Overcoming the Five Challenges of Scaling Marketing and Sales Campaigns
For most companies, the challenge of regularly delivering enough leads and opportunities to hit growth targets has historically meant building a strategy around producing high volume, low quality marketing and sales campaigns. But those campaigns are neither scalable nor efficient.
Typically, marketing and sales campaigns are a collection of tactical activities loosely tied together with the goal of capturing and converting leads. These efforts target prospects based on unreliable factors, such as title and company, and they randomly push outbound messages. There’s no consideration of where a prospect might be in the buying process (is she ready to buy or just starting her research?) and little to no evidence the target audience actively participates in the chosen engagement channel. In essence, success depends on guessing correctly.
As companies continue to try and achieve growth goals, they inevitably realize the challenges of scaling tactical marketing and sales campaigns. Regardless of the size of your organization, campaigns can quickly become unwieldy. It’s not just that they aren’t up to the job of consistently delivering high-quality leads; campaigns can actively drag your marketing and sales efforts down, harm your customer journey, and operate with a negative ROI, making it impossible to create a repeatable framework of success. As stated in the blog post, Are You Committing Random Acts of Sales and Marketing, “quite simply, random acts of marketing require more investment and deliver less return.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Shifting to a strategic demand marketing state allows you to perpetually drive scalable, sustainable growth.
As your company attempts to scale its own marketing and sales efforts, you will inevitably face one of these five challenges. When you do, you’ll know you’re stuck in a cycle of random acts of marketing, and it’s costing you time and money. Read through to see how each of these challenges can become an opportunity to make that shift.
1. Creating enough content
Sixty percent (60%) of marketers create at least one piece of content each day. That’s 260 pieces of content per person, per year. And it’s still not enough. The truth is that you can never create enough content to address the infinite iterations of personas and their buying stages.
Because campaigns are random in nature, they rely on a new iteration of content for every launch. There is no orchestrated conversation and so, instead of guiding a prospect down a path that serves the prospect’s needs, content is continuously handpicked and repackaged in order to serve the needs of the latest campaign. The result is twofold: a disjointed conversation between yourself and the prospect, and a big, expensive content marketing team that has to hustle to keep up with the internal demand for campaigns.
To efficiently scale content and reach a strategic demand marketing state, you need to find key clusters and common critical paths. While the common set of paths may change in number and rationale based on customer journey stage, they create a scalable basis of orchestration. This commonality allows you to translate customer targeting and segmentation into a viable, repeatable conversation thread organized by customer journey stage. The result of this work is a Conversation Track Architecture, a critical component of a strategic demand marketing plan. To learn more about these concepts read the article, The Key to Operationalizing Go-To-Market Around Customer Journey: Conversation Track Architecture.
2. Reaching the right buyer and understanding their behaviors
According to a study published by Accenture Interactive, “CMOs … report that of all the individuals they reach with their marketing messages, fewer than 18% are actually in the market for the product or service on offer.” Restated, 82% of demand marketing is ‘wrong place, wrong time.’
Why? Because most tactical marketing strategies segment their personas demographically with an emphasis on job title.
Title-based segmentation has many flaws. The most significant one is that titles change and can be unique to any given organization, so it’s impossible to scale your targeting efforts to include every possible variation. Furthermore, just because two people have the same job title doesn’t mean that the same message will resonate with both. There’s no guarantee that they both face the same challenges or have the same goals.
Instead of relying on role, it’s important to find common content-behavioral paths to focus on. Your flow should start with higher-level pain points and make its way to a solution. The result of this structure is a series of customer conversation flows, through ‘information request’ stages, that are focused on solving problems, not on targeting titles.
Understanding your prospect’s buying patterns is one of the first steps to reaching a strategic demand marketing state. To learn more about how to segment your customers based on behavior, read Customer-Centric Selling: 8 Deeper Questions to Ask to Understand Your Customer.
3. Addressing the different needs of different personas by buying stage
When building campaign plans, most teams create a system that places each persona in every stage of the buying process. But this method quickly becomes unmanageable.
Instead of creating unique persona/buying journey combinations, it’s key to create segmentation groups.
At the top of the funnel, each persona may indeed need their own unique content, but when moving downwards, you’ll find that these personas merge as they experience similar pain points, albeit with slightly different perspectives. With the understanding that fundamental challenges remain the same between personas, you can create smaller amounts of higher impact content.
For some organizations, the content model may widen again towards the later buying stages as different personas either need different solutions or need the same solution presented through different lenses. Ultimately, you end up with a sideways hourglass figure.
The result is a scalable content model that not only increases production efficiencies but also creates a tailored experience for each persona regardless of their stage in the buying process.
4. Managing data and optimizing against outcomes
More campaigns mean more data. With every email, webinar, press release, phone call, and social media share, more data is acquired, but unless your systems are orchestrated to promote customer journey engagement, that data is sitting in silos, doing nothing to improve the efficiency of your marketing and sales strategies or create a better experience for your customers.
Trying to string together the data that’s collected throughout random campaigns is a major problem for organizations. Without a clear picture of your customers’ journeys, it’s impossible to know what is and isn’t working, and therefore, it’s impossible to optimize the path to purchase.
Lead management, progressive profiling, link tracking, and data append tools must work closely together with content models to capture and apply what is learned along the way to improve the customer journey. Using this data in real time will not only optimize the purchase path, but it will improve the focus of your teams, allowing them to cut the fluff and work on initiatives that are making an impact.
To learn more about scaling engagement channels, read How to Optimize Your Engagement Channel Strategy. To learn more about how to manage and apply data, read Is Your MarTech Stack Orchestrating Engagement or Just Blasting Outbound Emails?
5. Orchestrating engagement across channels
According to Salesforce Research only 28% of marketers are completely satisfied with their ability to engage customers across channels at scale.
Many sales and marketing teams measure campaign success as opening an email or clicking a link. They’re focused on activities, so they’re looking for the tactical effort that had the most opens and clicks. Then they repeat that same effort to try and keep engagement levels high.
The challenge, however, is that repeating those efforts over and over is not scalable. It is costly and ineffective with no guarantee that the same level of success can be repeated.
Your customer’s journey happens across multiple engagement channels. The customer has one path, but he or she may jump from web to email to search, and so the model for continuing the dialogue with prospective customers must orchestrate multi-channel interactions as though they are one string of dialogue, not silos. Maintaining that consistent dialogue across those channels is what successfully guides that prospect through the funnel.
To achieve a repeatable, scalable motion, those interactions must be orchestrated by an enterprise demand technology stack, with data collection occurring at every point to inform the buyer journey. When that happens, your prospects are receiving the right content, at the right time, in the right place so that they receive valuable information when they are ready – not when you are.
For the organization looking to achieve aggressive growth goals, marketing and sales campaigns are an albatross. They’re unscalable, inefficient, and costly, but worst of all, they produce inconsistent results, making it impossible to build a repeatable model.
What all of this suggests is that both marketers and salespeople need a better approach to generating demand. They need to make the critical shift from the cycle of campaigns to strategic demand marketing.
Unlike campaign-based marketing, strategic demand marketing takes a long-term, buyer-centric approach to reaching your prospects and customers. It begins by understanding your buyer and mapping out the buying process, then moves to building a Conversation Track Architecture and a content model, then finally incorporates a Lead Management Framework to continuously assess the readiness and intent of a prospective customer, maintaining the quality of leads so that marketing can optimize and sales can prioritize.
To learn more about a strategic demand marketing state, read Making the Critical Shift from Tactical Demand Generation to Strategic Demand Marketing.