On one side of the boardroom table are the digital marketing team armed with every conceivable piece of data demonstrating the effectiveness of the campaigns they handle. Facing them, the financial director and the sales director, two old friends who date back to the pre-digital days. They’ve been there, done that, seen trends come and go. Throughout, they’ve held the hand of the MD, battle-hardened and ready to defend against the ‘up starts’ in the Digital Marketing department.
The issue? The issue is sales performance. Marketing are delivering the leads, but for one reason or another, the quality is deteriorating (according to the aforementioned Sales Director) and our friend the Finance Director is looking to pull back Marketing’s budget.
Where does the accountability lie?
I’m taken back to a great example at a client meeting last week. We spent considerable time analysing (we’re talking several sheets of A3 paper here…) inbound leads and the metrics which led to each. From 200+ weekly leads we were compiling a list of the search terms which generated each lead to deliver some sense of correlation to the boardroom.
This was granular to the stage you could feel the heat from the earth’s core… we were digging deep.
The outcome- we could decipher the conversion data of users who:
- searched using either ‘how’, ‘where’ or ‘what’ within their search query.
- converted on their first visit.
- requested a call-back from their iPhone (II, III, IV or V…)
- visited 10+ pages before seeking advice
We knew everything we needed to know.
X amount of users converted online of which Y amount became customers of the business. A true Eureka moment as we’d segmented data to provide a profile of our typical customer – the most likely to convert based upon time, device and location.
Lets say for arguments sake (I’ll be honest, the blood, sweat and tears of our labour washed away the ink from the spreadsheet) that the conversion rate was 20%. Out of every 100 information requests through the website, 20 turned into business. Conversely, we knew 80 of those 100, for whatever reason (do you see where I’m going now?) failed to convert.
From an ROI perspective, the Digital campaigns were doing their job and providing a cost-effective route to market. Good news.
However… what if just 1 out of every 5 conversions which didn’t take place were able to be converted? so rather than 20% conversion, we were seeing 36% conversion? Exciting times! So, what can we do to ‘optimise’ this process? It’s time to speak with the inbound sales department… that’ll be the inbound sales department who work to scripts and adhere to the same conversation points, same questions for each and every call. What if just one of those members of the sales team converted at 30% and another member of the team converted at 10%? What a drastic change to the figures it would make if the first person accepted ALL the calls.
What takes place in the Sales Department optimisation process? Is the same attention to detail (which is often scrutinised when there’s a downturn in lead generation) taking place? Are the scripts being tested, amended and optimised?
Or is there just a simple finger pointing at the quality of leads that the digital marketing team are generating?
The customer acquisition channel, especially within a complex sales process, often leads to the salesmanship of one individual within a group of conversion-hungry sales staff. The same rules that apply to Digital campaigns are equally applicable to the offline sales process. What can your sales team be doing to help increase conversions and revenues for your business?
It’s going to get nasty, it’s going to involve internal politics, but if you see arrows being sharpened in the Sales department and the shout of ‘Ready… Aim…’ from across the boardroom table, be ready to defend your lead generation tactics and the results they deliver. Be armed with data which includes the ACTUAL search terms that delivered leads through your website. Be ready to ask how you could perform any better based on the clear association between the service you offer and the terms that are searched to build your lead pool.
The transparency of every action taken by the Digital Marketing team can be a double-edged sword. It will be scrutinised and ‘advice’ will be fired at you from all angles. Maybe it’s time to outline an optimisation process which can be delivered company-wide? Maybe it’s time to offer your guidance to Sales to help increase conversions offline as well as online?