From funnel to flywheel

If you’re like most marketers, you could name the basic parts of the sales funnel in your sleep: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Decision, and Purchase. Of course, businesses have tweaked the model over the years, adding extra steps and so forth, but the basic premise has remained the same. But there is one problem with the […]

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If you’re like most marketers, you could name the basic parts of the sales funnel in your sleep: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Decision, and Purchase.

Of course, businesses have tweaked the model over the years, adding extra steps and so forth, but the basic premise has remained the same. But there is one problem with the model: it’s the opposite of customer-centric. In fact, in the traditional sales funnel, leads are treated a bit like uniform widgets moving along a conveyor belt, with various things happening to them along the way.

The problem is that if you’re not centered on the customer, your marketing efforts might be going to waste. If we had a nickel for every brilliant content strategy that seemed to explode with engagement while yielding little (if any) measurable return on investment, we’d have more than a piggy-bank full of change.

Centering the customer in your sales model changes that, though, because the customer now drives all content and all marketing efforts, instead of the other way around. In this piece, we’ll explain a new sales model. Maybe by the end you’ll be like us: falling ever-so-slightly out of love with the funnel — and in love with the flywheel.

A what wheel?

Like its predecessor the funnel, a flywheel is not just a metaphor, but also a real-life tool that powers multiple, modern-day inventions. Invented by James Watt of lightbulb fame, the flywheel is a disc or wheel around an axis. It has assorted industrial applications and can be found in car engines, ships, and a lot of other places where energy needs to be generated, amplified, stored, and stabilized.

The flywheel effect, described by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, describes a massive, 5,000-pound metal disc mounted horizontally on an axle. He asks the reader to imagine pushing it, so that it turns around that axle. At first, getting it to move at all is extremely difficult. But with each push, it gets fractionally easier and the flywheel begins to pick up speed. Collins writes:

Then, at some point—breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn … whoosh! … its own heavy weight working for you. You’re pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. A thousand times faster, then ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. The huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum. 

It’s a great metaphor for marketing. Because that momentum isn’t the product of any single push. Instead, the energy is cumulative, generated by a lot of little pushes, with the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Ideally, marketing and sales should work the same way. The energy, leads, and revenue created by marketing efforts is not due to any single channel, piece of content, or campaign; it’s a cumulative effect. And once it really gets going, a good marketing campaign keeps spinning. It generates energy.

Putting the customer at the center

Instead of a funnel into which prospective customers are unceremoniously dumped, the flywheel puts the customer at the center of the wheel: the axle.

Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan, for example, sees the customer as the lynchpin, with the flywheel itself divided into three equal segments, each representing stages along the customer journey: attract, engage, and delight. Each area creates energy and passes it along to the next, with the delight phase feeding back into attract.

Other flywheel devotees divide the disc into Marketing, Sales, and Service — again putting the customer in the center position. Each effort feeds into the next, cycling around and around, but always circling the customer.

This may be the most important aspect of the flywheel model — that it centers the customer. The funnel, on the other hand, doesn’t consider how those customers can feed back into the funnel (or the flywheel) to help create additional growth and engagement.

The funnel can’t conceive of customers buying from you more than once, so the momentum you build acquiring customers via the funnel just falls away. Following every quarter, every customer, every conversion — you’re starting all over again.

Learning to fly

The momentum of a flywheel is determined by three primary pieces:

  1. The weight of the wheel

With a physical flywheel, the greater the mass of the flywheel, the greater its momentum and the harder it is to stop. In the customer-focused model, the “weight” looks like an exceptional customer service experience that builds your reputation and brand in ways that create retention, build ambassadors, and deliver value into your marketing and sales segments. The way that you deliver that customer experience will be unique to your business model.

  1. How fast you spin it

The speed in the flywheel model is really about the number of “pushes” you give the wheel. How much content is your marketing team delivering? Which channels are you using to reach prospects? How many leads are coming from the content?

  1. The friction

Reducing flywheel friction is about ensuring customers remain satisfied and keeping your efforts aligned. If poor sales performance is slowing the momentum from marketing — or if poor service is hurting retention of hard-won sales — your flywheel will slow down, and your business will suffer. On the other hand, when everything is aligned, your efforts will feed into each other and keep your flywheel humming along.

