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Integrated marketing and sales: the road to revenue generation

Integrated marketing and sales: the road to revenue generation

Marketing and sales teams have traditionally fought different battles on different B2B battlefields, rarely analysing each others’ objectives or taking into consideration each others’ strategies.

While unhelpful, in traditional marketing and sales organisations this didn’t really impede business performance, but it didn’t improve it either, and it seems it didn’t really matter, because the true disadvantage to an enterprise was almost invisible. That is, until now.

Increasingly competitive markets

The issue is now that as markets have increased in size, and as consumption has grown in B2B markets, so has the level of supply and the number of enterprises competing for the same business.

This means that however you look at it – from a marketing or sales perspective – gaining and maintaining market share has become ever-more challenging. And market analysis with demographic projections indicate exponential growth in market competition.

Refocusing revenue generation

Given this rapid growth in competition in B2B markets, marketing and sales teams need to bring together and redirect their firepower in a more cohesive way, building an integrated marketing and sales system designed to turn contacts into qualified leads and cialis finally, to customers.

To achieve this is a massive cultural shift, and to make it happen, marketing and sales departments need to do some reciprocal navel-gazing in order to understand why their end-goals are the same – revenue generation – but their approaches are so different:

  • Marketing team project development is often long-term, and will typically include continuing brand development; in enterprises where digital marketing systems are well established the generation of qualified marketing leads is common, and often managed using marketing automation (MA) systems. Marketers work with both historical analysis and metrics with market projections to focus on increasing brand recognition, while scoring and nurturing leads for the long haul market growth using MA technologies.
  • Sales teams work in the here and now, and with greater immediacy as they work to meet monthly or quarterly key performance indicators (KPIs). Within this, individual salespeople will also seek opportunities to help solve a prospect’s equipment, supply or service issues to add the personal touch to their service that may tip the balance to a sale.
  • The disconnect is that the marketing team cannot see any of this sales activity, and none of the ongoing marketing activity is visible to sales people, so there is no cohesion. And if there was to be cohesion, it would require technology as well as cultural transition.

Strategy versus tactics

The traditional sales funnel process assumes a large number of contacts are filtered down into leads, then down to prospects, and cialis finally down to customers. But if this is the case in a traditional marketing and sales strategy, it is sub-optimal for two reasons:

Reason #1

Today, B2B customers have a tendency to educate themselves online before they consider purchase options and vendors, by making a close initial evaluation of products and services.

Reason #2

If this is the case, following a traditional marketing and sales approach means marketing remains in one silo and sales in another, in a market where now both teams need to work together to deliver the personalised communications prospects now expect.

Linear sales funnel optimisation

So what is now needed is a delineated, integrated marketing and sales strategy within an enterprise’s revenue generation organisational structure, offering a flat, linear organisation designed to play to, and deliver on, both marketing and sales team strengths.


Source: Marketo, Inc.

This delineated, integrated strategy means that at the top of the sales funnel the marketing team creates strong brand awareness and through continued MA activity, ensures your audience engages with your brand and as the relationship develops start to feel they can trust you.

Sales pick up the marketing baton

As this MA relationship management develops and is tracked, monitored and lead-scored, so there comes the optimum point at the middle of the sales funnel where the sales team needs to take the communications baton, and pick up the phone to this now engaged contact.

This is because the engaged individual, while interacting with your enterprise – and being lead-scored as such – may now either need to be moved along the sales funnel as a sales lead, or recycled further back up the funnel as a target for further nurturing.

Marketing Automation leads to human judgement

So, the sales team have now decided which sales leads move forward towards the bottom of the funnel, and which engaged individuals need to be recycled back for more nurturing by the marketing team, dependent on lead-score.

The sales team is also now responsible for converting the acquired sales leads into satisfied and loyal customers who are also ready to buy again at the next sales opportunity.

Optimisation through reciprocation

This is integrated marketing and sales: marketing delivered engaged, brand-aware prospects, and sales converted these individuals to customers at the optimum point in the sales funnel.

