Change is coming at marketers fast and furiously, and they are well aware of it. Digital marketing is, of course, driving a lot of these changes, and its growing complexity makes it hard for marketers to know what to prioritize and how to budget.
There are eight essential parts to building a high-performance marketing engine. The absence of any of these components will translate to the marketing organization falling short of its potential.
1. Great Content
Well-designed marketing programs with subpar content fueling them are destined for mediocrity city. When building out your marketing organization, invest heavily and disproportionality in a team that can produce substantial white papers, case studies, video, blogs, contributed articles, tweets, data sheets, presentations, and all other flavors of audience-focused content that can feed your product marketing and demand gen efforts.
2. (Better) Visibility
With the growing number of systems we’re using to support marketing and the proliferation of available data, the quest to get to a clear view of “how we’re doing” often seems just out of reach. The key is forward movement, and not letting perfect visibility get in the way of some visibility. Getting analytics to a better place is about prioritizing the important questions you need answered to more adeptly optimize your program investments and steer the overall effort.
3. Marketing Automation Sophistication
A marketing automation platform is now a must-have for any company looking to more deeply engage and nurture prospects. However, many marketers still approach their marketing automation system as a way to blast emails to their database. The best marketers are using marketing automation to segment, score and nurture prospects – and to ensure they get the right message at the right time. Marketing automation is what allows marketers to scale targeted, personalized marketing.
4. Website Optimization
Marketers spend much time, effort, and budget to drive prospects to their corporate website. So when prospects do pay your site a visit, use web analytics to turn your site into conversion machine. Work to strengthen pages where the analytics show weaknesses in order to drive more leads into your pipeline; and explore tactics such as retargeting to try and convert those who didn’t on their first visit.
5. Balanced Portfolio of Programs
It’s easy to focus on search and email as lead generation efforts as they are often the easiest to measure. But the only way to make sure your lead and sales pipeline are always full is to invest in top-funnel branding and mid-funnel engagement programs. You have to look at least three to six months ahead to see where your future leads will come from. If you’re not in the considered set by the time your prospect starts Googling for a solution to a problem, it’s too late.
6. Integrated Programs Approach
In addition to embracing full-funnel marketing, marketers should tightly weave together their programs – not design and deploy them in insolation. If your program mix and the channels you’re using are not working in tandem, each program is actually creating a drag effect on the next, versus lifting it to new heights. If you’re pushing a similar story and message through your events, display programs, search, email, and social channels, it will create a synergistic, one-plus-one-equals three effect.
7. Control Your Destiny with an Inbound SDR Team
A team of sales development reps (SDRs) that is focused on inbound lead qualification is essential. SDRs can ensure that the leads you are turning over to sales meet the requirements you had previously agreed upon with the sales team. By having the team of SDRs report to marketing, it goes a long way in making sure that no qualified lead gets left behind, provides insight into how well the programs are working and how they can be adjusted on the fly.
8. Define Sales Alignment – Then Do It
The key to aligning sales and marketing is sitting down face-to-face with your sales counterpart and hammering out an agreement about what alignment means – specifically, you have to agree to the characteristics of what a marketing qualified lead is, how sales will follow up on those leads, and what metrics will define success in this critical partnership.