Finding alignment and purpose

It’s one thing to draw up a model and another to align cross-organizational efforts in real life. Part of finding alignment is cultural, getting leadership to buy in and coordinating communication among departments. But a huge part of the lift has to be operational — and will be dependent on having technology that enables marketing, sales, and service to coordinate.

At CallTrackingMetrics (CTM), we’ve been thinking this way for some time now — though we only recently discovered the flywheel model. Our call intelligence and management platform brings together all the three segments of the flywheel: marketing, sales, and service.

It tracks call sources, lets agents tag and score calls, helps businesses respond immediately to inquiries, and provides a data-rich environment that can inform stakeholders across organizations about marketing, sales, and service performance. It also helps create reporting to determine returns on investment for content and campaigns, customer feedback, and more. In short, it makes it easier to understand and engage with customers in a meaningful, helpful way.

That engagement matters. A lot. Because, at the end of the day, marketing and sales are all about creating better experiences along your customers’ journeys. And the funnel model has never recognized the important part customer service teams play in generating customer retention, brand building, and developing stronger relationships and alignment between your business and your customers — as well as within the disparate teams in your organization.

In the end, the flywheel ensures that everyone in your business shares the same purpose: keeping the flywheel spinning, in order to create better relationships with and experiences for your customers. However hard it might seem to get it spinning at first, once the flywheel gains momentum and sales start churning, it’s well worth the effort.

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The A/B Testing Guide to Surviving on a Deserted Island

The secluded and isolated deserted island setting has been used as the stage for many hypothetical explanations in economics and philosophy with the scarcity of things that can be developed as resources being a central feature. Scarcity and the need to…

The secluded and isolated deserted island setting has been used as the stage for many hypothetical explanations in economics and philosophy with the scarcity of things that can be developed as resources being a central feature. Scarcity and the need to keep risk low while aiming to improve one’s situation is what make it a […] Read More...

12 pieces of conversion optimization advice you should ignore

Whenever you hear a marketing practice referred to as “easy,” it’s usually not. Contributor Ayat Shukairy looks at some common CRO misconceptions and their uncommon realities.

The post 12 pieces of conversion optimization advice you should ignore appeared first on Marketing Land.

A lot of content on conversion rate optimization (CRO) is published every day. Most of it is spot-on, but some articles make me cringe a little.

A lot of the advice being shared gives people false hope that if they conduct CRO correctly, they’ll see the millions roll in. It’s not that easy. The process is vigorous and requires a lot of time and effort — much more than the advice being shared will lead you to believe.

Whenever you hear a marketing practice referred to as “easy,” it’s usually not.  Let’s look at some common CRO misconceptions and their uncommon realities.

Misconception 1: Anyone can do it

Not hardly! To do well in CRO, you need good people on your team. A conversion rate optimization team usually includes:

  • Two or three conversion optimization specialists.
  • A UX designer.
  • A front-end developer.
  • A customer research specialist (can be part-time).
  • An analytics specialist (can be part-time).
  • A data analyst (can be part-time).
  • A product or program manager, depending on your business.

With all the different job types and responsibilities, how can one person do it all? Unless they’re Wonder Woman, they can’t.

Now that we have an idea who we will need on our team, let’s look at common statements you’ll hear about CRO that aren’t always accurate.

Misconception 2: There are CRO best practices

Everyone wants best practices, but in CRO, best practices simply don’t exist. We wish we had best practices, but it’s not a reality because what works on one website may not work on another.

For example, CaffeineInformer and Bookings.com both tested the same navigational menus and found the most commonly recommended menu worked for one but not the other.

CaffeineInformer tested the hamburger menu (an icon made up of three bars) versus the traditional word MENU enclosed with a border and one without a border, writing up and publishing the results online. You can see that the boxed MENU results were clicked on more often than MENU without a border, and the hamburger menu showed no use.

When Bookings.com ran their test results, which a designer wrote about on the company’s blog, they found no difference in the number of clicks for their  MENU options:

Representatives from Booking.com said:

With our very large user base, we are able to state with a very high confidence that, specifically for Booking.com users, the hamburger icon performs just as well as the more descriptive version.

So, although your competitors may inspire you, most of the time you’ll find what they introduce on their site may not work on yours. In the case above, it’s a small change, but we have seen companies make a bet on a change that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and produces a negative impact on their site.

