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What It Is & How To Get In It [2023]

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What It Is & How To Get In It [2023]

Amazon generates over $500 billion in sales every year, and of those conversions, over 83% occur using Amazon’s Buy Box. This means that if you want to increase your Amazon sales, winning the Buy Box on the product detail page is pivotal. 

Whether you want to get your products in the Buy Box for the first time or the hundredth time, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here with the experts to answer all your frequently asked questions about the Amazon Buy Box and what it means to your business.
 

Table of Contents:

 

  • What Is the Buy Box on Amazon?
  • Why is the Buy Box Important to Amazon Sellers?
  • How Does Amazon Decide Who Appears in the Buy Box?
  • Key Factors to Winning the Amazon Buy Box
  • Watch These Metrics to Win Amazon’s Buy Box
  • How Amazon’s Buy Box Percentage Works
  • Pricing Strategies to Help You Win the Buy Box
  • Why is Nobody Winning the Buy Box for a Listing?
  • Conclusion

What Is the Buy Box on Amazon?

 
The Amazon Buy Box is a section on the right side of an Amazon product detail page where customers can add a product to their cart with a highly visible box that says, “Buy Now.” On Amazon, this Buy Now box lets shoppers make instant purchases right from the product detail page. 
 

Example of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) product in the Buy Box

 
Each product on Amazon has its own product detail page, which can include the same products from different sellers. For Amazon sellers, this means that getting visibility on Amazon’s product pages sometimes proves a significant challenge — one that’s harder than getting visibility on other sales channels.

Amazon (and the Amazon Buy Box algorithm or formula) controls whose products show up in the Buy Box rotations, so you have to play by Amazon’s rules. And remember: Amazon.com isn’t just a marketplace — it’s also a seller and may sometimes be your toughest competition.
 

Why Is the Buy Box Important to Amazon Sellers?

 
Simply put, whether or not you have the Amazon Buy Box can make or break your sales, and here’s why.

When a user clicks the “Add to Cart” button, they’re buying from one merchant and one merchant only: the Buy Box winner. This makes winning the Buy Box especially crucial now that there’s a “Buy Now” button in addition to the add to cart button — the “Buy Now” button always leads to a purchase from the Buy Box owner.
 

Screenshot of Amazon product page with Buy Box and Buy Now button

Example of the “Buy Now” button on an Amazon listing

 
In addition to being prime real estate to increase your sales, winning the Buy Box means customers associate you with Amazon’s policies. When your product is in the Amazon Buy Box, shoppers believe they can trust you to provide high-quality customer service and top-notch products.

If you run Amazon ads within Amazon Seller Central, there’s another even more compelling reason to care about whether you own the Buy Box — when a product loses the Buy Box, all Sponsored Products ads stop running. And if you have Sponsored Brands Ads (SBAs) running, you risk paying for traffic to a page where another seller gets the sale since SBAs aren’t Buy Box-dependent.

Winning the Buy Box is also key to converting mobile shoppers. When shoppers use Amazon’s mobile site, they need to scroll far past the Buy Box to the “Other sellers on Amazon” section, then tap an arrow to open that information in a new page. This additional friction can make it more difficult to convert mobile users, which represent the majority of Amazon’s unique monthly visitors.
 

How Does Amazon Decide Who Appears in the Buy Box?

 
Amazon determines the Buy Box winner based on price, fulfillment and seller rating plus other factors we’ll cover in a bit. However, it’s not a perfect science. Because the factors that determine Buy Box eligibility are always in flux, the winner of the Buy Box rotations may change over time.
 

Professional Seller Account

 
Only Professional Seller accounts are eligible for Amazon Buy Box rotations, but the good news is that anyone can get Professional Seller status with Amazon Seller Central. This subscription-based service requires a monthly fee on top of your selling fees, but it confers numerous advantages, including the ability to win the Amazon Buy Box.
 

Length of Time on Amazon

 
Professional sellers who’ve been on Amazon longer have a better chance of winning Buy Box rotations. This advantage occurs because Amazon can see a proven track record of successful sales that rate highly with customers and intuit that your business will continue operating at high performance levels going forward.
 

Merchants Must Sell New Items

 
Only new products are eligible for winning Buy Box rotations, so the Amazon algorithm automatically excludes listings selling used products. This rule lets shoppers feel confident that they’ll always receive new goods in an undamaged state when they click the Amazon Buy Box.
 

Consistent Inventory Available

 
If you don’t have any products to sell, it naturally follows that you won’t win the Buy Box. But Amazon also favors professional sellers who keep consistent levels of inventory, making it imperative to properly stock your products. For that reason, sellers should keep an eye on their Inventory Performance Index (IPI) score.
 