At this critical point in the sales funnel where the sales team has the option to recycle engaged individuals that are not ready to buy, so it is important that marketing has provided good enough sales leads for the sales team to deliver significant sales revenue performance.

Defining concrete definitions

Working out and aligning business language will be the single most critical element in integrating marketing and sales team thinking and the aligning to the primary business objective: revenue generation.

Aligning both marketing and sales teams to the same revenue goal is a critical first step in the journey, but the strategy for getting there needs to be defined by both teams to clarify three key elements of the matrix:

01. Lead scoring

Lead scoring is a system used in MA for ranking leads to establish their sales-readiness. Leads are scored based on the interest they have shown in your products and services, their current place in the buying cycle, and their fit with regard to your business. It helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or recycled back up the sales funnel and developed with further nurturing.

Lead scoring is critical in optimising revenue generation performance and your revenue cycle, and will deliver highly effective results if marketing and sales work together to define lead-scoring parameters.

02. Lead Generation definitions

A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a prospect that the marketing team has worked with, possibly using MA, and has lead-scored as a potential buyer. A Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) is a lead that the sales team is committed to seeking to convert, and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a prospect that the sales team thinks is ready or almost ready to buy.

When both teams agree what specifically qualifies as an MQL, SAL or SQL, they will then have the understanding, culture and cohesive approach that will deliver greater business efficiency and revenue generation performance.

03. Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs between marketing and sales teams need to be fully understood by both teams at each phase of the revenue cycle. For example, when marketing pass an MQL to the sales team, they will need to know how long the sales team will take as a maximum to make contact with that individual.

Conversely, if the sales team recycles a lead back further up the sales funnel, how long will it take the marketing team to respond, and what would be the next action?

Fast-track IMS

This process of changing business culture, integrating marketing and sales operations, creating a clear understanding of interdepartmental terminology and respective KPIs will rapidly evolve a culture of revenue generation rather that simplistic marketing and sales activity.

To get there does require specialist help and associated cost from a digital agency with expertise in MA systems such as Marketo or Hubspot, and customer relationship management (CRM) platform experience with Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics.

But if you select the right agency, their team will be able to calculate this expenditure in time and money and determine timeframes to return on investment (ROI), meaning before you take the leap, you’ll know exactly where you’re going to land.

Working out and aligning business language will be the single most critical element in integrating marketing and sales team thinking and the aligning to the primary business objective: revenue generation.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Business to person marketing in the business to business space: does it work?

Business to person marketing in the business to business space: does it work?

The business to business (B2B) marketing community often claims that it’s a harder market to work than the business to consumer (B2C) space. Personally, I’ve never quite bought into this point of view, because in both cases there’s a common denominator: humanity.

That is to say, whether you’re communicating with a B2B or B2C audience, they’re all human beings and I’m sure would like to be treated that way. And if you follow the smart money, I think you’ll find the B2B focus is now on a very personalised business to person (B2P) approach.

The B2C-B2B crossover

If you look at the more advanced B2C digital marketing models, they have evolved to focus on their target audiences in a much more personalised way, because prospects and customers now don’t just hope for service with transparency, they expect it from brands.

And this B2B audience aren’t simply B2B prospects, because in their leisure time they are also B2C consumers who are used to being treated as valued, known customers whose wants and needs are understood and catered for in every B2C communication they receive. That’s B2P.

B2P and personalisation: how does it work?

B2P marketers spend a lot of time creating a clear profile of their prospects and customers (buyer personas) and developing websites with highly structured analytics systems, designed to report precisely what these personas search for and look at when they visit.

This process continually builds on and modifies these personas so that they always reflect the very latest prospect buying trends and behaviours so that all email communications, website landing pages and all other prospect communications are hyper-personalised.

This is what B2C customers get through B2P, so why can’t B2B marketing deliver this to customers too?

B2P: how can it work in the B2B space?

OK, so B2B marketers are not selling shampoo and at least if they are, it will be in industrial quantities. But does that mean B2B marketing has to be equally industrial, non-personalised and detached from B2B prospect and customer needs?

