What is your Marketing and Lead Generation Maturity Score?

What is your Marketing and Lead Generation Maturity Score?

 

What is Your Marketing Maturity Score?

I’ve been a marketing strategist and a campaign manager for over 100 B2B clients and owned a Canadian-based lead generation agency for over 13 years. Utilizing this experience, my team and I have developed a marketing maturity scoring system for our prospects and clients. This system allows us to forecast the success of each of our client’s campaigns and the return on their marketing investments.

Our marketing maturity and lead generation client scoring system is based on six primary criteria:

1.     Understanding your market:

How well do you and your employees understand your market? Who are your customers? Why do they buy from you? Where are they located? What priority do your products/services take in their daily life? Who are the stakeholders? How do they make decisions? Are they end customers or resellers.. and many others.

2.     Branding and messaging:

Modern marketing is 100% content driven. If you know your customers well, you can produce great offers, telemarketing scripts, websites, social media posts, white papers, etc. The history of your content creation and distribution activity is very valuable. How much do you value your content? Do you believe your customers read it and benefit from it? Do they share your content? Do they click on your Call to Action links?

3.     Marketing Strategy:

Do you understand the difference between marketing strategy and individual campaigns? Do you have a long-term integrated marketing vision and lead generation strategy, or do you keep throwing money into individual marketing campaigns here and there (telemarketing, blog, a website, a brochure, etc? )

4.     Measuring results:

Have you defined your lead generation activities’ Key Performance Indication criteria (KPIs)? Are you familiar with your website analytics? Do you track your SEO rankings monthly? What are your content distribution and social media results? (Clicks, shares, engagements, etc.)

5.     Technology:

Are you using technology to connect your company with your prospects and customers? What is your experience with CRM, process management and communications management? What are your sales channels reporting, and do you have feedback systems?

Investing in lead generation without proper technology is like navigating savage waters in total darkness. You may survive it, but most probably, you, your investments and your assets will be badly damaged.

6.     Monetization:

From our experience, the lower our customer’s marketing maturity score, the more importance they put on monetizing their short-term marketing and lead-generation campaign. Many B2B business owners still believe in a direct correlation between dollars invested in a single movement and dollars received in corresponding sales contracts. In our experience, these expectations are often primarily unrealistic.

When you know your marketing maturity criteria, try to calculate your score, giving each category a score from 1 to 5.

For example:

  • How well do you understand your market? Your score: 4 Great!
  • Is your company branding defined, integrated, implemented, sufficient and across multiple platforms? Your score =3? Good for you!
  • Do you have a long-term marketing strategy with a calendar of events, campaigns, and activities? I hear 2? Wonderful! Great start!
  • Do you use marketing technology outside your MS Office and Outlook tools? Yes? You are a rock star!
  • Are you making money from your marketing campaigns and communications? Give yourself 5!

Are you laughing yet? Let’s get serious: It is rare when a small or medium-sized company can achieve a higher marketing maturity score without the help of a marketing consultant or an outside marketing agency. Business owners often confuse marketing strategies and marketing campaigns. Instead of creating long-term marketing strategies, calendars and budgets, they hire multiple providers to manage their marketing and lead generation activities (website design, SEO, social media, telemarketing, etc). These investments often bear no results because their efforts are not integrated, measured and planned. We advise hiring an integrated marketing agency rather than hiring a specialist. This will save you money and frustration for years to come.

 

Hot To  Determine Success of SAAS Companies Lead Generation

Hot To Determine Success of SAAS Companies Lead Generation

Marketing Strategies for SAAS Companies Lead Generation

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a popular implementation of business management software and is widely used by consumers. SASS model represents lower month-to-month costs, which allow organizations to have access to powerful software without  a large up-front investment. Prospect Solutions’ Vtiger CRM is a good example of SAAS.

Without ROI focused  marketing and lead generation strategy this model can be an accounting nightmare for growing SaaS companies. Because of huge up-front investments, support and maintenance the early trickle of revenue can be not enough to sustain operating costs.

In order to get past first growing pains and continue to scale, SaaS companies need a healthy supply of new customers. The biggest metric for determining how healthy the supply is not monthly sales, but lead generation and sales pipeline monitoring. In fact, lead generation for software companies is the single most important facet of helping SaaS companies grow and prosper. (more…)

Three Reasons Why Lead Generation Activities Are Missing ROI

Three Reasons Why Lead Generation Activities Are Missing ROI

Lead Generation Activities and ROI: Why it is missing?

