Content Matters

Discussing best practices in marketing automation, content marketing, and demand generation
“A lead is a lead” is misleading!

There are good leads, bad leads, and those in between. Can you tell them apart, and should you?

Given the shift in marketing best practices resulting from digital automation, it’s now Marketing’s responsibility to move a prospect through the stages of the buying cycle, handing off names to Sales only when they’ve become qualified, sales-ready leads. Marketing must now focus on the redevelopment of processes, methodologies, content, and metrics in order to most effectively turn leads into customers. Leads need to be cultivated, qualified, scored, nurtured, and matured in advance of being provided to the sales team. Good leads should flow through quickly, bad leads may be removed, and those in between must be nurtured (or recycled). This empowers salespeople to focus on selling, not prospecting, leading to a significantly greater quantity of sales opportunities, with increased deal values and shorter times to close.

But what determines a good lead or a bad lead? While specific lead-scoring formulas vary from company to company, typically good leads are ones that quickly convert through the sales funnel by (1) engaging with the brand, (2) being identified as the right type of person at the right type of company, and (3) exhibiting good behavior. Exactly what constitutes “engaging with the brand,” “the right person or company,” and “good or bad behavior” is based on a set of weighted scores, as defined by stakeholders in both Sales and Marketing, applied programmatically though marketing automation platforms, and tracked by performance analytics software. These designations must be regularly monitored and adjusted, as they benefit highly from extended trending analyses.

This practice also provides the required visibility to create strategic, targeted marketing campaigns, leveraging well-designed, inbound content marketing tactics, with the goal of leading the customer experience from start to finish. This tactical development of persuasive, strategically-designed, digital content ecosystems, holistically drives prospects through the early, middle, and late stages of the sales cycle, more quickly converting into customers.

The key to ensuring effective adoption of this model is sales and marketing alignment, with stakeholders from both groups needing to be highly engaged in designing and continuing to refine the funnel. Once created and polished, sorting the good leads from the bad ones will happen automatically, maximizing salesperson value (and happiness), shortening the total sales cycle, and increasing the company’s overall revenue.