Wednesday, June 30, 2010

3 Steps to Shorten the Sales Cycle with Persona-Driven Marketing

By Mike Gospe, Co-Founder & Principal, KickStart Alliance
We are victims of our own desire to sell to anyone and everyone. Collectively speaking, in our race to help sales make quarterly numbers, marketing teams fall into the trap of casting as wide a net as possible for fear of leaving out a potential audience segment.

Unfortunately, this approach of broad inclusiveness leads to a mish-mash of messaging and an ineffective marketing campaign that actually extends the sales cycle.  Here are 3 practical steps marketers are taking today to hone their go-to-market strategies and shorten the sales cycle.

Step 1: Focus, focus, focus
The task of market segmentation is like aiming for the bull’s eye.  Where is the sweet spot: those key folks most likely to buy your product?

Traditional market segmentation brings to mind an academic, time-consuming, and costly process.  It doesn’t have to be. I’ve found that key people within any company have knowledge in their head that, if shared, would greatly accelerate any segmentation process.
Template: A simple bull’s eye template is an excellent way to guide a cross-functional team discussion.
This exercise is all about focus.  Start by asking the team about who you want to target.  Typically, I get an answer like, “We want CIOs of the global 5000.”  To which I respond, “Could you possibly be any broader?”  Frankly, this is much too broad to be of any help.  Do all CIOs think alike?  Industry, cultural, business-size differences color the way CIOs look at the world.  What keeps these folks up at night?  What do they fear?

We need more focus.  While capturing some dimensions of the broadest segmentation description (outer circle), ask the team to add a few more adjectives and distinguishing characteristics about the prospect and their environment.  Do these folks know who we are? This is represented in the middle layer.  But, we’re not yet done.

Still, we need more focus. Are they already aware of solution alternatives, or do they need to be educated?  What are their preferences?  Where are they in their buying process?

Combined, the three layers of the bull’s eye template help marketers hone their messaging to capture the set of prospects most likely to buy now.

Step 2: Paint a picture of your target persona
Market segmentation, however, is not enough.  Buyers are a skeptical bunch that doesn’t like to be sold to.  You need to empathize with your buyer personas.  And you can only do that by knowing what makes these folks tick.  That’s where the persona template comes in.

Template: In general, the marketing team (as a collective) has a lot of knowledge and perspective about the target buyers.  Unfortunately, this information is distributed in pieces and not written down in a format that can be easily referenced and shared.  It’s easy to collect a lot of data, but it’s another matter to boil it down into a single, meaningful slide.
Is this exercise really necessary?  You bet.  A case in point: After guiding a cross-functional team through this exercise, they socialized the resulting persona with the VP and regional sales leaders.  Two of the most telling pieces of feedback were:

“Historically, we’ve been selling too low into the organization.  We need to aim higher, and this is the right target for us.”
“I’ve been selling to this group for 5 years and I’ve never seen the persona written down before.  You got it right. This is exactly who I’m meeting with this afternoon”

Talk about a confidence boost to the marketing team.

Step 3: Adopt the 80/20 rule for proactive/reactive marketing spend
There is not enough time, money, or energy to be all things to all people.  Therefore, marketers need to determine where the best ROI can be found.  While we will all gladly accept money from anyone who wants to purchase our products, where is the easiest target segment to capture first?  It is assured that if marketers identify and win a beachhead segment, there will be a halo effect to attract a wider audience.

An example: A company was caught up in the vicious cycle of continuously marketing to everyone, with no distinction between new leads and their prospect database.  They treated all prospects the same.  In search for a more effective approach, they worked cross-functionally to identify and prioritize two target audience personas that represented entry points for engaging the most-likely-to-buy prospects.  Marketing efforts were then split between a new proactive lead generation outreach to these personas with 80% of the marketing budget being applied to developing a meaningful marketing blueprint to engage these folks.  Meanwhile, 20% of the budget was saved to allow for flexibility to address reactive market opportunities.

Putting it all together
This heightened focus resulted to crisper, more relevant messaging.  Response levels increased, and the sales team was rewarded with more, higher quality leads in less time.

