing, a marketer on the demand team can see if a person who read their blog post wound up converting to a sale down the way and can assign revenue value to that particular blog post. This form of assigning revenue to a blog post is called attribution. Even though a consumer did not buy anything from the blog post, you still need to assign a portion of the final revenue due to it being a touchpoint on the path to conversion. Attribution is one way that marketers can help prove the benefit of their content to executives when reporting.

As I mentioned prior, executives like to see that revenue is coming from marketing activities, making it extremely important for marketers to be able to justify their content. Demand gen marketers are creating content, but the brand side of the marketing team is assisting in getting that content seen to help boost overall revenue generation for content or campaigns as a whole.

2) Return on Investment – ROI

Marketing ROI is an easy metric to guess as being important to both the brand and demand teams since almost every article on the web is referencing the importance of measuring ROI. ROI is overstated at times, but it is extremely important to businesses, especially in the marketing department. ROI is essentially the bang that you are getting for your buck, and if you are spending less and getting more in return, then you’re making effective campaigns which makes everyone’s job easier.

Brand Marketing Outlook

10 years ago, it might’ve been impossible to determine the return on investment from branding activities, but with technological advances and new tools that we now possess as marketers, it has become easier to know if you’re making an impact for your brand.

One such tool that has changed the way we measure branding ROI is Google AdWords. Google AdWords is Google’s paid advertising platform that allows user’s to pay to have their ad(s) shown for specified keywords. This may not sound like it has anything to do with branding but it does. Say you are running a branding campaign trying to get more visitors to search for a specific page on your website relating to a branded term. Over time you’ll see the fluctuations in search traffic for that term by reviewing your Google AdWord’s reports. By placing a snippet of code to the end of your URL on your ad links, Google is able to track clicks on your ads. If you see an increase in web traffic directed at a landing page coming from your ads then you know that your branding activities are paying off.

 

Demand Gen Outlook

Return on investment is very important for demand generation. The main task of a Demand Generation Director is to acquire more leads; but the second part that is often missed in that statement is that it needs to be done as cost effective as possible. It might be that you are acquiring 1,000 new leads a week and have a good conversion rate of about 30%, but if you are spending $4,000 on marketing to get those leads and your product is only worth $100 then you are missing the entire point.

When increasing demand for your business you need to be able to increase demand without increasing spending. More for less. To do this you might try and improve on your conversion rate. This is a ver effective way to increase marketing ROI because you are not driving more traffic to your site, you’re just doing a better job at getting visitors to perform a desired action. You can do this by optimizing landing pages, or call’s to actions so that they’re simpler. Make it as easy as possible to understand what to do next when landing on a page.

Another option that you might consider is to generate more leads with recycled content. Take content that is old and outdated and give it a facelift. Then take the “new” content and remarket it to bring in more customers without having to put more time into creating an entirely new piece of content.

Demand Generation Waterfall

Demand Generation Waterfall

3) Leads Generated

Generating leads is a lot more important for the demand generation team than it is for the branding side of operations, but it is still important non the less. Leads are what drive revenue for a business; the more leads you have the more potential revenue you stand to acquire. We have already talked about how important it is for brand and demand to show revenue generated, and revenue and leads go hand-in-hand.

Brand Marketing Outlook

Branding is not solely focused on generating new leads for the business as it is more of a perk when a lead comes from a branding campaign. Examples of companies that have great lead generation from branding are IBM, Nike, and Starbucks. These are not your average companies though as they possess large amounts of funding for branding, thus increasing their visible presence beyond what is normally capable. A more traditional example of branding leading to leads would be Honest Tea.

