Sales Productivity Solutions

Posts Tagged ‘lead generation’

A Lesson from Page Titles

Monday, December 28th, 2009

At a recent Interactive Marketing Summit conference held in St. Louis, I attended a session on SEO.  Of the many topics discussed, one of the basics is the Page Title of any web page.  The presenters stressed the importance of having unique Page Titles for each page on the site and that the title contain key words - not the company name - although the company name could be included at the end of the Page Title.  This is important because search engine robots read and index, at least in part, web pages starting with the Page Title and they look for key words or relevant terms.  Company names are not generally searched by people.  So, if the Page Title begins with the company name, it will not index well.  Again, this is basic but, it triggered a thought.

If you pick up any paper or directory (Yellow Pages) you’ll find that most ads will have the company name in a prominent position at the top of the ad.  In fact, many ads devote 20% to 30% of the space of the ad to the company name.  This is a mistake, just like having the company name dominate the Page Title of a web page.  People searching for anything generally will search based on specific context, such as “interactive marketing” or, “Plumbers” (just for fun, look up “Plumbers” in the Yellow Pages - you’ll see   mean about company name dominating).

The lesson here is whether you’re promoting your business online or offline, or both, begin the ad (or web page) with something relevant to the reader. And, the more relevance to the emotions of the reader, the more likely you’ll grab their attention.  After all, if you don’t grab their attention at the beginning, you’ll likely never get them to read the rest of the ad. This could waste a lot of money.  This concept applies to most all marketing material -not just ads.

Then, once you get their attention, then…well… maybe that’s a subject of another article.

Sales & Marketing - The Great Divide

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Wouldn’t be nice if sales and marketing activities were aligned?  Some may ask, what does “alignment” mean?  Well, it means that both sales people and marketing resources are working together to identify potential customers, set qualification criteria, convert them to customers and then continue to work together to ensure the customer experience is maintained and maximized for the life of the customer.  Their individual incentives may even be the same.  Unfortunately, many organizations still have traditional expectations for these two groups - Marketing is responsible to get the word out, develop brochures, run ads and trade shows, keep the website current and primarily generate leads for salespeople.  Sales people are then expected to take the leads, diligently follow up, convert them to customers and then maintain the relationship, exclusively, for life.  Sound familiar?  If so, then you may have also heard “the leads marketing gives us are no good”, or, “the leads we gave to sales are not being followed up on”. In addition, few companies have formal systems or processes to align sales and marketing activities - less than half according to a 2008 survey by the CMO Council.

Much can be gained by aligning sales and marketing.  A cooperative effort will produce better results.  Best practices today place the burden of generating qualified leads on marketing.  But, for them to be successful, they need input from the sales team as to what constitutes “qualified”.  The reality is that most leads generated by marketing efforts are not qualified - they are in a unknown state and should be nurtured through a qualification process.  Not by a sales person, but, with tools and processes that are enabled by technology.

Now, once a qualified lead is passed to sales, the probability of converting that lead into a customer is much greater.  But, marketing’s role is not complete.  Again, best practices today will have marketing continue to work in support of the sales team by helping maintain direct and consistent communications with the new customer.  Basically, marketing and sales work together throughout the entire life-cycle of the customer.

Diluting sales people with unqualified leads can be very expensive.  And, the time wasted is at the expense of existing customers.  Aligning your resources can offer huge benefits.  There’s a ton of articles, white papers and new technology all built around the concept of sales and marketing alignment.  In summary, here are six tips you can use:

  1. Get buy-in across your teams and from management.
  2. Layout a process that shows where sales and marketing functions align, intersect and support each other.
  3. Establish common definitions for leads to include the criteria that will be used to consider a lead qualified.
  4. Collaborate on strategies and messages that are to be used at various stages of the sales cycle, and beyond.
  5. Build a system that will show the progression of leads and provide insight as to what prospects and customers respond to.
  6. Establish key measurements to gauge success.

The old adage: “together we stand, divided we fall” seems appropriate.  My advice to is examine your current process to see if you can achieve more efficiency and gain more opportunities through better alignment of your business development efforts .  As always, I welcome any comments or thoughts.