The Lower the Price, the Better

 
Competitive pricing that includes taxes, shipping and handling matter to the Amazon Buy Box algorithm. Simply put, the lower your landed price, the higher your chances of winning the Buy Box. 
 

Efficient Delivery

 
If you’re using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), then this factor doesn’t matter as much as Amazon itself is responsible for your shipping times. Those who fulfill orders themselves, however, should understand that the Buy Box algorithm looks at promised and actual shipping times to determine if you win the coveted spot.
 

Good Seller Metrics

 
The Amazon Buy Box algorithm uses your performance metrics to determine whether you win the Buy Box or not. These metrics include refund, cancellation and late shipment rates, so it’s important to keep those incidences low and provide excellent products and customer service. You can monitor your metrics on Amazon Seller Central.
 

Order Defect Rates

 
If you want to win the Buy Box, keep things like negative feedback, A-Z claims and chargebacks to a minimum. The Amazon algorithm looks at each of these factors over the short and long-term to determine if your products are eligible for Buy Box rotations — and even if you can continue selling.
 

Customer Service Quality

 
Two factors come into play with customer experience and service quality — your customer response time and customer dissatisfaction rate. Amazon requires professional sellers seeking the Buy Box to respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours and favors sellers who get consistent high marks from customer surveys after the sale.
 

Key Factors to Winning the Amazon Buy Box

 
Amazon favors reliable professional sellers — they’re more likely to ship products on time, sell high-quality products and offer superior customer service. Just like Amazon. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the top factors that affect your Buy Box eligibility are product pricing and fulfillment methods and metrics. 

Although that may seem like common sense, winning the Buy Box is a bit harder in practice. Not to worry – here are some actionable ways to improve your chances.
 

Check Your Eligibility Status

 
First, make sure your products are Buy Box eligible. Here’s how to determine the status of your listings:

  • Go to the “Manage Inventory” section in your Amazon Seller Central account. 
  • In the right-hand corner, click “Preferences” then “Buy Box Eligible” in the dropdown menu. 
  • This process adds another column that simply states yes or no for Buy Box Eligibility on your products.

 
If you want a birds-eye view of your products and their current Buy Box percentages, you can view this under Reports in Seller Central under “Reports > By ASIN > Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Child Item.”
 

Use Fulfillment by Amazon

 
If you’re just starting out with a new Seller Central account and you’re not using FBA, you might notice a lag time before your products hit the Buy Box. This is because Amazon doesn’t have proof that you actually have the products or ability to fill product orders once you’re in the Buy Box. If you use Fulfillment by Amazon, however, you’ll be approved for the Buy Box much faster since they have the inventory on hand and don’t have to guess what you have in stock.

Brand new seller central accounts that are Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) are not eligible for the Buy Box unless they make sufficient sales volume, determined by Amazon and varying by category.

Amazon Seller Central allows merchants to use their own fulfillment process or fulfillment providers to sell on Amazon. That said, FBA is becoming the most popular choice due to its benefits in the Buy Box and elsewhere. 

If you want a leg up in the Buy Box game, you should really go with Fulfillment by Amazon. FBA means Amazon houses, packs and ships some or all your products. Because Amazon has physical control over your inventory, they can better guarantee quality and quantity — two major factors for placement in the Buy Box. 

There are some situations where you have to be FBM, but not many reasons for most sellers. It seems there are very few FBM-only sellers left on Amazon.

There are some products that wouldn’t do well sitting in a warehouse for months on end. For instance, if you sell perishable goods such as cookies and you don’t want to ship all of those at once to a warehouse only to let them get stale, then FBA might not work for you. The same goes for an established brand manufacturer with a strong built-in infrastructure for shipping. There may also be instances where some of your products are FBA and others are FBM.

But keep in mind if you’re FBM, you need to be shipping products and dealing with customers at a standard that’s comparable to Amazon’s own.

Screenshot of Amazon product page where Buy Box is Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM)

Example of a Seller Fulfilled Product (FBM)

 

Provide Fast Shipping

 
If you don’t use FBA, seller shipping impacts Buy Box ownership and overlaps with pricing and availability. Amazon calculates how well you’re doing with shipping based on your projected shipping time and actual shipping time. For time-sensitive and perishable items, shipping varies, but Amazon generally weighs shipping based on the following shipping time frames for Amazon professional sellers:

  • 0-2 Days
  • 3-7 Days
  • 8-13 Days
  • 14+ days

Remember, Amazon customers don’t just expect cheap or free shipping — thanks to Amazon Prime, they also expect their packages to arrive faster than you thought humanly possible.
 

Keep a Low Landed Price

 
The second biggest factor in winning the Buy Box is affordable pricing, so you need to consider Amazon’s landed price. The landed price is the total price an Amazon product goes for, including shipping and handling costs. The lower the landed price, the more likely you are to win the Buy Box. 

