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Growth Marketing Software Stack for B2B Companies

Growth marketing software has commonly been referred to as a strategy that focuses on the entire funnel, as opposed to the top, middle, or bottom. Small to mid-sized businesses and startups need to think out of the box and not expend precious cycles trying to mimic traditional sales and marketing methods.

At Lead Liaison, we didn’t know about many of these solutions when we first started. Over time we either purchased these solutions or built them ourselves. Most of our growth marketing needs have manifested themselves as software that we’ve created to address a specific need in the overall growth marketing strategy. In addition to our own software, we’ve been using solutions from other providers to build what we feel is the ideal growth marketing software stack. One key aspect of this ultimate growth marketing software stack is that every single solution in the stack is web-based. All your team needs is a web browser and you’re up and running!

We adopted a growth marketing strategy in the early stages of our business; however, the stack wasn’t built overnight. It’s taken many years to put together this growth marketing stack. We hope you’ve coveted an article like this as it’s not easy to identify an ideal growth marketing stack. It’s our pleasure to present this stack to you in the hope that it helps your company either get up and running quickly or accelerate faster.

Here it is:

  1. Top of the Funnel: Rhythms™, Lead411, ZoomInfo
  2. Middle of the Funnel: Lead Management Automation (LMA)™
  3. CRM: OneFocus™
  4. Business Operations: Google
  5. Sales Research: LinkedIn, Owler, Datanyze, BuiltWith
  6. Task Management: OneFocus™, Trello, Google
  7. Support & Help: Screencast-O-Matic
  8. Communication: Slack, Dropbox
  9. Product Management: Atlassian Jira
  10. Customer Documentation: Atlassian Confluence
  11. Finance: Quickbooks Online

Each of these solutions and their benefits are explained below. We break up the growth marketing software stack into two parts, sales and marketing and operations.

Growth Marketing Software Stack:

These solutions benefit the sales and marketing teams. For most companies focused on growth marketing, their sales and marketing team will be less than 10 people. These solutions are highly effective and affordable, whether you’re a funded or bootstrapped growth marketing company this is the way to go.

  • Top of the Funnel: Rhythms™, Lead411, ZoomInfo, Hunter, MailTester.com, FullContact, Clearbit. Perfecting sales isn’t that difficult. It’s about establishing a process to see what works, then rinse and repeat. Sales can be systematic too. We use Rhythms™, which help our sales people get into a groove (dare I say rhythm) with their sales. It helps them establish an outreach plan, that’s ideal for business development reps or seasoned account managers. Reps add manual emails, auto-emails, phone calls, postcards, handwritten letters, and various tasks into a plan – giving them a blueprint for sales. When new reps come aboard they can easily adopt your company blueprints. It helps to feed Rhythms™ with fresh contacts. We like Lead411 for email-only contacts and ZoomInfo for higher quality data. ZoomInfo has the highest concentration of contacts with phone numbers and emails out of all providers we’ve found. This makes ZoomInfo the best solution for high-touch sales plans or account-based marketing. Your growth marketing strategy should be focused on quality over quantity though. Gone are the days of batching and blasting emails. That’s a quick way to sink your growth marketing ship. Spend more time researching and reaching out to each contact you pull from your source. Rhythms™ will help you achieve high quality sales campaigns. Hunter and MailTester.com help round out the prospecting solution to verify email addresses. Teams might also find FullContact and Clearbit useful for finding contact information.
  • Middle of the Funnel: Lead Management Automation (LMA)™. Once you develop your top of the funnel leads into engaged contacts they need to be nurtured and followed up with. Although some providers call these solutions “marketing automation”, we’re not a fan of that phrase. Marketing automation is a strategy really, and not software. There is software to better manage leads though. Qualifying, nurturing, prioritizing, and engaging leads are some of the benefits of lead management software. In addition, software like LMA comes with a suite of marketing tools such as an email, form, landing page builder, social posting and more.
  • CRM: OneFocus™™. Don’t waste your time on expensive and bloated CRMs such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics. These platforms are great for large enterprises, but if you’re reading this article and care about growth marketing software – then you won’t be interested in those CRMs anyhow. We might be a bit biased here, but we created OneFocus™, for companies like us that are focused on growth marketing. We didn’t need all the fat around the bone, we just needed the essentials of a CRM. Deal, task, contact, company management was all our sales team needed with an easy to use interface. They go it with OneFocus™. Other companies can also enjoy this light-weight CRM as it’s 100% free.
  • Sales Research: LinkedIn, Owler, Datanyze, BuiltWith. As your sales team scours the market for opportunities or finds new leads with ZoomInfo or Lead411, they’ve got to be researched further. Datanyze and BuiltWith have some nice plugins (our favorite is Datanyze) that help you visit a prospective company’s website, click the browser plugin icon, and all the company firmographics, social info, and technographics (what technology they use) is right there at your disposal. Owler is mainly useful for finding a company’s competitors, while LinkedIn helps you learn more about the Prospect.
  • Task Management: OneFocus™, Trello. There are 100s of task managers out there. Our two favorites are Trello and OneFocus™. Trello is a nice looking web application that’s very easy to use. Users can create different boards with tasks in the boards and share boards with each other. To complete tasks, users drag and drop tasks from one stage to another. Trello is great for general tasks and to-do items (even for personal tasks); however, OneFocus™ is ideal for sales and marketing tasks as it’s fully integrated into Rhythms™ and OneFocus™, solutions for the top of the funnel and general lead management. OneFocus™ has a slick task manager and task wizard making it easy for reps to make the most out of their day while staying organized and focused.

Growth Marketing Software (Extended):

We put this part of the growth marketing software stack together as these solutions complement the sales and marketing stack. Some of these solutions such as Screencast-O-Matic are lesser known, but super handy and affordable for sales, marketing, and support.

  • Business Platform: Google. Most companies go one of two routes here, Microsoft or Google. Many companies “think” they need Microsoft and still think of Google as a solution for personal use. When in fact, they couldn’t be more wrong. Google has a killer stack, which they call G-Suite. It is jam packed with value and around $5 per user per month. It includes Gmail (email), Docs (like MS Word), Sheets (like Excel), and Slides (like PowerPoint), and Drive (like Dropbox). For those that think they can’t live without Outlook, with a few tricks in Gmail, you can make it look like Outlook. Docs and Sheets are amazing. They allow companies to create Templates, making it easy to create sales and marketing material on the fly, that all looks has a common look and feel – for example, Order Forms, Master Subscription Agreements, Mutual NDAs, Addendums, and more. Try G-Suite, once you get used to this platform you won’t look back. Oh – and it’s backed by Google!
  • Support & Help: Screencast-O-Matic. This has been our little gem. For less than a meal at Denny’s, you get an easy to use screen recording software that instantly uploads videos to their cloud service (no extra charge) or YouTube (unlimited). We use Screencast-O-Matic to record help videos during the sales and support process. In seconds after a recording your video can be send to a cloud service of your choice and a link can be emailed. Sending links is so much easier than sending large files across the internet.
  • Zoom: Conferencing and screen recording. We used to use GoToMeeting until we got fed up with the quality and price. Zoom is much more affordable, gives us instant recording options with the ability to easily screen share from our mobile device (great for mobile apps) at half the price of GoToMeeting with better quality.
  • Communication: Slack, Dropbox. Slack is by far our favorite tool for communication. Prior to Slack we were using Google Hangouts on the sales side and Skype with vendors and contractors and some employees. It was a pain context switching between apps, all with different interfaces. Slack is the most amazing and modern communication tool we’ve seen. It’s ability to integrate with other sales and marketing apps to strengthen your growth marketing stack is unprecedented. Some of our favorite integrations include Jira Cloud, Google Drive, Giphy, and Dropbox. Dropbox is like a hard drive in the cloud for your company. It’s a nice interface and easy way to manage sharing documents across your organization.
  • Product Management: Atlassian Jira Cloud. Jira is used for managing product roadmaps, bugs, new features, and more. Product Managers and engineering teams can use Jira to run engineering sprints (short periods of work prior to a software release) and track overall progress.
  • Customer Documentation: Atlassian Confluence. Confluence is a cloud-based documentation platform. Use it to create different “spaces” for your organization. For example, customer documentation, employee handbooks, and corporate wikis to document process. Open your customer documentation up so you don’t require a password. That way you can easily send out links to your docs and user manuals.
  • Finance: Quickbooks Online. QuickBooks is an easy to use system to manage your books, create reports, track income and expenses. Most growth marketing software companies care hire someone part time for bookkeeping, outsource it, or give this to one member of the team as it’s a part time task and not a full time job.

