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Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA): 7 Strategies for Success

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Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA): 7 Strategies for Success

Reports show that shopper’s use of Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS)—also commonly known as Click-and-Collect—is only continuing to grow after a major pandemic boost in adoption. Consumers enjoy the efficiency and convenience of placing an order online, and picking it up already-bagged at their nearby store, making local availability one of the biggest factors impacting purchase decisions in 2023.

Source: https://forecasts-na1.emarketer.com/5df80ef0d5924101a08b78a5/5df80db59610370b18a15f25

Having the ability to reach your audience online before they make a product decision is crucial for local businesses, which is why there’s never been a better time to leverage Local Inventory Ads (LIA).

Screenshot reading “Tinuiti Joins Google’s new Local Inventory Ads Partner Program"

Tinuiti is excited to announce that we recently joined Google’s new Local Inventory Ad Partner Program, and are among the first US-based Agency partners to do so. As an official LIA Partner, our teams are fully equipped to handle campaign management, strategy, and execution, serving as an end-to-end resource for retailers—including helping to onboard the required feeds to Google.

Here’s how Local Inventory Ads help drive in-store traffic and sales, how to set them up, and some expert tips for optimizing your campaigns.

“Local Inventory Ads give retailers an opportunity to reach local shoppers by showcasing products available in their stores on Google. On top of driving customers to your physical stores, new features like store pickup and merchant hosted local storefronts lead to online traffic and conversions, resulting in more omnichannel revenue growth for retailers.”

Portrait of Ashlee Wiltshire

— Ashlee Wiltshire, Senior Director, Shoppable Media at Tinuiti
 

Table of Contents

 

 
Local Inventory Ads (LIA) are Google Shopping ads that are displayed when a searched product is available for purchase or pickup in a local store, and can be an effective way for retailers to drive in-store traffic.

These inventory listings are great at capturing a customer’s attention by offering ready-to-retrieve products available from local stores.

example of local inventory ads for yoga mats

Think of local inventory ads as an online banner that appears underneath product listings for a given search query:

  • They appear at the top of the search results right below the search query
  •  

  • Potential customers can quickly review local businesses that carry the product
  •  

  • Users that click on your local inventory ad are either directed to a Google-hosted local storefront page, or a merchant website’s product page (if the info for local pricing + availability on the product page meets Google’s requirements)
example of how local inventory ads work with local storefront

Source: Google

In addition to appearing within Search results, LIAs can also be served on Google Images, Google Assistant, and Google Maps. Customers still have the option to purchase directly from your website if they can’t make it into your store, meaning your local inventory ads can support both in-store and ecommerce sales.

Recognizing that not everything folks shop for locally falls within an immediately available category— such as large furniture items on display in a nearby store—Google also offers an on display to order feature (ODO). Items leveraging this feature will note that they are “In store – available to order.” Eligibility requirements for using the ODO feature include: the listed item must be deliverable to the shopper’s home within 90 days of purchase; the URL shoppers are directed to from the listing must provide all shipping details, including cost and policy.

 

 

Google offers three options for activating and delivering LIAs: Google-hosted local Storefronts (GHLS), and Merchant-hosted local Storefronts (MHLS)—full or basic. Let’s explore how each works…
 

Google Hosted Local Storefronts

When users who click your LIA are directed to your Google-hosted Local Storefront, you can showcase even more information about your business to help close the sale, including:

  • A description of your product or business
  • Links to your website
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Map and navigation directions to your store

The opportunity to provide shoppers with a snapshot of this additional information is an advantage to using GHLS, but there is one primary con to consider: Shoppers are not taken directly to a page where they can purchase the item. For a one-click solution that gets folks straight from the ad to your website, Merchant-hosted Local Storefronts are recommended.
 

Merchant Hosted Local Storefronts (Full and Basic)

Google currently offers advertisers two options for Merchant-hosted Local Storefronts—full or basic. Both the full and basic programs are meant to break down some of the road blocks that have historically made local inventory ads tough to launch, and/or not as rewarding for merchants.