My advice is to know what is out there and get inspiration from other sites, but validate through research, prototyping and usability testing before rolling out a change on your site (especially if it’s major). If it’s something minor like a hamburger menu, go ahead and test, but ask yourself, what are you really trying to achieve with the change? Consider the validity of the concept to begin with and see if it fits within the overall roadmap you have for your site.

Misconception 3: More testing yields positive results

Statistically speaking, more variations = greater possibilities of false positive and inaccurate results.

My staff experienced this when we were first starting out as CRO practitioners. We would start testing by running a control versus variant 1, variant 2 and variant 3.

Once we found a statistical winner, we would launch just the control versus the winner. For example, if variant 2 reached statistical power with a significant statistical lift, we would launch control versus variant 2.

Of course, variable 2 completely tanked. What happened? Well, statistically, each variant brings a chance of a false positive. So of course, more variants = more chance of false positives.

According to Sharon Hurley Hall’s blog post on OptinMonster.com:

Most experienced conversion optimizers recommend that you don’t run more than four split tests at a time. One reason is that the more variations you run, the bigger the A/B testing sample size you need. That’s because you have to send more traffic to each version to get reliable results. This is known as A/B testing statistical significance (or, in everyday terms, making sure the numbers are large enough to actually have meaning).

If you have low conversions (even in the presence of a high volume of traffic), you definitely shouldn’t test beyond one variation.

Anyone with a sufficient number of conversions should be cautious and test, then retest the winning variation over the control to ensure it sticks.

Misconception 4: CRO is A/B testing

A/B testing is a part of the conversion rate optimization process, but they are not one in the same.

Our methodology for conversion rate optimization is combined into the acronym SHIP:

Scrutinize, Hypothesize, Implement and Propagate

Over 70 percent of the time we spend doing CRO is the scrutinize (planning) phase of the process. An unplanned test that is not backed by data does not usually do well.

When we talk about conversion optimization, the mind should go to design thinking, innovation and creativity. Ultimately, you are optimizing an experience and bringing it to a new level for the site visitor. You’re putting a spin on solutions to complex problems to ensure the visitor not only converts but has a memorable, enjoyable experience they’ll buzz about.

That is no easy feat!

Misconception 5: A simple change will impact your bottom line

Sometimes a simple change can have an impact. but let’s be real: that’s the exception, not the rule.

Expecting a color change on your site will increase conversion by 40 to 50 percent is really a stretch. When someone says it will, I immediately wonder, “How long did the test run?” and “Did it reach statistical power?” I think Allen Burt from BlueStout.com said it best in an expert roundup on Shane Barker’s blog:

I love talking about how we can increase conversion rate and how we can optimize it, because most sites, especially ecommerce merchants, get this wrong. They think it’s all about A/B testing and trying different button colours, etc. In reality, for 90% of small to medium-sized businesses, the #1 change you can make to your site to increase conversion rate is your MESSAGING.

Don’t try and take the easy route; usability issues need to be addressed, and testing colors and critical calls to action like a “Proceed to Checkout” statement is a viable test. But expecting a “significant impact” on your bottom line for simple changes is asking too much

One of the key components of a successful CRO program is the creativity behind it. Test and push limits, try new things, and excite the visitor who has been accustomed to the plain and mundane.

Misconception 6: A/B test everything

In the past, there was a strong emphasis on A/B testing everything, from the smallest button to the hero image. But now, the mood has changed, and we see A/B testing differently.

Some things just need to be fixed on a site. It doesn’t take an A/B test to figure out a usability issue or to understand that conversions increase when common problems are fixed.  A simple investigation may be all that is required to determine whether or not an A/B test should be done.

When evaluating a site, we find issues and classify the fixes for those issues in “buckets,” which helps determine further action. Here are the four basic buckets:

  • Areas and issues are evaluated for testing. When we find them, we place these items in the research opportunities bucket.
  • Some areas don’t require testing because they are broken or suffer from an inconsistency and just need to be fixed. We place these issues in the fix right away bucket.
  • Other areas may require us to explore and understand more about the problem before placing it in one of the two former buckets, so we add it to the investigate further bucket.
  • During any site evaluation, you may find a tag or event is missing and not providing sufficient details about a specific page or element. That goes into the classification instrument bucket.

