February 2, 2016: Last month, I presented our online marketing capabilities to a set of decision makers interested in working with us. They were skeptical of the impact SEO and content marketing could have on actual lead generation, and ultimately sales performance.
I understand their skepticism.
Sure, we [KoMarketing] have a bias in believing SEO, content marketing, or “inbound marketing” (as they called it), are critical aspects in B2B marketing programs and sales enablement.
While I do believe we do a better than average job demonstrating performance measurement for our online marketing programs, we can only go as far as our clients let us, in terms of information access and capability.
As I explained to this prospect, this leads to the one critical component required in demonstrating the true sales ROI of our online marketing programs.
The One Critical Requirement: ONGOING communication between sales AND marketing.
We don’t have a problem showing client success stories that illustrate the impact our implemented tactics have on traffic growth, keyword performance, and lead generation.
Being able to illustrate performance all the way to quoted sales opportunities (won or lost) is completely different.
It is, however, possible.
That said, if we don’t have the help of organizational leadership, sales management, or both, we won’t have visibility into the quality of leads received.
As such, if marketing and sales are not communicating regularly on lead quality, it makes demonstrating complete marketing ROI nearly impossible.
3 Steps For Enabling Marketing/Sales Communication
So how can marketing and sales work more closely to improve lead quality and track performance from form submission to closed sales?
Here are three important steps in the process.
- Document the Sales Funnel – Discuss and create a documented workflow for what happens when form submissions are completed on the website, when it is appropriate to forward directly to sales, or when marketing should remain in possession to further nurture opportunities (i.e., set up lead scoring).
- Define & Track Conversions – Regardless of whether your organization uses goal tracking in Google Analytics or conversion metrics in comparable reporting platforms, make sure some form of conversion tracking is in place. This is essential for evaluating performance by acquisition channel and creating a signal for following up with sales personnel.
- Set Up Regular Meetings & Discussions – While adding another meeting to everyone’s already busy calendars gets stressful, it’s important to routinely meet and review prospect discussions (based off form submissions), changes in prospect behavior, and feedback on ongoing tactics in lead acquisition.
Technology will only take you so far. While there are marketing platforms and mechanisms that help automate portions of the process, they all require configuration and work behind the scenes to ensure proper connectivity.
Even so, sales and marketing personnel still need to maintain up to date information on sales quotes and closed wins (and losses) within appropriate CRM platform for evaluation purposes.
Can Your Organization Truly Define Marketing ROI?
For our prospect in question, can we connect the dots between the results of our proposed marketing tactics and the impact on sales performance?
Absolutely. But ONLY IF we are given the opportunity to work directly with sales leadership.
For this organization in particular, we would need the following, for measuring marketing ROI:
- Trackable form submissions on their website, in this case measured with Google Analytics goal tracking.
- Documented process for following form submission information to sales communications.
- Regular meetings to review progress and understand lead quality issues and opportunities, in order to refine process ongoing.
With these components in mind, I am confident our team (or any B2B marketing team) would be able to demonstrate whether or not SEO, content marketing, and broader online marketing tactics lead to sales quotes and closed wins.
Hopefully our prospect agrees as well 🙂