It’s finally happened. After years of promises that never really paid off, businesses are FINALLY able to measure the end-to-end success of their marketing and sales initiatives.
From initial customer contact to final sale and beyond, the tools and technology are in place to measure every aspect of your marketing and sales process.
The issue: Many businesses don’t have the experience needed to put all the pieces together to figure out the return they’re getting on their investment in marketing and sales.
Is all that money actually paying off?
Here’s a simple, easy-to-understand guide that explains how to take a data-driven approach to marketing and selling. It will help you reduce costs while optimizing results.
Map your end-to-end marketing and sales process and set goals.
Document everything you do to market and sell your products. Start with your social media and other marketing outreach campaigns and include everything needed to close deals and re-market to customers.
Once you do this, apply well-defined goals to every step. This could include things like:
- Projected click-through rates
- Cost per click
- Time spent on a web page
- Number of leads per web page
- Percent of invitations that are responded to
- Number of sales
- Cost per sale
- The number of up-sells.
The specific goals depend on your marketing efforts and sales process. What’s critical is that you assign a number to each and measure progress toward it. Having a well-documented process with specific metrics attached to every step of it is the foundation of a data-driven marketing and sales program.
Tip: Make sure your goals are SMART ones:
- Specific: Objectives must be specific. Be as detailed as possible when defining goals.
- Measurable: You must set a specific number for each goal so you are able to measure your progress toward it.
- Achievable: Goals should be challenging, but not impossible, to achieve.
- Relevant: A goal is relevant when it directly supports your overall business objectives.
- Time-bound: Your goals should include deadlines for achieving them along with benchmarks to measure progress.
Did you know: Quantifiable measures of marketing and sales success are called key performance indicators (KPIs)?
Understand your target audience.
The products or services you offer aren’t right for everyone. You must identify and define the people who are most likely to benefit from buying them. This is what’s known as your target audience.
Be as specific as possible when defining your target audience. Include information like:
- Demographics: Relevant demographic information typically includes things like age, gender, marital status, education level, household income, residence, habits, memberships, job position, and more. Choose the details that your marketing team and sales reps need to know so they’re able to connect with the people you want to reach.
- Behaviors: Documenting behaviors helps to bring the people in your target audience to life. Consider including information about the other types of things they purchase, the social media channels they engage with, the websites they visit often, and the types of entertainment they enjoy.
- Motivations: Your marketers and sales reps need to understand why people in your target market would want to purchase your products and services. It helps them better understand what will trigger them to check out your business and move them through every step of the sales process.
Naturally, data-driven marketing and sales programs need accurate, relevant data to be successful. It has to be documented and stored in ways that make it easy to analyze.
Start by collecting everything you know about your current customers, including:
- Interactions with social media and marketing campaigns
- Sales histories
- Customer service interactions
- Actions they’ve taken on your website
- Survey responses, ratings and reviews.
Having this available allows you to compare current data with historical information. It helps you understand whether your marketing and sales activities are improving or hindering your bottom-line results. This provides a great foundation for your data-driven program.
Tip: If you don’t have adequate data about your current customers, you can buy data from aggregators through exchanges.
Choose marketing channels.
One of the biggest advantages of data-based marketing is that it helps you identify the marketing channels and messages that work best for connecting your business to the people in your target market and getting them to purchase things.
Start by choosing channels that align with the information you collected about the people in your target audience. These could include social media sites, your blog, pay-per-click ads, email, television commercials, radio ads, digital display ads, billboards, and more.
Once you identify the best channels, come up with a plan that optimizes how much you have available to spend. Figure out how frequently you can reach the people in your target audience at the lowest possible cost while maximizing the pay off.
After you’ve launched your plan, track actual results against projected ones. Adjust your plan over time to improve performance. Never stop testing new options. It will help you improve results over the long term.
Develop and serve-up content.
Finally, you need to develop marketing and sales content and distribute it through the media channels you’ve identified.
Here’s what you should consider to create effective content:
- User expectations. Go back to your target audience profile information and figure out what types of content your prospective buyers are most likely to respond to. Ask yourself the following types of questions to figure it out:
- Are they readers or video viewers?
- Do they prefer long-form content or short information nuggets?
- Do they search for information or prefer to have it served up to them?
- Goals. Your marketing and sales objectives will influence the type of content you create.
- An infographic could be all it takes to explain a relatively simple concept.
- For more complex information, you should create a video, blog post or an e-book.
- Media channel. The channels the content is delivered in will impact the type of content you develop. Some media, such as Instagram, is ideal for images. Others, like a blog article, require a significant amount of text.
- Customer journey. Your content and messaging will evolve depending on where the customer is in the buying journey. Consider what they need to know and feel at every step of the sales and marketing process and deliver information that meets their expectations and moves them to the next step.
Over time, track how each piece of content is performing compared with the goals you set for it. If you find something’s not working, replace it with something new.
Did you know: Distributing your content through Mobile Locker’s platform makes it simple to track its performance?
Track campaign performance.
A successful data-driven marketing and sales strategy requires that you continuously collect data about your campaigns. As your campaigns proceed, you can use performance metrics to track progress so you can figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Track and regularly analyze how often your audience has completed desired actions. Armed with this information, you are able to:
- Refine your target audience
- Optimize media selection
- Eliminate waste
- Identify high-performing marketing and sales tactics and messages to optimize your overall performance.
As you do these things, your marketing and sales teams will be able to function like well-oiled machines that improve over time. THAT is the payoff to the promise of data-driven marketing we’ve all been waiting for.