By: Crystal McFerran | CMO, The 20
Originally shared via Forbes
How you run your marketing process determines how it nurtures the rest of your company. Marketing traditionally feeds sales, but it also helps with ongoing retention and expectations. Your marketing team is going to help you provide your customers with a way in, but it is also going to help keep them coming back and keep them happy. The right perception can make a mistake an issue, but not a problem.
Marketing and sales should act like a well-run kitchen. Your marketing team determines which raw ingredients make it to the sales team to be baked into a final product. Sometimes, you’re going to get something bad in the shipment. It doesn’t matter how good the marketing efforts are if your sales team can’t make use of the leads that are generated.
Avoid trying to filter sludge for water. Don’t just blindly burn money, and don’t let the process get overcomplicated. Marketing requires creative adaptation, so we can’t get caught up in what we should do, as it is ever-changing. Certain things are showstoppers no matter what, though.
Don’t filter sludge for water.
Some leads just aren’t that good. Not every lead has the same potential to become something of value. Throw out your obvious junk and grime before it damages your process. Even if you can filter it out, you still waste your time and resources the longer it takes to toss out the obvious no-go’s.
When you have marketing parties, don’t invite your dead-end leads. Each one of them isn’t only a waste of money; it’s also a potential liability. Don’t advertise to the leads you know aren’t going anywhere. If you target medium businesses and larger, you’re not going to put out an ad for companies you know have fewer than 10 employees. How much juice are you going to squeeze from rotten fruit? Even if you do get juice, are you really going to want to drink it?
Don’t burn money.
Marketing costs you money, and even if you use a wide net, someone still has to sort what it brings in, clean it and maintain it to keep the process going. You’ll catch something in a lake with no fish, but it likely won’t be anything you need. This burns time and money sorting out things that you don’t want.
By filtering the junk before you start spending real money, you can throw out the opportunities that aren’t really opportunities. Leads are like relationships: Some of them are toxic, and you won’t want to deal with them. Don’t waste money expecting them to change.
The marketing funnel starts with general awareness, and then you foster interest. But how much desire is there at that point? Your prospective lead can be all over the place for this process, so how much are they worth to you? If you know there is desire, it can be worth spending resources. But if they just want to browse, do you break out the samples and the goodwill, or do you wait to see what develops?
You need to gauge their interest in your company before you break out the fine china. Are they a good fit, and are they going to be willing to sign up? If not, how much does your sales team want new leads, and how much will it do to try to woo them?
Don’t overcomplicate the process.
A great campaign requires a lot of work and a lot of coordination to make it function, but you can’t let it get overcomplicated. How do you prevent the funnel from getting clogged, and how much safety do you put into the process? The irony here is that you don’t want your filter to be perfect.
The more complicated and error-proof the process, the less likely it is for your organic process to shake loose the mediocre leads. It’s OK if a little bit of junk makes it into the main filter, and it’s OK if a few good leads fall off if it keeps the process simple. A simple process tends to be more agile and adjustable.
When the process gets too complicated, it’s likely to break from the first adjustment that isn’t planned. The real world isn’t perfect; something will go wrong with your campaign. You just need to know that and be ready to change course to fix it. The less baggage you heap, the easier it is to adjust.
Sales is also responsible for helping you filter leads. Let them have the lead (or at least the data about the lead) sooner than later. They may know that a company isn’t a good fit for reasons that can’t be measured by your marketing campaign. Don’t intrude on their part of the process without a good reason, or you may hurt both campaigns.
Take the next steps.
Marketing is the first filter for your company’s sales. Don’t let the wrong things in the filter; don’t burn money, and don’t overcomplicate the process. When you prevail over these issues, you can work to make the campaigns generate more leads during the initial steps — and better leads during the later steps.
You need to work with your sales team to shape your goals and purpose for each campaign. If you are targeting new clients and your sales team is targeting upsells, you are working against sales, and they are working against you. Figure out what the bigger picture is, and make your efforts synergistic rather than antagonistic. Help them get the best ingredients so they can make the best meals.
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