Misconception 7: Statistical significance is the most important metric 

We hear it all the time: The test reached 95 percent statistical confidence, so we should stop it. However, when you look back at the test, between the control and the variation, only 50 conversions were collected (about 25 for each), and the test ran for only two days.

That is not enough data.

The first step to consider when launching an A/B test is to calculate the sample size. The sample size is based on the number of visitors, conversions and expected uplift you believe you will need to reach before concluding the test.

In a blog entry on Hubspot.com, WPEngine’s Carl Hargreaves advised:

Keep in mind that you’ll need to pick a realistic number for your page. While we would all love to have millions of users to test on, most of us don’t have that luxury. I suggest making a rough estimate of how long you’ll need to run your test before hitting your target sample size.

Second, consider statistical power. According to Minitab.com, “[S]tatistical power is the probability that a test will detect a difference (or effect) that actually exists.”

The likelihood that an A/B test will detect a change in conversion rates between variations depends on the impact of the new design. If the impact is large (such as a 90 percent increase in the conversions), it will be easy to detect in the A/B test.

If the impact is small (such as a 1 percent increase in the conversions), it will be difficult to detect in the A/B test

Unfortunately, we do not know the actual magnitude of impact! One of the purposes of the A/B test is to estimate it. The choice of the effect size is always somewhat arbitrary, and considerations of feasibility are often paramount.

Another important point here is to understand that it’s important to keep your business cycles in mind. In the past, we’ve seen sites where conversions spike on the 15th and 30th of every month. In order to run a test that would account for the entirety of that 15-day business cycle, we would need to test for a minimum of  2 1/2 weeks (including one of the spikes for each testing period).

Another example is SaaS companies, where a subscription to their service was a business decision that often took two months before closing. Measuring conversions for less than that period would skew data tremendously. 

Misconception 8: Business owners understand their customer base and visitors

A client of ours insisted they knew their customer base. They are a billion-dollar company that has been around since 1932, with 1,000 stores and a lot of customer data. But they have only been online for about 10 years.

Based on our experience, we told this brand their online customers will behave and act differently from customers in their brick-and-mortar stores and may even vary in terms of overall demographics.

However, our client insisted he knew better. After doing research, we suggested running some experiments. One particular experiment dealt with the behavior and actions of visitors on the cart page. Was the cart used to store products until they came back later? Or was it just not effective in persuading visitors to move forward? Our theory was the latter. We shared that from what we observed, there was hesitation to move beyond the cart page.

This suggestion was met with a lot of resistance from the brand’s director of marketing, who claimed we didn’t understand their customers as they did. To compromise, I suggested we test a percentage of traffic and slowly grow the percentage as the test gained momentum. If the customer follow-through did not grow, we would end the test.

The test was launched and reached sample size within days because of the amount of traffic and conversions they have, and it revealed a 20.4 percent improvement.

The brand was stumped and realized there was another way to think about how their customers were using their shopping cart.

According to William Harris from Elumynt.com (also published in Shane Barker’s roundup):

It’s easy to get stuck in the “A/B testing world,” looking at data and numbers, etc. But one of the best sources of learning is still having real conversations with your customers and ideal contacts. It also increases the conversion rate.

The point of my story is this: You think you know, but until you do the research and conduct testing on theories you’ve built, you can’t be sure. Additionally, the landscape is ever-changing, and visitors are impatient. All of that plays into your ability to persuade and excite visitors.

Misconception 9: Only change one thing at a time

The next two points are related. Some people feel you should move slowly and make one change at a time in order to understand the effects of the change. When you’re testing, you create a hypothesis regarding the test, and it may involve one or more elements.

It isn’t template tweaking (e.g., just changing locations and design of elements); it’s testing against an entire hypothesis which is backed by data resulting in data-driven changes that visitors can see and feel.

Misconception 10: Make multiple changes each time

Counter to the point made in number 9 above. Sometimes we find a hypothesis becomes muddled because other changes are included within a single test. That makes it difficult to decipher the authenticity of the results and what element impacted the test.

Always stick to the hypothesis, and make sure your hypothesis matches the changes you’ve made on the site.

Misconception 11: Unpopular elements should be avoided

We had an account that simply did not believe in carousels. I’m not a fan, personally, but because the account sold a specific product, we felt carousels were necessary and recommended they be used.

But the account resisted until customers started complaining. It wasn’t until then the account realized carousels will help visitors find what they need and give breadth to the range of products they were selling.