It doesn’t. By using the same techniques B2C marketers use to build buyer personas and website development processes to deliver accurate analytical data, B2B marketers can achieve the same level of marketing and sales success B2C marketers expect with B2P.

Remember, before they got into work this morning, your B2B target customer was actually a B2C consumer, being treated like a human being, probably through B2P, on a sophisticated B2C brand website; so to succeed, all you need to do is do the same.

Fast track to success

There’s only one difference that needs careful awareness when taking this B2P route in B2B marketing: you really aren’t selling shampoo, but something that may be of high value and high technology, and may require specialist marketing content to deliver sales using B2P.

But if you have an agile, open-minded digital agency, who truly understand your products, technologies and marketplace, switching channels from slow-burn B2B to fast-track B2P will deliver marketing return on investment (MROI) with loyal, engaged B2B customers, sooner.

This process continually builds on and modifies these personas so that they always reflect the very latest prospect buying trends and behaviours so that all email communications, website landing pages and all other prospect communications are hyper-personalised.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Customer engagement: big data or big ideas?

Customer engagement: big data or big ideas?

Today, marketing automation (MA), pay-per-click (PPC) and Programmatic Advertising (PA) campaigns, along with social advertising all generate huge quantities of performance data, barraging even experienced marketers with mountains of campaign information.

The reality is that while some of this data is extremely useful, a significant amount of it is extraneous to campaign performance and if used as a basis in strategic campaign development, may easily derail your marketing objectives, through distraction.

Derailed by data?

In the hands of inexperienced digital marketers, data seems to offer myriad insights into target market prospect and customer behaviour, thereby casting an almost magical light on strategic options in future marketing campaigns.

But campaign performance data is almost completely misleading and irrelevant unless it is highly focused, and has been specifically added to the performance metrics to deliver highly specific information.

Keeping it simple

For example, data needs to be drawn from, and laid against, precise campaign touch-points – such as the performance of a specific call-to-action touch-point along the buyer journey – and therefore allowing data to deliver specifically on one simple metric.

When these simple call-to-action metrics are examined sequentially against other touch-points in the buyer journey, data will form a clear picture of campaign development and hopefully indicate greater visitor engagement as prospects become increasingly engaged with the campaign.

Less is more

This simple example metric – increasing prospect and customer call-to-action engagement along the buyer journey – will be critical in the future development of the live campaign as it illustrates precise campaign impacts at highly specific points of contact.

What this process does is reduce the blizzard of information data delivers to a level where it provides manageable, meaningful information to enhance the performance of live campaigns, while providing information on which to develop a strategic framework to future campaigns.

Strategy through data analysis

This is where big data can start to build big ideas, allowing you to use what you know from selected, highly specific areas of data to create and continually enhance live and future campaign development as you analyse data in real time.

And what this means in live campaigns is that because you are now working with highly specific and simplified metrics on live campaigns, this can be done in real time, allowing for your communications to be shifted dynamically, keeping you ahead of your competitors.

Agility is key to success

What achieving success through data really means is the careful, pragmatic selection of precisely what you need to know from a campaign to make it resonate closely and engage more effectively with your target buyers.

This means data – or information – is restricted to precisely what is required to build and nurture prospect relationships and keep them moving through the sales funnel. In other words, stay focussed on your objectives, and don’t get blinded by the data blizzard.

In the hands of inexperienced digital marketers, data seems to offer myriad insights into target market prospect and customer behaviour, thereby casting an almost magical light on strategic options in future marketing campaigns.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Multi-language B2B market development: beyond words

Multi-language B2B market development: beyond words

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest economy, towering over the US, China and India respectively by quite a long way, and its growing commercial integration makes it a great and highly accessible marketplace.

But by US standards, the EU is the new kid on the Federal block, emerging in the 1950s and over 160 years later than our American cousins. So there’s a long way to go to reach US levels of integration in commerce and governance, and even further to go in unifying business culture.

24 languages, one B2B market

And while the most widely spoken language in the EU is English, which is understood by 51% of adults, there are 24 official EU languages, but in practice only two – English and French – are in wide general use.

