Our traffic bounces all over the place. We have social. We have email. We have paid ads. There’s more sites, platforms, and networks than we could possibly hope to run our campaigns on. How do we keep track of it all? How do we know what’s working and what’s not? We use UTM codes. What’s a UTM? UTM stands for Urchin tracking parameters. They’re little pieces of data that we add to our URLs in order to see where different traffic comes from. They were introduced way back with an analytics tool called Urchin, the tool that was bought by…
The post A Handy Guide to UTM Codes: Know Which of Your Campaigns Really Work appeared first on The Daily Egg.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a game-changer, but it’s not uncommon for sales to push back against implementing it as a new strategy. It’s understandable. On the surface, it appears that ABM is asking sales to work with fewer leads, and that kind of change can be a scary proposition. In my previous blog post, I touched on this very subject when discussing outbound prospecting. The reality is, the sales team is not only holding marketing back from a necessary evolution, they are holding themselves back if they’re not getting on-board with ABM. Account-based strategies require input from across the organization because they work for, and benefit, the entire organization.
Alignment needs to happen across the board and if your B2B brand is targeting named accounts but hasn’t yet implemented an ABM strategy—your competition is getting a head start on your customers. ABM’s popularity has been rising and for good reason: coordinating your resources to focus on pursuing and converting specific accounts works.
So, Why ABM?
- 80% of marketers who track ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing strategies, often significantly.
- 97% of marketers agree that ABM has a “somewhat” or “much” higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.
Inverting the traditional B2B strategy of lead generation-based marketing brings in bigger, more valuable accounts and increases engagement with target and existing accounts. But what do marketers and salespeople need to do in order to ensure ABM success? Align.
In this blog, I’ll cover the key to successful ABM as well as how to get your sales team on board and how to achieve alignment.
Sales and Marketing Alignment is Crucial
Alignment between sales and marketing is beneficial for any organization, but if you want to get the most out of ABM (and what marketer doesn’t?), it’s crucial.
- Conversion rates improve when sales and marketing share ownership of lead nurturing and incubation.
- Companies with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.
- When sales and marketing teams are aligned, leads are 67% more likely to become clients.
The good news is that ABM by its very nature brings the two teams together—as long as both sales and marketing can agree to work together. If you’re finding it challenging to get sales to buy-in at first, you’re not alone. Ultimately, you are working toward a sales and marketing partnership but the first step is, of course, alignment.
How to Get Sales on Board
So, you’re a marketing team leader who needs to convince sales to buy in or a sales team leader who needs to get the rest of the sales team on-board. Where do you start? First, make sure the sales team understands the dramatic benefit that ABM brings to their lives. Then, demonstrate how a successful ABM strategy hinges on their input.
1. ABM is Good for the Sales Team
Whether you’re meeting one-on-one with the director of sales, writing an email, or pitching the entire sales department, ask a few questions:
- How satisfied is sales with the leads they currently get from marketing?
- Does the sales team always have the content/resources they need for closing an account?
Most honest sales reps will take the opportunity to express their frustrations because it’s just statistics that sales departments are commonly frustrated by what they feel are unqualified leads and by not being able to find the content resources they need.
But those are two of the best reasons that sales should be excited about an account-based strategy.
ABM starts with selecting target accounts, which is very much like qualifying leads at the beginning. There is almost no chance for an unqualified lead to land on a sales rep’s proverbial desk because sales and marketing have selected target accounts together from the very beginning. How would the sales team like to only talk to highly qualified, ready-to-buy leads?
After selecting target accounts, account-based marketing hinges on strategic, personalized content that marketing develops for specific personas, accounts, and even—sometimes—individuals. How would the sales team like to be able to deliver a case study in the same industry as a prospect, or a report generated especially for his/her company?
It might force sales out of their comfort zones at the beginning, and it might be a little longer before they start seeing new ABM-generated leads, but most sales reps won’t turn down a much greater percentage of qualified leads, at much bigger accounts, and the content they need to close the deals.
