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What It is and Why It Matters

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What It is and Why It Matters

91% of marketers are confident that their making marketing decisions will positively impact revenue. Are you one of them?

As marketers, we’re well-versed in the main goals of internet marketing: to generate leads and new business. Revenue generated from online marketing justifies why we include online channels in our marketing efforts.

How then, do marketers come up with a winning online marketing strategy that directly ties to their revenue goals?

If you’re unsure of the answer, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve outlined the steps that you can take to plan successful revenue marketing campaigns.

Let’s explain revenue marketing a little bit more.

If you were to implement a revenue marketing plan, you would look at your revenue goals first instead of your business goals. For example, if the business has a goal to attract 10,000 new customers, but the revenue goal is to make $150,000 more than last quarter, a revenue campaign would strategize all the ways the team could generate $150,000 — ideally from 10,000 (or more) new customers.

Benefits of Revenue Marketing

Marketing efforts are typically broken down into four broad categories: Traditional marketing, lead generation, demand generation, and revenue marketing.

Many companies move through marketing efforts in this order. Traditional marketing comes first and includes a focus on building your brand — generating name and product recognition in the hope of driving sales later on.

Lead generation comes next. Here, marketing teams look to pinpoint high-value leads that are likely to take action and drive sales. Demand generation follows, and sees marketing and sales teams working in tandem to create multi-channel campaigns that bring interested B2C and B2B buyers to your site or sales platform.

Revenue marketing looks to scale up lead and demand generation processes by tying them to specific metrics and making them both reliable and repeatable. Effectively implemented, revenue marketing offers three key benefits.

Increased Customer Focus

Traditional marketing efforts are all about finding ways to boost demand by making products or services more appealing at scale. Revenue marketing flips the script to focus on what customers want.

What do customers want from the product? What would make them likely to buy more? Buy less? What non-product areas — such as speed of customer service response or the ability to easily navigate websites — have an impact on the likelihood of conversion? By focusing on the cultivation of long-term customer relationships, revenue marketing can help drive sustained sales.

Enhanced Team Alignment

Marketing and sales teams are often at odds. Where marketers look to positively raise brand profiles at large, sales teams are more concerned with the specifics of individual conversions. As a result, efforts from these two teams may work in opposition rather than tandem, in turn frustrating both outcomes.

Revenue marketing, meanwhile, helps put these teams on the same page with a singular focus: The customer. By getting everyone on board up-front — from sales and marketing team members to C-suite sponsors and even IT if needed — companies can align goals and outcomes across their organization.

Improved Goal-Setting

Speaking of goals, revenue marketing prioritizes — you guessed it — revenue, rather than leads, prospects, or potential demand. By tying success metrics to the generation of revenue from specific sources, it’s possible to create goals rooted in the reality of current sales volumes rather than predicated on predictions of potential customer action.

1. Customer Data Acquisition

First up? Data acquisition. Here’s why: The more businesses know about their customers, the better they’re able to create marketing and sales strategies capable of driving action. Effective acquisition starts with permission — make sure customers know what’s being collected, and why — and gets up to speed with data analysis tools capable of deriving patterns from real-time data sets.

2. Stakeholder Alignment

Given the scope of revenue marketing efforts, it’s also critical for companies to ensure stakeholder alignment. This means taking the time to sit down with relevant team members and create a strategy that gets everyone on board. Not only does this provide a roadmap moving forward, but sets a tone of collaboration from the outset.

3. Process Definition

Process comes next: What does the big picture revenue marketing campaign look like, and what specific processes will help achieve the goal? This often involves discussions around demand management, targeted marketing efforts, and the use of customer data to drive personalized campaigns.

4. Technology Implementation

From email newsletters to mobile apps and social media sites, technology is instrumental in effective revenue marketing. As a result, it’s worth looping in IT staff as soon as possible to identify services and software — such as in-depth big data programs and powerful CMS platforms — that can help companies reach their revenue marketing goals.

5. Results Management

Last but not least? Effective results management. This includes pinpointing the key metrics you’ll use to measure success — such as total number of sales over a specific period or revenue growth year-over-year — and how these metrics will inform revenue marketing efforts moving forward.

Developing an Effective Revenue Marketing Strategy

It’s not enough to know that you need a revenue marketing plan — you need a strategy to achieve this goal. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with our 4-step process.

How to Develop a Revenue Marketing Plan

1. Set SMART revenue goals.

To reach your revenue goals, you have to make them! If you’re a little confused on how to start making them or unsure of how to set them so they’re effective for marketing campaigns, let’s talk about how you can set measurable goals.