One of the key ways in which the full and basic programs differ is how much work is required to set them up, and keep them accurate. Let’s explore each more closely…
 

MHLS – Full Program

MHLS (full) includes local storefront information for a single merchant; when prospective customers click on one of these ads or listings, they will be taken directly to the advertising retailer’s website, similar to a regular Shopping ad.

Behind the scenes, this seamless shopping experience is being accomplished by a 2-step process after the ad or listing has been clicked. First, “Google passes a Business Profile store code where the item is available to the retailer.” Next, the retailer generates the landing page—customized to their specific store—for the product that was clicked. Google notes that while advertisers can self-detect customers’ locations, it is required that all customers clicking these ads are directed to the specific store Google passes in the URL generated by their click.

It’s important to note that the (full) program option for MHLS is only available to advertisers whose website product landing pages meet Google’s list of requirements. These stipulate the following: “Display your store’s local price or ensure that local prices match online prices, if only online prices are displayed. The price displayed on your landing page must match the price submitted in your local inventory feed for the selected store.”

Meeting those requirements is where things can quickly become a highly time-intensive project for your Web Design team, requiring that you’ve properly set up store-specific pages for every retail location, and done the necessary custom web design to ensure the price at that particular location is displayed. If you have the resources and the bandwidth, it’s a route worth considering. However, if time and ease are equally important factors, the basic program may be a better fit.
 

MHLS – Basic Program

The MHLS (basic) program involves significantly less development work than the full program, requiring the following of your listings: “Show the omnichannel price on your product landing page. The price on your landing page must match the price value submitted in your primary product feed.”

“Managing prices for individual store locations can sometimes be chaotic, particularly for retailers with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of brick-and-mortar stores. The basic version of Google’s Merchant-hosted Local Storefront program enables advertisers to use a price match to help in navigating this issue.”

Mike Wojciechowski

Mike Wojciechowski, Senior Director, Shoppable Media at Tinuiti

When you implement LIAs using the basic program, customers who click on your ad or listing are directed to your omnichannel landing page; this page allows customers to select a specific store location for more information about the given item’s cost and availability. Similar to the full option, the basic program also represents a single merchant’s information.
 

The Pros and Cons of Product Listing Ads

 

  • Promoting in-store inventory: LIAs are connected to your local inventory feed, meaning you can promote your in-store inventory to local shoppers in real-time
  •  

  • Bringing a local shop online: The Google-hosted local storefront acts as an informative, digital local storefront that you can use to bring online awareness to your local store
  •  

  • Measuring performance: Stores have the ability to monitor the impact that digital ads have on foot traffic and in-store sales, and Google provides Store Visit data to help determine the true offline impact of your LIAs
  •  

  • Double exposure opportunity: You have the ability to run both regular Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and Google Local Inventory Ads simultaneously, ultimately increasing your real estate in search results

“You can have products that your website sells, and only a select few that are actually carried in-store. If somebody searches for your product, but it’s only available online, then your PLA can still be displayed. Alternatively, with a product that is carried in-store, a regular PLA can be shown to drive traffic to your site, or you can have Google Local Inventory Ads displayed to push in-store transactions.”

Portrait of Roman Fitch

— Roman Fitch, Director, Growth Media at Tinuiti

One of the only drawbacks to Local Inventory Ads is the process required for setting them up and keeping them maintained. You need an individual product feed for each store location to be completed within Google Merchant Center. Without the technology and resources needed to keep in-store statuses up to date with Google product feeds, some businesses may run into some trouble.

“In-store sales and conversions are going to change inventory conditions, and if businesses are not able to keep that up-to-date on the Google side of things, products may end up being disapproved and potentially even flagged. So that’s where the challenge comes in if you have a lot of stores,” explains Fitch.

