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How to Perfectly Manage a PPC Campaign [Template]

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How to Perfectly Manage a PPC Campaign [Template]

In the world of search engine marketing (SEM), more and more marketers are buying into PPC campaigns. Google Ads specifically has increased its revenue from year to year. In 2021, Google advertising revenue accounted for $53.1 billion — 81% of Alphabet’s overall sales.

Properly investing in PPC can result in nearly guaranteed ad placement in the search engine result pages of their choice. And this placement can help generate leads. If your ads tool is tightly integrated with your CRM, you can even leverage ads data to nurture these leads across their buyer’s journey.

As you prepare to create a PPC campaign, it’s important to get a rundown of what a successful campaign entails and identify management missteps that you’ll want to avoid.

Building a successful PPC campaign includes a few key steps:

  1. Determine your PPC campaign structure.
  2. Identify, build, and refine your campaign’s landing pages.
  3. Create a keyword strategy based on your research.
  4. Create ads based on insights from the steps above.
  5. Share your campaign plan with stakeholders.

The problem is, many marketers have poor PPC campaign management, which ends up costing them way more money than they need to spend and delivering underwhelming lead generation results.

Here are a few ways marketers could go wrong with PPC campaign management:

  • Coming up with keywords on the fly without doing prior research.
  • Only building one basic campaign without utilizing Google Ads’ Ad Groups tool.
  • Attaching unengaging landing pages — or a homepage that generates no leads — to the campaign.
  • Not adding “negative keywords” or monitoring campaigns to avoid wasting budget.
  • Creating campaigns, setting budget caps, and going live without telling internal or external stakeholders.

So, how do you manage a PPC campaign properly so that you get leads at a reasonable cost? It comes down to intelligent campaign structure.

How do you master intelligent campaign structure? You use a template!

You can get started managing your own PPC campaign by using our template.

PPC Campaign Management Template

HubSpot PPC campaign management template

We’ve created a free PPC campaign management template that will help you and your clients set up a full-funnel campaign structure that follows PPC best practices. Once you do that, you’ll be better positioned to maximize the return on your PPC investment. The template is broken down into two sections: Ads Planner and Ads Results.

Ads Planner Template

In this section of the template, you’ll record all of your ad campaign information. In the first 3 columns on the left-hand side, input your campaign name, keywords, and negative keywords (keywords you don’t want ads shown for).

HubSpot Ads Planner TemplateThe next section to right will hold all of your ad variations. There’s room for multiple headlines, descriptions, and URL paths to help you keep track of all of the ads you’re running.

Ads Results Template

This part of the template will easily allow you to track all of the campaign metrics you need. Total cost, impressions, conversions, cost per click information, and more can be recorded here to help you analyze performance.

HubSpot Ads Results template

Now that you’re familiar with our template components, let’s look at managing your PPC campaign.

How to Manage a PPC Campaign

If you’re running PPC campaigns for someone who doesn’t understand the importance of an organized campaign structure, this template will also act as a PPC campaign management task checklist that will enlighten your boss or clients.

PPC Campaign Management Template

We’re going to show you how to use that PPC template in this blog post — so download it now and follow along.

Before we get started, let’s go over a few tips that’ll make using this template even easier:

  • You will want to clear out the example data I have in the template such as keywords, campaign and AdGroup names, ads, and destination URLs.
  • Be careful not to erase columns E, G, and I. They contain formulas that will help you in subsequent steps.
  • Click on the red markers in the top corners of the cells. They contain helpful tips and FAQs. If you ever forget what a cell is used for, they will remind you.

Step 1: Choose your PPC campaign management tools and software.

There are several places to begin your PPC campaign strategy, but my advice would be to start with one platform and expand to another until you cover each channel your audience visits. This tactic works because it keeps your costs low in the initial stages of PPC planning. Rather than paying for an external campaign management tool, you can manage your campaigns natively within the platform on which you’re running the ads.

However, as you expand your strategy to include more sites, you’ll want to scale to a PPC campaign management software that can help you keep track of each platform, each budget, and each set of creative all in one place.

Here are some of our favorite tools for the job:

  • Marin Software: Integrates with Google and Facebook — two of the most popular PPC platforms.
  • Wordstream Advisor: Analyzes Google and Facebook ad spend for you to keep you on budget.
  • SpyFu: Analyze your competitor’s campaigns to build a well-rounded strategy.

Step 2: Understand PPC campaign structure.

Before we do anything with this template, it’s important to understand PPC campaign structure. Far too many marketers will just set up an account, create an ad, direct the ad to their home page, pick some keywords and hit go. This is not the way to do things.