2. ABM Needs Sales’ Input
Everyone wants to be needed, right? Even though it’s called, “account-based marketing,” ABM involves more than just the marketing department. Alignment between sales and marketing is both a prerequisite for and a product of an effective ABM strategy.
Consider the five basic steps of account-based marketing. Almost all depend on input and insights from experienced sales reps:
- Identify Target Accounts—Sales knows who the big dogs are and probably already has a short list of dream accounts they would love to close.
- Develop Personas—Sales reps know who clients actually are, and can lend all kinds of detailed insights into the development of really robust personas.
- Find the Right Content—Marketing will take over a little bit here, but this exercise is based on the previous two steps.
- Integrate ABM into Your Multi-Channel Strategy—Marketing and sales will both execute this step in different ways and on different channels, but, again, the content and the strategy are built on the insights developed in the first two steps.
- Measure and Optimize—In an ABM model, sales gets to help define the KPIs as well. Broad-based marketing looks at a set of metrics that aren’t all, necessarily, the right fit for ABM and/or don’t help sales. As part of an ABM team, sales reps help marketers identify the metrics that will help optimize an account-based strategy.
Account-based marketing is not a new marketing trick that sales needs to deal with or help implement. It’s the natural evolution of marketing, sales, customer service, etc., but doesn’t work unless the whole organization grows together—and there is plenty of incentive for sales to be on-board.
How Does Alignment Work?
With a broad-based marketing strategy, the marketing team attracts leads through avenues such as advertising, email, and social media. Leads come in, and then sales takes over to work to convert them. With ABM, sales and marketing work together throughout the process, but that alignment has to be strategically planned—at least for a little while. Two teams who have worked in separate silos for generations won’t suddenly start playing as one team just because an executive tells them to be aligned. Even the most well-intentioned team members need to break a lot of old habits.
So once both teams are on-board, look at those five steps again, and plan how alignment needs to happen at each one.
- Identify Target Accounts—This should only be done with the whole ABM team at the table. Sales and marketing can bring their own initial lists to the meeting, but everyone should leave with the same short list. Look for overlaps between the two lists first. Then, agree on a system of lead scoring, and score the remaining potential target accounts to see which are more likely to close.
- Develop Personas—Even if sales and marketing have been poorly aligned until now, they’ve still been working on targeting and converting the same set of prospects. Developing personas together isn’t as much about overlap as it is about details. Marketing’s personas will identify companies, titles/positions, business priorities, etc. Sales’ insights will add FAQs, pain points that only come out in conversation, and favorite sports teams. All of it is important for ABM.
- Find the Right Content—If personas change drastically in step two, there might need to be an intermission in ABM meetings while the marketing team retools some existing content pieces. If not, or if your marketers have unusually thick skins, start reviewing core content pieces together. Begin with the ones most commonly clicked or used by sales, and make sure each piece aligns with a persona and a particular stage in the buyer’s journey. Marketing with have data that demonstrates which pieces have the best digital responses; sales will know which ones work best with real people when it’s time to close an account.
- Integrate ABM into Your Multi-Channel Strategy—Sales and marketing both participate here, on different channels. Marketing will probably have the bigger piece of this pie—pushing out content on the website, social channels, email, etc. Sales, however, will still be integrating content into personal emails, phone calls, and meetings. Keeping this organized so that no target account receives the same content twice, or irrelevant content for their stage requires a sophisticated marketing automation platform and CRM.
- Measure and Optimize—It might be up to marketing to prepare this data, but it should be shared and reviewed with the entire ABM team on a regular basis. Marketing’s engagement metrics and sales’ pipeline metrics both crossover to ABM. Account-based strategies will also need to monitor and measure new contacts identified and mapped to accounts, and new leads engaged.
What’s happening here is that both sales and marketing have a stake in every step, but it has to be intentional. That alignment makes for a stronger strategy that, combined with a focus on targeted accounts, can make a big difference in conversions.
ABM has proven its effectiveness for a growing number of businesses, but it can only be truly successful if both marketing and sales buy-in. This can seem like a hard sell for sales teams that are set in their ways and feel that what they’re already doing works. You need to drive home that a shift to ABM can work better. Ultimately, you are working toward a marketing sales partnership, but alignment is essential to reach partnership.