But unlike our closest rival in the super-economy league table – the US – where there are just two languages, with the most widely used being American English and Spanish the second most common language, spoken by approximately 35 million people, the EU presents some unique complexities.

Not just lost in translation

At first sight, it may seem that translating your website into some or all 24 languages may ensure deeper federal market penetration, but the reality is that language itself is just one barrier to these markets.

The other issue – and an equally significant one – is business culture. In short, what will engage and persuade in one regional business culture will not necessarily deliver the same market penetration and performance in another.

In-depth research is key

What this means is in order to communicate effectively with EU B2B target markets, a clear understanding of the business culture is key. And that covers everything from how products are sourced, selected and purchased, to how they are utilised locally.

When this is understood, then developing a close understanding of effective in-region marketing strategies, and how these may be applied needs careful consideration and implementation. Here, in-depth market research will save a lot of time and money.

Streamlined regional prioritisation

This in-depth market research will give you a clear insight into your target EU markets, and there will be considerable differences in both strategic approach and communications campaign format, which could, in theory mean 24 versions of the same communication.

The simple fact is that this would become prohibitively time consuming and expensive very quickly, so from this research needs to come some detailed strategic market analysis, including phased prioritisation of the most lucrative regions.

Re-interpretation rather than translation

With this phased regional prioritisation in place and using your regional market research, you can now start to assess communications for the selected regions, and while the initial communications should be developed in English, this will need to be re-interpreted rather than translated for in-region use.

Content development in English – the most common EU language – is important as it allows each translator to work from a common text in a language he or she will most likely be fully fluent with. And content re-interpretation rather than translation also offers other communications opportunities.

It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it

Content re-interpretation allows local, in-region translators to interpret marketing communications in way that resonates with the local market, channelling and guiding prospects and customers, and fully optimising engagement in all local markets.

This re-interpretation means that using the central core messages and brand values developed in the English language version content can be precisely targeted to maximise market impact and penetration in specific regions.

Multi-language SEO

Local language search engine optimisation (SEO) will be critical to optimising regional website visibility and therefore should be implemented as a part of the local content re-interpretation programme.

This process will call heavily on the re-interpreted content which, if developed properly, will contain all relevant phrasing in the on-page content, and this can be very simply applied to metadata.

Lucrative and diverse markets

When entering lucrative but highly diverse markets like the EU, guidance from a digital marketing agency with not only local but pan-European experience is essential.

Formulating a strategic EU market development plan and partnering with an experienced agency in prospective high value markets such as Europe offers great potential for solid long-term business growth.

At first sight, it may seem that translating your website into some or all 24 languages may ensure deeper federal market penetration, but the reality is that language itself is just one barrier to these markets.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

SEO – search engine optimisation – has been a constantly evolving search return performance methodology which is generally implemented as part of website content strategy and development to optimise website visibility.

Put simply, key words, then key phrases, then content structure, and now incoming links and social media association have all played their role over time in gaining and maintaining buoyant website search rankings and site visibility.

Is B2B SEO still relevant?

The simple answer is yes, and to ensure effective website visibility in the crowded markets of today, your search terms need to be absolutely current, relevant and mainstream, even with specialist B2B audiences, who may be searching highly specific products or services.

And, given the potentially highly focused nature of B2B SEO on-page language, it is wise to get help from your digital agency if they have SEO expertise, as at the very basic level search terms will need careful research and review ahead of any on-page content development.

But is SEO really the end of the website visibility story? In my opinion, no it isn’t.

Can you drive traffic in inbound marketing?

While the smart digital marketing money is on inbound marketing, with searchers discovering you, your brand values and sincere approach to customer support, you still need visibility to make all this happen.

Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, you won’t exist unless your SEO on your website is absolutely stellar.

What this means is that – counterintuitive as it may seem – certain forms of Internet advertising are critical in optimising SEO effectiveness as it also drives inbound traffic, allowing your site to offer links to other useful information, both internally and externally, and attract more inbound linking from visitors.

You need to get out more

This internal and external linking is very effective in SEO and the more traffic that can be driven through this route, the greater improvement and effectiveness there will be in your website SEO and search visibility. Traffic is very important in the SEO equation.

