Are you holding both the business and your marketing team accountable for marketing results? Wise business leaders understand that effective marketing amplifies the message the company is already putting out – the two must be in sync.
Know What You Control
Three things that you control determine your perceived position in the market include your
- Business strategy and how well you execute on it,
- Company culture and the people who make that culture, and
- Business processes and systems that reinforce the strategy, execution, and culture.
It all starts with what you want to happen. Your strategic vision and goals drive your choices. Not consciously choosing is also a strategy, albeit a poor one.
This point is true for marketing as well. But before you can determine what results you want from your marketing, you have to align marketing with your overall strategy and execution.
Your Marketing Objectives
Marketing is often misunderstood as a driver of success.
It is not a marketing goal to become the best company at increasing the production of oil fields and wells. That is an overall business objective.
The role of marketing is to make sure your ideal clients and customers know you are the best, so they will seek you out.
There are three progressive levels of marketing objectives. Unfortunately, most companies never make it past the first level.
Level 1 – Sales Support
At this level of marketing, the sales team is almost entirely responsible for generating leads and communication company value.
Marketing is there to support the sales team through:
- A standard brochure style website
- Minimal social media engagement
- Some traditional advertising
- Creating sale collateral
- Promoting corporate events
- Trade show attendance booths
At this level of marketing, there are no solid expectations of results from online marketing. Therefore, minimal alignment of business objectives with marketing measurements required.
Marketing tracks mostly vanity metrics like site visits, social media followers, and the number of business cards gathered at a trade show.
Level 2 – Marketing Drives and Converts New Leads
This level of marketing generates increased site visits and then actively converts those visitors into leads. Online forms capture leads and pass them to sales for follow-up.
In addition to the Level 1 activities, marketing is there to generate leads through:
- An interactive website with educational content
- Regular content creation
- Social media is an active mechanism for driving site traffic and engagement
- Driving traffic via Search Engine Optimization (SEO) drives traffic
- Capturing leads through online forms – visitors are willing to exchange contact information for quality, useful content
- Paid search and social media promotions to increase traffic when organic demand is not high enough
Measuring Marketing Results
Marketing tracks overall metrics like:
- Site visits
- Number of leads generated
- Conversion ratios
- Traffic sources
- Social media engagement
Since leads are passed straight through to sales, the sales team should generate sales reports for revenue generated by marketing leads. Usually, this is significantly under-reported because the two functions are not integrated, and sales teams need to record the source manually.
Level 3 – Integrated Marketing and Sales
When marketing becomes an integrated part of the sales process, another level of marketing effectiveness is possible. Online marketing attracts visitors, converts them into leads, and then nurtures them until they become marketing qualified leads.
The leads are then handed off to the sales team for follow-up. It doesn’t stop there though. Many buyers will take several months to make a purchase decision, and both sales and marketing will likely interact with multiple contacts from an organization to close the deal.
The marketing tools integrate with the CRM used by sales so that all the information about the client is in one place. Based on what the prospect has shown an interest in and their buyer persona, advanced tools will also allow process automation for the sales team.
In addition to Level 1 and Level 2 activities, marketing will:
- Set up automated email campaigns to nurture leads based on their interests, current step in the buying process, and their buyer persona.
- Perform lead scoring so that only qualified leads are handed to sales teams.
- Traditional marketing activities to inbound assets for tracking.
- Set service level agreements between marketing and sales.
- Support the sales team in automating sales workflow.
Measuring Marketing Results
End-to- end reporting is possible since software tools are being used to tie marketing with the CRM. This integration means that detailed metrics are available:
- Marketing qualified leads passed to sales
- Conversion rate to sales qualified leads
- Close rates
- Revenue generated through marketing activities
- Marketing influenced sales
- If high-end tools are used then visits, leads, customers and revenue can be broken down by sources, campaigns, and ideal client personas.
The amount of insight available at this level allows you to know specifically what is working and what isn’t.
This awareness lets you adjust your marketing and sales activities both in near-real time and strategically over time.
Another underappreciated benefit is the ability to forecast more accurately. Once you have trends and historical results you can predict the sales results further out – with better accuracy.
Is Your Business Worthy of the Desired Marketing Results?
There are two main lessons in this article.
Marketing is an enabler, not a magic pill. It can do a lot these days, but it can’t make a poorly run company with a toxic culture into a high performing organization.
So the first lesson is that your marketing (and sales) strategy must tie into your overall business strategy and execution. You have to want the results badly enough to be willing to execute well across the board.
The second lesson is that Integrated Marketing and Sales is possible now for smaller organizations, at a much lower cost than several years ago. This improvement is due to the advances in the tools and the availability of expertise in the industry.
Very few companies – at any size – are doing it well. This shortcoming creates enormous opportunity for entrepreneurial companies to improve marketing results.
Bonus: Marketing Vendor Performance
If you outsource your marketing services, you now have the ability to determine what measurements make sense for each level of commitment.
The best strategic marketing companies will help you through this process and then work with you to deliver on those agreed upon marketing results.
Learn more about some of the aspects of strategic, level 3 marketing. Check out the free Guidebook.