Your first step? Sell your internal customer first–the sales team. Write a pitch they can’t resist and present it with confidence. When they see the real potential of ABM, they’ll get on board without hesitation.
The post The Key to Successful ABM: Marketing and Sales Alignment appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
In between Thanksgiving and Christmas are three of the busiest shopping days of the year: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.
According to the National Retail Federation more than 154 million people shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend last year, spending an average of $ 289.19. The survey also reveals that 44 percent of those big spenders went online, and 40 percent shopped in a store. Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving, raised more than $ 177 million, with an average gift size of $ 107.69.
If you want to boost your bottom line on the busiest shopping days of the year, it’s time to gussy up your email marketing campaigns. This is especially true if you want to stand out among retail giants such as Target and Walmart.
Here are a few email examples and helpful tips for how your small business can get in on the big bucks on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.
If you feel you can’t compete with the big guys on Black Friday, why not start your sale early? Gift buyers are already shopping. In a CreditCard.com study, 34 million people said they start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. Take a tip from Blue Apron: The brand ran a Black Friday sale before Thanksgiving to catch early bird shoppers with the email subject line, “Can you keep a secret? Our Black Friday sale starts … soon.”
Shoppers spent $ 3.45 billion on Cyber Monday in 2016, the biggest shopping day in the history of online shopping. If you want to get your email subscribers to make a purchase, an email that suggests urgency is a powerful persuader.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Clarks Shoes knows that a countdown clock is a mighty motivator. With the email subject line, “Final Hours – Cyber Monday Ends At Midnight!” there’s no doubt that Clarks Shoes customers were eager to take a step in their direction.
Sometimes the best advice is to keep it simple. Brooks Brothers made it easy for customers to support a charitable cause on Giving Tuesday. You buy something, we donate. It’s as simple as that.
Online deal site Tanga decided that if you’ve got a good thing going, why stop? There’s no rule that your promotions must end after Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday pass. It’s over when you say it’s over. You can extend your holiday sales for as long as you like — after all, it’s your business, right?
In order to maximize the shopping frenzy, plan to send emails to remind your customers that your business is a boundless resource for holiday shopping. You don’t have to open your doors at 5 a.m. to cash in on willing shoppers — just add your own spin and get the word out.
In addition, don’t forget about Small Business Saturday, which is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Here’s our guide on how to take part in this relatively recent but highly successful holiday tradition.
Shine bright for the holidays
5 days of seasonal discounts, festive tips and holiday helpers
© 2017, Sonia Mansfield. All rights reserved.
The post Email marketing tips for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.
Vertical Response Blog
Would you enjoy a chocolate chip cookie … if I told you there were cockroaches baked into it?
Whoa! The look on your face says it all. Let me see if I can talk you into taking a bite anyway.
“There are some delicious chocolate chips in there!” I could say, which would be … a true statement indeed. (Hmmm. You’re still looking a little green.)
“Cockroaches are harmless protein,” is another perfectly valid argument I could make. “They certainly aren’t going to hurt you!” (Ummm, OK, now you’re making gag-reflex noises.)
SEE ALSO: Uh oh, looks like that ‘Justice League’ Rotten Tomatoes score could be bad Read more…
More about Movies, Batman, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, and Movie Reviews
Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Millennials’ kids are growing up having never known a world before the internet, smartphones, and on-demand television. They’re even more comfortable with devices than we are, and we really love our devices.
SEE ALSO: Stay in touch with your kids without adding screen time
While setting limits on devices are important, you still want you kids to be prepared for the brave new world that they’re growing up in. These toys are all designed to teach kids how to build technology from a young age. Your kids will have fun playing with their devices and you can rest easy knowing that it’s actually educational. Read more…
More about Stem, Gift Ideas, Gift Guide, Gifting, and Mashable Shopping
It’s 2017 and the robots are here. But artificial intelligence (AI) is nothing to be feared. In fact, AI will help boost your sales, increase conversions, and ensure that your business thrives and stays relevant in an ever-changing world. If you have resisted AI up until now because it sounded too complex, read on. We’re going to explain how it can turbocharge your sales in plain, understandable English. We’ll be covering everything from chatbots and personal assistants to how AI can ramp up your email marketing efforts and tighten up your security. As a business owner, this could be the…
The post Afraid of AI? Conquer Your Fears by Learning How It Can Boost Your Sales appeared first on The Daily Egg.
