Our world is run by numbers. We don’t always see them, though. In fact, we rarely ever see them, but they’re there. They run our business. Power our homes. Our professional lives are inundated with finding a way to make the numbers green and the percentages high. And those are just the big picture numbers. What about the smaller ones? The metrics. How much attention are you paying to what your customers, online audience, and even your business performance are telling you? I want to look at some of the key measures of your digital marketing, specifically from a B2B (business to business) standpoint. This article is meant for laundry owners who are tapping into commercial business and distributors and manufacturers of laundry equipment. I think you’ll find your numbers can be healthier, and I hope to show you some ways you can accomplish that.
What are we looking for? Before we dig too deep into some of the actual meat of this, I think you should understand the fundamentals of the questions you should answer first. The metrics you’re looking for will act as an overall diagnostic and assess your readiness as a business to grow into new territory. It’s also a measurement of your ability to tackle the deeper issues involved with online marketing. Despite businesses keeping track of their revenue and creating strict budgets, there is still a small percentage of people who believe their companies are actually data-driven. That means the majority of B2B players are making decisions without enough data. You see how vital this is for gaining an edge, I hope. So here are some of the questions you need to be able to answer:
1. Are our current marketing investments affecting sales, our pipeline, or overall revenue?
2. How many of our customers come to us via marketing?
3. Can we attribute revenue to leads coming from our marketing?
4. Overall, what is our ROI?
5. What does it cost us to acquire a customer?
The list could go on for miles. My point is that knowing what’s working and what’s not – especially regarding ROI and customer acquisition – is vital to understand how healthy your marketing efforts are. More simply, if you don’t know what to look for, you’ll miss it – even if it’s right in front of you. To help keep you on track, I want to give you a window into the important metrics to look for that help prove marketing effectiveness and bolster revenue.
1. ROI – Proving and Improving
Growth is a constant that all businesses desire, and all metrics should be designed to help you make strategic and data-backed decisions. As a business owner, when you’re looking for growth from a marketing perspective it means less emphasis on softer metrics like click rates, page views, or social shares, and more focus on driving revenue and profit. That means without the right guidelines, it’s difficult for you as a business owner to know where to look for an accurate measure of growth. You’re not alone there either, as according to HubSpot this is a real difficulty even among veteran marketers. And, if veteran marketers are having a hard time, there’s a good chance that a business with a limited sales and marketing platform is having an even worse time. What then can you do? The answer is pretty simple: Set rigid but generous goals for both your investment in marketing and the outcomes you expect. This will help you figure out which moves make the most sense and streamline the avenues through which you’re trying to track ROI. For example, if you know how your retargeting ad campaigns are performing without the added clutter of a widespread Google AdWords campaign, you’ll have a clearer picture of your ROI. Less clutter from separate audiences means more clarity and greater focus. It’s a simple trick, but it pays off.
2. Sales and Marketing Alignment
The next number you should look at has to do with how aligned your sales and marketing efforts are. Whether you’re a small team or a one-man show, aligning your sales and marketing can help you optimize your revenue and cut down on low-quality leads. In the marketing world, we always like to know the outcome of the leads we generate. But would you believe that almost 24 percent of marketers don’t actually know the outcome of their work? That’s crazy. Especially when you consider that recent changes in how marketing is accomplished, namely being in the “Age of the Customer,” almost two-thirds of the sales process falls under the “marketing” umbrella. So how important is it that your sales and marketing are on the same page? Very. Marketing is a constant process of refining leads into sales-qualified leads. If your marketing is failing to find high-quality leads, then your sales process is bleeding precious time into a repetitive stream of dead-end leads. Syncing your marketing and sales will help you refine your approach online and provide a path toward growth. Otherwise, there will never be an improvement unless by accident. Develop a system that allows you to score marketing leads after the sales process and create an active feedback loop. By using sales feedback to improve your marketing, you’ll be able to allocate your budgets toward growth.
3. Laying Out Your Content Strategy
The Content Marketing Institute reports that only 32 percent of B2B organizations have a content strategy laid out. On top of that, just 41 percent claim to have a good idea of what success looks like for their content – which means that thousands of content pieces are being created aimlessly. Your content needs a purpose. It requires established goals to accurately measure success. If you simply create content for the sake of having it on your blog, you’re likely doing more harm than good. Create a documented content strategy. And make sure it’s aligned with your audience, not you. From there, you’ll be able to measure the health of your content. You’ll be able to map out when and where to share strategic content. You’ll also be able to measure and attribute bounce rates. Or, on the flip side, the conversions we all want. The key is to rely on data to inform your content decisions, not just guesswork about what you think your audience will like. Without a strategy, you have no accurate gauge of how your content is developing.
4. How is Your Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is still on the lower end of adoption – about 34 percent as of mid-2017. If you haven’t adopted this style of approaching a new business account, it’s a method that your business can use to focus on a single, ideal client. This is in some ways a more specific sales method, and in others more generalized. It’s more specific because you’re not simply casting a wide net and hoping you get a good lead. You’re actively pursuing one account with strategic content and resource allocation. It’s more general because instead of going after just one person in a company (like a CFO or CEO), you’re fishing for the entire organization. You’re aiming to assess all the needs of a business from the top down and then offering a catered solution. The key is customization. You’re providing the right content at the right time and in the right places. Utilizing analytics tools like LinkedIn’s Sales Solution is one way you can accomplish this type of approach. Another method would be relying on targeted emails via segmented mailing lists. However you accomplish it, it’s a measure to start chasing after for growth in the coming years.
5. Don’t Neglect Holes in Your Funnel
To retouch on the content topic from earlier – I believe a big reason why so many companies don’t have a sales and marketing strategy is that they think all content should be at the top of the funnel. That is, the overwhelming attitude toward digital content is that it should help generate leads. I don’t agree with that ideology. I think you can utilize content and other digital marketing tools to aid in conversions in every stage of the marketing funnel. For one, you can only create so many content offers that your audience won’t simply dismiss. If you shift your focus from creating “juicy hooks” to instead create helpful thought leadership, your leads will rely more on your authority moving forward. Clarify what moves your buyers through your sales funnel, then cater your content to it. Knowing the numbers and the why will lead to positive results at every stage. This will patch some of those gaping holes in your funnel where you see drop-offs just before a sale goes final. It will also reduce the amount of churn you see once your sale goes through, which means you’ll be creating customers for life.
The Numbers Aren’t Going Away
And neither are the reasons behind them. As a result, I highly encourage every business to allocate resources with a bent toward understanding their sales and marketing processes. You’ll have an engaged audience, a smoother sales experience, established and helpful content, and provable ROI. All in all, you’ll be able to grow with greater purpose and start seeing more wins in your business. And those are the numbers you want.