“Across the industry spectrum, salespeople are frustrated, failing and earning far less than they should because they do not know how to prospect… they spin their wheels chasing flavor-of-the-day magic pills and ‘easy buttons’ that frustratingly never seem to make a difference” 

Mark Hunter, High-Profit Prospecting:Powerful Strategies to Find Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.

Website and SEO  Are Not Enough for Lead Generation Activity

In the age of lead generation and SEO marketing many business owners and marketing professionals overlook the importance of integrated marketing. Companies are cutting their marketing budgets hoping to achieve their revenue objectives with the sole help of SEO. Although, web site content and SEO lead generation activity is important, it is not enough to sustain sufficient marketing ROI; for a number of reasons.

1.It is hard to get your website to the first page of Google: Good Content Matters:

Google requires that new content be consistently added to your site. Google wants people to use their search engine and to deliver best of the best quality websites to their customers. It is very hard to persuade Google that your site is “worth it” with low quality blog content. Cheap content produced only for Google to read will not be ranked highly and can even cause your site to be penalized. Smart marketers invest in high quality content and distribute it through social media and email marketing. High quality articles and info graphics will be noticed and appreciated, shared and liked. This will improve online trust and ranking for the website.

2. SEO only is not enough:

Regardless of how carefully you select your keywords, you cannot choose who visits your site. Most SEO-inclined marketers are investing in keywords that produce a higher number of visitors. Yes, this strategy generates web site views, but it may not result in the best customers’ prospects. As a result, your lead generation team will spend a lot of time and effort chasing after bad leads. This time and effort could have been better invested in other activities such as prospecting and business networking.

3. Human Interactions matter:

Online marketing cannot replace direct human-to-human interaction like introductions, “touch base” and ongoing conversations. This can only be achieved by effective use of social media prospecting and telemarketing. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter allow us to select, connect, and follow our best prospects and future customers. Social media allows us to connect and build better relationships with our target customers in a friendly and non-sales manner.  Subsequent follow-up with telemarketing will give voice to our profiles and create an invaluable human connection with our connections.

The good news is that there are many outbound lead generation channels available in the arsenal of modern marketing. Modern prospecting must be executed across multiple marketing channels, such as telemarketing, social media, email and business networking. Tune up and motivate your sales team to learn, plan, execute and measure successful lead generation campaigns. Or consider hiring a knowledgeable, experienced and motivated marketing department outsourcing provider.

 

We are featured in The Project Magazine!

We are featured in The Project Magazine!

From The Sponsor’s Desk – 7 Actions To Wow The Client

Written by

Every assignment, every interaction, every engagement presents us with opportunities to build capability, develop lasting relationships and wow our clients.

To take advantage of those opportunities, we need to recognize those interactions as moments of truth, to be leveraged, managed and banked.

In this story, we’ll discover one leader’s approach to building her company and serving her clients’ needs. Through strategically planned and executed services, she is able to leverage and build her organization’s capability while maximizing the value delivered. The business delivers that value through a project mindset. And therein lies lessons for all project and change managers.

The Situation

Ekaterina Sytcheva Is the owner of Prospect Solutions, a Vancouver based marketing and lead generation organization serving the small and medium sized business community. The company’s strategy is to serve as their clients’ marketing solution, encompassing every facet from web sites, to social media presence, diverse lead generation schemes and all facets of customer relationship management.

One of the company’s recent clients is Vancouver’s Finest Coffee Service (VFCS), owned by local entrepreneur Kurtis Telford. The company was founded in 2011 to provide local businesses with a selection of quality coffees and equipment with convenient, hassle-free service. Since then, the company has expanded its offerings to include filtered water coolers and other beverage services.

Kurtis first contacted Prospect Solutions for help on the lead generation front. He was mainly interested in telemarketing solutions to grow their customer base. Learning about Prospect Solutions’ holistic perspective on modern marketing, Kurtis was intrigued. He decided instead to go with the integrated marketing solutions including redevelopment of VFCS’s web site, social media strategy, Linkedin prospecting and lead generation, email marketing, blog development and customer relationship management capability.

The Goal

Working with Kurtis, Ekaterina and her staff developed a program to increase VFCS market share and put them in a unique competitive position. The program would include development and operation of the firm’s web site, targeted lead generation initiatives, support for a VFCS blog and delivery and operation of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that would support all of VFCS’s dealings with their clients.

The Program

Prospect Solutions worked with Kurtis to establish the scope and priority of the components parts. The priorities established included an initial focus on lead generation, followed by redevelopment of the web site, social media, search engine optimization and CRM implementation.
In accordance with the established priorities, Prospect Solutions developed a Linkedin lead generation program to increase Kurtis’s personal connections, develop a targeted data base of prospects and generate high quality leads.