Elements that have been deemed unpopular aren’t always unpopular with your customer base or your specific needs. If the research shows an element can provide a solution for you, test it before you completely discount it.

Misconception 12: Your site is too small for CRO

Conversion rate optimization is not only about testing. CRO is about understanding your visitors and giving them a more engaging experience. All digital marketers and webmasters owning a site of any size should be implementing CRO.

If you have the traffic to justify your theories, test! Otherwise, continuously update your site and measure your changes through observation of key metrics through your analytics or through usability testing.

The post 12 pieces of conversion optimization advice you should ignore appeared first on Marketing Land.

CMOs are Becoming CROs: How to Integrate Marketing and Sales to Actually Drive Revenue

Note: This is a guest article written by David Zheng, the Founder of GrowthWit and WiseMerchant and the Head of Growth at BuildFire.Any and all opinions expressed in the post are David’s. Marketing and sales teams have a reputation for rivalry. Although they work toward the same outcome, each has a different approach. As Chip Doyle once pointed out, marketing wants […]

The post CMOs are Becoming CROs: How to Integrate Marketing and Sales to Actually Drive Revenue appeared first on Blog.

Note: This is a guest article written by David Zheng, the Founder of GrowthWit and WiseMerchant and the Head of Growth at BuildFire.Any and all opinions expressed in the post are David’s.

Marketing and sales teams have a reputation for rivalry.

Although they work toward the same outcome, each has a different approach.

As Chip Doyle once pointed out, marketing wants to tell you what to buy, while sales want to hear why you’re buying it (so they can sell you more).

Marketing requires a one-way communication, while sales require a two-way conversation.

But technology and buyer habits are changing all of that. Marketing is no longer a one-way communication, and both teams are relying more heavily on the other to truly understand what the customer wants. Now every task is a Sales and marketing collaboration.

This also means that roles are changing. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) must find a way to play nice.

How the Relationship between CMO and CRO Is Changing

In the past, CROs were mostly responsible for driving profitability and sustainability. It was the job of the sales team to ensure financial success for the organization.

That typically meant putting people on phones to answer customer questions.

The CMO, on the other hand, was responsible for making sure that people knew about the organization—to gain awareness and find new potential markets for the sales team.

They both have the same ultimate goal, but each takes a different path to get there.

sales and marketing alignment activities flow chart
But the Internet changed all of that.

Where once the salesperson was the most trusted source of information about a given product or service, now shoppers have limitless access to information—product data, customer reviews, and so on.

One search gives them all the answers they need.

Customers also have a myriad of touchpoints with any given company. From social media to email outreach to an online contact form, they no longer have to call only one person to get what they need.

This has shifted the role of the CMO to the forefront.

In today’s digital market, it’s about finding ways to not only make people aware of the brand but also trust the brand’s message in the same way they earlier trusted the salesperson over the phone.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the CRO is obsolete. Far from it, sales will always matter.

It simply means that the lines between the CRO/CMO are blurring together in a new way.

sales and marketing alignment for communication with customer

Following some of the Sales and marketing alignment best practices, both parties are now responsible for the financial well-being and reputation of the company. If one fails, the other fails too.

It’s more important than ever that these roles find ways to integrate so that both teams produce real, measurable results.

With that in mind, here are 5 best practices for sales and marketing to help them collaborate to drive revenue.

1. Sharing Sales and Marketing Data for Customer Research

Both marketing and sales use targeted buyer personas to inform their strategies.

According to the Data-Driven Marketing Survey by Teradata, 50% of marketers agree that data is the most underutilized asset in their organizations; but less than 10% use the data in a systematic way.

Salespeople have a leg up when it comes to data, as they’re often the first to develop buyer personas to understand their customers better.

But that data isn’t always accessible to the marketing department.

sales and marketing quality data report January 2017

Marketing teams also need these buyer personas to update its strategies.

The team may need to know whether the customer is a Millennial or a Gen X-er (social media or email?), their income level (affordable or luxury?), and any other behavioral drivers (mobile or desktop?) that might drive their purchasing decisions.

Who knows this data better than anyone else? Salespeople.

The sales team has insights into customer’s goals, mindset, and expectations, and potential obstacles to purchasing.

Marketing needs to have this data to create content and advertising that actually works.

