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How Sales Automation Can Increase Your B2C Revenue

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How Sales Automation Can Increase Your B2C Revenue

What do you think is one of the most amazing digital marketing inventions by man?

Our answer is sales automation!

The benefits that come from automating your sales processes are mind-boggling. Using software tools can help save effort and time, creating a win-win experience for your business and its customers.

Below, we look at all that entails sales automation and its benefits.

What Is Sales Automation?

Sales automation is the mechanization of time-consuming, manual sales processes using technology and software.

Shifting your repetitive sales tasks with automated sales systems and tools helps reduce the workload on human staff, so they focus more on essential tasks such as building customer relationships, closing sales, tracking website visitors, and generating revenue.

Some actual sales processes that you may automate are:

Prospecting

Insight tools allow aggregating information from multiple data sources for an up-to-date view of your prospect. Create and define custom filters for direct searches of your customers and prospects.

Follow-ups

Failing to follow up on potential customers in a timely way can lead to lost potential sales. Automating the process prompts your sales team to reach out to the prospects again.

Email Campaign Templates

Templates make drafting marketing emails easy and faster without copying content while helping reduce errors and auto-generate personalized content.

Pipeline Updates

Sales pipelines are essential but complex, and everyone should know the state of the pipeline at all times. Automatic updates can help you monitor where the sales leads are, analyze, and forecast accurately, and every marketing team member is up to date.

Training

Automation can help with onboarding your new sales reps. It’s difficult to monitor over 10 new representatives individually—so leave the task to automation.

Sales Calls

AI-powered natural language processing software can transcribe sales calls, so you can review critical conversations or search quickly with keywords.

What Are Sales Automation Tools?

Sales automation tools are a type of software that enables businesses to automate and standardize their entire sales process, from prospecting to nurturing relationships.

Some sales tools provide an end-to-end experience so you can automate lead research and customer database management to reporting and your team’s sales productivity analytics.

Other specialized tools only handle specific portions or tasks in the sales process, such as lead research, analyzing customer retention rates, and scheduling meetings automatically.

Why Is It Important?

Sales automation offers your all-star sales team more time to talk to prospects.

Every good salesperson dislikes administrative tasks that limit the time spent on calling and talking to potential clients. Your job is to ensure the entire team uses its time doing what it does best—generating sales.

Sales cycle automation is one of the best ways to achieve this. You also enjoy the following business growth benefits.

1. Fast And Efficient Lead Scoring

Implementing a lead-scoring B2C marketing strategy is revolutionary. You’re employing an effective strategy that once required extensive human intervention but automating it now!

Lead scoring involves assigning a lead with a letter or numerical score. Identity attributes, behavior, and other aspects determine the score.

Who the lead is, where they work, what they are looking at on your website, and other action customer insights add up for a lead score.

When the score is above a certain point, you take immediate action.

Many lead scoring point systems have 100 as the tipping point and prioritize the leads as high-potential customers the sales team should call.

Automating the process assigns point values and lead scores to potential customers, depending on objective and concrete criteria. Marketing automation technology removes human error and subjectivity.

2. Automated Lead Nurturing Capabilities

As your business increases its lead generation efforts, it becomes impossible to guide every prospect in your customer base with custom emails.

But sales automation can do the work for you. You can automate sending lead nurturing emails at several stages, including:

  • Welcoming a new subscriber
  • Educating leads after downloading your content
  • Re-engaging a prospect who has not visited your business in a while

These actions will nurture contacts in your database into qualified leads, increasing the chances they become paying customers.

3. Accurate Sales Forecasting

Accurate forecasting is crucial to driving growth, revenue, and profitability.

Information from these predictions is critical for making intelligent, proactive, and data-driven decisions about the sales process.

A forecast is a metaphorical roadmap that estimates your sales performance, expenses, and revenue and guides your business’ planning process. Accurate forecasting can help you spot potential issues that may affect sales performance and highlight potential opportunities.

The most successful businesses are consistently working on how to improve their sales forecasting accuracy and maximize ROI to hit their goals.

Sales automation provides the data that is the basis for your business’ sales planning and forecasting.

Efficient and seamless processes result in accurate forecasts and plans. Sales automation lets you use data more effectively in planning.

Sales automation tools help you optimize predictive analytics, calculate commissions automatically, and model plans—ultimately increasing your sales forecasting accuracy.

What Are B2C’s?

A Business-to-Consumer, or B2C, is a business model where the company sells its products and services directly to the customer. Famous B2C marketing examples include Walmart and Amazon, where individual consumers are the end-users of their services or products.

B2C is the alternative to the Business-to-Business (B2B). A B2B company sells its products to another business for sale to a customer with a mark-up.

The B2C business model boasts high customer volumes but lower revenue per customer and shorter sales cycles.

B2C Model Types

B2C businesses use five distinct models to move their products:

Direct Sale

These B2C companies sell their products directly to the consumer. Examples include Apple and Microsoft, which sell exclusive in-house products.

They require a strong SEO presence to be successful here. So, if you are looking to compete in a tough category you may need to source outside SEO help.

Online Intermediaries

These are businesses without products they’re selling online. Instead, they put the sellers in direct contact with buyers for a commission.

Advertising-Based B2C

The company buys advertising space on a large-volume platform for strategic ad placement. These companies use criteria such as content viewed, demographic, and internet searches to show targeted ads.

Community-Based B2C

These businesses leverage like-minded, online communities for business opportunities. Online communities offer businesses an easy way to find promising leads.

