Increase ROI of Inbound Marketing

Increase ROI of Inbound MarketingWe recently had a meeting with one of our prospects who told us they do no outbound marketing (or “push marketing”) and focus solely on inbound marketing. At first, they said they didn’t need Lead Liaison because they don’t do outbound marketing. They couldn’t be more wrong. Coincidentally, if you’re only doing inbound marketing you can’t afford to not have Lead Liaison. This meeting as well as the overall public debate on inbound marketing vs outbound marketing sparked a discussion internally on how to increase ROI of inbound marketing using Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software. We documented some of these reasons for you, enjoy!

Using technology to increase ROI of inbound marketing

Lead Liaison provides a revenue generation platform that boosts ROI of inbound marketing. Here’s a list of how our solutions can help you:

Lead tracking

As prospects find you as a result of your SEO, content and social media strategies (three core components of inbound marketing) they’ll eventually find their way back to your website. Lead tracking technology identifies the name of the business visiting your website along with business intelligence information (revenue, location, description, etc.), telling sales when someone is interested – all in real time. Lead tracking also records a website visitor’s online behavior including pages viewed and keywords used in searches to help sales and marketers understand what prospects care about.

Content creation

Revenue generation software helps marketers spin up new landing pages and web forms in minutes. Instead of relying on HTML programming or IT support, marketers create professional looking landing pages and web forms using a visual designer. The visual designer is similar to PowerPoint and uses drag and drop technology to construct content. Generous use of landing pages and web forms is typically a good thing. It’s common to create a landing page with a web form for each new content area or content piece in your marketing library. Doing so will increase the probability of capturing leads and increase ROI of inbound marketing.

Database segmentation

As an alternative to buying purchased lists or list rentals, which typically offer ROIs in the 1% – 2% range, marketers can leverage technology and their own internally developed database to increase ROI of inbound marketing. Outbound marketing typically implies buying large lists and sending out generic, non-personal email blasts. Using database segmentation marketers can “carve out” specific sections of their database to deliver optimized content relevant to prospects interests.

Lead nurturing

As new prospects discover you via your inbound marketing techniques, revenue generation software will help you nurture your leads. Lead nurturing delivers consistent communications to your new-found leads based on the prospects interests, demographics, and lifetime interaction with your marketing content. Recycling and nurturing your database will increase ROI of inbound marketing by lowering investments in inbound marketing as highly qualified leads never fall through the funnel or get left behind.

Lead qualification

A growing investment in inbound marketing probably means a growing number of inbound leads. Lead qualification, sometimes referred to as lead nurturing, uses technology to automatically score leads and identify who’s hot and who’s not. Lead scoring helps sales prioritize time effectively.

Emphasizing inbound marketing over outbound marketing while leveraging revenue generation software will shorten sales, produce higher quality leads, and improve organizational efficiency.

See our post on inbound marketing vs outbound marketing for a more thorough comparison between the two marketing strategies.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How do you feel revenue generation software can help your inbound marketing efforts?

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Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound MarketingInbound marketing is growing in popularity due to low cost of implementation and efficiency, especially relative to outbound marketing. In this article we’ll compare inbound marketing vs outbound marketing, discuss which is more effective and identify a handful of resources for your follow up.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing focuses on getting found whereas outbound marketing focuses on finding customers. Inbound marketing typically has three components; SEO, content, and social media. SEO is the process of creating optimized web pages and content based on keywords that people search for. Content is the process of creating many landing pages, web forms, blog posts, images, videos, whitepapers and eBooks to attract interested people. Social media is the process of leveraging facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media to promote your content. All three components are important to any inbound marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, we estimate about 80% – 90% of all marketing investments relate to outbound marketing whereas 10% – 20% of all marketing investments relate to inbound marketing. There’s a paradigm shift in marketing though wherein investments in inbound marketing are increasing due to lower cost and better lead generation results. Let’s compare two investments. Classical outbound marketing calls for cold calling campaigns where inside sales people “dial for dollars”. Instead of marketing blindly, a better investment might be inbound marketing. For example, search engine optimize one of your pages around the cold calling message to attract relevant web traffic and layer landing pages and forms around your optimized content. Would you rather attract and market to people interested in your solution or would you rather go on a hunting expedition not knowing what you’ll bring back?

Which is more effective, inbound or outbound marketing?