Sales and Marketing Persona comic

To build an effective partnership, sales will need to share the following information with marketing:

  • Sales data:
    • Which products are selling well?
    • Which products are faltering?
  • Customer lifetime value:
    • How low or high are retention rates?
    • How long does the average customer stick around?
  • Internal performance metrics:
    • How fast is the turnaround for a product or service?
    • Are there any obvious bottlenecks?

In turn, marketing should share the following data with the sales team:

  • Traffic and engagement:
    • How many visitors are coming to the site? How many are engaging? Where are they coming from?
  • Email marketing: What are the open and click-through rates for each email campaign?
  • Clicks and conversions: What is the conversion rate of sales landing pages? What are the shopping cart abandonment rates?

With each party measuring these metrics, each can proactively adjust its strategies to achieve better results.

Lead flow for sales and marketing alignment

Marketing can see how its ad campaigns affect the lifetime value, or whether the promises are creating more demand than the team can keep up with (causing bottlenecks), for example.

Sales can see whether there is a significant gap in the sales process (too many people are leaving the website without buying!) or whether or not email is still the best outreach source for certain customer segments.

2. Using Sales CRM Data to Inform Marketing Strategies

Timing is critical in sales.

The sales team has a sense of its current month’s forecast (or even the next month’s) when it comes to the revenue. Part of the job of the CRO is to answer the “when” of the sales cycle.

When is the best time to promote a specific product or launch an outreach campaign? When should marketing initiatives be kicked off? When should sales expect to see results?

best time for sales team to contact customers

The marketing team is the “how” and “what.”

How should that product be promoted based on the sales cycle? Is it a seasonal product or available year-round? How will people be made aware of changes to the product? What is the desired outcome?

Sales should have a good idea of when the best time is to launch a new initiative, according to the purchasing data.

Marketing should know what that initiative should be and to whom it should be targeted, as well as the specifics of the time of the day and week (based on engagement metrics).

sales and marketing emails optimized for the best day of the week

Without both teams working in harmony, it’s possible to launch a revolutionary marketing campaign that doesn’t sell any products at a measurable level.

Here’s an example:

Say you have a 25% conversion rate for every step of the sales funnel. If your monthly sales target for the next quarter is $1 million and your average sales are around $10,000, you need around 100 conversions every month to achieve this goal.

But for some months, sales are slower than others.

Let’s assume that January and February are much slower sales months compared to June and July.

By using this information, the marketing team can determine what offer to include for customers during those months (discounts on orders over a certain price point, for example) in their campaigns.

But this means that the sales team needs a reliable way of identifying these trends, like a sales pipeline CRM, and give the marketing team access to this information.

sales pipeline

Sales should know where leads are coming from when the customers are more willing to buy, and what entices the customers the most so that the marketing team knows how to send out the right offer at the right time.

3. Adjusting Ad Campaigns by Using Sales Data

Advertising is one of the main drivers in sales, and one of the main tasks in marketing.

One of the challenges with advertising is that it’s easy for a company to spend more money compared to earn money.

It’s always a risk. You could drop millions on an ad campaign only to see a moderate sales increase. But this risk gap can be closed when sales and marketing work together to produce a certain outcome.

Take PPC advertising, for example.

For a marketer, a successful pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign might be the one that just drives engagement.

successful adwords campaign for driving more engagement

If someone clicks a Google PPC ad, goes to the home page, and then clicks through the website, that’s a success.

To that end, marketers may try to use specific keywords to improve website traffic or engagement.

But the sales team cares about one area—sales.

It doesn’t matter if website traffic improves but no qualified leads come from it. They might care if an ad had a high cost-per-click (CPC), and was essentially “ineffective” in producing a real, paying customer.

Sales is looking for revenue, not just metrics.

channel wise breakdown of ROI for marketing

So what does this mean for a partnership between sales and marketing? It means that both have to work together to create the most effective campaigns.

Marketers need to understand the Lead Scoring System (and subsequently, the sales CRM system) so that when they spend money on PPC ads, they know which targeted personas will be most likely to convert.

Both parties need to understand how the marketing funnel works and how it can be combined with the sales funnel to create something new.

new sales and marketing alignment funnelA top-of-the-funnel marketing “lead” (like a website visitor) may not ever turn into a customer, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important for sales.

The marketing team needs to know how to measure successful campaigns based on sales data, not on just its own metrics.