As soon as funds could be diverted from the Linkedin effort, Prospect Solutions proceeded to redevelop the VFCS web site with the active involvement of the owner. After the launch of the web site, an aggressive SEO initiative addressed blogging, social media and public relations aspects.

As the other elements of the program started to bear fruit, Kurtis realized the value CRM could bring to VFCS. He authorized the CRM initiative. Prospect Solutions worked with VFCS staff to implement and adapt Vtiger, an open source CRM solution that provided ample functionality at an affordable price to manage customer interactions. Modules included marketing, sales and service (inventory, ordering, invoicing).

Finally, Prospect Solutions identified potential subject matter for the company’s blog and worked with Kurtis to deliver the posts on the company’s web site.

Work is ongoing on a number of projects including SEO, blogging, Social Media, public relations and further CRM customization and user training. It is a most fruitful partnership.


The Results

With Kurtis’s active involvement and support, the web site was up and running in three months. Access to the redeveloped site grew steadily. Two months after launch, visits increase tenfold. By the fourth month, the volume had doubled again. VFCS’s Google position for “Office Coffee Service” grew 50 points in those four months.

The Linkedin prospecting project took 60 hours of Prospect Solutions staff time and resulted in 3340 new connections and 31 leads.

The Vtiger CRM implementation took only 10 hours of Prospect Solutions staff time to go live. It is being used by the VFCS internal telemarketers to book appointments and will be used by delivery drivers to manage customer inventory and supply. It also will provide core management information to help run the business.

However, the most important testament to the value provided by Prospect Solutions is this testimonial from the client, Kurtis Telford:

“Ekaterina and her crew at Prospect Solutions are great to work with. I like the fact that they are on top of things and since I have been working with them, things have been happening. I can count on them to get the job done. Thanks for all the good work!”

HOW A GREAT LEADER SUCCEEDS

Ekaterina is successful in her market and able to retain and grow her client base because of seven fundamental practices she and her team apply every day, with each client, on every project.

  1. Stay true to your strategy – Prospect Solutions believes exceptional results can only be achieved through a comprehensive marketing program that addresses a client’s overall relationship with its customers. Success isn’t delivered by one or two lead generation campaigns. It’s realized by providing a better way to manage the customer relationships and interactions that drive success. Prospect Solutions does that.
  2. Focus on client needs – Prospect Solutions’ approach demands active and ongoing involvement from their clients’ senior executives and staff. That was evident in the VFCS engagement. It ensured that the solutions delivered were Kurtis Telford’s solutions and VFCS solutions.
  3. Think big, do small – Having that overall strategy and a well-articulated vision for each client means Prospect Solutions can deliver a piece at a time, reducing risk and incrementally delivering value.
  4. Rapid delivery – You’ll notice that the timeframes for the projects Prospect Solutions delivered for VFCS were in terms of hours, weeks or a few months, not years. The approach provides quick feedback cycles and enables directional changes if results warrant.
  5. Measure – The way to demonstrate the value you are delivering to your client is by actually measuring the results achieved. That’s one of the reasons benefit realization management is getting much greater attention these days. When the results don’t yield the expected return, having the numbers allows appropriate rethinking with your client and a suitable change in direction.
  6. Stay Current – the technology world is in a constant state of flux. New solutions appear rapidly. Previously viable options can disappear overnight. Prospect Solutions maintains market awareness and currency to ensure they can offer the best options for their clients’ needs. Because of that awareness, they were able to identify and offer Vtiger as a suitable, cost-effective CRM solution for VFCS.
  7. Leverage the virtual resource pool – Prospect Solutions has four to eight permanent staff to support their core operations. To respond to clients’ project needs, they maintain and leverage an extensive network of marketing and technical expertise. That provides great flexibility to respond cost-effectively to the varying demands of the marketplace while ensuring timely access to top notch talent. That’s a Win Win!

Aren’t these same practices vital for a successful project management career? You bet! So, be a Great Leader. Put these points on your checklist of things to consider so you too can build your capability, develop lasting relationships and wow your clients. Also remember, use Project Pre-Check’s three building blocks covering the key stakeholder group (including the key stakeholder roles), the decision management process and Decision Framework best practices right up front so you don’t overlook these key success factors.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has willingly shared their experiences for presentation in this blog. Everyone benefits. First time contributors get a copy of one of my books. Readers get insights they can apply to their own unique circumstances. So, if you have a project experience, good, bad and everything in between, send me the details and we’ll chat. I’ll write it up and, when you’re happy with the results, Project Times will post it so others can learn from your insights. Thanks

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Drew Davison is the owner and principal consultant at Davison Consulting and a former system development executive. He is the developer of Project Pre-Check, an innovative framework for launching projects and guiding successful project delivery, the author of Project Pre-Check – The Stakeholder Practice for Successful Business and Technology Change and Project Pre-Check FastPath – The Project Manager’s Guide to Stakeholder Management. He works with organizations that are undergoing major business and technology change to implement the empowered stakeholder groups critical to project success. Drew can be reached at drew.davison@projectprecheck.com

 

5 Essential B2B Lead Generation Channels For Small Businesses

5 Essential B2B Lead Generation Channels For Small Businesses

Five Essential B2B Lead Generation Channels For Small Business Companies.