 

 
Businesses must meet certain criteria to qualify for LIAs, including:

  • Own brick-and-mortar stores that are open to the public (e.g. no appointment required)
  •  

  • Stores must sell physical goods that do not require additional purchases (e.g. no memberships required)
  •  

  • The store’s physical location must be in the country ads are being targeted to (Google Local Inventory Ads are currently supported in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland)
  •  

  • Customer’s personally identifiable information (PII) must be protected
  •  

  • Google Shopping Policies must be met, and abided by

 

 
In order to get started with Google Local Inventory Ads, there are a few steps you need to follow.
 

Set up necessary accounts

Local Inventory Ads work in tandem with a multitude of Google’s offerings, so you’ll need accounts for the following:

  • Merchant Center: You’ll need to set-up a Merchant Center account and upload your business logo to it
  • Google Ads Account: This will need to be connected to your Merchant account
  • Google Business Profile Locations (fka Google My Business): This will require information about your business locations, so be sure to have that ready. This will also be where you create your store’s unique identifier, which you’ll need when you create your local feed

 

Enable Local Inventory Ads in Merchant Center

Once you have your accounts set up, you need to enable LIAs in your Merchant Center settings.

how to enable local inventory ads in merchant center

  1. Sign in to Merchant Center
  2. Click Growth in the navigation menu
  3. Click Manage programs
  4. Click Get started on the local inventory ads card
  5. Confirm qualifications are met
  6. Click the plus button
  7. Choose the country where your physical stores are located

 

Create your Shopping and Local Products Feeds

Four data types and sources to run Local Inventory Ads, Store Information, Product Information and Inventory Information

Source: Google

To set-up Google Local Inventory, you’ll need to set-up four different feeds:

  • Google Shopping Feed: This is your standard product ads feed
  • Local Products Feed: This will display a list of available products at each of your store locations
  • Local Product Inventory Feed: This feed displays specifics about your product, such as price, inventory, and location-specific information
  • Business Information Feed: This displays information about each of your stores and feeds that information to Google Business Profile
Depiction of where Google obtains information for Product Feed

Source: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/3055932

From here, you can give Google information about your products through the local products feed.
Google has a complete list of mandatory and optional attributes, including:

  • ID
  • Title
  • Description
  • Image link
  • Brand

Once this has been created, it’s time to give Google location-specific information about your products. While some required attributes are standard across all items, others are conditional. Review the full list of local product inventory feed specification attribute requirements here, including:

  • Store code
  • Quantity
  • ID
  • Price

Taking the time to optimize your product feed can boost SERP visibility as well as sales, making it an important part of the feed creation process. If you’re not sure how to get started with feed creation, Google provides a detailed walk-through.
 

Register and submit inventory verification

Once your feeds are completed, you need to initiate inventory verification checks in your Merchant Center. After Google has received them, they’ll send out a representative to make sure your in-store inventory matches your local product feed, so be sure your information is accurate. Google may also schedule ongoing check-ins after their initial visit, so it’s vital to make sure your information is always up-to-date. If your inventory levels change frequently, we recommend sending multiple local product inventory feeds throughout the day.

Note that inventory verification is only required if you are using a Google-hosted Local Storefront, or a Merchant-hosted Local Storefront (basic) without a price match guarantee. Additionally, the number of required visits for GHLS users varies depending upon the number of store locations.

If you are using MHLS (full) or MHLS (basic) with price match guarantee, no inventory verification store visits are required.

Chart with overview of how many inventory verifications are needed depending on landing page type and total number of stores

Source: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/7083859

 

Apply your Local Inventory Ads to Shopping Campaigns

Now that you’re ready to go, all that’s left is to enable your local inventory ads. You can do this by accessing your Google Ads account. From here, access the shopping campaign you want, navigate to Settings, then select Shopping Settings (Advanced).

Now, simply check the enable local inventory ads box and you’re good to go!

 

 
Here are some techniques you can implement into your own Google Local Inventory Ad Strategy.
 