4. Improving Brand Identity (and Sales) with Marketing

Not everything that impacts sales is measurable.

A study by Harvard Business Journal found that CEOs tend to favor sales over marketing because sales outcomes are often more “tangible.”

As a CEO puts it, “Why should I invest in more marketing when I can get better results by hiring more salespeople?”

Because of this mindset, many marketing teams are underfunded, and, as a result, underperforming.

suggested percentage of revenue that needs to be spent on marketing.

This is a problem because there are many immeasurable entities that can impact your bottom line.

Brand identity, for example, is not measurable by any metric, yet a brand’s reputation can be a key driver of that brand’s equity.

This is also known as the “halo effect,” or a situation when a customer buys from a brand based on its positive reputation, whether or not the product is truly inspirational.

In other words, the value of a brand can be measured by its marketing.

When Apple began marketing the iPod back in 2005, they put millions into advertising. You may remember the campaign.

marketing of apple ipod comic

Even though iPod (and iTunes) sales made up only 39% of Apple’s overall profits that year, by the end of their marketing campaign, they were hailed as a technology leader and revolutionaries.

As a result, its fiscal year sales in 2006 increased 38% and their profits rose by 384%.

It has since leveraged their reputation as tech innovators to create more and better products, making it one of the biggest companies in the world.

And it doesn’t even sell the iPod anymore.

sales of apple ipod year on year

This goes to show that when the marketing team is properly supported, they can produce results worthy of the sales department.

5. Improving Sales Outreach with Marketing Analytics

One of the biggest contention points between sales and marketing is measuring outcomes.

For marketers, a “good” outcome for an email outreach campaign is high click-through and open rates. However, sales don’t care about click-through rates. It cares about sales.

It might be better to measure your outreach campaign multidimensionally.

measuring content marketing valueOn the other hand, you won’t necessarily get sales if no one opens and clicks through the email.

This is where marketing and sales must come together to identify what a successful outreach campaign looks like.

The marketing team should introduce key analytic tools to the sales team.

While the marketing team can also forward crucial data or statistics, at some point, it inevitably will become an issue of “teaching a man to fish.”

Teaching helps as an economical resource

If the marketing team moves ahead based on important information, the sales team might accidentally ignore crucial statistics that can improve its sales strategy, just because they don’t fully understand it.

This can lead to miscommunication and a negative impact on sales.

If the sales team understands how to use the same tools that marketers use; however, it can create a seamless conversation between the two departments and reduce the odds of an essential piece of data being overlooked.

right marketing or sales tool for your job

Even beyond analytics, sales and marketing teams should a discuss other ways to use technology effectively.

For example, if the marketing team intends to produce content for potential customers on LinkedIn, then the sales team should guide it on best practices for targeted leads on that platform.

Marketing can also assist sales in some of its follow-up endeavors.

If the sales team becomes overwhelmed following up on cold email outreach, for example, the sales team can use a tool like Gmass to automate the process and eliminate the burden on the salesperson.

follow up email tools for sales.

This frees up the sales team to focus on metrics that matter rather than chasing down leads.

But if the sales team doesn’t understand how to use Gmail, they might not be automating their follow-up effectively and miss important sales opportunities in the process.

When marketing and sales work together with the same tools, they can maximize efficiency and move customers through the sales funnel as painlessly as possible.

Conclusion

Even though both the teams have notoriously been rivals in the past, it’s time for sales and marketing team to work together.

This process should be made easier with the addition of technologies that improve the marketing/sales relationships (automation tools like Gmass, or analytic tools like Google Analytics).

It’s important for the two teams to remember that when one succeeds, the other succeeds, even if they approach a problem from different angles.

When marketing is successful at getting traffic or open rates, for example, or improving brand reputation, sales will increase.

When sales are successful at closing leads and measuring their data, marketing will be more effective.

When the CMO and the CRO work together, everybody wins.

The post CMOs are Becoming CROs: How to Integrate Marketing and Sales to Actually Drive Revenue appeared first on Blog.

E-commerce Abandonment Rates

There are few key performance indicators that everyone focuses on for an e-commerce store: conversion rates, average order value and the number of monthly visitors. These metrics translate into money…

Please click on the title to read the full artic…

There are few key performance indicators that everyone focuses on for an e-commerce store: conversion rates, average order value and the number of monthly visitors. These metrics translate into money...

