Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why marketing isn't about instant gratification

In this day of everything on-demand and instant gratification, marketers need to know building a lead funnel and driving user engagement takes time.  Trying to rush this or taking short cuts will reduce the ability to influence prospects and cut short your conversion rates.  

Don't act like Veruca Salt through your content plan by screaming “I want it now” (“it” being the sale). If you do this your prospects will see you as the “bad egg” and drop you down the trash shoot.

Why you can’t rush the process:
I have seen many marketers that are hyper-focused on getting sales ready leads and thus only producing late stage content.  This strategy is actually making more work for sales and will reduce the impact of your efforts. Here’s why:

-Solution selling doesn't work anymore – We need to focus on benefits to the buyer, not solutions. Solution selling leaves us fighting the competition with price, not value.

-You are jumping in late, the competitors and thought leaders have already had the ability to set the tone and frame of the conversation. Being late to game makes sales job harder as they now have to unset the thought leaders and undo the benefit framework your prospects already established.

-Being product pitchy is very visible to buyers as noted in this blog “why marketing is like being attacked by dogs…” content that is product pitchy will come off as ““me-focused”, your prospect senses weakness. And because he doesn't like that you’re trying to control him, you lose.” 

How do you speed up the process?
As marketers we have goals, often times one of those will be how many SQLs or MQLs (sales or marketing qualified leads) you can pass on. So how do you maximize this, yet not fall into the above trap? Develop a content marketing strategy that has all stages of the buy cycle covered.  You must build trust and rapport with prospects all along the way.  Here are 3 steps to consider for increasing conversion rates:

1 – Sell on Value:
As noted above, content marketing needs to be based on benefits not solutions. Selling on benefits and value will yield significantly larger deals and faster close times (see slide below). Selling on products/solutions is a commodity sell and will devalue your solution and offerings.

2 - Run a content audit to find gaps, and then fill the gaps:
(More on this in a future blog post coming soon!)
Hint - Look at front end of content (what buy stages it hits/content types used) look at back end (conversion rates). Using content with built in calls-to-action that pull users deeper into the cycle is critical. 

3 - Nurture and Score your leads:

Data points in above slide from HubSpot

As noted in the above slide, nurturing and scoring of respondents yields huge impacts

4 - Follow up in a timely manor:
Content is used to push users to the point where they include you on their short list. You need to make sure you are not calling too early, but also not calling too late. Work with sales to create SLA's and processes to identify the best times to call.

Still need to increase late stage leads?

The above tactics should help you build out a long term strategy that will keep your funnel full. However if you are still looking to get some quick hits in the late stages there are options. Consider products that can mix demand generation, behavioral activity analysis and qualification metrics to get quick hits into the funnel. Utilizing the best practices of content marketing overlaid with the behavioral activity, and qualifications will get you the quick hit SQLs (sales qualified leads) you need.

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