But for visibility it’s win-win, because as well as increasing search rankings, you’re also visible through the advertising itself, and this visibility can be further optimised on multiple levels by selecting other relevant marketing channels.

Optimised inbound marketing

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

And to further turbo-charge SEO, other relevant channels can be employed, such as – but not necessarily exclusively – pay per click (PPC) and retargeting are just two examples.

Success means joined up thinking

But, as with everything, there is of course a health warning , for good sleep buy ambien online . Because, while there is no doubt that SEO can be driven very powerfully through the resultant effects of such channels as PPC and retargeting, you need a very robust, coherent and cohesive marketing communications strategy to deliver it.

So, this methodology needs to be planned and implemented carefully across selected channels with a high level of marketing agility and dexterity to join outbound, inbound and SEO dots.

If you take this route as part of a compelling, engaging and cohesive marketing campaign, you will have developed very powerful brand awareness with a top brand, product or service visibility.

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Multi-website management: how to maximise Internet revenue and profitability

Multi-website management: how to maximise Internet revenue and profitability

Multiple, multi-brand or product-dedicated websites can offer a greater Internet presence than single sites, and it can be argued that discrete websites linked as multisite entities offer greater flexibility, clarity and focus.

Often, these multisite groups have evolved through different global locations and administrative and marketing centres over periods of time and as such, often do not correlate content or offer navigation to synergistic inter-company products and services.

Website complexity reduces revenue

The main – and critical business development – issue with multisites that do not navigate or even indicate the possible presence of other group websites, is that visitors tend to move away from them when they do not offer a complete range of brands, products or services.

Visitors do this believing your extended brands, product ranges or services are unavailable or non-existent as they are not visible, losing you a potential customer while handing the commercial advantage to your competitors.

Controlling multisite management reduces deficits

This continuous loss of revenue is often invisible because it doesn’t fit within conventional financial metrics, even though it can amount to a large financial deficit, and can be compounded by possible continual erosion of commercial positioning.

In most cases, while the misalignments in multisite development may be apparent to an enterprise’s leadership, the actual financial obstacles may only be visible at first sight.

The business case for change

This means there is little or no business case for multisite audit and commercial remediation – accept among visionary and far sighted marketing management.

Calling these issues out, carrying out a proficient web audit and indicating financial improvements is generally welcomed by senior management, and savings are normally ploughed straight back into marketing budgets.

Multisite audit and performance review

But before you commission a review of your enterprise’s multiple websites, take a look at the website structure and what links to where. Most of this will be common sense, so if it all links up and works seamlessly, and you can navigate across all of your web presences there is no issue.

If however you know there are significant disconnects, or you discover that areas of your multisite presence are standalone and disconnected, then you will need to have a competent and specialist digital marketing agency conduct a thorough audit and review.

Creating company-wide opportunities

Working with a competent digital agency, this process will uncover all potential deficiencies in your enterprise’s multisite architecture and point to all the roadblocks to inter-website navigation, and through this, financial improvements can be planned.

But be sure your agency provides you with a clear hierarchical infographic for both current and future state structures as you will need this to communicate the performance benefits of this work to other sections within your enterprise, both locally and in-region.

This is because these changes in web hierarchy will offer a great opportunity for commercial development between different areas of your business and if shared and discussed, it will at the very least allow for cross- and up-selling across brands, products and services.

Building multisite value

And if this review is conducted with a specialist agency, not only will a new and efficient web hierarchy be proposed but as part of this, projected sales revenue uplift can be calculated and predicted.

So, from the outset, make sure that the digital agency specialists you are talking to are not going to deliver a formulaic approach and they’re confident enough to tell you what you need to know to improve sales, rather than telling you what they think you want to hear.

Be sure also that they have ISO 9001 certification for digital marketing quality management, giving you in turn the confidence to trust in the proposal and solutions you are offered in this quest to optimise website performance and maximise revenue generation.

Visitors do this believing your extended brands, product ranges or services are unavailable or non-existent as they are not visible, losing you a potential customer while handing the commercial advantage to your competitors.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom