It’s well known in the world of marketing that content provides the fuel necessary for successful marketing. That is no less true with marketing automation. Ultimately, you cannot expect a positive ROI, if you do not have a solid content strategy. Even the best marketing automation program in the world cannot resolve a lack of quality content. Determine ROI with marketing automation.
Despite the importance of content, many businesses continue to struggle with implementing quality content for their marketing automation needs, with their ROIs suffering as a result. Below, we go through several critical steps you can take to bridge the gap between your content and your return on investment.
1. Analyze your Content Plans
Quality content does not develop on its own and it does not happen by accident. In order to feed your marketing automation program quality content, you must first stop and analyze your content plans as well as what it is that your target audience actually wants to see. Of particular importance in terms of marketing automation, is mapping the customer journey and ensuring that your content plan aligns with that journey.
2. Think More in the Long Term than the Short Term
Far too often, many marketers focus more on the short term than the long term when it comes to their content development goals. In order to ensure you are making the most of content within the context of marketing automation, you need to pay attention to any gaps that might exist in the various stages of the buyer journey and ensure you create highly targeted content to address those gaps. This means you must stop thinking in the short term and think in the long term.
3. Develop a Content Development Calendar
Do you create content as it is needed or do you have content on reserve based on your objectives? The problem that many business owners encounter is that they create content only when they need it. In order to succeed with your marketing automation strategy, you need to have a solid plan in place. Creating a 12-month content plan can help you to do that.
4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate
Marketing automation can help to automate many of the processes related to your marketing campaign, but it cannot do everything for you. The same is also true for your content plan. You must take the time to analyze how you are utilizing your marketing automation system and how well your content is working for you. Make a commitment to evaluating your current systems at least once per quarter.
5. Make Improvements
Analyzing only works if you take the information from your evaluations and put it to work for you. After evaluating the data generated by your marketing automation system, determine what is working, what is not working and make changes to generate necessary improvements to boost your ROI.
Want a copy of our Marketing Content Map (MCM) document? Contact us with a brief note requesting the MCM and we’ll send it to you.
Marketing automation can drive a higher ROI. By implementing the steps listed above, you can bridge the gap between your content and your ROI. Learn more about how you can benefit from marketing automation today.
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“Marketing automation” has become such a buzz phrase over recent years that most vendors try to incorporate the term into their pitch, and sometimes go as far as completely branding their business as marketing automation. In reality, there aren’t that many pure-play marketing automation companies out there in the industry. 100s of providers stake claim on marketing automation to be part of the buzz, which causes confusion in the marketplace. Companies have a hard time understanding marketing automation let alone how marketing automation can save money. In this post we provide a quantitative analysis to answer the question, how can marketing automation save money? We’ll also touch on our approach to marketing automation.
ROI of Marketing Automation Based on Functional Usage
You’ll see some fancy calculators to add up the ROI of marketing automation, but not many resources provide a ROI analysis based on functional areas. We did that for you and looked at what a typical company would spend after investing in a piece-milled software strategy. When you list out the category of tools that companies use to help drive revenue, the list typically includes sales efficiency tools, landing page designers, form designers, email marketing, automation, and a handful of other tools. The problem with buying all of these ad-hoc solutions is two-fold. First, they don’t all play nice together as disparate solutions. Second, your wallet gets pretty thin when you’re buying all these pieces separately. We decided to do a little analysis and tally up individual, best-in-breed solutions to see how much money would drain from your budget over a five year period if a company were to acquire all of these solutions standalone.
How Much Money Can Marketing Automation Save You?
Below you’ll find the assumptions we used, cost of individual solutions, and a ROI analysis at the end.
The bottom line: Lead Liaison can save your company $181,059 or 362%! What we didn’t include are the incremental costs for:
Multiple learning curves
Multiple resources required to manage each ad-hoc solution
Add those in and you could very well double the ROI from what we’ve reported above.