Honest Tea - National Honesty Index Campaign

Honest Tea – National Honesty Index Campaign (Source)

Honest Tea is a beverage provider owned by the Coca-Cola corporation. They possessed only a small marketing budget in their early goings. To increase brand awareness Honest Tea ran a campaign called the “National Honesty Index” where the company set up unmanned kiosks around major cities in America asking customers to give $1 and take a tea. The teas were not locked away; they were simply out in the open for anyone to take. The campaign was a huge success getting national media attention as to what city was the most honest in America. This lead to a huge influx of online visits and purchase order requests. Honest Tea is a great example of how a branding campaign can lead to unforeseen leads seeking out your business without that sole intention.

Demand Gen Outlook

Lead generation is the main KPI for anyone working in demand gen. The demand gen team and the sales team work closely together for most businesses. The task of the demand team is to acquire as many leads as they can and qualify them to then be passed along to the sales team. This is mainly done through content creation and promotion. Many sources are used to create new and exciting content. Once content is created use different channels to promote the content to different targeted prospects to help generate leads.

When the demand gen team is trying to acquire new leads, they typically take content and place it behind a “gate”. By doing this they are able to acquire information about a person that can help them make a sale down the road. An example is giving your name and email address on a signup form for a webinar. You get access to the webinar, but it also gives your information to the company to determine if you are a viable prospect.

Gated Content Signup Form

Gated Content Signup Form

4) Website Traffic 

Creating website traffic is a very simple topic. You’re trying to create something that in turn will push more users to visit your website. Why might you be wanting to do this? Maybe you’re running a sale, or want to have visitor’s signup for a webinar that is being hosted from your website. What most people fail to do properly is have an optimized website. Each page on your site should have one specific task, and you should be able to figure out what that task is within five seconds of landing on that page. Have a high converting website can make branding and demand generation campaigns much more successful.

Brand Marketing Outlook

Driving traffic to your website is one of the main focuses of brand awareness. How do you do this though? Brand awareness is in large part about understanding your target market. Having a deep understanding of your target market makes it is easier to create a message that appeals to them. Companies like Apple, Google, and BMW understand who their customers are, and as a result do a brilliant job at branding around them.

By having the proper branding message within your campaign, you’re not only enticing your current clientele to visit your website, but those that come into contact with your campaign and identify with the message. Your best chance at increasing traffic from branding is to use strong calls to action wherever possible. Your job in marketing is to act as a guide and you do not want prospects to get lost. Give them a single, easy to follow route from each touchpoint to a final sale. One CTA on every one touchpoint.

Demand Gen Outlook

Increasing traffic to your website isn’t the main task of the demand gen team, but it is an important one. Your website is a hub for sales and the more people you can get there; the higher sales numbers you will generally see. As mentioned previously, the demand gen team does a lot of content creation, and to get people to your website you need to use calls-to-action, just like the branding side of operations. Whenever you are finishing a blog post, webinar, e-book, it is a good idea to have a CTA there. The person has already shown interest in your product/service, so why not see if they are interested in more? One of the best companies at optimizing CTA’s is Hubspot. Below is a great example of one of Hubspot’s CTA’s.

Hubspot CTA

Hubspot CTA

Once a prospect has reached your website hopefully you have it optimized to convert on each of your pages. It is important to have a specific purpose for each one of your web pages. The next step on a page should be easy to notice and follow through on. The demand generation team is responsible for using content to push traffic to the website, and then follow through on the next value adding task.

Conclusion

Brand awareness and demand generation are two different segments of the marketing team. The two need to be aligned in order to obtain a successful marketing mix. This happens with constant communication. Try having a monthly, or bi-weekly meeting to ensure everyone on the marketing team understands the focus of marketing efforts. Many KPI’s align for both brand and demand, the hard part is implementing the right strategies to ensure that both brand and demand are meeting selected goals. I have always found that simpler is better. The more you can simplify the process for increasing conversions for these KPI’s the better off you will be.

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The Only 5 Marketing Metrics You Need

I have a bone to pick with marketing metrics. While I’m a big believer in setting quantitative goals and making data-driven decisions, the catalog of marketing metrics has spiraled out of a control. I just got off of a call where some poor marketing manager – let’s call her Anne – walked through 42 slides to illustrate marketing performance this quarter. 42 SLIDES!

Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy?

There were so many things wrong with it.

  1. I was bored. I kept wondering, who cares about this stuff? What was the point? I would bet money that the VP of Sales was reading email instead of paying attention to Anne’s presentation, which will help him in no way, shape, or form.
  2. I didn’t learn anything. I kept waiting for the clear takeaways, the lessons for what to do differently, the clear winners and losers from last quarter’s campaigns. But I couldn’t tell. It was just a mash of everything, such that I took away nothing.
  3. It was a waste of time. I kept wondering how long it had taken Anne to put together the presentation. She had clearly spent a lot of time pulling data from different places, creating charts and graphs to show all sorts of meaningless statistics.

The whole thing was a shame. It was so utterly unproductive and unhelpful – and the worst thing was that Anne thought this is what they wanted. That the CEO and VP of Sales were sincerely interested in hearing about every minute detail and every possible metric related to her marketing campaigns.

As marketers, we have become so obsessed with data that we’ve forgotten what it’s for.

We waste so much time pulling together these reports instead of actually doing marketing.

It has to stop.

Remember, data is only valuable if it’s going to change something about your decision-making. Everything else is at best interesting.

So before you spend another second running a report in Salesforce or creating yet another pivot table – ask yourself: what am I going to do differently with this information?

If you can’t answer that question, wait until you can. The same goes for the VP of Sales who wants to know how many prospects came from healthcare vs. retail last quarter. Stop and ask him, why does he need to know? Is he working on new territory plans such that he wants to find ways to split up the leads evenly, or is he merely curious? If it’s the latter – push back! (Actually even if it’s the former, you should probably push back because territory planning is squarely in the domain of sales ops.)

You are in marketing, so you need to be focused on one thing – running the best campaigns you can, to as many people as you can, to achieve the best results you can. Any time you spend chasing wild geese takes away from your time being truly productive. It’s a distraction, and it’s not helping anyone.

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So, what about metrics? What’s useful, and what’s not?

I submit that every company can come up with just 5 metrics to measure marketing success. Choosing a small number of metrics does two things for you:

  1. Align marketing activity to company goals – if you start measuring campaign success by click-through rate, and your sales managers start complaining that they don’t care about click-through rate because it doesn’t make any difference in how many leads they have to work, then you know you have a bad metric. Take some time to work back from your company goals to figure out marketing metrics that make sense for you. This will give you incredible focus into what matters vs. paying attention to meaningless signals that come from monitoring too many metrics.
  2. Avoid time wasted in analysis paralysis – again, metrics are only as good as their use in changing your decision-making. By focusing on just 5 metrics, as opposed to 10 or 20 or 30, you avoid wasting time on unproductive analysis. Anyone who has put together a report like the one Anne presented today knows that it takes a lot of time to pull all of that data together. So until you have a clear understanding on how metrics will help you do your job better, just focus on doing your actual job.

A quick example: at QVC, they sell products 24 hours a day on television. Their primary metric of success was $/minute, because that was the strongest signal of revenue. If a product had a low $/minute, they didn’t reorder it. If it had a high $/minute, they extended the segment and buyers would attempt to replicate their success with similar products. Of course they used different thresholds for different times of the day (i.e. people spend less at 4am than they do at 8pm), but the point is the $/minute metric is both actionable and aligned with the company’s goal of maximizing revenue.

Every company is different, but here are 5 marketing metrics from a B2B software company to get you started.

  1. # Marketing Qualified Leads (% to Plan)
  2. # Opportunities (% to Plan)
  3. Lead-to-Trial Conversion Rate
  4. % Leads Followup SLA Met
  5. Cost/Opportunity

You can adapt, subtract, and add as necessary, but try to stick to five total. Try it out for a quarter, and see what a difference it makes. And if anyone else has already simplified their primary marketing metrics, please share your experience in the comments!

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