Conventional B2B marketing is all about lead generation—filling the top of the funnel and allowing the numbers game to play out. On average, 1% of leads eventually become customers (according to Forrester), so the math, simply, looks like this: 1,000 leads → 10 customers; 2,000 leads → 20 customers. Lead-centric organizations primarily grow their business by expanding the top of the funnel—the amount of leads generated. The math checks out, but increasing lead volume alone tends to be a costly way of driving growth.
As B2B marketing strategy has matured (including the growth of ABM programs), high performing organizations have realized that marketers can more efficiently drive growth by optimizing every stage of the funnel, not just the top. Of equal importance, marketers are now able to more accurately measure the effectiveness of their down-funnel efforts, which allows them to justify additional spend and time spent.
It’s wins all around. Marketers drive more leads, convert more of those leads to opportunities, and close more opportunities faster and at a higher rate. If an organization can do all of this, it leads to cost-effective revenue growth.
So what are some of those ways high performing organizations move the dial at the bottom of the funnel?
Direct mail. When direct (or dimensional) mail lands on a prospect’s desk, it has a much greater impact than when an email lands in their inbox.
But direct mail alone can be a waste. WIth so many other priorities pulling a prospect’s attention in different directions, the impact of direct mail can quickly be lost—it must be part of a large multi-channel effort. At a bare minimum, send direct mail, and then schedule an accompanying email and phone call follow up to book demos. The gift will create some goodwill and your sales rep will have something to talk about (“did you receive our package?”).
Furthermore, in addition to your gift, it’s important to offer an incentive that has some time urgency—a “pull” aspect. A common one is to offer a gift card if they schedule a demo. If that’s your offer, measure the demo scheduled rate, but be sure to not stop there. Also measure win rate, velocity, and ultimately revenue. It doesn’t matter if you create a bunch of opportunities if none of them close.
Direct mail offers will get more prospects to agree to a demo—some just to receive the incentive—but it gives your sales team more chances, more at bats to hit a homerun. Success needs to be measured comprehensively.
Sales dinners. Another way to rise above the noise in a digital-centric world, is to meet in person, face-to-face. It builds a deeper connection, which leads to trust, which is a huge component to closing deals.
Sales dinners, involving both prospects and customers, are a great way to facilitate in-person connections with multiple people and multiple perspectives. Inviting customers is a great way to solidify relationships as well as an opportunity to introduce happy customers to prospects and let them share their first hand experience. If your product truly delights customers, they’ll be happy to share.
For both prospects and customers, it’s an evening of networking, getting access to some members of your executive team as well as their peers from other companies. It’s a great time to share and learn tricks and tips, as well as keep up-to-date with the latest happenings in the industry.
In our experience, sales dinners have improved win rates and increased velocity. And qualitatively, our sales team has reported that they’ve helped build and nurture relationships.
Personalized content. Personalized content is a key contributor to any ABM program, and is especially powerful at the bottom of the funnel. Whether it’s a custom white paper that addresses an account’s exact pain points or writing a new case study from a customer with a similar profile, personalized content is high impact and can convince a target account to become a closed deal.
The amount of effort required to write personalized, 1-to-1, down-funnel content is quite costly, so be sure that the deal size is worthwhile.
Smart organizations develop processes to create these custom pieces of content in streamlined ways, using the effort to develop one piece of content to make the next one easier to create. However, the personalization is what makes it powerful, so be sure to not over-streamline the personalization process and lose the true 1-to-1 effect on your prospects.
If marketing is only measured based on leads, none of these activities will show up in your reports. Even if you measure up to the opportunity stage—marketing generated opportunities or pipeline—your reports will show little impact. But if you measure the full funnel, and hold marketing responsible for impacting the full funnel, you’ll see their impact on the bottom line.
To learn more and get some ideas about how to move the dial on down-funnel metrics, join us for a webinar on July 26. Together with PFL, we’ll share five multi-channel marketing plays for accelerating the sales funnel. Click on the image below to register.