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing Book

Inbound marketing tends to be much more effective vs outbound marketing methods since you aren’t interrupting people to get their attention with emails, cold calls, advertisements, email blasts, trade shows and so on. Inbound marketing makes it easier for solutions to be found by prospects already seeking what you offer. Moreover, it’s more efficient since only people who qualified themselves beforehand approach you whereas outbound marketing is making your customers aware of a product they may not know they need.

More info on inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

• Check out the book above by Brian Halligan, Darmesh Shah and David Meerman Scott who combine to write one of the best-selling books on inbound marketing.

• Check back later this week for an article on how revenue generation software like Lead Liaison’s can support and improve your inbound marketing efforts.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How do you define inbound marketing vs outbound marketing? What inbound marketing tactics do you find effective?

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Assessing Lead Generation Techniques

Assessing Lead Generation TechniquesWe recently provided consulting to a small business who struggles getting opportunities into their sales pipeline. Our consultation was focused around assessing lead generation techniques. For the purpose of confidentiality, we’ll keep the company name anonymous. We removed personal references to our suggestions and left in general suggestions broadly applicable and advantageous to many businesses. We hope at least one of these ideas is relevant to your business. For a list of more lead generation techniques check out 101 of them in the following article: 101 Business to Business Lead Generation Ideas and Tips.

After assessing lead generation techniques for this particular B2B company we came up with the following recommendations:

1. Produce a business plan around your top verticals (based on historical revenue share and growth). Keep it simple with 3. Step 1, define the verticals. Step 2, map out the ecosystem (product collateral). Step 3, map out the top 50 (major) players in each category of the ecosystem. Step 4, execute the following tactics:

• Hold monthly webinars.

• Have quarterly executive speaking events.

• Issue monthly press releases (which also help SEO).

• Create a library of video (and transcripts) testimonials from wins in each space.

• Hire a major account manager or carve out responsibility for aforementioned strategic accounts. Similar to a Major Account Manager-type role.

• Partner with industry consultants for lead referral. Enhance channel strategy – particularly in ASIA.

2. Increase sales development resources. At a minimum:

• Add EMEA Sales Development Representative for localized support.

• Add additional US Sales Development Representative (3rd party team or 3rd team member).

3. Create a Service Level Agreement between sales, marketing and executive teams.

4. Send executives and/or business development contacts to tradeshows vs sales people. Idea is they are unbiased and have global awareness of your business.

5. Expand marketing’s social footprint:

• Develop a squidoo lens.

• Create a YouTube channel.

• Produce an industry leading eBook.

• Create a contest.

6. Create free tools that help people. These could be templates, spreadsheets, anything. The idea is to share these publicly on your website and in the social domain to increase lead generation. Focus on helping, not closing, prospects.

7. Create an incentive program with some of your partners. For example, $1,000 to each sales rep that passes over a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Must define what a SQL is.

8. Enhance SEO strategy:

• Move your blog to your own domain for enhanced SEO. It’s on which does nothing for SEO.

• Hire a SEO specialist to optimize your external web pages to increase organic SEO leads.

9. Establish better sales pipeline stages in to facilitate the creation of Sales Qualified Leads.

10. Develop a lead nurturing process. It appears your business has a legacy of “one-and-done” touches on your database. You must “recycle” your leads and constantly build relationships with them in an automated way. Database segmentation and drip nurturing processes will help. We suggest procuring revenue generation software such as that from Lead Liaison.

11. Hold more folks, not just sales, responsible for getting opportunities in the pipeline. This means developing the right metrics and MBOs.

12. Have sales and marketing team members start every day with two cold calls. Track it.

13. Create innovative marketing content with more landing pages and social media strategies around each piece. Ideal to categorize these based on our 3 key verticals.

• Analyst reports

• Gartner magic quadrant notes

• Blog postings

• Press releases to share

• Podcast

• Invitation to join LinkedIn group discussion

• Run a survey

• Video testimonial

• eBook on security

• New research

• Interviews with industry executives

Start assessing lead generation techniques for your business by documenting the problems and challenges. Get team leads together for a brainstorm session which identifies relevant issues. Once you know your companies problems you can work on a solution.

For a free consultation and assessment of your lead generation techniques contact Lead Liaison.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How are you assessing lead generation techniques? What have your assessments shown which you’d like to share with others?

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Email Deliverability Best Practices

Email Deliverability Best PracticesCollecting independent tips and suggestions on email deliverability best practices can be overwhelming, not to mention trying to understand what each suggestion/tip means. Don’t worry, Lead Liaison consolidated necessary tips and suggestions for you into a short checklist.