1. Increase bids for nearby shoppers

Use a location extension bid modifier to increase bids for shoppers close to your stores.

Local Inventory Ads are triggered within a 25 to 35-mile radius of your store, serving to potential customers who use their device within this distance.

Screenshot of Google’s location extension for targeting Local Inventory Ads

An especially useful strategy here is to increase bids for shoppers closest to your stores. The closer a shopper is, the more likely they are to visit your location and complete a purchase.
 

2. Increase bids during store hours

You can ramp up bids during your store hours using the location extension bid modifier and setting the modifier to reflect your store hours.

This will help push your store to more shoppers when they want and can get your products.

Screenshot of Google’s location extension for scheduling and bid adjustment Local Inventory Ads

Note: Make sure your store hours are in blue.

However, this doesn’t mean you should turn off bidding outside of store hours. It’s still important for shoppers to be able to find your products at all hours—instead, simply minimize bid spending.

 

3. Add Store Pickup / Buy Online Pickup In-store options

A “Pick up today” badge on your Local Inventory Ad sends a powerful message that a customer can have their product in-hand very quickly, which can further improve click-through and conversions.

Example of standard LIA vs. BOPIS-eligible LIA for size 6 diapers

Source: Google

“The Buy Online, Pickup in Store feature has been a great addition for Google Shopping over the past few years and we expect to see continued adoption for this feature as many stores adapt to a world where curbside pickup is more prevalent and stores are becoming distribution centers for ecommerce orders.”

Mike Wojciechowski

— Mike Wojciechowski, Senior Director, Shoppable Media at Tinuiti

To make your Local Inventory Ads eligible for Pickup today, next you need to meet a special set of conditions and also complete the appropriate Feed requirements.

Overview of required and optional feed attributes for BOPIS Local Inventory Ads

Source: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/9432086

 

4. Use LIAs and Product Listing Ads (Shopping Ads) together

There’s a big benefit to running both organic Local Inventory Ads and paid Shopping Ads (Product Listing Ads) together.

  • You can increase your visibility by covering more of the search results for searches that trigger both your LIA and Shopping ads
  •  

  • For shoppers that are near your store, your LIAs will trigger for both mobile and desktop
  •  

  • For shoppers not nearby, Shopping ads can still trigger on both mobile and desktop

 

5. Run small scale holdout tests

If you have a lot of stores and are uncertain about whether to move forward with local inventory ads, one of the easiest things you can test out is to only run Local Inventory Ads for a few stores.

“Pick stores in different zip codes that have similar levels of advertising investment and in-store traffic. Track the impact of running Local Inventory Ads and gather information on whether store traffic ticks up,” says Wojciechowski.

“Running this type of holdout test for a few stores will give you valuable insights that could help you gauge the potential impact if you roll out the program to all your stores. You can also work through how easy it is to track the impact for one store and come up with internal workflows that would make it easier to report on at scale.”
 

6. Send a limited amount of in-stock products

“If you can’t guarantee that you will be able to give Google accurate inventory for all of your products in every store location, instead of giving up on the program, you can send Google some of your products,” says Wojciechowski.

“Pick products that you know will be in stock. If you are a fashion retailer, you might want to send only certain sizes or colors of an item that you know most stores will carry/not run out of.”
 

7. Keep up on maintenance

Local Inventory Ads are not a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution.

You’ll need to update Google daily on your in-store inventory, and Google must have some way to verify those inventory counts. Google Business Profile must have all your business’s information, so ensuring this information is accurate is a must.

The solution also includes map pins and additional store information when searches are performed on laptops or desktops.

 

 
big 5 case study for local inventory ads

With proper Feed setup and Local Inventory Ads campaigns, Big 5 Sporting Goods managed to drive a 25% increase in-store traffic, which boosted their ROAS by a factor of 13X.

Read the full story on how Search, Shopping, and Local Inventory Ads are leveraged together to produce results here.
 
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in May 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

 

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

​​

via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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