Before you set out to conduct online marketing strategies, your goal should be clearly defined and understood by the team working on the campaign. The easiest way to do that is to make sure your goal(s) is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

For a little refresher on SMART goals and how they pertain to setting revenue goals for marketing campaigns, let’s walk through an example.

Let’s say a marketing team for a company is generating $10,000/month in revenue through online and traditional marketing efforts, but wants to generate more revenue through beefing up digital campaigns. They have decided on a goal to double their revenue.

While doubling revenue is a fantastic goal, it doesn’t have any basis for how to get there. To make this goal SMART, the team can add some terms to make their path a little more clear.

So, instead of the marketing teams’ goal being “Double revenue,” it can be restructured to, “Through an online marketing campaign, the goal is to double revenue in six months by using channels chosen based on previous ROI data.”

This goal gives a time span, is specific, relevant to the task, and measurable. While doubling revenue is a high goal, SMART goals can change; they’re merely a guide to making sure your goals are reachable.

Begin by planning out your revenue goals. If you are still shaky on SMART goal making, HubSpot offers a free template you can download to guide you while writing them.

2. Audit your current website and marketing ROI.

Marketing analytics software can be used to measure the number of visits, leads, and generated sales you earn for each of your marketing channels. For example, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub offers the tools marketers need to measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns, such as website metrics.

When you want to determine the initial ROI of online marketing efforts, using analytics tools is extremely critical. These tools have customizable settings that you can configure, so the platforms only track the metrics you care about.

If you want to use your revenue goals to inspire your internet marketing plan, the metrics that will be useful may vary based on your business goals, but here are a few that are especially helpful: SEO metrics, ROI from pay-per-click (PPC), your blog’s conversion rates, and social media engagement.

Those metrics will tell you how your marketing efforts are ranking on Google, how many people are clicking on your ads or campaign offers, how helpful your content is to readers, and how your brand is perceived by its audience.

In general, if you intend to make money from a marketing channel, it’s important you continue to measure and iterate your strategy based on that channel’s core metrics. Once you know your analytics, you can use that data, paired with monthly revenue data, to estimate the conversion rate you aim to earn with your next campaign.

3. Conduct research to determine actionable steps.

If you’re unsure of how to determine actionable steps in your plan, it’s always helpful to do some research.

I know, I know: you might not have the time to devote to copious amounts of research. However, by seeking out some information, you’ll be able to uncover actionable steps that work for similar companies’ revenue marketing efforts.

For instance, we’ve talked about how leveraging data can help build your online marketing strategy. Before you start planning, if you’re unsure of where to begin, refresh your memory of must-haves when writing a marketing plan. This post is a good place to start.

You can also look into downloading a report from a company that used revenue marketing. For instance, HubSpot offers this study, which details how revenue marketing worked for a campaign, and provides highlights of the report for those strapped for time.

Additionally, you can look at a case study to get an understanding of how a revenue marketing plan looks from a bird’s eye view. This directory of case studies is organized based on industry, company size, and company goals, so you can easily find a case study that illustrates the plan you’re considering for your own business.

Don’t forget to look into how using SEO can help make smarter marketing decisions. If you are confident in your SEO efforts, look at keyword and competitive data to figure out how much time and money you should invest in pay-per-click to hit your goals.

Finally, research can help you determine if you’re following the best practices for lead generation and tracking. You can find new ideas for converting leads into customers using online marketing channels, such as blogging and email, as nurturing tools.

To gain an understanding of how your marketing efforts help one another, and how to structure a chronological plan, a little research is necessary.

4. Put it all together.

Once you’ve got an idea of your current return, have set reasonable revenue goals, and know a bit more about the channels and methods you want to use, it’s time to put it all together.

When you’re building your internet marketing campaign, keep in mind that every step in your plan should be based on revenue goals. If you’re going to use Facebook Ads as part of your campaign, for example, it should be understood by the team why that method will help you reach your revenue goal.

Spend some time ensuring the content you want to create for the campaign will resonate with its audience, as well. Blog posts need to be valuable to readers (Keyword research helps you figure out what readers are searching for) and social media content needs to engage followers, for example.

During your internet marketing planning process, outline how you’re going to measure success. Revenue is the obvious metric to measure, but what software will you be using? How are you going to interpret the revenue you earn?

Once you’ve worked through your marketing plan, you should have all the resources in place to write a marketing report or case study from your findings on your own. Who knows — your report could even turn into a valuable content offer for your next revenue-based campaign.

Realizing Revenue Goals

Revenue marketing combines sales and marketing efforts to create campaigns that go beyond lead and demand generation to link campaigns with reliable and repeatable ROI.

Best bet? Start with a clear strategy to help identify sales opportunities, pinpoint conversion-ready leads, and create metrics that effectively align campaign efforts with revenue outcomes.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 19, 2020 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.

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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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