FoM18: 5 things you need to know
If you are in the services or product business, a sales pipeline is something that you are well aware of. If it isn’t big enough the question is why? If it is full the question is how much?No single person (or team) is responsible for keeping the sales pipeline flush. It takes a village to build a pipeline; a village called Integrated Marketing. And that village has a wide reach.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about B2B or B2C customers, one thing that stays consistent is that information is gathered over many steps.
As a marketer, you need to make sure your brand is there with the right information, in the right place and at the right time. We have plenty of ways to get out there and be in front of our audiences, but there needs to be a focused plan of attack in order to see it through to fruition and ultimately beef up that sales pipeline.
First, it makes sense to understand what Integrated Marketing is and what it is not. It is not created content, earned media placement and social media content. Instead it is a unified and consistent experience that you create for your audience across your paid programs, social content, events, direct mail and public relations efforts. If you focus to much on one strategy or channel, you’re bound to miss new opportunities and ultimately see your pipeline come up short.
Here are four points to keep top of mind as you look to increase your sales pipeline and expand your integrated marketing program:
Keep data first and foremost in all of your programs
Marketing is driven by data so be sure to base your campaigns off of real data that you pull from your market and target audiences. Perform both primary and secondary research so that you not only know what it is of interest to your prospects, but also so you know what is working today for them. In addition, A/B testing is a great way to figure out what types of content and material is resonating within your community. Don’t assume anything – spend the time to figure out what will work and then adjust your campaigns based on the known behaviors. You want to help your prospects along their journey and by understanding where they are, and what is truly helpful, you will be in a better position to help guide them along.
Focus on real people
Persona building was trendy, but it went too far and became generic. Today’s consumers want personalization when they are marketed at so understand who your real targets are and feel their pain, know their environment and what problems they are trying to solve. Say you are in the cybersecurity space and are going after directors and CISOs, the more you know about their situation (are they within a government agency, a financial services provider or healthcare provider) and real problems (is shadow IT bringing in more threats to their organization? Is budget an issue? What internal communications programs are in place to help educate their staff?) If you can build programs that address something they recognize, they are more apt to inquire about more or follow along.
Marry your earned efforts to your social efforts
Thought leadership goes a long way. People do follow the leaders and it takes a lot of time to position your subject matter experts as industry visionaries so don’t let your media opportunities go to waste. Have a plan in place that not only promotes, but expands upon the media coverage you’re able to secure. Breakdown the content into smaller pieces and distribute it across all of your social channels while keeping the key messages in place with new supporting visuals.
Make sure you pay
The reality of the situation today is that you need to pay to play (or at the very least get the reach you’re expecting.) Once you understand where your targets go during their digital journey, put paid dollars behind ads that support your previously secured media and also behind your key social content that provides more opportunities to learn more.
Today’s marketer has so much power, but with power comes great expectation. As you think about how to successfully increase your sales pipeline, be sure that your sales and marketing teams are aligned more than ever before. The combined team will be able to guide your integrated program in a direction that helps educate the passive buyers while helping to provide those in the final stage of their decision with the information they need to buy.
And this is when the celebration in your village takes place.