At least 5 sales people
Up to 10,000 contacts
No more than 100 forms
No more than 25,000 unique visitors per month
Email frequency to database 2x per month
Use each software package for 5 years
Cost of Individual Solutions:
Email for Sales
2 Posts Per Week, $75 per Blog
Gravity Forms/ Formstack
Business License / Gold
Total Spend on Ad-Hoc Solutions:
ROI with Lead Liaison:
AVERAGE ANNUAL SPEND with Lead Liaison
LIFETIME SPEND with Lead Liaison
ROI of Lead Liaison
SAVINGS with Lead Liaison
Lead Liaison’s Philosophy
We’ve got a different philosophy about marketing automation here at Lead Liaison. We don’t hate marketing automation, we just hate how the term is overused, misused, and misunderstood. The truth is that marketing automation is not software, it’s a strategy. You can’t really buy marketing automation software, but you can buy software that helps execute your strategy, which should include automation. No software out-of-the-box is going to automate your marketing – that’s wishful thinking.
Choices are getting “clouded” too. Some companies like HubSpot try to be the all-in-one solution, and get your CRM business too. Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, HubSpot is morphing into an Oracle or Salesforce.com type of company, is now public – trying to satisfy Wall Street, and now trying to take all your sales and marketing dollars with the emphasis on their new CRM. Lead Liaison fits in between the all-in-ones and marketing automation providers with our Revenue Generation Software® platform optimized for mid-market companies. Our mission has always been to focus on automation that improves a company’s sales and marketing operations but more importantly, generates more revenue for our customers. We believe companies care about revenue, not just automating marketing. We’re CRM agnostic, offer professional-grade sales and marketing automation functionality at killer prices, and have the industry’s deepest integration with 3rd party solutions.
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High quality content is an essential element of modern marketing and one of the strongest factors in maximizing marketing automation ROI. Content is one of the primary ways that marketers generate, engage, and nurture leads. It is used to build brands, establish authority, attract new social media followers, and retain existing customers. All of these benefits can contribute to your marketing automation return on investment when they are effectively executed.
Here are a few tips on how to maximize your marketing automation ROI with high quality content:
Create Valuable Content
Every piece of content should provide prospective leads with real value. High-quality content will educate the reader and give them a reason to turn to your business whenever they require additional information. Basically it should be a subtle pitch that demonstrates your expertise while offering beneficial guidance. To consistently provide readers with significant value, the content must always be focused first on the concerns and needs of your typical consumers. Selling a product or service should also be the secondary focus.
Create Personalized Content
Marketing automation software generates detailed lead profiles based on a prospect’s online behavior and demographic characteristics. Utilizing the information in your lead profiles to personalize content will maximize ROI by creating a more meaningful connection with the prospect. It shows that someone is paying attention to their concerns, which will inspire loyalty and ultimately produce greater marketing automation ROI.
Create Newsworthy Content
Each article and email that is sent using marketing automation software must provide some unique and newsworthy insight. People that trust you with access to their email inbox do not want to read the same information over and over again. High-quality content that will maximize marketing automation ROI will offer original and worthwhile information that the reader doesn’t already know about your industry, product, or services.
Create Diverse Campaigns
Content includes more than just text. Every image and video can help to establish and strengthen a brand. Visual representations are more eye-catching and usually have a higher success rate than written copy on its own. You can add images to your emails and articles to grab a lead’s attention or create infographics and videos that use imagery to inform potential prospects. For additional information on creating effective video campaigns, please read How to make video marketing work for you.
Create Registration Forms
The content with the highest value should be hidden behind registration forms to obtain additional demographic information from potential leads. This will make it easier to further develop lead profiles and create more customize content. Content that is guarded by a registration form should offer a few trade secrets or particularly useful information that can’t be accessed elsewhere on your site. Individuals that fill out a registration form to access certain information will have higher expectations from the content they receive. High quality content is a simple and proven method for maximizing marketing automation ROI. Make sure all of your content is valuable, personalized, newsworthy, and diverse. If it is particularly beneficial content, place it behind a brief registration form. All of these tips will help increase the return on your investment.