Enclosed are two separate checklists. The first checklist contains items your marketing team can do independent from your Email Service Provider (ESP). The second checklist contains items your ESP, in this case Lead Liaison, can do for you. Some ESPs do not offer such extensive services. Lead Liaison takes email deliverability seriously. As part of every Lead Liaison subscription license to our Revenue Generation Software a Customer Success Representative works with each customer to ensure they’re following email deliverability best practices.

Following this checklist will ensure your email messages successfully reach your recipients and will increase the likelihood of your messages being accepted, not marked as spam/junk, by your recipients.

Email Deliverability Best Practices Checklists

Things for you to do:

□ Send your initial lists to clean lists (people you know well who won’t hit the spam button)

□ Use lead nurturing to send relevant content based on roles, actions and interests

□ Only send to old database contacts once you develop a good reputation

□ Consider using a different but related domain for sending emails

□ Setup SenderID and SPF

□ Setup postmaster@ and abuse@ email addresses

□ Avoid buying, renting or borrowing lists from 3rd parties

□ Check the integrity of your contact lists before and after an upload

□ Create great marketing content

□ Segment your marketing content into smaller chunks vs. sending “clusters”

□ Get people’s permission before adding them to an email marketing track

□ Embed a “Safely Unsubscribe” and “Privacy Policy” link at the bottom of your messages

□ Do not be too aggressive with your email communications especially at first (think dating)

□ Use auto-responders that cross promote

□ Use an active email address as your reply-to email address

□ Make the unsubscribe process easier than the subscribe process

□ Use your colors and logo in your content so your recipients recognize you

□ Don’t include too many images (<=4) in your messages

□ Keep your messages small (< 37K Bytes)

□ Follow CAN-SPAM Act requirements

Things to do with Lead Liaison’s support:

□ Setup DKIM/DomainKeys

□ Send from a dedicated IP address, not a shared IP address

□ Start by warming up your IP address and sending a small amount (<1,000) of messages

□ Process hard and soft bounce emails and test

□ Check blacklist records occasionally to make sure your dedicated IP address is not on any lists

□ Make sure you tag your contacts with a lead source

□ Segment current and future contacts by building Lead Liaison Target Lists

□ Build several landing pages and web forms to increase lead capture and build subscribers

□ Keep web form fields simple

□ Send a text representation with your html email

□ Monitor feedback loops and resolve spam complaints

□ Avoid using spam-like words (“free”) in your messages

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How are you meeting email deliverability best practices? What would you add to this list?

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Building a Lead Scoring Model

Building a Lead Scoring ModelWe posted a few articles over the past week on lead scoring, prioritizing leads and lead scoring criteria. Today, we’ll put this information to use and explain 5 simple steps to building a lead scoring model.

1. Hold an alignment meeting between sales and marketing

2. Categorize lead scoring events into 3 buckets

3. Define a lead scoring threshold

4. Assign a weight to lead scores

5. Assign a point value and test

Building a lead scoring model in 5 steps

Step 1: Meet

First, begin building a lead scoring model by getting key sales and marketing folks into a meeting. As much as marketing may desire complete ownership of the lead scoring model, it’s vital to involve sales. As Mac McConnell points out:

“Sales is the client of a lead scoring model.” Mac McConnell,

By bringing sales into the process early on you’ll garner their buy-in. Mac further explains, once they buy-in, they’ll know the meaning behind a lead score and how marketing qualified the lead. More importantly, they know what a truly “qualified” lead is and can offer valuable input on Step 2.

Step 2: Categorize

As discussed in our article on lead scoring criteria, use 3 buckets when building a lead scoring model – demographics, behavior and qualification. Write down relevant criteria that contributes to your company’s definition of a “lead” within each category. For example, under demographics you might list vice president of engineering as an important title to assign a lead score to if your company recognizes this role as a key persona in the B2B buying process.

Step 3: Define

Select a lead scoring threshold. The lead scoring threshold is somewhat arbitrary; however, it’s important as it objectively defines when the lead is ready to be handed to sales, or becomes a marketing qualified lead (MQL). For example, pick 75, 100 or 1000. The actual number is immaterial. Use a scale that is easy to remember and to track while building a lead scoring model. See our write-up on sales pipeline stages for further clarity on MQL and other phases of the funnel.