We hope you enjoyed our take on the ultimate growth marketing software stack. If you have any questions on the above software solutions don’t hesitate to ask, we’d love to help.

4 Old Marketing Habits That You Need to Replace

New Marketing HabitsSEO and internet marketing are constantly changing. That means if you use old-school marketing tactics, you’re likely a few steps behind your competitor. Check out some old habits that no longer work. We’ll then give you ways to update your marketing arsenal to achieve the best results possible.

Using Purchased Email Lists

Purchased lists used to be the hottest trend in email marketing. Marketers bought lists and then sent email blasts out to the subscribers. They didn’t need huge response rates to turn a profit. As long as they received a few customers out of the deal, they were happy.

Now, advanced spam filters and software detect these types of email blasts and shut them down. You’ll spend the money, but you won’t get the results needed to make it worth your while.

Instead, focus your efforts on Prospects that have shown an interest in your website and make sure your emails have value. That will prevent your emails from going into spam filters.

Creating Super Short Content

In the old days, marketers believed that quantity was more important than quality. Therefore, they created super short blog posts, ranked each post for specific keywords, and watched the traffic fly to their websites.

That doesn’t work anymore. Today, if a blog post isn’t at least 300 words, it isn’t going to help your SEO efforts. A thousand words is the new “normal”. In addition to making your posts longer, deliver more quality content if you want to enjoy SEO benefits. Search engines will recognize when you put only a little effort into your content, and will penalize you for it.

Using Generic Content

Marketing used to be very generic. Marketers looked at the big picture when creating websites and content, while ignoring the needs of individual customers. That is no longer an effective strategy.

Now, customers expect a personalized experience that can only be delivered through marketing automation. This process allows marketers to collect relevant data and then provide content based on that data. This helps boost the success of marketers’ campaigns, especially for those who want to reach millennials. Because millennials are savvy when it comes to recognizing advertising, they are much more responsive when marketers speak directly to them.

Relying on Exact Match Keywords

Exact match keywords used to be the holy grail of marketing. They were the ticket to gaining a lot more customers. Although they made content look awkward, that was the price paid for traffic.

Currently, search engines want you to write for people. This means that you need to switch out frustrating exact match keywords in content for long tail keywords that sound natural. This will generate higher quality traffic while at the same time, visitors to your website will appreciate reading well-written content.

By swapping out old habits for new, you are ready to improve your marketing strategy. Keep these tips in mind so you can blow away the competition. Learn more best practices for marketing and sales by visiting our Resource Library.

The Importance of Sending a Professional Thank You

 

Thank You

Everyone likes to be thanked, even those who you only know on a professional basis. Thanking someone is a way to show appreciation. When you send a thank you, people know that you appreciate the time, effort, and energy they put into something. Of course, it can be difficult to know who to thank and how to thank them. Once you understand the protocol, you will be able to show your appreciation to all of the right people. That will help you form valuable professional relationships throughout your career.

People to Thank

As a professorial, there are countless people that you need to thank. Thank your clients to show them that you appreciate their business. There are other companies they can choose, and you appreciate the fact that they chose yours. That is a huge reason to thank them.

You also need to thank prospective clients for taking the time to learn about your business. Doing this will help you move some of those prospective clients down the purchase funnel.

Next, you need to thank your employees. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to run your business. Let them know they are appreciated so they will continue to do a great job for you.

Finally, thank your partners. These are the people who provide you with ideas and partner up with you to help you create the best service. Let them know that you notice and appreciate their effort by sending them a thank you.

Examples of Professional Ways to Say Thank You

There are many professional ways to say thank you. First, consider using handwritten notes. This adds a personal touch when you say thank you. Then, include a thank you gift with the note. A box of warm cookies is a simple way to say thank you, but it works best when you see people in person. Fruit baskets and boxes of candy are always welcomed, and you can send them in the mail. You can also provide people with gift cards to restaurants or tickets to local sporting events. You can even send a nice bouquet of flowers, or keep it simple with an item that your company manufactures.