Fee-Based B2C

Customers pay the business to access the content. Examples of this model include subscription services such as Lynda and Netflix.

Sales automation tools can work on any device, including tablets, mobiles, and laptops. All the B2C sales data, and more, are in the tool for use by your sales team.

Sales marketing automation platforms can run multiple dashboards and reports that show you what you want, where you want it, and when. Sales automation helps funnel all customer communication to a single platform, so B2C marketers can follow up quickly.

5 Ways Sales Automation Tools Can Grow Your B2C Revenue

Sales automation tools provide a state-of-the-art, robust option for winning more customers, getting more deals, and increasing your sales.

These tools can also help improve the efficiency of your sales team and inflate revenues. However, no matter the tool you opt for, the ideal software should offer these five key advantages.

1. Increases Sales Growth Rates

Business owners worldwide use sales automation tools to speed previously time-consuming processes and close operational gaps.

API-level integrations in the tools help professionals in the IT, HR, finance, sales, support, and marketing department connect their applications for free-flowing and synced data.

Sales professionals gain the ability to quickly and more efficiently manage sales opportunities. Automation tools can create email marketing campaigns to follow up faster on inquiries and speed up the quote to cash process.

Sales automation tools also speed up customer support operations for critical processes such as onboarding and post-sales contract approvals. Support for helpdesk tickets with customer segments ensures the highest-value customers are always first.

In case sales automation processes are not affordable for your company’s current budget, you can consider seeking help from companies like the European funding network to get financial support and have an opportunity to implement all the sales automation essentials needed processes with high quality.

2. Improves Lead Intelligence In Sales Teams

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Timing is everything in sales. Reaching the right prospect at the right time can mean the difference between a conversion and a dismissal.

Lead intelligence is a smart way to prospect because not all leads are equal. Further, everyone has a different opinion of what a sales-ready lead is.

Depending on your sales process or industry, the information for qualifying a lead will differ. Lead intelligence can provide your sales team with a straightforward solution for establishing criteria for better scoring of prospective customers and better marketing strategies.

Lead intelligence is any personal information or data from sales automation tools that your salespeople collect about prospects and leads. The information helps you better understand how closely the lead aligns with your ideal customer profile.

Lead intelligence is fast becoming the go-to strategy for B2C companies in a crowded marketplace. Some data available to your sales team include:

  • Demographic details
  • Social media profiles
  • Website visits

However, managing all the information manually is a data privacy nightmare waiting to happen. The sheer amount of customer data from lead intelligence that businesses come into contact with makes sales automation tools a necessity.

Successful sales teams know whenever someone shares or opens an email. They also know when current customers view a proposal or presentation. These capabilities allow the team to act accordingly and in time.

When someone views your services or pricing page, your sales team receives an email about this activity, and it’s added to the contact’s records. A salesperson can then contact the prospective customer when there’s a hot opportunity, further increasing customer loyalty.

3. Increases Customer Renewals

Businesses in the US are losing close to $140 billion annually because of avoidable customer churn. The number would otherwise be frightening since businesses lose customers all the time, but not always for good reasons.

If businesses could predict what customers will churn, sales representatives would get alerts to take actions, such as creating a renewal, retention, and customer engagement plans.

Further, new customer acquisition can cost you up to five to 25 times more than retaining an existing one. If you want to maintain revenue growth and reduce costs, you require a viable customer retention strategy in place.

Using a sales automation tool ensures you never forget a customer renewal again. Each you bring in a new customer, you trigger a workflow that sends out email reminders when their contract’s about to end.

Automating your customer renewals is also an excellent upsell or cross-sell opportunity. Use the automated process to send customer recommendations and suggestions at the point of confirming their payments.

You can tailor emails with relevant messages and ads to your target audience and lure them into making additional purchases that complement their previous buys via personalized campaigns.

4. Assists With Maintaining Customer Satisfaction

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All your amazing services, advertising tactics, and marketing efforts are all in vain if customers are not happy with your business. Remember, the customer is king; so their satisfaction is necessary if a business wishes to experience an increase in sales.

Sales automation tools can automate customer satisfaction surveys. Taking customer feedback is an excellent way to know what they think about your business and its processes.

The feedback can help you identify flaws in your services, products, and dealings, and even suggest remedial measures that help improve the customer experience. It only takes a few minutes for the customer to complete the survey form and provide their opinions and reviews.

Some feedback tools need a few clicks from the customers for star ratings or number scales on their satisfaction levels. Other automation tools send take customer feedback at different intervals during the purchase journey.

Just as sales automation tools can help you create feedback surveys and forms for customers, they can do the same for taking employee feedback. After all, the key to keeping your current and prospective customers happy is by taking employees’ feedback regularly.

5. Save Teams Valuable Time

A salesperson’s position is a demanding job. Your sales team is dealing with never-ending phone calls, meetings, emails, and text messages daily. In fact, your team spends two-thirds of their time on non-revenue generating tasks!

Sales automation platforms can help streamline these repetitive and manual processes so your teams focus more on selling. Automation also helps reduce human error and generates high-quality leads, while saving you money and time.

Using the right tools can improve the effectiveness of your team’s sales activities by 30%, leading to an increase in revenue.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it!

A review of how sales automation can increase your B2C revenues.

Sales automation will save your day more times than you can count. The process can take out hours off your workday and help eliminate most manual tasks.

Automating your sales processes is saving many businesses from dealing with the headaches of handling manual situations. The result is you and your team, work smarter and are more productive and efficient.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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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