Deciding to prioritize and focus on a sub-segment is risky.  After all, what if you guess wrong?  However, think about it this way: if you guess correctly, then your marketing ROI is guaranteed to be greatly improved.  If you do guess wrong, then you quickly find out what not to do and you can move on to the next segment with confidence.  Either way, you win by avoiding wasting precious time and money and unnecessarily lengthening the sales cycle.

Mike Gospe leads KickStart Alliance's marketing operations practice where he conducts team-based "practical application working sessions" to improve the effectiveness of lead generation campaigns and product launches. His fun, practical approach and roll-up-his-sleeves attitude energizes teams, helping them to get "real work done" while guiding them to the next level of excellence. Mike is the author of the book and blog, Marketing Campaign Development, and his methodology is being used by San Francisco State University's College of Extended Learning course: "Essentials of Integrated Marketing."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Neolane President Talks Dynamic Content, Cross Channel Marketing & Integration

Enterprise marketing software provider Neolane has grown rapidly in the last year, and is poised for more growth in the coming year.

DemandGen Report had the chance to catch up with CEO Stephan Dietrich to discuss the key business drivers for marketing automation, what the BtoB space can learn from BtoC tactics and how mobile and social media are shaping up overseas.

DemandGen Report: Neolane has been growing aggressively with revenue increasing 30% in 2009. Do you anticipate a similar growth rate in 2010?

Stephan Dietrich: Neolane has consistently increased revenues over the past five years and our annual compound growth rate is close to 80%. Last year was a tougher year than usual across the industry, so 30% growth was still a great achievement. What is also significant is that 2009 was our fifth consecutive year of profitability, which distinguishes Neolane from most marketing automation vendors. Much of our growth can be attributed to marketing technology investments being made by mid-enterprise organizations, which is our core customer base. While revenue in 2009 increased significantly, we also increased our global headcount by nearly 25% and signed more than 40 new (enterprise-level) deals in North America and across Europe.

In 2010 we anticipate at least a similar projection of 30-50% growth for the year. There is still uncertainty in the market, but we certainly see things improving significantly in the enterprise marketing space. This year many companies are more willing to open up their budgets, but they still require strong ROI and a detailed business case.  Neolane’s pipeline is very strong, particularly in the BtoB marketing automation space.

DemandGen Report: Are there certain verticals or types of companies you are seeing driving the growth and what are some of the key business challenges these companies are looking to address?

Dietrich: BtoB high tech is driving a lot of the growth for our business. There are several challenges that businesses are looking to address. Number one is driving top line revenue, which has been especially pronounced during these last few difficult years. One emerging trend is marketers’ goal to more consistently incorporate inbound interactions with prospects and customers into the overall marketing mix.  In addition to integrating inbound and outbound communications, there is a need for increased efficiency, specifically in the mid-enterprise or enterprise segment. Neolane has built specific enterprise marketing software functionality for organizations that have distributed marketing teams so that they are able to collaborate with a consistent set of messages and materials. We also see a strong need for Marketing Resource Management (MRM). Marketers have evolved from pure, mostly single channel email marketing, to broader cross-channel marketing strategies that require a single, automated platform that can manage campaigns, resources, customer data and analytics to dramatically improve effectiveness and ROI.

DemandGen Report: Neolane recently launched v5.1 of its enterprise marketing software platform. Can you share more about the vision behind the launch?

Dietrich: Neolane’s vision behind version 5.1 was to unify inbound and outbound interactions. This version of our platform takes marketing from a one-way conversation to a dialogue-based marketing strategy. Historically, BtoB, and even BtoC marketers, have employed a push marketing strategy — pushing out marketing materials for webinars and white papers through email blasts and other channels. To be frank, that’s still what a vast majority of marketers are doing. Our version 5 has been integral in facilitating interactions between the prospect, customers and the brand, and unifying inbound and outbound communications. Consumers are evolving how they receive information and interact with brands, so marketers must be able to present consistent, relevant offers to customers and prospects regardless of the channel, inbound and outbound. Neolane v5.1 helps marketers use reporting and analytics to understand what offers are the most effective.

