POSTED : November 10, 2015
BY : PK

Yep.  That’s right.  It’s time marketing takes a quota. I’m not talking about moving everyone to comp plans.  I’m talking about committing to a quota for delivering marketing qualified, sales-ready leads.  Although it sounds fairly straight forward, the path to modern revenue marketing can be fraught with potholes. Before you can sign up for a quota, you need technology to support you, like marketing automation, and a plan for lead conversion.

Marketing automation is a multi-billion dollar industry and for good reason. Buyers are digitally savvy.  Buyers are in control of how and when they interact with your brand. According to Forrester Research, 75% of buying activity happens before a “hand-raise” meaning they’ve already gone pretty far down their decision-making process before you ever talk to them. Marketing automation platforms like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Hubspot enable you to apply a little more science to the art of prospecting and gives you a direct and measurable way to track how leads convert through your sales cycle. With marketing automation in place, you can scale your exploration efforts to identify in market, high value prospects more easily and with more efficiency. Having a central marketing automation system is fundamental, however, you also need to fuel the engine with content that converts.

According to a study from the CMO Council, marketing departments are spending a lot of money on content, but not getting results. The report says 75% of the marketers surveyed view the number of downloads or registrations as the most important measure of content marketing success. If you are measured on quantity, you might agree but if you are measured on quality, and by quality I mean ability to convert, then this measurement misses the mark on determining content value. The only real measure of content quality is to analyze content impact to lead conversion.

Content is the fuel that feeds the marketing automation engine. You want your content to help drive opportunity. However, content can’t convert to leads until it’s relevant to the audience. It is imperative that you remove the guesswork and any assumptions you have about what your audience wants to hear. Insights from internal sources like your CRM systems, social listening, external data enrichment, and even anecdotal feedback directly from sales can help you uncover preferences and identify indicators so that you can build more relevant content that is focused on what matters most to your target audience.

When you are ready to cast your content out into the unknown, the layered effect of predictive analytics and marketing automation can enable you to more efficiently cull through vast anonymous “suspects” to pinpoint and engage with the prospect most likely to want to talk to you.  Once a prospect engages, lead nurture through marketing automation helps gather behavioral and demographic intel along the way ensuring that with each interaction you are smarter about what content will be most interesting to your prospect ultimately increasing the likelihood of conversion.

For modern marketers this new reality is starting to take shape.

  • Content now drives leads. With lead generation and sales as the two most important goals for content marketing, content is designed to fuel conversion from anonymous to known leads – first to attract, then to nurture prospects along their buyer journey.
  • Sales and Marketing have a common goal. Marketing and Sales are coming together to agree on what elements transform a warm prospect into a sales-ready lead.
  • Marketing Technology has a seat at the investment table. Over a quarter of the annual budget is now spent on content marketing and the technologies that support it specifically in Marketing Automation and Analytics that integrate with existing CRM platforms.

And Marketing now takes a quota. Marketing commits to a quota of qualified leads to affect pipeline and give sales what they need to close more deals.

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