Increase Conversion Rates Via Content Alignment
A big challenge we often see in enterprise B2B demand generation programs is the tendency to rely on lead volume as a benchmark for success. The purpose of a demand generation program is to drive revenue, not leads, and the only way to truly measure success is revenue in the form of contribution to pipeline and sales. Lead volume is certainly important, but useless as a measure of success unless it is weighed against the revenue it drives. Conversion rate is the crucial metric that ties leads to dollars, and can be the most critical indicator of the health of your entire Demand Generation Strategy.
A low conversion rate may indicate that your lead scoring model needs to be tightened or that there is a disconnect between marketing and sales. On the other hand, an abnormally high conversion rate, although rare, may mean lead scoring rules are too strict.
The same reasons that make conversion rates so important also make diagnosing the root cause of low conversion rates difficult. As the culmination of the buying decision, it stands to reason that conversions are affected by every part of the sales and marketing process. Lead quality, sales processes, content efficacy, and organizational culture all play their part, and it is likely that there is room for improvement across the board. One of the most common areas with room for improvement are in content alignment and scoring.
Content Alignment and Scoring
The foundation of any B2B demand generation program is educational content. Valuable content and insight is exchanged for information from prospective buyers, who signal implicit interest when they access content. Where most organizations misstep is in overestimating the degree of interest of the buyer and rushing a lead to sales before they are ready. Downloading a high-level strategic white paper on the state of the industry should not carry the same weight as accessing a case study, yet many marketing departments score them the same. The sad result of such simple scoring is a diluted pool of “qualified” leads, most of whom aren’t actually Engaged or qualifed at all. If lead quality is poor, sales people won’t take marketing leads seriously, and rightly so.
While it takes more work to develop on the front-end, a content framework that maps every piece of content to a specific stage of the buying process can make scoring exponentially easier down the road. Using such a framework also facilitates intelligent content delivery. If a buyer engages with content that corresponds to a later phase of the buying process, they should be served content from the corresponding phase, rather than starting at the beginning of some sort of basic, pre-determined drip nurture that stopped being cutting-edge 10 years ago and doesn’t align to the buyer’s needs.
By serving up the right content at the right time and scoring interactions with that content on a weighted scale, a demand generation program not only effectively measures buyer readiness for sales engagement, but encourages buyers to move through the buying process more rapidly. Raising the bar on lead qualification rules builds respect for marketing generated leads within the sales organization, without which, even the most qualified opportunities can grow stale sitting in sales queues.
Author: Curran Corrigan @Curcor is a Consultant, Strategy, ANNUITAS