Step 4: Weight

Use stars or symbols to assign a weight to each lead scoring criteria instead of using point values. Using symbols is important at this stage for sales and marketing to avoid contention. It’s easier to agree on assigning 4 stars or 5 stars to something rather than assign arbitrary numeric values. In Mac’s video below he doesn’t use a precise way to derive the lead score from the weight, we’ll address this in Step 5.

Step 5: Score (and Test)

Assign points to your weights and test your model. We suggest using a consistent method when assigning scores. For example, if the lead scoring threshold were 70 it makes sense to say each star is worth 10 points. If the total lead score meets or exceeds 70 points (7 stars) the lead is ready for sales (a MQL). After building a lead scoring model, test your model by running through a handful of theoretical scenarios. Take recent leads and/or opportunities and apply them to your lead scoring model. How did the score turn out? If your model were live would the lead score be realistic and accurate? Would sales agree to this lead scoring model? Remember, building a lead scoring model is not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Review your lead scoring model frequently (every 3 months at a minimum) and tune it as needed.

Finally, input your lead scoring rules into revenue generation software, such as that from Lead Liaison. For a free consultation on building a lead scoring model using Lead Liaison’s software contact us.

For more information watch Mac McConnell’s presentation below on building a lead scoring model.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How are you building a lead scoring model?

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Lead Scoring Criteria

Lead Scoring CriteriaLead scoring is the process of automatically qualifying and prioritizing leads for sales. If you own revenue generation software and haven’t developed a lead scoring program yet or you’re considering investing in a lead scoring program you’re probably wondering how to get started. First, identify your lead scoring criteria.

Businesses typically categorize lead scoring criteria into three “buckets” – demographics, behavior and qualification. Segmenting lead scoring criteria into these three areas helps businesses organize their lead scoring rules and determine the weight/value to place on each rule. Here’s a breakdown of the three lead scoring criteria buckets.

Demographic lead scoring criteria

Demographic lead scoring refers to any information about a company or a person. In the video below, Mac McConnell uses a creative way to interpret demographic lead scoring criteria as any information typically seen on a business card. Some industry experts refer to this as “firmographics”, or any company related information while demographics are information on a person. An example of lead scoring criteria in this bucket is below:

• Company name

• Revenue

• Industry

• Geography

• Name

• Title/position

Behavior lead scoring criteria

Behavior lead scoring refers to any information about an individual’s online behavior such as their interaction with marketing assets. For example, it’s possible to track the following behavioral lead scoring criteria using lead tracking technology:

• Website visits (# of pages viewed, specific pages visited – like a pricing page)

• Online registrations (document downloads, webinar requests)

• Email opens and/or links clicked in an email

• Time spent on a website

Qualification lead scoring criteria

Qualification lead scoring refers to any information about a lead which identifies whether a lead is in profile (ideal buyer) or out of profile. For example, at Lead Liaison our ideal customers are B2B companies, not B2C. To collect this information ask your sales people to log this data into your CRM. Alternatively, use progressive profiling technology to ask for this information in a web form. Progressive profiling allows marketers to ask for different qualification criteria once and only once. For example, you could ask where someone is in the buying process on their first form submission. When the visitor returns to complete a second form, progress profiling with automatically replace the question with another qualifying question. Over time you’ll build a more holistic profile of your prospect.

It’s important to place the proper “weight” on each of the three lead scoring criteria buckets. As Mac points out, people tend to provide inaccurate demographic information; however, it’s not possible to lie on behavioral information since that’s activity based.

Adding the lead score from each of the three lead scoring criteria buckets gives you a total lead score, which tells you how to prioritize leads and when to elevate attention towards particular leads.

Check out our Lead Scoring Solutions Guide for more examples of lead scoring criteria. For help prioritizing leads see this post. Please contact Lead Liaison for a free consultation to see how our revenue generation software technology can help your company score leads and implement progressive profiling to create, manage, qualify and nurture leads.

Here’s the short presentation from Mac McConnell on lead scoring criteria.

Lead Scoring Criteria, by Mac McConnell:



We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How does your company define lead scoring criteria?

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Prioritizing Leads

Prioritizing LeadsMost sales organizations rely on their marketing team to carry the “burden” of lead generation. Numerous lead sources exist, making sorting and prioritizing leads challenging for marketers. We know many marketers struggle prioritizing leads as experts sight 80% of all marketing leads passed to sales are unqualified. How can marketing prioritize leads?