When it comes to B2B lead generation channels, it’s important to get the fundamentals right. Here are 5 essential B2B lead generation strategies to help you capture and convert a large percentage of leads from your marketing campaigns.

Use Forms on Your Landing Pages

Using forms on your landing pages makes a huge impact on overall lead generation results and on your conversion rates. Optimize your forms to ensure you’re not leaving leads behind. By improving your lead generation form, you can generate three times more leads at no additional cost.

After your landing pages are well-optimized and you’re sure there’s nothing more you can do to improve them, the next step is to draw traffic to them.

Lead Generation Strategies that Work

The online strategies that consistently work are:

The strategy or strategies you choose will play a large role in how effective your lead generation is.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the oldest strategies in online marketing. It’s a method that has stood the test of time after 23 years and it’s still the best method for lead generation.

Marketing automation has become a big trend in email marketing that produces great results. Marketing automation tools are hybrid email marketing tools that automatically connect with your CRM to let you send highly targeted emails to leads personalized specifically for them.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is one of the most valuable long-term strategies for generating B2B leads. At its simplest, this means getting your website to show up on the first page of search results. You help to ensure that you’ll be found online by optimizing your website for the search engines. Choosing the right keywords is the first and most important part of optimizing your website for search engines.

Social Media Marketing

You can use social media to generate leads by posting updates to your company’s blogs, infographics and website. Social media, such as LinkedIn, is an essential part of content marketing and, to some extent, search engine optimization.  

Content Marketing

A good content marketing strategy requires a degree of diversity and experimentation to discover where the biggest potentials for growth are. Experiment with common and uncommon tactics. Some things to try:

  • Microsites
  • Blogging
  • Research reports
  • Infographics

Test to see what does and doesn’t work and gradually refine your lead generation methods over time.

Conclusion

Great lead generation results come from a willingness to experiment with different strategies and use them across multiple channels.  Once you know what works, you can use your time and budget more effectively to generate better lead generation results.

Still Careless About Your Website Security? It’s Time to Change Now

Still Careless About Your Website Security? It’s Time to Change Now

It Is Time To Take Your Website Security Seriously

Google suggests about one percent of the total websites online have been hacked or infected. It quarantines approximately 10,000 websites a day. Many people don’t feel  that website security is important until they get hacked.

Websites get hacked because of three things:

Access Control

Access control is about how you log in. Hackers often to attempt to guess the possible username and password combinations so they can log in as the user. They may also use phishing pages designed to capture usernames/ID’s and passwords.

Software Vulnerabilities

Software vulnerabilities can range beyond the website itself to include other technologies such as the web server or infrastructure. Wherever there’s a system,

there’s a potential for software vulnerability waiting to be exploited.

Third-Party Integrations/Services

We assume that third party integrations and services are safe, but there is always the chance they could be compromised. The most prominent way this happens is through ads via ad networks that lead to malware.

Why You Need to Care

Without the proper website security it’s easy for automated bots to attack your site and deface it. Visitors to your site may be treated to content you never intended them to see. Search engines block visits to infected sites. No website security means a loss in traffic and a drop in revenue. 

Hackers also gain financially by hacking your site through plugin and theme vulnerabilities. If you often get comment spam, Google will hand out a ranking penalty.

How to Protect Your Website

There’s no such thing as a website security system that guarantees 100% protection but there are things you can do to reduce the risk. 

Here are 5 ways to increase website security:

  1. Transfer your website from HTTP to HTTPS. It’s free to do so!
  2. Avoid default usernames like admin. Do use passphrases, instead of passwords. Keep software updated and don’t download plugins or themes from unfamiliar sources.
  3. Stay away from free hosting. Look for a web host with a solid reputation.
  4. Automate your website software. Software like Sucuri, WebARX, or WordFence, are good products to try.
  5. A SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol that establishes encrypted links between a web server and browser. This ensures that all communication between them remains encrypted.

Conclusion

Website security is of great important to search engines. Without it, not only do you risk being hacked, but you may also suffer penalties as a result.