When you were young, your parents taught you the importance of saying thank you. You likely thank your family and friends. Now, it’s time to thank your work associates as well. Follow these tips and you will build professional relationships that will help you take your business to the next level.

Interested in sending a handwritten letter through our marketing automation tool? Click here for more information on our handwritten letters!

Lead Liaison Releases the Secrets to Marketing Success with the Marketing Automation Playbook

Marketing Automation PlaybookALLEN, TX – Lead Liaison is known for their easy-to-use marketing automation software. What sets them apart is their exceptional level of support. Now, they’ve gone above and beyond to offer a helping hand to anybody who is currently using or planning to use a marketing automation system.

A Recipe for Implementing Marketing Automation

A common misconception with marketing automation tools is the idea that it’s a quick-fix to your marketing struggles. The truth of the matter is that it takes time, attention, and a great deal of effort to get your automations set up in a way that is effective for your sales and marketing teams. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. But it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, and where to take it. Lead Liaison’s Marketing Automation Playbook gives people ideas on how to use marketing automation to help themselves be more efficient.

The Playbook walks through the steps of getting data ready, presents best practices, and provides ideas on how to make the most of a company’s marketing automation software license by increasing traffic to websites, communicating better with audiences and more.

“It’s an invaluable tool,” says Lead Liaison’s Director of Marketing, Jennifer Worsham. “Marketing automation isn’t something you can just flip on with a switch. It’s a strategy. You have to figure out what specifically you can automate or make more efficient. That’s where the Playbook comes in.”

Not Just Ideas

Not only does the Lead Liaison Marketing Automation Playbook walk through practical applications. It dives in deep to address common issues like measuring marketing return on investment, also known as ROI. Here’s a snippet from Lead Liaison’s Marketing Automation Playbook:

“A good marketing automation system will help you attribute a cost to each campaign and assign each of your marketing assets (emails, webinar, imported contacts from the event) to the marketing campaign. When the marketing automation system is connected to your CRM, it will use the contacts associated with closed-won deals, identify their campaign, and use the revenue from the deal to attribute it to your campaign. Precise ROI analysis helps marketers justify their campaigns and prove their worth. Without this type of analysis, you’re flying by the seat of your pants.”

What’s even more helpful is that Lead Liaison provides their clients with an updated version of this Playbook, laying out how to do all of these things within its software in great detail. Marketing automation is a powerful tool, and thankfully Lead Liaison doesn’t leave users in the dark. They believe that is not the way to truly be a helpful tool for their clients.

Eager to see what the fuss is all about? Visit Lead Liaison’s Resource Page to download the Marketing Automation Playbook, as well as many other valuable resources.

About Lead Liaison

Lead Liaison provides cloud-based sales and marketing automation solutions that helps businesses accelerate revenue by attracting, converting, closing and retaining more prospects. Filling a void in the small pool of marketing automation providers that focus on marketing-centric functionality, Lead Liaison gives equal focus to sales providing sophisticated visitor tracking and additional website engagement tools to boost sales effectiveness. Lead Liaison blends ease-of-use, a flexible business model, deep external integration, marketing across social, web, mobile, email and offline channels and powerful functionality, all specifically tailored for mid-sized businesses, into a single platform, called Revenue Generation Software®. Lead Liaison is headquartered in Allen, Texas, near Dallas. For more information, visit http://www.leadliaison.com or call 1-800-89-LEADS (895-3237).

 

Marketing Campaign Messaging

Marketing Campaign MessagingMarketing campaign messaging is important, but it’s more important to think about who you’re messaging to. When building a campaign, it doesn’t make sense to make a one-size fits all message. Sales and marketing people need to tailor messaging around the recipient. Similar to giving a presentation, before you present you’ve got to know your audience. You must know who you’re presenting to. Are they engineers or marketers, technical or business savvy? If you don’t know the exact title or role of your recipients then try categorizing them into organization levels. We suggest using three levels; C-level, Director/VP-level and everyone else (rank and file). Here are some tips on how to focus your marketing campaign messaging around these organizational levels:

C-level

Focus campaign messaging on outcome and results.

Director and VP-level

Focus campaign messaging on process and improvement results.

Rank and File

Focus campaign messaging on features and benefits.

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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, bluebirdstrat.com

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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