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Marketing automation can positively affect a company’s bottom line by creating much-needed links between investment and ROI. For CEOs, it’s more important than ever to get confirmation that marketing efforts are paying off for the company. Without the proper web tracking methodology and assets in place that calculate return on investment, marketers and their CEOs are left without a clue as to whether or not marketing budgets are really worth it. Make sure to use marketing automation for transparent campaigns.
To summarize, the article suggests that 70% of CEOs surveyed earlier this summer in a project by Fournaise Marketing Group expressed a complete lack of trust in their marketing team’s ability to generate a positive ROI through their efforts. This begs the question – do these surveyed CEOs have a point, and is their dissatisfaction indicative of industry-wide views of marketers?
How Marketing Automation Makes the Difference
Accountability is the determining factor in whether a relationship between company executives and marketers is transparent enough to survive. Without some sort of measure of accountability, CEOs have no idea what their marketing teams are doing and whether the money spent results in any kind of return over the long term.
Tracking metrics is what defines that level of accountability. With solid numbers in place, even CEOs who micro-manage advertising campaigns won’t be able to deny the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of their ideas. With marketing automation, a solid set of tools that track advertising campaigns across platforms provides metrics that can’t be ignored. When CEOs and marketing teams have access to these metrics and use them to make marketing decisions, transparency is a sure thing.
Developing the Right Relationships
One of the more interesting comments on the MarketingWeek article states that if CEOs want to see the true impact marketing has on their bottom line, they should turn their marketing efforts off for a while and see what happens. We can all likely imagine that scenario and predict the outcome.
Varying factors contribute to the trust CEOs have for their marketing departments, but transparency will always be one of those key factors. Using marketing automation tools like Lead Liaison to provide transparency in cross-platform marketing efforts can make more difference than you think. Not only does the right marketing automation company save money – it can repair a spotty relationship between departments.
Visit Lead Liaison today to find out how transparent your marketing efforts can be!
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Even in today’s competitive B2B environment, there are still some executives wondering if they should invest in lead nurturing. Let’s take a look at why lead nurturing should be incorporated into your lead management strategy.
Research done in 2012 reveals that nurturing leads increases sales opportunities 20% over non-nurtured leads. Another 2012 study shows that an effective lead nurturing strategy can:
Increase sales-ready leads by at least 50%
Reduce cost per lead by an average of 33%
Lower ignored or discarded leads from 80% to as low as 25%
Increase sales quota achievement by 9%
Reduce “no decisions” by 6%
So operational returns can be improved significantly, but what about financial returns?
There are several options when calculating a return on your lead nurturing investment. As an example, let’s use the number of leads converting from a prospect status to sales-ready lead in the sales funnel, with and without nurturing. Using a database of 1,000 existing leads, let’s assume a non-nurtured conversion rate of 5% – or 50 sales-ready leads. Next, estimate a reasonable increase in conversion from lead nurturing activities of 2.5x the existing conversion rate (Industry analysts suggest using an average increase of 2.0-3.0 times non-nurtured leads). Then multiply the non-nurtured conversions (50) by the nurturing conversion rate (2.5), which results in 125. This is an increase of 75 sales-ready leads.
Now, if you’re monthly marketing budget is $10,000, with 10% devoted to lead nurturing, you’ll spend $1,000 for lead nurturing activities. Divide that amount by the total new sales-ready leads (1000/125); this will give you an average cost per lead of $8.
If your average sales amount is $50 per close then your cost per lead is 16% of sales. Not a bad return.
Compare that result to the cost per lead without nurturing. If your budget is $10,000 to convert 50 sales-ready leads, then the cost per lead would be $20.00. By nurturing leads toward a sales engagement, your total cost per lead decreases by 60%!
By incorporating Lead Liaison’s proven lead nurturing strategies, you can boost your marketing results and decrease your cost per lead. Find out how – contact a Lead Liaison representative today!
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We’re doing many presentations with new prospects these days. One of the most challenging terms for many of them to grasp is the concept of closed loop marketing automation. The idea of a “closed-loop” is especially confusing for companies using email marketing as their primary (and usually only) marketing solution. Traditional email marketing solutions do not give companies and their sales and marketing team a deep level of insight into prospect activity. Consequently, sales people only see present activity and have no way of closing the loop on prospect’s other activities.