Gee, this year has flown by.
With Christmas mere weeks away, there’s a whole suite of holiday products ready to be thrust at you. Fortunately, Microsoft’s Xbox Christmas ornaments are rather quite adorable — although getting your hands on them is a rather strange process.
SEE ALSO: Here’s the Xbox One stacked against the Xbox One X
These mini versions of an Xbox One S controller and console are designed to brighten up your Christmas tree with a bit of gaming-related cheer this season.
Unfortunately for those who already have the latest Xbox, you’ll only be able to get one if you buy a console from the flagship Microsoft Store in New York or Sydney, Australia from Nov. 23. Boo, hiss — unless you needed a new console. In that case, good for you. Read more…
More about Gaming, Australia, Christmas, Xbox One, and Christmas Tree
The more quickly you can convert leads into paying customers, the more successful your business. Time is money, after all. Yet, the sales metric that reveals the most about both time and money—sales velocity—is commonly overlooked.
What is Sales Velocity?
Sales velocity is a measurement of how fast you’re making money. It looks at how quickly leads are moving through your pipeline and how much value new customers provide over a given period.
Why is it so Important to Track Sales Velocity?
Sales velocity plays a huge role in your business’ ability to thrive and grow. The less time it takes for prospects to move through your pipeline, the faster you can close more deals. So, a higher sales velocity means you’re bringing in more revenue in less time. Tracking sales velocity over time allows you to benchmark your own sales velocity against other teams, compare the effectiveness of individual reps or regions, and see how changes to the sales processes impact your business, for better or worse. Understanding sales velocity can also help you forecast more accurately and determine how your sales process can be optimized for faster sales and higher conversion rates at each stage.
This blog will show you how to measure sales velocity and identify any bottlenecks that might be slowing down your sales process so you can start bringing in more revenue, faster.
The 4 Key Variables That Impact Sales Velocity
There are four factors that affect sales velocity: the number of opportunities in your pipeline, average deal size, conversion rate, and how long it takes to complete a sale. Together, these metrics can be used to calculate sales velocity so you can track how it changes over time and, hopefully, figure out how to optimize your operations to make money faster.
1. Number of Opportunities
How many leads can your team work through in a given period? If you want to compare sales velocity internally, you can also break down opportunities by sales rep, region, or product.
2. Average Deal Size
For many businesses, this is simply the dollar value of an average sale. For SaaS companies or subscription-based products, average customer lifetime value is more relevant.
3. Win Rate or Conversion Rate
How many leads turn into paying customers over a given period? If you start with 100 leads and 40 of them become paying customers, you’ve got a win rate of 40%. Pretty straightforward.
4. Pipeline Length or Sales Cycle Length
How many days does it take for prospects to move through your pipeline? The answer depends on how many steps are in your sales cycle, how complex your product is, and the cost of your offering.
The Sales Velocity Formula
Figuring out your sales velocity requires taking a good hard look at your pipeline, sales cycle, lead nurturing processes, and average deal size.
The sales velocity formula requires the following pieces of data:
- Number of opportunities in your pipeline
- Dollar value of your average deal size
- Customer conversion rate as a percentage of wins vs. losses
- Average sales cycle in number of days
Calculate your sales velocity by multiplying the number of opportunities in your pipeline by dollar value of your average deal size and your win rate. Divide the result by the number of days in your typical sales cycle.
Let’s say your business has 50 opportunities, an average win rate of 25%, an average deal size of $ 10,000, and a sales cycle that typically lasts 60 days. Here’s how you could use the formula to determine sales velocity:
Sales velocity = (50 * .25 * $ 10,000) / 60
= $ 125,000 / 60
= $ 2083.33
This tells us that your sales velocity is $ 2083.33, which means you’re bringing in roughly that much revenue each day. Knowing this, you can either strive to increase the numerator (in this case, $ 125,000) or decrease the denominator (60 days)—or both, if possible.
