Do you need to be good at marketing now that you’ve installed technology?
In 2018, CMOs devoted more of their budget to technology investments than labor, and that fact is not expected to change this year. For many companies, the Marketing Technology (MarTech) line item represents almost a third of the Marketing budget. With this level of investment and the proliferation of technology, wouldn’t we expect lead management to be an issue of the past? Yet, the conversion from opportunity to customer still is below 10 percent. In fact, the most recent statistic I could find, which is from Salesforce, says that only 6% of opportunities ever end in a deal! No wonder Econsultancy found that only about 22% of business are satisfied with their conversion rates. If technology were the answer then we’d see greater satisfaction. Therefore something else clearly is needed.
Most experts focus on how to improve conversion rates for various tactics, such as email, Pay-per-Click, or landing pages. In fact, conversion rate is almost always within the context of the tactic and the offer. Many times, the advice has less to do with technology and more to do with copy – such as improving subject lines or making the copy more personal – or addressing design, such as use of white space and images. These are skills that tools can help, but only once you know the basics, such as what messages are relevant to the target, what channels prospective buyers prefer and use, how to write engaging copy, what offers are appropriate at which stage in the buying journey, and so on. It is a mistake to confuse the investment in technology with improvement in demand generation. Any tool in any industry primarily facilitates efficiency. If what you do is ineffective, there’s no fix, no matter the tool.
Why it's Important
"We spend a lot of time talking about conversion and how technology helps improve the conversion rate. If technology was the only answer the conversion from prospect to customer would be higher. That doesn’t seem to be the case."
Laura Patterson VisionEdge Marketing
Be Clear About What We’re Converting
We spend a lot of time talking about conversion and how technology helps improve the conversion rate. Conversion reflects some type of change. In the world of Marketing, when we motivate someone to click from an email or social media offer to a landing page, or from a landing page to a download, we have achieved conversion. Different conversions have different value. A newsletter sign-up does not have the same value as a scheduled appointment. When it comes to customer acquisition, the collaboration between Marketing and Sales is about a very specific type of conversion – the conversion from prospect to customer. This conversion is measured in win rate.
I truly believe that when people indicate dissatisfaction with the conversion rate, what they are ultimately saying is they are dissatisfied with the win rate. Here’s a way to illustrate the point. Let’s say you send out 100 emails. 100% of them are opened, and 100% of the people who opened the email click to the landing page of your website. 100% of these people schedule an appointment, but 0% of these appointments actually close. In this case, while you’ve had superior conversion rates along the way, the dissatisfaction would be very high. Would you be more satisfied if you sent out 100 emails, 25% of them were opened, 50% of these scheduled an appointment, and 50% of these became a customer (6 new deals)? I suspect the answer is yes: therefore, win rate is where we need to place our focus.
Win Rate is About Process Not Technology
Technology that facilitates online commerce, such as an easier check-out processes, a faster loading website, or a better mobile experience, can positively improve win rate. And visual communication technology can improve human interaction, which can positively impact win rate. But in both of these instances, the first step is to understand the process to be implemented and/or impacted.
Why has there been so much talk about using analytics and data modeling, mapping the customer journey, and account-based Marketing? Each of these in some way are essential to being more effective at opportunity management. Process is at the fundamental core of each of these. Opportunity management is itself a process. The same holds true in regards to the emphasis on sales training and sales enablement. Sales training is all about the method and sales enablement the tools that support the method being deployed at the right point in the customer journey. Again process.
When these processes are non-existent or off kilter, opportunity management – and ultimately the win rate – will suffer. The Sales team wants Marketing to pass them sales worthy opportunities. That means you will need a method, a process for determining and identifying valid opportunities. Your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) can alert you when such an opportunity arises, but only once you’ve established what is a valid opportunity and configured it accordingly.
Whether or not you are utilizing technology, to improve the win rate you will need well-defined processes in place for at least these five capabilities:
- Defining market and customer segments.
- Creating personas.
- Mapping the customer buying journey and tacking opportunities by stage.
- Scoring, qualifying and dispositioning opportunities.
- Developing, implementing, monitoring and reporting on relevant and compelling demand gen content and programs.
I would contend that all of these require us to be good at Marketing. Technology can certainly help. We can use technology to collect and analyze data faster to help assess segments and tease out personas. Technology can help us implement and track programs faster. However, opportunity management and win rate will only improve if Marketing is good at creating demand and the underlying processes.
If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your processes to improve your win rate, head over to our website, where we have many more in-depth articles like these to guide you.
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