Closed-loop marketing automation is the process of identifying a prospect’s, customer’s, competitor’s or partner’s past, present and future engagement with your brand and tying that activity to the first step (lead source) and last step (revenue) in your revenue cycle. Past activity could be anonymous website visits, present activity could be real-time lead scanning to identify who’s on your website and what they’re interested in and future activity could be future website visits. Once a lead converts (changes from unknown/anonymous to known – we have a name) closed-loop marketing automation can associate past, present and future activity with the known person.
Let’s look at a simple example of Tom who is an IT manager at Microsoft. Suppose Tom is interested in finding IT solutions for Microsoft’s IT network and begins his research online – where most B2B buyers start. Let’s also assume your company’s name is IT ‘R US and you’re selling IT solutions and using Lead Liaison for your closed-loop marketing automation system.
1. Tom types “Intel Hyper Thread Servers” into a Google search and sees a Google PPC ad for “IT Solutions” from IT ‘R US. He clicks on the link. Lead Liaison automatically tracks the Lead Source as PPC, adds the prospect to the “November Marketing” Program and “Google PPC – IT Solutions” Campaign and tracks the keywords Tom used to find the Google PPC listing. 2. Tom clicks four pages during the same visit then moves on to his next search. He never fills out a web form. Lead Liaison automatically tracks Tom’s pages viewed, how long Tom spent on the site, his status (online/offline/chatting/exact page he’s viewing) in real-time and much more. 3. Tom comes back six days later and visits IT ‘R US’ website again. This time he views five pages and finds an article named “Are Your IT Solutions Up to Snuff?” The article leads Tom to a landing page where he downloads a checklist document. Tom fills out the short form to get the document. Lead Liaison knows the same visitor six days ago was Tom and associates his present visit with his past visit to compile a holistic view of Tom’s interest. As an added benefit – Lead Liaison allowed IT ‘R US to visually build the web form and landing page in less than 60 seconds by dragging/dropping items. Lead Liaison’s tracking technology changes Tom’s name from “Anonymous” to “Tom Sanders”. All other form field information such as company name, email, etc. is captured, tracked and tied to his profile. 4. Tom is still not ready to speak with a sales person at IT ‘R US yet so he waits five more days and visits IT ‘R US’ website one more time. Once again, Lead Liaison tracks this activity (future activity) and associates it with Tom’s profile. 5. When Tom finally reaches out to IT ‘R US the IT ‘R US sales person will have lots of information on Tom before they speak. The sales person will know what Tom was looking for (search words – “Intel Hyper Thread Servers”), what interests Tom (pages viewed), what documents Tom has (landing pages and forms submitted) and now understands how Tom engaged with IT ‘R US. Marketing also benefits by being able to measure the impact of their contributions (marketing ROI).
Marketing delivered sales a wealth of pre-sales information, sales was more effective in their sales cycle and Lead Liaison’s Revenue Generation Software™ provided organizational efficiency and sales effectiveness. Check back next week and we’ll publish part two of closed-loop marketing automation which will expand on the use case above.
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Making a business case to your management team for Revenue Generation Software is not difficult to do as long as you’ve got the right information in hand. When presenting your business case we suggest sticking to the following outline:
1. Highlight Problem Areas 2. Show ROI 3. Advocate new marketing strategies
Keep your justification brief and be ready to drill down into specifics if asked. Let’s highlight some data points for each of the aforementioned areas to help you strengthen your business case for Revenue Generation Software:
Many B2B marketing authorities have studied the lead management automation (LMA) and/or marketing automation industry. Here are some important facts that expose deficiencies in most B2B companies:
• Only 3-5% of new lead inquiries are “sales-ready” • 70-80% of the other inquiries are latent demand that will buy within 2 years, but are typically lost, ignored or discarded by sales • 73% of companies have no process for revisiting leads leaving databases to become “stale” • 80% of marketers send unqualified leads on to sales • 90% of marketing deliverables are not used by sales • 90% of website visitors don’t identify themselves • 87 out of 100 deals are left behind by sales • It takes 7 to 9 proactive communications to gain a B2B decision-makers attention • 30% of sales reps turnover each year, 7 months to ramp up
Consider the points above and assess whether or not your company faces these challenges.