DemandGen Report: There is a lot more discussion in the marketing automation space around dynamic content to help companies present timely, relevant, and personalized offers across channels.  Are you seeing more interest in this area and how are some of your leading companies already applying these processes?

Dietrich: We’ve been talking about this for six years, but the story is very different in the BtoB and BtoC spaces. Neolane’s first implementation of dynamic content was with a French electronics retailer in 2003. Because the retailer carried approximately 35,000 products on its web site, the challenge was to figure out which offers were relevant to customers. To solve the problem, we integrated a recommendation engine into our solution.

BtoB is only just starting to take off now. I think it’s a different animal from the BtoC play because marketers need to be very careful with what they do. Keep in mind that sales cycles involve salespeople.  While a marketing automation platform supports the relationship, salespeople are really the ones driving and building the business relationship. However, moving marketing automation upstream in the sales funnel definitely makes sense in nurturing campaigns and pipeline acceleration (to some extent), but marketers need to be very careful to make sure the message is consistent with what salespeople are driving in terms of offers.

DemandGen Report: Are you seeing a lot of demand to address emerging channels such as social media and mobile in multichannel campaigns? What are some of the ways your customers are optimizing messaging and campaigns across these new channels?

Dietrich: To start, there is an important distinction to be made between multi-channel and cross-channel marketing. Multichannel is really engaging across different channels and very often needs different enabling technologies to do that. It’s done in different silos, sometimes in different pieces for different organizations. Some people manage web, some people drive email marketing, direct mail pieces, and in some cases now an outside agency is driving social media or mobile efforts.

We believe that BtoB marketers should move toward a more effective cross-channel approach where channels are integrated, and communications and experiences are consistent and coordinated — no matter what channel is being used to engage customers and prospects, be it email, web, mobile, direct mail or call center.  In addition to considering strategic uses of mobile and social media, direct mail is a key component that still works very well for a number of organizations, so I wouldn’t discount that. Outbound call center is also a key component. We emphasize that the cross-channel mix clearly requires a platform that integrates all the different channels, and supports the need to deploy consistent, effective — and measurable — strategies across them all.

Mobile is accelerating very quickly in the U.S., but it’s still very far behind in term of its adoption in regions like Europe or Japan. For example, we’ve seen a number of BtoB and BtoC marketers use mobile campaigns (SMS primarily) during conferences to drive traffic to sessions and other events.

No one has found that killer application for social media either. Social is a great engagement channel and everyone is talking about it — it’s rare that we have a meeting with a prospect or customer without talking about it. But has a BtoB marketer cracked the code with social media? I’m not sure. Social media shouldn’t exist in a silo. It must be an integrated component of an organization’s total cross-channel marketing strategy. When a channel emerges, it’s always used in a very experimental way, but it should still be integrated into a mainstream cross-channel strategy.

DemandGen Report: Given the continued pressure for marketers to show ROI, how are your customers using automation to optimize campaign performance in a measureable way?

Dietrich: Companies need an automated solution that can provide insight into the monetization of each marketing activity and channel, so that marketing spend can correlate directly to the revenue generated. In the BtoB space there is a huge difference (from BtoC) because you don’t have one touch point, you have multiple touch points from different marketing channels across long sales cycles. Marketers need to be able to link those touch points to revenues generated. We see continued pressure on ROI, so results need to be defendable. Marketing needs the technology to justify the budgets to their executives and senior management. That’s an ongoing trend that has certainly been driven by the recession, where every dollar spent has to be accounted for — and that’s not going away.

The depth of integration with CRM systems in certain implementations can be challenging, especially with sophisticated response management and campaign match backs. These strategies need to be discussed with senior management and executives to discuss how they want to measure campaign performance. This is not something that marketers can implement as a plug and play strategy.

DemandGen Report: With Demand Generation a top priority for BtoB and BtoC marketers, how are you seeing companies utilize marketing automation to gain a holistic view of prospects/customers across channels?