The answer is, with lead scoring. Lead scoring technology automatically qualifies a lead. In practice, the higher a lead score the more qualified the leads is. More importantly, the lead score is a measure of how interested the lead is in your company’s offering. It also helps sales and marketers understand where the lead is in the B2B buying process. A lead score tells a marketer when the lead is ready to be handed to sales. Prioritizing leads using lead scoring helps sales understand who’s hot and who’s not.

In conjunction with Software Advice, Mac McConnell, partner and founder of BlueBird Strategies published a three part series covering lead scoring. We’re delighted to share the first session with you, which covers lead scoring and how to prioritize leads. Mac also talks about the “Buddha Funnel”, where leads get stuck in the pipeline.

How to Prioritize Leads, by Mac McConnell:



Mac uses sales pipeline stages to help marketers understand how they can “stretch out” the pipeline to accommodate marketing’s increased involvement in prioritizing leads for sales.

We’ll also point out that Mac uses terminology that may be foreign to many marketers, such as MQL and SQL. Check out our post on sales pipeline stages for further explanation of these terms. If you’re interested in learning how Lead Liaison’s technology can help your organization start prioritizing leads and nurturing leads through the “Buddha Funnel” we welcome your inquiry.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How is your company prioritizing leads?

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Measuring Marketing Performance

Measuring Marketing PerformanceOrganizations must continually measure performance to improve and grow. Measuring marketing performance is critical as marketing plays a vital role in an organizations strategy and execution. The trend in measuring marketing performance is shifting from activity-based measurement to results-based measurement. In this article, we’ll discuss the change in performance measurement and suggest ways to effectively measure your marketing performance.

From activities to results

Historically, marketing performance has been measured on activities. For example, consider a trade show event. Marketers were typically measured on number of trade shows attended in a given period along with number of leads collected from the show. Similarly, consider email marketing. Marketers were graded on number of email opens or click throughs. It’s true, what gets measured gets done. When measuring marketing performance focus on what really matters, results. Instead of counting email opens and number of cards collected from trade shows, measure marketing based on revenue. What percentage of contacts results in an opportunity or a closed deal? If marketing and sales are both measured on revenue performance companies will benefit from closer sales and marketing alignment.

How other companies are measuring marketing performance

A recent study conducted by MarketingSherpa on more than 900 marketers asked which key performance metrics helped them evaluate marketing ROI. Interestingly, the top 5 measurements each pertain to a deal (end of the sales cycle) and cost of the contact (beginning of the sales cycle), which both greatly influence the revenue cycle.

Marketing Performance Measurement

How to impact important marketing metrics

With a renewed focus on revenue results and new metrics in mind, marketers can execute their revised strategy. To accomplish this, many marketers use technology, such as marketing automation, to achieve their goals. Lead Liaison provides revenue generation software, which includes marketing automation, for this reason. Here’s how Lead Liaison’s technology supports each metric:

Closing percentage. Lead nurturing uses customer/prospect profiles to send scheduled, intelligent communications that build relationships and close more deals. Lead scoring automatically qualifies leads to send only the best leads to sales. Sales remains focused on sales-ready leads and optimizes their time around revenue, resulting in more wins and higher close percentage.

Cost-per-acquisition. Lead tracking and lead generation technology creates leads from various inbound marketing activities. Leads opt-in to Lead Liaison via web form submission, response to an email campaign, or manual opt-in to become a lead in the system. Generating more leads with the same amount of inbound marketing results in higher marketing ROI and lower cost-per-acquisition.

Cost-per-lead. Marketing segmentation allows marketers to segment a database based on a number of demographics (revenue, location, etc.) and activities (product interest, recent website visits, etc.). By re-marketing to an existing database, a company’s most valuable asset, marketers get “stale” leads on nurturing programs. As a result, marketers do not have to acquire as many leads via list brokers or trade shows. By using what a marketer already has they reduce cost-per-lead.

Average deal size. Companies end up paying more for quality solutions from trusted advisers whom they’ve built relationships with. Lead nurturing builds the necessary relationships with customers and prospects over time while establishing the vendor as a trusted authority.

Time to close. Lead nurturing ensures companies are in constant communication with leads using relevant messaging. Leads will always have the company and/or solution at the top of their mind. Additionally, leads won’t “stray”. In totality, these factors result in shorter sales cycles and less time to close.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How is your company measuring marketing performance?

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