Best-in-class sales and marketing teams generate 4x more closed deals than average teams using the same pool of leads. Closing 4X more deals will surely be an eye-opener for any manager or executive. In addition to a hard-ROI it’s important to highlight the soft-ROI. In other words, how else will revenue generation software positively influence your organization’s people, products and process?
ROI for Marketers
• Gigantic productivity boost for marketing. Marketers no longer have to run campaigns manually; they can automate them and schedule them in advance. Marketers can create more campaigns with fewer resources while delivering more, higher qualified leads to their sales team. Finally, marketing can respond more quickly and push out new campaigns at a rapid pace with drag/drop tools that simplify campaign creation without having to lean on IT for support. • Marketers will keep their business one step ahead of their competition and claim the majority of a prospects mind-share using state-of-the-art technology that intelligently automates and improves processes. Leave no lead left behind and distance your company from its competitors. • Marketers will get more out of their campaigns. Revenue Generation Software allows marketers to better track and measure metrics that help them tweak and tune performance of marketing campaigns. Campaign response rates usually double when Revenue Generation Software is used to drive campaigns.
Marketers aren’t the only people that directly benefit from using Revenue Generation Software. Sales people reap reward as well. Here are some highlights of how Revenue Generation Software will help your sales team:
ROI for Sales
• Sales people will get more information about their leads. Sales will better understand a prospect’s interest, past behaviors and overall interaction with your company. • Sales will receive more qualified leads. Revenue Generation Software uses automated technology to qualify leads using company-specific criteria that’s unique to your business. • Like marketing, sales will also see a gigantic productivity boost. Instead of getting a pile of business cards, an excel spreadsheet or CRM view of a bunch of “leads” from marketing (what sales people would call “contacts”), sales gets quick access to prioritized leads sorted by qualification criteria. Additionally, sales people get real-time alerts when their favorite lead or company visits your website.
Sales and marketing will benefit individually and especially as a whole. It’s not uncommon for sales and marketing teams to be disconnected and think independently. Unfortunately, prospects and customers suffer from disparate sales and marketing processes as communication breaks down. Through the implementation of Revenue Generation Software sales and marketers will naturally become more aligned. Your sales and marketing teams will experience:
ROI for Sales and Marketing Teams Together
• A common view of the company’s revenue cycle. A revenue cycle is a combination of a marketing funnel with the sales funnel. As B2B buyers change, marketing is able to make greater contributions to company revenue garnering closer alignment between organizations. • Improved marketing and sales productivity along with stronger top line growth. • A collective understanding of how to improve marketing campaigns, track leads, measure results, improve data quality and nurture leads through the funnel.
New Marketing Strategies
While making the business case for Revenue Generation Software it’s important to highlight how the software will help you hit your current goals give to you by your manager. It’s equally important to highlight what marketing automation will add to your marketing bag of tricks. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
• Lead nurturing which increases communication with contacts in your database by sending them timely and relevant information to build relationships and progress them through your funnel. • Monitoring website behavior which keeps a digital trail of information as prospects fill out forms, visit web pages, use keywords to search for your business and make return visits. • Lead qualification using lead scoring to assign numerical values to leads that meet your qualification criteria helping to prioritize who is hot and who is not. • Improved content creation strategies with the use of WYSIWYG editors and templates to build marketing emails. Also, drag/drop tools to build web forms and landing pages. These marketing tools are easy to use and don’t require additional 3rd party resources or IT – which saves companies money.
Building a Hard ROI
The below information is helpful when building a “soft” ROI to support a “hard” ROI (financials). Want to go a step further and build a hard ROI demonstrating financial return? We’ve got lots of experience doing just that! Contact us if you’d like a copy of our model and formulas which will help you build your business case for revenue generation software.
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Organizations 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.
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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