Dietrich: The progressive rollout of CRM systems has unified the view of the customer database, but marketing and sales is much more than that. Before a lead is sent to a sales rep, there is a lot of insight that can be driven out of behavioral data. It’s fundamental to have a single enterprise platform that can provide a 360-degree marketing view of customers and prospects. Very often marketing organizations only see the top of the sales funnel once they’ve captured the lead and scored it. It’s important to have one central datamart that captures the information from prospects and tracks behavior. There’s still a lot to do here because most organizations complete this process just for email, but that’s only one channel. Marketers need to think outside of the box about other channels, and how to bring all that data together.

DemandGen Report: Since Neolane has a strong presence in both North America as well as Europe, can you share some of the unique trends you are seeing emerge across the different markets around the globe?

Dietrich: I think we can all agree that social media has been a strong trend. There’s a lot of research showing that even in the BtoB space, social media is influencing the sales cycle. We have also seen companies in Europe adopt technology to support distributed marketing teams earlier compared to counterparts in the U.S. market, mainly because of the geography and variety of languages spoken.  All of our implementations in Europe span across countries, where companies have used Neolane to ensure local campaigns are aligned with corporate campaigns.  We also saw one-to-one personalization earlier in Europe because the markets are smaller and you need to cater to those markets. The pressure for greater accountability hasn’t changed, and it’s not going away. That’s what I think will drive marketing in the next decade.
Stephan Dietrich is president of enterprise marketing software provider, Neolane, Inc., where he is responsible for driving the company’s strong business growth in North America.  A recognized thought leader with 15 years of enterprise software and marketing expertise, Stephan is regularly interviewed in high-level publications and has spoken at several major US and European marketing events, such as NCDM, the Annual eMarketing Conference and Direct Marketing events. Previously, he was president of Cubicsoft and co-founder of AGDS, a company sold to Peregrine Systems, now HP.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Can Marketing Accelerate the Sales Pipeline?

By Sally Lowery, Director of Demand Generation, Bronto Software

As a demand generation marketer (aka revenue marketer), I’m met with the challenge of not just thinking about the world in number of leads created. Marketing’s role, at our organization, spans all the way through the active sales pipeline…and I don’t just mean trending how many leads convert to sales.

I’m talking an active role in the sales pipeline. Now you may be saying to yourself, “I’m a marketer, my role stops at the top of the funnel”. However, how can a sales and marketing organization truly have a collaborative environment if they have misaligned goals?

Or, you may be asking yourself, “Can marketing really accelerate the sales pipeline”? The answer is yes. A demand generation marketer’s role doesn’t stop at the demand for the lead, but in aiding the sales team with an arsenal of tools to drive urgency and win deals. I will say our own journey has not been an easy one, and we certainly haven’t figured out the perfect sauce, but by having the willingness to share in the responsibility of the sales pipeline, we create a team that is striving towards the same goal.

If you too are considering taking your demand generation beyond the qualified lead, consider these strategic tactics:

  • Marketing automation can play a role. Keep in mind, I said a role.  Deals win by tuning into your prospects needs and business objectives. This cannot happen through marketing automation. This is a relationship that is created and sustained by your sales organization. However, you can craft campaigns that reinforce your brand and engage your prospects based on their stage in the sales cycle. For your organization, a sales opportunity may initially have a “learn” stage that allows you to communicate the content and resources available to reinforce your value proposition. This can happen before a sales call is even made on behalf of the sales person, or perhaps triggers several days after the initial discovery conversation.
  • Consider integrated marketing campaigns. A well executed, collaborative sales and marketing campaign can make a significant impact on your prospects and create a compelling argument for your products or services. It takes some give and take to make this successful. Our marketing department loves making every piece of content creatively engaging. However, if you are a sales person sending a targeted message, simple text is just fine. We love our “marketing speak”. Sales doesn’t find that is an effective strategy. Why? Because it’s a different stage that requires a different conversation. We as marketer’s have to be willing to listen to what works during the sales cycle and use that intelligence to craft a relevant message that the sales organization will have “buy in”. At the end of the day, if you are creating campaigns that aren’t ever going to be used by your sales team, then you are wasting energy and resources. Listen, learn, you will be surprised at the insight you gain. Determine where you can impact the sales pipeline with a strategic campaign executed by the sales team. Perhaps, at 120 days out, you can create a convincing series of touches that drives urgency.
  • Test, trend, track. Just because it’s in the sales pipeline, doesn’t mean that you can’t trend the impact each campaign has, whether integrated or automated. Establish goals, set milestones and don’t be afraid to test. Not every component, just as any marketing campaign, is going to be a winner. As long as you’ve set expectations for the sales organization, that not all will close deals instantly, you will be okay. Really.