The key here is keeping your prices low and consistent with other merchants on the site. Of course, many Amazon professional sellers are constantly changing prices to edge one another out on the Buy Box. This shouldn’t be a blind race to the top of the Buy Box, however, so don’t make your prices lower than you can afford. Determine whether you can afford to own the Buy Box at its current price by considering your:

  • Amazon seller fees
  • Margins
  • Return cost
  • Shipping costs
  • Amazon budget

 
That being said, when a product is extremely popular and professional sellers are on par with each other in terms of pricing and fulfillment, other factors become more important.
 

Maintain a High Feedback Score

 
Your Amazon feedback rating is constantly updated based on aggregate reviews from Amazon orders and is an average of all seller feedback ratings. Your feedback rating comprises orders from the preceding 365 days, but it’s also weighted heavier for orders from the last 90 days.

The Amazon Seller Feedback system was created so that Amazon customers can see other buyers’ experiences with different sellers — and use them to decide on which seller to purchase from. Many sellers don’t realize that Seller Feedback is far different than Product Feedback. Customers often mistakenly leave product reviews on Seller Feedback pages, which can be especially damaging if you’re seeing a lot of negative reviews.

Shoppers may sometimes leave a product review on your seller feedback, which is a problem for your seller score. Fortunately, you can reach out to Amazon about the issue, and they’ll typically rectify it quickly. You can go to Amazon through a case and say, ‘this is incorrect, this feedback is product-related’ and Amazon will remove it.

Additionally, if it’s an FBA product and someone leaves a seller rating that’s negative about packaging or shipping — which is Amazon’s responsibility, in that case — you can file a case and Amazon will remove it.

screenshot of product reviews on a Amazon seller’s profile

Example of product ratings being placed incorrectly on the Seller’s Profile

 

Improve Inventory Depth and Sales Volume

 
If you have one unit left and another seller has 30 units left, that other seller will get an edge in the Buy Box.

Amazon wants shoppers to find what they’re looking for, so if your item is out of stock, Amazon will get it from another seller. The more you can maintain product stock, the more likely you can influence winning the Buy Box. If you’re selling on the Amazon marketplace and using your own fulfillment process (FBM), be sure to have inventory management and fulfillment aligned so that your products are always in stock. Ideally, you want to do this for most of your inventory.

At the bare minimum, you should ensure you have plenty of inventory for best-selling products. Remember, for professional sellers using FBA, availability is determined by the products in Amazon’s warehouse, not what’s in your warehouse or in the process of getting shipped to Amazon. Keep delivery time and fulfillment processing in mind when sending products to Amazon.

Keeping your inventory information up to date is just as important as having inventory available. If you tell Amazon a product is available and you can’t fulfill an order, you run the risk of incurring negative reviews — a major factor for seller ratings.
 

Have a Good Customer Response Time

 
When seller’s sign up with Amazon, they agree to the company’s Service Level Agreement (SLA). This agreement requires professional sellers to answer customer queries within a 24-hour window, making it imperative to stay on top of your communications. Reply on time, and if you can’t, at least reply as soon as you can. Failure to respond in the proper time frame may sabotage your chances for winning the Buy Box.
 

Have a Low Defect Rate

 
Your defect rate is a measure of your performance, not only with handling customers, but also with your shipping times and even product quality. With that in mind, Amazon looks carefully at your order defect rate (ODR) to determine your Buy Box eligibility. The algorithm looks at both short and long-term negative feedback, A-Z claims and chargebacks when determining this, then creates a score for sellers.

If a seller has an ODR of 1% or higher, they usually don’t have much of a shot at the Buy Box. To counter this, keep close track of your performance metrics with a daily review. Aim to keep refund and cancellation rates below 2.5% to keep your ODR score under 1% and improve your chances for the Buy Box.
 

Watch These Metrics to Win Amazon’s Buy Box

 
This section is the most crucial if you’re fulfilling orders yourself under Seller Fulfilled Prime. While FBA sellers may need to work on some of these metrics, Amazon handles most of these issues around shipping and customer service. Amazon calculates your Seller-Fulfilled seller rating based on a few key metrics:

  • Order Defect Rate (Target = < 1%)
  • Negative Feedback Rate
  • Filed A to Z Claim Rate
  • Service Chargeback Rate
  • Return Dissatisfaction Rate (Target = < 10%)
  • Negative Return Feedback Rate
  • Late Response Rate
  • Invalid Rejection Rate
  • Buyer-Seller Contact Metrics (Target = < 25%)
  • Response Times Under 24 Hours (Target = > 90%)
  • Late Responses (Target = < 10%)
  • Average Response Time
  • Recent Customer Metrics Data
  • Pre-Fulfillment Cancel Rate (Target = < 2.5%)
  • Late Shipment Rate (Target = < 4%)
  • Refund Rate
  • Valid Tracking Rate
  • By Category (Targets = > 90%)
  • Delivered on Time (Target = > 97%)

 
Amazon’s standards for these metrics are aggressive, especially when it comes to Buy Box eligibility. Amazon’s strict fulfillment standards also impact price competitiveness as quicker shipping often costs more and can increase the total cost of items sold on Amazon. You can get an overall picture under “Account Health” in your Seller Central.