With Google Ads, you have the opportunity to create multiple campaigns. Each campaign may contain several AdGroups, and each AdGroup may contain a few ads and multiple, similar keywords.

It’s wise to create multiple campaigns because you can set daily budget caps, day-parting, and select geo-targeted regions at the campaign level. If you’re bidding on generic keywords and branded keywords, you’ll want to put these in separate campaigns because the economics around these two types of keywords will likely be very different.

As you can see, your template reflects these best practices, providing space for several different campaigns, AdGroups, and ad variations within those AdGroups.

How to Manage a PPC Campaign: Understand PPC campaign structureDownload this Template Free

Step 3: Identify your landing pages.

The “Destination URL” is the place on your website where you want the PPC traffic to end up. Because there is a marginal cost associated with each PPC visitor you attract, I recommend you choose a landing page URL as your destination URL.

Do not drive them to your home page or a blog in hopes that they will stumble upon a lead generation form. That’s the job of organic search. Drive them to a landing page with a form on it. Don’t forget to put in a tracking token so you know where these leads are coming from.

How to Manage a PPC Campaign: Identify Your Landing Pages in the PPC Campaign Template

You will notice that the Destination URL within the AdGroup is the same regardless of the keyword or ad. If you really want to drive a keyword to a different landing page, then create another AdGroup. If you want to get even more specific, create another campaign for that keyword.

You should also keep your sales funnel in mind when you identify these landing pages. Think about which part of the sales funnel each landing page and offer speaks to.

For example, an educational PDF about an industry concept would be appropriate for a top-of-the-funnel offer, while a coupon or a demo would be at the bottom of the funnel.

Manage and create separate campaigns for each part of the funnel. If you scroll down in your template, you’ll see that there’s dedicated space allotted for campaigns in all of these funnel stages.

How to Manage a PPC Campaign: Manage and create separate campaigns for each part of the funnel

Step 4: Build your keyword strategy.

Next, select the keywords that are relevant to the landing page and offer. Make sure to keep them as relevant as possible to increase the chance that each visitor you pay for completes the form on the landing page.

Yes, it would be nice to rank for certain keywords, but if the landing page doesn’t answer the keyword query, think twice. Or better yet, create another offer and landing page that speaks more directly to the keyword.

How to Manage a PPC Campaign: Build your keyword strategy

Download this Template Free

To understand search volumes and costs around each keyword you want to select, you can use free tools like the Google Ads Keyword Tool or — if you’re a HubSpot customer — our keywords tool.

If this is your first time managing a PPC campaign, it would be wise to read up on how to design a keyword strategy. In the case of Google Ads, you might also want to learn more about keyword quality scores.

Step 5: Create your ads.

This is the fun part! Both Google Ads and Microsoft Ads allow you to create more than one ad for each Ad Group (hence the “group” terminology). The service will rotate them until it notices that one appears to drive a higher clickthrough rate (CTR). This is how A/B (and C and D) testing works. While this is optional, you should take advantage of the ability to create more than one ad.

Keep in mind that you are allotted 25 characters for the title of the ad, 35 characters for the display URL (the URL that’s displayed in the ad, not to be confused with the destination URL), and 35 characters for each line of copy. But if you’re using this template, we’ll keep track of that for you.

How to Manage a PPC Campaign: Create your ad

In my experience, the title has the greatest influence on an ad’s CTR. It’s wise to include a keyword in the headline to draw a user’s attention to your ad. An even better practice would be to use dynamic keyword insertion.

A good rule of thumb is to simply try to provide a cohesive experience for searchers — from seeing your ad in the search engine results to completing the form on your landing page — everything should align with the goal of getting them to click through.

How to Manage a PPC Campaign: Create a display URL

Finally, there’s the tricky matter of the display URL. You’re only allowed 35 characters here, but it’s unlikely that your destination URL, the actual URL for your landing page, will be that short. So the search engines allow you to create a display URL, which may not even be an actual URL on your website. The domain in your display URL must be the same as the domain in your destination URL so that users end up in the right place when they click.

Step 6: Share the completed template with stakeholders.

Whether you’re doing PPC for your business or a client, your completed template will ensure alignment between the stakeholders’ expectations with the realities of a productive PPC campaign. If you’re the stakeholder of a PPC campaign, this template will help you think about what you’re doing with the money you’re spending on PPC.

By doing so, you’ll have created a congruous user experience that search engines like to see. This can benefit you in terms of your positioning in the SERPs and, ultimately, your costs. It will also grant you the agility you need to swiftly reallocate and modify your budget as you respond to changes in the marketplace, and drive the maximum return on your PPC spend.