At the end of the day, we need to become revenue marketers focused on the sales pipeline. Instead of just calculating ROI (return on investment), why not take an active role in impacting that bottom line? It will create a more cohesive sales and marketing team focused on the same goal, not spending all of their time trying to throw one another under the bus.

Sally Lowery is the Director of Demand Generation at email service provider Bronto Software. In her role, she manages tactical and strategic lead acquisition, multi-channel marketing, marketing automation and the integration of marketing concepts. Sally has over 11 years of extensive experience in traditional and online marketing in both the BtoB and BtoC space.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tips for Better BtoB Targeting to Foster “Sales-Ready” Opportunities

By Lisa Cramer, President & Co-Founder, LeadLife Solutions

When nurturing leads, your content should be directly related to your target audience with relevant keywords, images and language specific to the prospect’s industry. Learn how segmenting leads can lead to higher conversion rates and greater “sales-ready” opportunities.

We often become so enamored with the new tools and processes available to us that we forget about the basics of segmentation and targeting — the “101” of marketing.  Getting your leads and related information into a database to enable effective segmentation is really critical to the success of your outbound campaigns and ongoing engagement of prospects. The more relevant and targeted your messages, the more interaction you should derive from your nurturing and outbound campaigns.

Lead segmentation can be based on a number of items, including traditional demographics such as industry, title, company size, etc. Your company needs to establish the characteristics and attributes in your prospect profile, which can also include answers to qualifying questions that might not be answered until farther down in the pipeline. As part of this, make sure you also understand buying decisions and buying drivers — in other words, what makes this type of prospect buy. Certainly, you’ll want to come up with your ideal prospect profile and then probably include a few other tiers of prospect types to target.

It’s important to understand how you will use this data before it goes into a marketing database (i.e., your lead management/marketing automation system). This is not a technical issue so much as it is a data schema issue, which means you’ll need to be able to slice the data into the various pieces and parts required to segment effectively based on your profile defined above. This is a discussion not only about the database’s capabilities but also about the organization of the data itself to best suit your efforts. Making sure that you spend the appropriate amount of time on this before slamming your data into a marketing database is critical to successful segmentation and targeting.

With today’s lead management systems, you can build even greater intelligence about your prospect since segmentation can now also include digital behavior. For instance, if your company sells a number of products and services, you can use the lead’s digital behavior (where they went on your web site) to understand their product/service interests and needs. Knowing this can help you to reduce the amount of friction (such as the number of fields on a form you ask a lead to answer in order to receive something) as well as the amount of data you must find out about the lead before having enough for effective segmentation.

Effective segmentation, whether by demographic and/or behavior, provides a method by which you can create messaging that is tailored for a specific group of prospects. By speaking the prospect’s language (via industry-specific text or images, or specific products promoted), you have a better chance of catching their interest and getting them engaged in your campaign or nurturing processes. Additionally, your company will have more credibility with the prospect as you continue to engage with them. Conversely, generic messages get lost in the noise and won’t help your conversion so nurturing effectiveness will be mitigated.

Now that you are segmenting and targeting the leads per outbound touch, you should be able to take advantage of the knowledge you gained (enabled through good segmentation) to provide relevant content for that lead. Think about what your prospect is interested in at that point in the buying cycle. How can you make the content relevant for your targeted list versus something generic for all? With automation, this kind of targeting and relevancy of content becomes easier. Marketing automation systems enable you to include dynamic content that changes based on what’s of interest to that lead. This can include images (office building versus hospital), text within the email (for example, using different text based on recipients’ titles), as well as closing signature lines and addresses (i.e., if the lead is located in London, list your international headquarters versus the one in the United States).

