This process drives some short-term success, but this growth soon starts to lull again, and your sales team ask for more investment to drive further growth.  You know that changes need to be made, but surely there has to be a better way to drive growth than just more and more investment?

This is a familiar story for many B2B businesses.  Lead generation targets are, by their very nature, incentivising leads first. This can often lead to the repetition of the same tactics again and again. Over time, this can reduce the effectiveness and cut-through of your lead generation strategy.

Despite delivering some strong initial results, letting this continue could be harmful to your business in the long term.

The good news is there is an alternative.

By driving continued and sustainable lead generation, you can transform your sales performance, making your marketing investment more effective and efficient.

Here are some simple steps you can take to transform your B2B sales performance.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

You can’t maximise your Return on Investment (ROI) without a clear understanding of who you want to target, how you want to target them and where to reach them.

Today, more than ever, our target audiences are time-poor, yet they are being ‘targeted’ with thousands of marketing messages daily. The result is that only the most targeted, relevant and useful messages are getting through.

This means that if you do not forensically understand your audience, you risk targeting them incorrectly, which results in, at best, your message being lost, or the worst case scenario of a permanently disengaged audience.

This was echoed by a study by the , in which their study showed that generic communications increases the risk to ‘High Volume Sensitive Consumers’, across all generations, of being permanently disengaged with your brand.

Often referred to as ‘Spray-and-Pray’ or ‘Broadcasting’, these techniques can deliver increased lead performance.  However, as the nineteenth-century merchant John Wanamaker famously said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Generic communications don’t generally deliver cost-effective marketing or maximise your ROI.

Wanamaker was a pioneer of marketing, but was unfortunate to live before the age of digital, which revolutionised marketing by creating the ability to accurately target and precisely measure the ROI of your marketing budget.

We no longer need to rely on isolated metrics such as leads to understand performance; we can now layer additional, but vital, metrics such as lead-to-sales conversion rate and ROI to the performance analysis.

We can also segment our target audience and build bespoke, but automated, marketing campaigns to target them.  The best brands hyper-personalise their marketing, to make it feel relevant and unique to every target individual, but on scale.

MEASURE FOR SUCCESS

Unsurprisingly, measurement is included in our list of key steps to maximise your ROI.

I have always been obsessed with measurement and the insights it can provide.  Whether it’s using the car journey tracker to calculate the best commute to work in the morning, using my Fitbit to calculate the amount of sleep I am getting at night or the optimum time to put my daughter to bed before the ‘tantrums’ start, measurement allows me to test-and-learn, and ultimately perfect my approach.

This interest in measurement has helped me in business too. I measure metrics ranging from which channel delivers the best overall lead volume numbers, to whether my messages are more effective if they arrive into a contact’s email box before they get in, and which message improves leads to sales conversion rates.

Every business will measure parts of its performance. If you are running lead generation campaigns, you will most likely be measuring, at the very least, the number of incoming leads.  However, measurement needs to go far beyond your top-line and isolated metrics.

As we have already mentioned, digital has opened the doors for businesses to forensically understand all elements of your performance, integrate your metrics to tell a story and track the customer’s journey.

At the far extreme, the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted how effective measuring and understanding an audience can be.  They are alleged to have built a system that could target US voters with personalised political advertisements based on their psychological profile.  It is also alleged that they were able to manufacture stories, which they knew would affect individuals to help swing elections and political votes across the world.

However, building a measurement framework and feeding these insights into your marketing efforts doesn’t need to be complex.

INTEGRATE YOUR SALES AND MARKETING EFFORTS

Sales and marketing should always be entwined, yet many businesses run their Sales and Marketing departments independently, which often lead to conflict and inefficiency. Sales may blame Marketing for not driving enough leads, and Marketing may blame Sales for not converting enough leads.

To maximise your ROI, integrate your sales and marketing efforts. Your team need to work in tandem to deliver your overall goals, with measured feedback moving up and down the process.

The Typical Marketing & Sales Funnel

By creating one marketing and sales funnel, you can bring your teams together to drive forward as one function.  Identifying where your leakage truly is and working together to plug the gaps will help to generate true accountability.

By having an integrated marketing and sales funnel, you can also create shared incentives and successes by creating shared goals.

So if the problem is lead generation, what experience and insights can the Sales team provide that can be used address any barriers to data capture?  If the problem is sales conversion, what additional information can Marketing create to help nurture leads and build up trust?

READY TO AMPLIFY FOR ROI

To successfully amplify your marketing, you need to know who your customer is and be confident that you can build marketing messages that are going to resonate and increase your cut-through.

If you have the right measurement in place and are analysing your performance correctly, you have the opportunity to constantly evolve and improve your marketing strategy. This is supported by an integrated Sales and Marketing team and a centralised sales funnel, ensuring that you have everything in place to successfully amplify your marketing to drive increased leads, and increased ROI.