Demand Gen Report will be holding the inaugural Lead Lifecycle Series #LLCSeries, a week-long series of webinars offering case study examples and best practices covering each stage the buying cycle.
Demand Gen Report: What are some of the key challenges marketers face in stimulating the buyer journey?
Justin Gray: The belief that buying is a linear path is the most limiting concept in marketing today. When push comes to shove everyone resorts back to volume at the top of the funnel. Does a CMO look worried? Chances are he thinks his team hasn’t met the lead goal they had for that month.
Ever talk to a CEO who says: “We know that in order to sell X, we have to bring in YY leads.”? Absolutely false. The equation no longer holds true. Buyers in the modern day no longer have to move closer to an organization to procure buying data, data like pricing. In fact, today’s buyer prefers not to follow traditional paths as they were never trotted in convenience. This means that the old equations — which measured first, people we knew, then people we knew more about, and then people who knew us— has no bearing on buying intentions. Beyond this, even our rudimentary concepts about what types of activities indicated buying intent, including measures such as downloads and form fills, are proving to be false. These days, we rarely require a form to be filled to procure buyer data and buyers who download everything on the site seldom, if ever, buy.
The changes above have taken place in increasingly smaller and smaller timeframes of iteration, with the behavior changes happening literally in the past 24 months to 36 months. The speed at which we are understanding the buyer is NOT keeping up with the changes that buyer is exhibiting and the speed at which that buyer is evolving.
DGR: What can marketers do to get better at measuring and understanding the path to revenue?
Gray: The buyer. Period. Marketers are always looking for shortcuts. We want to import prospect data, we want to score interactions and get ahead of the buying curve, and we want to “cookie” buyers and personalize things to them. However, none of these practices work unless the marketing process starts with the buyer. How do we do this? Interview them. Get to know your current customers. If you don’t have customers, get to know your competitors customers. If all else fails take your product out to your target market and talk to them. The only way to effectively sell to someone is to understand their needs. This sounds fundamental, but if you talk to a CMO most of the sentences they say will begin with “we believe” or “we think.” The marketer should not be dictating message or channel; the buyer is the alpha and the omega.
DGR: How can marketers compare their efforts to their peers to determine if what they are doing is successful?
Gray: The buying journey will have a unique path amongst similar personas. We need to introduce benchmarks to measure how accurately we are driving these personas to purchase. To do this we must be able to see a few things:
- First, we have to see what we are spending on marketing and sales campaigns
- Next, we have to be able to see the buyer, this means integrating your platforms (acquisition, nurture, pipeline, customer management , loss management)
- Finally, we need to form a closed loop for feedback with both the sales team and the buyer
Once we have this benchmarking data, we start talking with our peers. At LeadMD we facilitate this conversation for our prospects and customers by benchmarking every marketing automation user we come in contact with.
DGR: What are some of the key takeaways for attendees of your webinar?
Gray: While helping marketers understand the most optimal way to measure the modern day funnel, there are several other lessons I want attendees to walk away with, including:
- How to forget what you learned about funnel management;
- How the introduction of a sales offer can ignite the buying path;
- How people who look like you are achieving success with their revenue path; and
- How to translate personas to a buying journey and get away from “one size fits all” thinking.