We’ve seen many cases where segmentation and targeting of outbound campaigns have helped convert prospects. In one case, a company was simply sending monthly newsletters to its entire database, although it sold different products and services into different industries. Since it took so much time to manually alter every email based on the industries and the services of interest, it just wasn’t possible with the limited time it had available to customize content. Instead, it was forced to send a “one size fits all” newsletter to everyone.

With lead management systems and processes, segmentation became much easier and targeted messages much more effective to disseminate. We worked with the company, helping it to start by segmenting its leads by industry. The company then created an email template with dynamic content in the first paragraph that automatically altered the language based on the industry. The lead management system dynamically changed a portion of the text before sending the email, based on a rule set up for each industry. After a bit of time, the company then added the criteria of sending specific messages to leads based on what products or services (including complementary products and services for cross-sell opportunities) they had expressed interest in. The company then started a nurturing campaign around the services identified to be of interest. This increased the leads’ interactions with this company, and in the end, helped drive a much higher quality lead to the sales team.

Better segmentation and targeting will have a direct impact on the success of your nurturing programs and outbound campaigns. In particular, the increased success in nurturing will in turn increase the quality of leads that you pass to your sales teams and should therefore directly affect revenue in a positive way. With direct revenue implications, it’s important not to skimp on this first step of effective marketing.

Lisa Cramer is president and co-founder of LeadLife Solutions, a provider of on-demand lead management software that generates, scores, and nurtures leads for BtoB marketers. In 2009, Lisa was recognized as one of the top five “Most Influential People” in sales lead management. For more information on lead management or best practices email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Monday, June 7, 2010

5 Tips to Improve Conversion Rates

It's not hard to find a list of tips aimed at helping to improve your conversion rates, but it is much harder to synch these suggestions with the tools designed to make them realistic and effective. Here are 5 tips to improve conversion rates:

1. Targeted Lists- Simply put, the best way to increase response to send the message to the only the most relevant audience. In other words, by running multiple, smaller campaigns at a more highly refined list. Define your target profile for each product or value proposition, and focus the campaign on them.

Sometimes it isn’t easy, however. See if this scenario sounds familiar … you contact a list broker or online property about sending an email campaign, hoping to get your message out to the 25,000-person minimum required by the provider. When you put your requirements into the equation (department, title, geography, etc.) the list that comes back to you has 15,000 contacts. What do you do?

It’s hard to walk away, because those 15,000 are a great fit for your message. You will, most likely, backfill. You sacrifice quality for quantity and add another 10,000 names that aren’t really a fit for what you are trying to do. Your response rate will go down because 40% of your list is not in your sweet spot. Lower responses mean lower conversions, because some of those irrelevant contacts are going to click but not convert. Or worse yet, they will convert and you send a lot of unqualified leads to sales, damaging your credibility.

Alternatively, you consider eating the cost of that extra 10,000 names (but that makes your contact cost seem out of whack) or see if you can send those people different content than your original campaign idea (maybe something more relevant to them) … but that is a lot of heavy lifting, without much expected return.

House data is an inadequate back up because it tends to have so many holes in things like department, industry and level of contact (VP, Director, etc), and becomes out of date so quickly.
Another solution is finding a provider with quality contacts, advanced filtering and list building tools, and no minimums or subscription requirements. Your conversion rates will improve based on sending relevant offers to targeted contacts.

2. Targeted Content- Giving people more relevant content and offers is an obvious conversion win. Targeted content can be delivered in two ways:

- Email content or online display advertising tailored to the buyer profile of the target audience.
-  Web site content customized based on what you know about the visitor. Most people have some success with landing pages based on the keyword used in search, but that is limited in reach and does not differentiate customer types. The real opportunity is to segment the way you plan your campaigns, using the unique firmographics of the business (company, industry, corporate revenue, number of employees, location, etc) that is about to visit.

