Lead Gen Is Not the Finish Line: How Marketing Can Contribute Measurable Lift in Sales Revenue
One of the most fulfilling aspects of a career in demand gen is that you can directly impact revenue generation. It feels incredible to know that the activities you do daily, lead to your company’s success.
But for years now, marketers have been told that once a lead is converted to an opportunity, “hands off” by the sales team. In turn, marketers often have a narrow view into how to help drive sales lift or a false sense of limited accountability. Too often they think, “we hit our MQL goals so we did our part” or “closing pipeline is sales’ job,” when confronted with missed revenue goals.
But that’s changing. With the current hyper focus on account based marketing (ABM), lowering cost per acquisition (CPA) and increasingly complex sales cycles, just to name a few, it’s incumbent for marketing to take co-ownership of revenue goals.
As a marketing executive, you can either scoff at this notion and risk being ineffective or embrace it for all the opportunity it provides and be a hero for your sales team.
In demand generation, I have all the analytics tools at my disposal. I can see in real-time the value I’m bringing to the table. But, how does a creative manager, field marketing coordinator, graphic designer or product marketing manager understand their contributions?
There are so many other facets of marketing that have a direct impact on revenue, you just need to know what’s out there to help.
Much of a product marketer’s time is spent focusing on messaging and positioning, and delivering it through various content channels like website, digital ad copy and sales collateral - to name a few.
Techniques and solutions product marketers can use to drive more lift:
- Sales content analytics and buyer engagement – use sales asset management solutions that can track sales content usage, as well as how it resonates with buyers. These platforms have sophisticated reports that identify the most popular collateral used, most effective file formats and track how long prospects view shared content, down to the millisecond. In turn, you can spend more efforts on creating collateral that works, and disregard the rest. Not to mention, you’ll reduce the number of one-off requests you get from the sales team.
- A/B testing messaging effectiveness – be sure to ask digital marketing teams to test messaging in search and native ads, on product website pages and campaign landing pages. Much of which can be facilitated through tools like Google Analytics or Optimizly. Sounds like a no-brainer but I’m often surprised how product marketers don’t integrally insert themselves into campaign management, or at least ask for insights as to what is truly resonating with prospects. Don’t let assumptions about industry- or persona-based messaging go unchecked!
Similarly, the design team produces an abundance of content in slide decks, collateral, websites and landing pages. Often, there isn’t a direct feedback loop from the rest of the marketing team as to which campaign creatives, imagery or layouts are driving more brand recognition or lead conversations.
Here are some ways to change that:
- Whether through programmatic advertising or traditional media buyer relationships, the creative team can ask for sample testing during campaign launches. Ask for straight forward A/B test splitting, using only one variable – two different creatives. Upon running statistically significant tests, you can determine which ad gets more clicks, which videos have better view-through rates and so on. Furthermore, you can run inhouse tests on website navigation and landing page imagery effectiveness. Mouseflow and Usertesting.com are great tools for identifying how buyers ACTUALLY interact with your web assets vs. how you THINK they do or will.
- There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it comes to developing sales presentations. “Add this stock photo,” “Use this graphic on this slide” or “Add bullets to this section” are common commands from well-meaning stakeholders. Again, opinions, no matter how steeped in experience they are, are not as useful as facts. With presentation management software solutions, such as Accent Present or Shufflrr creative directors can see which slides have the most impact with buyers and how they interact with them. Additionally, they can create master decks in which slides can be used in different presentations and updated universally when changes have been made.
Supporting sales teams in the field requires a lot of planning and coordination. From exhibiting at large industry tradeshows to running intimate company events, field marketers put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their marketing programs. Unfortunately, most of these events are offline which makes tracking their impact difficult. Field marketers are also often myopically focused generating leads without realizing how they can make an impact in later stages of the sales cycle.
Consider these thoughts:
- Attribution reporting in field marketing is a nightmare, and CRMs don’t make it easy due to antiquated reporting. This means a lot of budget spent on events is usually based on hunches from sales leaders or best-guess outcome reporting. Using a solution like Full Circle will analyze data from various campaigns and events to determine which are actually producing leads, quality opportunities and ultimately, wins. Imagine knowing definitively if a costly event is not worth it and reallocate budget to more fruitful ones.
- Direct mail is a go-to field marketing tactic for generating brand awareness and qualified leads. But don’t limit using this tactic at the beginning of the sales cycle. Working with sales teams, field marketers can identify late-stage opportunities that might benefit from “good-will” gifts. Sending a thoughtful direct mailer or gift to opportunities in negotiating or contract stages can set you apart from competition. It shows that you want their business and will tend to them as customers post-sale.
Collectively or on their own, these tactics can help drive more effective marketing programs and efficient budget allocation, resulting in measurable lift in revenue. Regardless of your role in marketing, it’s imperative that you understand how your contributions can directly affect the success of the company.