That said, a one-off calculation doesn’t actually reveal much about the health of your business. To get the full picture, you need to put these numbers into context. The true value comes from consistently tracking sales velocity at regular intervals and using it to compare the effects of changes in your sales process.
How to Unblock Bottlenecks and Boost Your Sales Velocity
If you want to increase your sales velocity (and, really, what business doesn’t?), there are several approaches you can take. You can either increase your opportunities, conversion rate, or average deal size—or decrease the time it takes prospects to move through your pipeline. Ideally, you should continue with your current lead generation strategies while optimizing the other three factors.
- Improve Your Conversion Rate: Increasing conversions requires finding, targeting, and nurturing sales-ready leads. In addition to refining your marketing and honing your lead qualification process, take some time to analyze your pipeline for leaks that need patching. For instance, are conversions dropping off or stalling at a certain step?
- Optimize Your Average Deal Size: There are obvious benefits to landing high-value deals. However, bigger sales tend to take longer to close, so the real key to improving your sales velocity balancing high-value and low-value opportunities that allow your reps to manage their time effectively. Try to increase deal value using a combination of strategic discounts, tiered offerings, and cross-selling.
- Shorten Your Sales Cycle: If deals are taking too long to close, try breaking down your sales process by step and keep an eye out for bottlenecks. Is there a particular stage slowing things down or taking too long? Is there software available to automate part of the process? Fixing up that problematic stage could shorten your entire sales cycle.
Use Sales Velocity to Accelerate Your Growth
If you ignore sales velocity and blindly focus on keeping your pipeline full, you’ll have tons of leads but not enough resources to move them through the pipeline, negotiate high-value deals, or convert prospects into customers. However, once you start measuring sales velocity, you’ll have the data and insights necessary to optimize your sales process from start to finish.
Have you been measuring sales velocity in your company? How has it helped you in winning sales? If you haven’t been measuring sales velocity, how might this change your plans for 2018? Let’s keep the discussion going in the comments.
The post Sales Velocity: The Critical Sales Metric Your Team Probably Isn’t Measuring appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
Twitter doubles tweet character limit (and the surprising result); new features for brands in Messenger 2.2; Facebook’s polls for users and pages; Snap looks to algorithmic feed to solve its problems; Twitter’s ad subscription service for small businesses… Read the full article at MarketingProfs
MarketingProfs Daily: Content
If you’ve been around the online biz block for a while, chances are you’ve heard about how important it is to be consistent in your business.
And whenever you hear about being consistent, you probably start to feel pretty crappy about yourself. How do I know? Because it happens to me every damn time.
3 1/2 years ago, I got the harebrained idea to start a food blog when everyone else and their monkey’s uncle was doing it. You should know that I had a reputation for starting things and not finishing them. Oh, and I was working a full-time job and I had a husband and a baby daughter at home.
So it came as a surprise even to me when after blogging for a few months, I liked it, and kept doing it, and other people that weren’t related to me started to notice and like it, too. But something kept eating at me (you know I had to make a food pun).
In my effort to become the best dang food blogger I could be, I was listening to podcasts and reading in Facebook groups and online forums and encountering this same discussion over and over:
“You need to be consistent with your posting schedule!”
“Post 3 times a week or Google won’t rank you in search results!”
“Ok, MAYBE twice a week, but always on the same days. And don’t miss a day!”
“It doesn’t matter that you have a full-time job and a husband and a baby! Suck it up and do it! What kind of food blogger are you? So-and-So Big Time Blogger Person got up early before work and posted before she made it big, you can too!”
Ok, I may have added my own internal monologue for color. But over the past 3+ years I have fretted about this so much, I could have written a hundred posts in all the time I spent beating myself up. So much guilt, and so much shame, around not being consistent. In fact, I worried about not being consistent so much that sometimes I let it prevent me from doing anything at all.