Email content can be customized based on how well targeted your list is, how much time and effort you have spent building out and understanding your buyer profiles, and some effort centered around matching offers to those buyer profiles. However, open rates and click response frequently disappoint.

Customizing web site content for specific companies or industries would be very challenging. You still need a basic understanding of your target buyer profiles at the firmographic level, but customized web content based on details like industry or company size (such as industry-specific case studies) has been proven to increase engagement and conversion. Additionally, you can also show specific message for a visitor that is already a customer or if that business visitor is from an account flagged by sales as important. Without cookies!

3. Shorter Forms- It’s no secret that shorter forms reduce the friction in the conversion process. The less that you ask for from a visitor, the more likely they are to give your offer a try. It’s also no secret that a big problem with making it easier to convert is that more unqualified clicks do convert, again damaging your credibility with sales and falsely inflating your campaign metrics.

The additional argument against shortening forms is getting little or no discernable lead data. Marketing relies on capturing as much information as possible to both route the leads to the appropriate salesperson and qualify them as potential selling opportunities. While shorter forms might generate more conversions, quality goes down.

Marketers need to find that magic balance in their forms that makes them short enough to grease the conversion wheels, but long enough that you can capture enough information about your conversions that you can actually work with them after the fact.

4. Remarket to Unconverted (But Interested) Web Traffic- Many marketers have tools in place to identify the IP addresses of their web visitors. If you could identify the relevant businesses that have visited your website and then cross-reference those businesses with any high-value pages they visited, you would have the beginnings of a very solid, targeted list leveraging intelligence pulled from your analytics package and CRM systems. These are businesses that, although they may not have converted, are actively searching for more information about your products and solutions. And you may very well have contacts from that company in your house list that you can start contacting. Unfortunately, most IP lookups return little usable data. This is largely because the public registries are not set up or maintained as business directories.

5. Use What Works- The word “metrics” is almost a mantra when talking to BtoB marketers about best practices. They can tell you how many impressions there were or emails were sent, opens, clicks and conversions. Standard analytics or CRM packages fall short, however, in understanding the quality of the traffic your campaigns are driving to your website.

Consider this scenario … let’s say that you are spending $5,000 per month running two campaigns in Google PPC. You are burning through your budget well before the month is over, and 85% of your conversions are coming from campaign 1. Campaign 2 isn’t driving nearly as many clicks/conversions, but you are curious to dig deeper because the quality of leads coming from PPC seems to be declining.
Using a tool like Demand Analytics, you could analyze the quality of the traffic clicking through on those ads. You could very well find that 85% of the traffic driven by the campaign consuming 85% of your budget is from outside of your target markets, while the smaller campaign has a 40% hit rate. Using this information you could adjust the spend to make sure the smaller campaign is running all month long, or tweak the messaging of the expensive, click-driving campaign to reduce the clicks from companies outside of your buyer profile.

In conclusion, always keep in mind that a good conversion rate is not always the sign of a successful campaign. The single metric I like to use to measure success — more than impressions or clicks or conversion percentage or opens — is return on marketing (RoM).

RoM is the amount of pipeline generated divided by the cost of the campaign. For example, if I can generate $10,000 or more in pipeline for every $1 that I spent on a campaign I would consider that more important than if my conversion rate was below 2% because the conversions I did score were of a very high quality.

Using a combination of tools to drive targeted campaigns with relevant content to select prospects, grease the wheels of the conversion and then measure the quality of the traffic you drove will naturally improve conversion rates, but should also significantly impact the metrics that are even more important than conversion percentage.

Jason Stewart leads demand generation programs for Demandbase and is a recognized thought leader in the BtoB lead generation and lead management space. He founded and leads the user group in’s headquarters location (San Francisco) and was one of the first 500 people to complete the Certified Administrator process. He has spent 10+ years in BtoB telesales, demand generation, lead management and marketing operations with a variety of businesses including Maxager Technology, MarketLive, and Inference Corporation.