Rarely Does Revenue Materialize Instantly; Don’t Plan For Or Expect That
You want (or maybe even need) leads immediately. While generating leads in short order is possible, you should consider the alternative — planning, building and then optimizing a revenue generation machine that produces repeatable, scalable and predictable revenue month over month.
How can I say that? Don’t other agencies and other tactics promise leads in short order? Of course they do. Hang out on Facebook for five minutes and you’ll see agency advertising that promises leads. If they don’t deliver, you don’t pay. But read the fine print and you quickly see that they only take a handful of clients on as pay-for-performance. Read even deeper and you might see setup and startup fees apply.
Folks, no shortcuts to lead generation exist. The same holds true for sustained, month-over-month scalable revenue growth. If your company needs this type of predictable, sustainable, scalable and repeatable revenue generation month over month, be prepared to take a long-term approach to building this for your business.
Here’s what you need to consider.
Short-Term Leads Vs. Long-Term Revenue
Marketing has historically been tasked with generating leads, but if we generated 1,000 leads for you tomorrow and those leads never progressed in the sales process, never closed and never spent a single dollar with your company, the effort would be an epic fail.
It’s not hard to generate leads. It’s much harder to generate interest from the right people at the right companies who want to have a sales conversation with you about your product/service and are active in their buyer journey to buy what you sell. I hope you see the difference in the two scenarios.
When you start pressuring your agency or external team to produce leads instantly, a lot of strategic thinking goes right out the window. You start making promises that border on undeliverable. You start pushing nurture with aggressive sales tactics. You lower your quality standards to hit lead goal targets. The entire effort goes downhill fast.
The Fallacy Of The Campaign Approach
I’m a proponent of organizing a variety of tactics into a well-orchestrated campaign, so don’t misinterpret what comes next. But often campaigns have short-term goals, and the overall goal for sales and marketing teams should be long-term revenue, not short-term campaign results. One of the risks associated with the campaign approach (especially with siloed marketing execution) is that the big picture is not always in sight.
For example, let’s say you run a campaign to promote an upcoming webinar and drive 1,000 registrants, but only 400 people show up (a 40% attendee-to-registration rate is normal). Of those 400 attendees, only 10 want to engage with the sales team, and of those 10, only three are solid sales opportunities. The sales reps close just one new customer for $2,000. Was that a success? You had 400 attendees and 1,000 registrants, but no, it was not a success.
You can argue (and I’d agree) that those 1,000 new names (if they’re all new, but let’s say they are) can be nurtured, and it’s possible that some will come back and want to talk to sales. Some of them may ultimately even become customers. But this is still a highly segmented approach to driving revenue. Worse, you now have to repeat it month after month to drive similar results.
The Financial Impact Of Strategy Before Tactics
“Forget the strategy, just get started driving leads.” We hear that a lot. We also hear, “we need a new website.” When we ask what they would like for that new website to say, the answer is almost always, “what it says now.”
OK, so let’s try to break down and unpack the impact of moving right to tactics instead of working on a solid revenue generation strategy before we start execution tactics.
Let’s use the website as an example. First, we have to agree that the goal of a new website is not to get a new and prettier website but to get a website that produces more leads for your business. If you currently get three leads a month, you should want 30, 300 or even 3,000 leads a month, right? If we start building the website (and you start paying for it) but we don’t have a solid strategy behind the build, when we’re done you’ll have a nice new site that looks great but performs just like your old site.
Your new website will still produce three leads a month. The site won’t get found any better on Google. The site won’t convert visitors at a higher rate. The site won’t tell your story any better. It won’t do any of the things it should do.
For sake of argument, let’s say you spent $10,000 on that new site, and the new site launches in 60 days. Now we have to go back and work on the site to improve its ability to rank for selected and strategic keywords. We have to go back and rework the messages on the site, so they disrupt, compel and connect with your visitors. We have to go back and move pages around, so that your visitors get the experience and education they need to convert. This takes another $10,000 and another 60 days.
If we had just planned the site correctly first and done the strategy work around search, user experience, content, conversion and buyer journey, you might have paid $8,000 for the strategy and $10,000 for the site, and the site might have taken 90 days to launch (with 30 days for strategy work plus 60 days for building and testing). But in the end, you’d have a much better revenue-generating site that was on its way to producing 300 leads a month. Don’t be in a rush to get leads. Sometimes it’s better to go slow at the start to get fast later on.
The Performance Impact Of Strategy Before Tactics
Let’s look at a similar situation and use paid AdWords as the example tactic. If we jump in and start running a pay-per-click ad program without understanding what messages are going to resonate, what offers will convert, what ads work better, what bid strategy to implement and what landing pages work best, we might generate some leads, but we’ll be wasting a lot of time guessing when we could be planning based on data and past experiences.
Alternatively, give us just a few weeks to do our strategy and planning work, testing, evaluation, modeling and competitive research. The results from the AdWords program that gets planned properly produces almost 10 times better than when we jump into a program and start executing quickly. Consider the expenses associated with learning as we go instead of planning and being the stewards of your budget. In every scenario, plan, build and optimize works better than truncated building and ongoing optimization.
Why You Should Be Thinking Revenue And Not Leads
Leads are almost undeniably the element that attracts the most attention. But ultimately, while leads are the shiny object in marketing, revenue growth is the holy grail. Why is consistent revenue growth so elusive?
First, it’s because most marketers are not taking a revenue-based approach to marketing; they still have their leads-based approach. Next, most sales and marketing teams are not aligned correctly (or at all), creating a ton of wasted cycles and inefficiency. Finally, the prospect experience is underemphasized in almost every scenario, leaving huge opportunities to make prospects feel better and help them know, like and trust your company more during the marketing and sales processes.
I’ve written before that another big miss exists when it comes to marketing, and it’s that many of the campaign tactics are not connected to each other. Content gets created in a vacuum, search is done without considering the website, and ad campaigns and social marketing are done irrespective of what’s being promoted on the website, with content and in email campaigns. The marketing tactics are disconnected from each other. Integration is not enough. You should be considering orchestration.
Your prospects don’t view your company as marketing and sales. They don’t want a marketing experience and a sales experience. They want a seamless, educational and helpful experience that allows them to conduct their buyer journey as efficiently and effectively as possible. Your job as the head of marketing, the head of demand generation, the head of sales or anyone who works in sales and marketing is to help build that seamless experience.
Once you shift away from focusing on generating leads today to creating a remarkable experience for your prospects, the leads will come, and so will the sales opportunities in the form of the new customers and the revenue. You won’t have to worry about creating campaigns to create short-term lead flow because you’ll have plenty of leads. You’ll then be working to enhance your prospects’ experience with your company, so that the metrics across the sales and marketing funnel are all green.
Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned With Experience, Methodology And Insight!