How to Optimize Your PPC Campaign

PPC campaign management isn’t as easy as using a one-time strategy. You’ll need to continually adjust your methods for optimized results. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your campaigns are performing their best.

Location

Geographic targeting is used often in PPC management. You can analyze performance based on location by examining where your resources are being used and whether or not they are profitable. This way you can exclude areas that don’t perform.

For example, if you own a bike shop, targeting areas that are more urban and densely populated may be a better use of your funds than targeting rural areas where most folks need a car to get around.

Performance by Device

Campaigns that are effective on desktop users may not perform as well on mobile users. Consider targeting each group separately to see if there are differences in conversion rate.

If you find that a particular campaign works better on mobile versus desktop, consider allocating funds towards your moble efforts and try a different campaign for desktop users. This way you can ensure that your budget is being spent in areas that have proven to be successful.

Removing Keywords

When running campaigns, not all keywords chosen will prove useful. You’ll need to remove the low performers. These could be keywords that:

  • Are converting at a very high cost
  • Have a quality score rating of “below average”
  • Not converting

Keywords with the above traits should be removed in favor of ones that are performing well so you can ensure that your budget is being spent wisely.

Examine Keyword Bids

When bidding for keywords, you’ll want to determine how much you can pay for each conversion and still make a profit. Google Ads has several tools to help you optimize your bids including:

  • Bid simulator: This allows you to see how bidding higher or lower can affect the ad’s performance.
  • First-page bid estimates: This shows how much you likely need to bid to get your ads within the first page of Google search results.

Once you determine the max you can pay for a particular keyword, these tools will help you make the most of your budget.

Performance by Day and Time

Campaign performance will fluctuate depending on the time of day or day of the week. You’ll want to take note of when they perform well and when they don’t. If they aren’t performing during a certain timeframe, you can adjust so that you are only bidding on the most profitable times.

Now that you know how to optimize your campaigns to get the best results, let’s explore the platforms available for running your PPC campaigns.

PPC Campaign Management

Understanding where your audience is spending most of their time online is key, in addition to figuring out what kind of ads work best for your business. It’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the different platforms available to run your PPC campaigns. Let’s continue by looking at some of the most prominent online ad platforms: Google, Microsoft (Bing), Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Google PPC Campaign Management

Google has been the dominant player in the search engine space for more than 20 years and it still produces some of the most innovative ad experiences on the market. Here’s a look at a couple of the most popular ways to serve ads on Google.

Google Adwords PPC campaign creation dashboardImage Source

Google Search Ads

One of the most popular types of Google Ads is the search ad. These ads appear at the top and bottom of the search results for specific keywords that you bid on. Google search ad campaigns are usually run with the goal of driving traffic to a specific webpage — like a landing or product page.

Google Display Ads

Have you ever visited a website that has advertising on the banner, sidebar, or footer of the page? Then you’ve probably crossed paths with a Google display ad. These types of ads are typically visual, featuring colorful graphics, videos, and sometimes audio. Google display ads are helpful for retargeting customers who have visited your website before without making a purchase.

Microsoft Ads (Formerly Bing Ads) PPC Campaign Management

Overall, Microsoft Ads works very similarly to Google Ads. However, here are a few tips that can help get the most out of your PPC campaign strategy for Microsoft Ads.

Microsoft Ads PPC campaign management dashboardImage Source

Bing Keyword Suggestions

If the bulk of your PPC efforts live in Google Ads and you decide to start bidding on Microsoft Ads, you might be tempted to use the same keywords that you’re already bidding on in Google. The issue here is that Google and Bing are different search engines and it’s possible that your Google keywords won’t see the same search volume in Bing.

Bing’s keyword research and suggestion tool will give you more accurate search volumes for your keywords. You can still use your original list of keywords from Google to start with, but utilize this tool to verify whether you should be bidding on the same keywords, or something similar that yields more traffic.

Lower CPC

Ad bids can end up being quite costly for a business so many marketers are constantly working to decrease ad spend. Wordstream tested the cost of running ads on both search engines and found that Bing’s average CPC was 33% lower than Google’s. Since bidding on Microsoft Ads is less competitive in comparison to Google, it’s likely that you won’t end up spending as much of your budget on this platform.

So if you’re able to find a high MSV keyword to bid on there’s a good chance that you’ll see a positive shift in your return on investment. This may be especially true for specific industries. The table below shows the average industry CPC according to Microsoft Ads.

Microsoft Ads average industry CPC chart

Image Source

For a deeper dive into Microsoft Ads check out this tutorial.