But a funny thing happened. Even though the voices in my head were constantly pestering me, I posted as often as I could, which in many cases wasn’t often at all. Some months it would be one time, or none, like those first three months when I was pregnant with my son and wanted to be as far away from the kitchen as possible.
Yet, the blog was growing. People were making the recipes and enjoying them, and telling me about it, and sometimes even saying that they liked my writing and that I was funny. Oh, the things that motivate us.
Now, 3 1/2 years later, the blog earns a full-time income, even though I’m only working part-time hours. I quit my job, by the way, but did you know that working from home with kids around is not easier than working in an office alone? No one told me that. Anyway….things are going great! And yet…that shame. The “you’re not consistent” shame. It’s still showing up.
“How much further along would you be had you stuck to a posting schedule?”
“Maybe you could have had your house paid off by now!”
“Did being inconsistent cost your children a college education?”
Clearly I need some affirmations in my life. Isn’t it ridiculous how we can ruin the feeling of success by dwelling on what we should have done differently? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to stop should-ing all over myself.
Recently, I had a realization that has stuck with me, like an earworm, so I’m sharing it with you in the hopes of making room for other realizations.
Here it is.
Inconsistent diligence is still diligence.
Now listen, I’m not suggesting that consistency isn’t worth pursuing. Far from it. But what I am suggesting is that we reframe the conversation around the power behind consistency, and that’s diligence.
I bet a lot of people think that diligence and consistency are the same thing, but they’re not. Let’s look at a few examples to illustrate the differences.
Consistency is going horseback riding every day for 30 days.
Diligence is getting thrown off the horse 30 times in a row but still getting back on after your 3-week hospital stay.
Consistency is writing a blog post 30 days in a row, even if only 2 of the posts are worth reading.
Diligence is sitting on the couch with a heating pad around your sore neck writing a guest post for a blog you love, having no idea if it will get published. (P.S. That’s what I’m doing right now.)
Consistency is making your bed 30 days in a row because you saw a post on Facebook about how it can change your life.
Diligence is spending 30 minutes wrestling the comforter back into the duvet cover because you’re not going to let a feather-filled piece of fabric beat you.
Diligence seems a little more badass, doesn’t it? I mean, you were stuck in the hospital for 3 weeks, and you GOT BACK ON THE HORSE.
Inconsistent diligence is still diligence.
Maybe you don’t make your bed every day, but when you do make it, it’s a hard-won fight and you can feel good about wielding control over a soft, fluffy blanket. Maybe you don’t post three times a week, but when you do post, it’s worth reading and worth sharing and just might be the catalyst for exponential growth in your business.
What if you fell off the horse on day 15, had your 3-week stay in the hospital, and decided never to get on the horse again because your streak was broken? That’s putting consistency on a pedestal.
Consistency is not the holy grail. It’s an ideal.
And when it comes to seeing results in your business, consistency doesn’t mean squat without diligence.
Being consistent is a good thing, and I aspire to it, but I have come to terms with the fact that life is messy, and unpredictable, and full of bucking horses.
Being diligent is refusing to fizzle out even if you’re inconsistent. That’s the grit of being an entrepreneur.
Consistency for its own sake is prone to produce mediocre work, because we can fall into the trap of only caring about getting the gold star on the chart. But I know that you want to do meaningful work that solves a problem for someone else, and earn a living doing it. You wouldn’t be reading this if that wasn’t the case.
There will be seasons in your indie entrepreneur journey where consistency and diligence converge, and those are powerful times of growth and change. But one thing I can promise you is that the reverie will be broken at some point, because life is a rude interrupter of our plans.
When you get knocked down, and you will, it won’t matter that you didn’t get the perfect attendance award. What will matter is that you got back up and kept going. That’s the heartbeat. That’s your why. That’s diligence.
Beth Hornback is a writer, food photographer, recipe developer, grocery shopper, and dishwasher at Eat Within Your Means. She'll talk your ear off about spaghetti squash if you let her, but it's just because she wants you to eat your vegetables and like them, too.
“Inconsistent diligence is still diligence.”