Please click on the title to read the full article!

The Google Optimize Statistical Engine and Approach

Google Optimize is the latest attempt from Google to deliver an A/B testing product. Previously we had “Google Website Optimizer”, then we had “Content Experiments” within Google Analytics, and now we have the latest iteration: …

Google Optimize is the latest attempt from Google to deliver an A/B testing product. Previously we had “Google Website Optimizer”, then we had “Content Experiments” within Google Analytics, and now we have the latest iteration: Google Optimize. While working on the integration of our A/B Testing Calculator with Google Optimize I was curious to see […] Read More...

Bayesian vs Frequentist A/B Testing – What’s the Difference?

Bayesian versus Frequentist Statisticians: the war is real
Imagine that you wake up in the one morning and you don’t remember anything from your previous life. You’ve erased all memories from…

Please click on the title to read the full articl…

Bayesian versus Frequentist Statisticians: the war is real Imagine that you wake up in the one morning and you don’t remember anything from your previous life. You’ve erased all memories from...

Please click on the title to read the full article!

Increase Conversion with Personalized Live Chat

Being greeted by a sales associate is more pleasant than not being addressed. However, the interaction rarely goes beyond, “welcome in” and perhaps a “hello” back from the person browsing. It’s an impersonal, passive interaction because you know that’s what they say to everyone who walks through their doors. Wouldn’t you be more likely to […]

The post Increase Conversion with Personalized Live Chat appeared first on Bound.

Being greeted by a sales associate is more pleasant than not being addressed. However, the interaction rarely goes beyond, “welcome in” and perhaps a “hello” back from the person browsing. It’s an impersonal, passive interaction because you know that’s what they say to everyone who walks through their doors.

Wouldn’t you be more likely to engage with the sales associate if the conversation was tailored to you? What if, instead of “welcome to Apple!”, they said, “how’s your iPhone 6 treating you?” (Yes, I have a 6. No portrait mode for me.) Or, “did you know that we have a new iPad accessory specifically for demand gen marketers?”

Now, compare this to the impersonal, digital buying experience. B2B marketers have realized the importance of having live chat on their site. Statistics show that, on average, only 2% of website visitors convert to an inquiry or sale. However, live chat can help this abysmal conversion rate by helping generate 4-8x more leads.

B2B marketers know that a website visitor who engages with onsite chat is more likely to result in a conversion. Now, they’re taking it a step further by dynamically changing a generic greeting to a custom one served to the right person at the right time.

Benefits of Personalized Live Chat

Marketers are increasing engagement with live chat when the message is tailored to an attribute about the visitor. Visitors are more likely to respond when a chat prompt speaks to their industry or function.

Marketers are increasing quality of live chat conversations by choosing who should be invited to a personalized chat. It’s easy to waste time responding to chats with out-of-market visitors. Instead of greeting everyone who walks in the door, greet only those who fit an ideal customer profile.

Marketers are increasing conversions from live chat by choosing when to serve personalized chat. Most visitors aren’t ready to talk to someone after gathering only three seconds of information. Live chat is most effective when served on a second page in a session or even a second visit.

Personalized Live Chat in Action

A large IT solution provider connected a messaging platform to the Bound personalization platform to serve a personalized live chat feature on their website. The company’s goal was to earn more qualified leads from live chat conversations.

First, they segmented their audience into key industries including finance, quality assurance, IT, consumer, consulting, and general traffic.

Chat icons and CTAs based on industry

Then, repeat visitors were greeted with an industry-relevant message in the chat box, leading to successful conversations 6 out of 10 times the personalized live chat was served.

Do you think you could generate more qualified leads from online chat? Contact us to find out how we help B2B marketers serve custom chat messages that convert leads faster.

The post Increase Conversion with Personalized Live Chat appeared first on Bound.

Costs and Benefits of A/B Testing: A Comprehensive Guide

This is a comprehensive guide to the different types of costs and benefits, risks and rewards related to A/B testing. Understanding them in detail should be valuable to A/B testers and businesses considering whether to engage in A/B testing or not, wha…

This is a comprehensive guide to the different types of costs and benefits, risks and rewards related to A/B testing. Understanding them in detail should be valuable to A/B testers and businesses considering whether to engage in A/B testing or not, what to A/B test and what not to test, etc. As far as I […] Read More...