Facebook PPC Campaign Management

Facebook Ads Manager is a platform that connects 1.6 billion people worldwide to businesses on Facebook. It’s a great tool to target specific audiences and to promote brand presence.

Facebook PPC campaign management audience dashboardImage Source

Some of the most popular ads you can incorporate into your Facebook campaigns are:

Story Ads

Stories are thriving on social media platforms, so why not develop a few ads to meet your audience where they’re already spending time?

Stories are only posted for 24 hours so these types of ads are best to use when you have a specific promotion occurring. Like personal stories, story ads can be shared in the form of a video with a link or a series of still photos that lead the viewer to take a specific action.

Playable Ads

Gamification is always an innovative way to catch a lead’s attention. Facebook’s playable ads allow you to create a brief interactive version of a game or app so users can get a feel for what your product is like.

You’ll want to keep the functionality as simple as possible, so you won’t deter any potential customers, and of course, make it fun!

Messenger Ads

If you’ve ever used Facebook’s messenger tool, you’ve probably seen an ad appear among your conversations. The great thing about this is that a potential customer could choose to instantly connect with your business directly from their messages.

So, if you have a sales customer service team that connects with people via chat this is a great way to establish an instant connection. You can also send a lead to your site or a specific landing page from the ad.

To start building your own ad campaign on Facebook check out HubSpot’s Facebook Ads Training Course.

Twitter PPC Campaign Management

Twitter Ads Manager makes it easy to plan the ad you’d like to run on Twitter while providing reporting on campaign performance.

Twitter PPC campaign managerImage Source

People spend 26% more time viewing ads on Twitter than on any other leading platform, so you’ll want your ads to be catchy enough to stop someone mid-scroll. Some of the types of ads you can include in your Twitter campaign are:

Promoted Tweets

The only difference between a regular tweet and a promoted tweet is that you’re spending money for the promoted tweet to appear in the feeds of people who aren’t following your business. This allows your business to convert users, or simply gain new followers which will help with your brand’s awareness

Promoted Moments

Twitter moments are several tweets that focus on a specific topic or event. Essentially you want this collection of tweets to communicate a story for your audience. These are great for more fun or trendy topics since Moments includes categories such as trending, sports, entertainment, and more.

Promoted Trends

If you’re someone that loves seeing what’s trending on Twitter you may want to experiment with promoting a trend for your target audience to interact with. This will be displayed in the timeline, the explore tab, and the “Trends for you section.”

Once someone clicks on the promoted trend they’ll see various search results for the specific trend or topic and your brand’s promoted Tweet. If your business has identified an engaged Twitter audience you may be sitting on an untapped goldmine.

Learn more about Twitter Ads Manager for your business and get to tweeting!

YouTube PPC Campaign Management

Including YouTube in your ad campaign strategies is a must. If your business can create something catchy enough to convince someone not to click ‘skip,’ you’re already winning.

Youtube PPC campaign creation dashboardImage Source

As part of the Google Display Network, YouTube has become a core part of marketers’ ad strategies. With over a billion active users and the ability to be accessed in 76 languages, there’s no denying that YouTube is reaching a massive amount of people on a daily basis.

Let’s take a look at some of the different types of Youtube ads.

Skippable In-Stream Ads

These are probably the ads that you’re most familiar with already because we’ve all clicked that magical little button that says “skip ads” to start viewing what we searched for as soon as possible.

The ads can play before the ad even begins, which means the viewer never sees it, or they’ll have to wait five seconds before they can skip. Five seconds isn’t much time to convince some not to hit skip, so make sure the hook of your ad is immediately enticing. The good thing about this is that if they skip within those first five seconds, you don’t have to pay for the ad.

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads (Including Bumper Ads)

Since so many people opt to skip ads on YouTube, advertisers have the option to create non-skippable ads. If you’ve developed a strong creative as you feel will resonate with your target audience this may be the option for you.

However, make sure that you’re avidly measuring results to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for. If the results aren’t in your favor, you may want to revert to a skippable ad instead.

Video Discovery Ads (Formerly Known as In-Display Ads)

Discovery ads are what users see in the search results. Remember, YouTube is the second largest search engine and shows more than 1 billion hours of video to users each day – so you’ll want those ads appearing in search results too!

These ads will include a thumbnail and a few lines of text as a description. Since many people prefer visuals over text this is an opportunity to get someone to view your video instead of reading a competitor’s textual resource.

Start Your PPC Campaign Today

PPC management is all about researching, budgeting, testing, reporting, and doing it over until you get the results you need. You don’t have to do it alone, though. With the right tools and instructions outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to implement a PPC campaign that yields results for your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for 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.

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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.

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.

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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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