Remember — Amazon favors reliable sellers. They’re more likely to ship products on time, sell high-quality products and offer a superior customer experience. Just like Amazon.
 

How Amazon’s Buy Box Percentage Works

 
Amazon Buy Box percentage is a metric that tells you how often your product shows up in the Amazon Buy Box. If a product is viewed 100 times and your product shows up in the Buy Box 80 of those times, then your Buy Box percentage is 80%. In a perfect world, four sellers who sell the same product at the same price and have the same performance metrics and inventory levels, each seller would get a Buy Box percentage of 25%. 
 

Pricing Strategies to Help You Win the Buy Box

 
Since Amazon views product prices in a “the cheaper the better” way, it’s often tempting to drop your prices below that of competitors to gain a competitive advantage. What works for someone doing high volumes of sales of generic items, however, usually doesn’t work for smaller-scale sellers of specialty or handmade goods. Keep how you do business in mind when choosing between the following pricing strategies to help you win the Amazon Buy Box.
 

Manual Repricing

 
You can set a competitive price to win the Amazon Buy Box manually by watching competitors’ products and adjusting your SKUs accordingly. Most of us, however, don’t have the time — or have too many SKUs — to accomplish this. This method, however, does work well for sellers with just a few products or those who make products themselves or deal with products that don’t have much competition from other sellers.
 

Rule-based Pricing

 
Rule-based repricers are pretty basic. If you simply want your product to be $1 less than anyone else’s on that listing and you aren’t overly concerned about potential margin loss, then that type of repricer might be right for you. One disadvantage of this method is that it can lead to pricing wars, and another is that it sometimes means pricing products too low when seller metrics would maintain ownership of the Buy Box regardless.
 

Algorithmic Repricing

 
An algorithmic repricer tool uses machine-learning algorithms that will kick in based on your overall product profitability. One advantage of using an algorithmic pricer is that it takes all factors into account — not just the price. These products look at all your Amazon metrics and find the perfect middle ground between the percentage of time you win the Buy Box and how much you make on each sale.
 

Why Is Nobody Winning the Buy Box for a Listing?

 
You’ve optimized your performance metrics and you’re exceeding expectations. You’re doing everything right, but you’re still not getting the Buy Box rotations. Instead, you’re seeing something like the image below:
 

Screenshot of Amazon product page for toy without a buy box winner

An example of a product without a Buy Box winner

In this example, nobody gets the Buy Box! This is something we’ve noticed here at Tinuiti and you may have noticed it as well. There are several theories floating around about why this happens, according to experts at Tinuiti. Here are three theories on why no one has the Buy Box:

  • Dramatic price increases or decreases: The most common reason for a missing Buy Box rotations is a sudden and “substantial” price change for the winning seller, regardless of who the seller is. Amazon takes extra precautions to protect consumers from potential counterfeit goods, which are listed at substantially reduced prices.
  • Violation of price parity across channels: If you’re selling your product for a lower price on your website or another channel, Amazon may penalize you. Make sure this isn’t the case by keeping your competitive price uniform.
  • Uptick in customer complaints about defective products: If Amazon notices an uptick in customer complaints about a product, they may protect customers by temporarily removing the Buy Box while they investigate the complaints about defective or misrepresented products.

 

Another factor that may interfere with your presence in Buy Box rotations is unauthorized sellers. If you’re an authorized reseller and encounter unauthorized sellers practically giving away the product, you can contact those resellers and let them know you’re aware of their presence. Also, you might let them know you’ll take action, either by notifying Amazon or contacting your attorney.
 

Conclusion

 
With standout placement and easy purchasing functions, scoring a spot in an Amazon Buy Box can mean huge things for your product performance. Winning the Buy Box can mean the difference between making a sale and sitting on the sidelines while another merchant does. 

Wondering how your store can secure more sales this year? Check out our 2023 Amazon Guide.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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

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

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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

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

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

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

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

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

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

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

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

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

Finally, trust

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

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

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

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

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

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

“Our MQLs are up!”

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

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

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

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

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

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

Marketers Must Take Ownership

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

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

Not necessarily. 

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

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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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