Opinions

You Bought a List… Now What?

Posted by Gary Halliwell on May 18th, 2011 at 8:26 am

B2B marketers are focused on finding new customers. The lead pipeline must be filled with quality leads, and that takes targeted demand generation.

One of the most effective tools for proactively connecting with new potential clients is an outbound campaign to a list of targeted prospects.

With today’s sophisticated business information collection, data cleansing, and tools, it’s easier than ever to acquire a targeted, quality list of contacts that represents everyone in your target audience who you want to sell to.

Effective use of this list involves smart planning, relevant content, lead management, and metrics.

1.   Effective Planning

List buying should be part of a larger strategic plan. Lay out the full plan on a whiteboard, and include everything from initial touch-point, to sales accepted lead, to closed deal.

Define the metrics that help you track success of your campaign over a reasonable amount of time. For example, establish goals for 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 6 weeks into the campaign.

These shorter intervals help you track performance more realistically than “how many customers came from the list” or “ROI” at the very end of what might be a long buying cycle.

Other “bite-sized” metrics include open rates for email marketing, landing page conversion, calls-to-connects, and more. The goal is to measure your activity in a way that helps you plug the holes in your campaign, and achieve maximum performance.

2.   Buyer Identification and Personas

Figuring out “who” your buyer is through demographic information (including company information like size, vertical, technology deployed) and role (everyone on the decision making team) is key. Profile your current customers to start.

Create a targeted value proposition (why the customer should care about your services) and message for each persona. For higher open rates and conversion, start by asking yourself what keeps them awake at night, and put yourself in their shoes. How do you help them do their jobs better, faster, and more efficiently?

3.   Content & Offers

If you do the same thing over and over, you’ll always get what you always got. Vary your content offers. Try mixing up the same message, and deliver in a new format. Take the same message and deliver it in a different way.

One of the modern responsibilities of marketers is to create remarkable content. Sounds easy, right? Marketers today are publishers, using content such as whitepapers, webinars, guide books, blog posts, interviews, podcasts, videos, and more to educate and establish trust with business prospects.

To make sure the content you’re sending to the list is opened, downloaded, shared, and useful, follow these tips:

·      Make it relevant to the persona you’re targeting, using buyer personas to drive topics.

·      Make it easy to read (think one-pager, tear-sheets, etc) and in the right media format (PDF, online demo, article, micro-site).

·      Make it easy to share. The amplification effect of social networking offers huge potential to marketers. The more useful your content, the more likely it is to be shared.

·      Ensure your content contains remarkable traits. There’s a lot of content being produced. What will make this piece stand out? Is it valuable of the buyer’s time?

4.   Multi-Channel Targeting

Use a variety of ways to reach out to your prospects. There are advantages and disadvantages to every approach, but to truly optimize your outbound campaign, use an efficient combination of emails, phone follow-ups, and even social media.

For example, a NetProspex client schedules a call from a member of their inside sales team after a prospect has downloaded a piece of their content sent through an email campaign. The combination of email campaign and focused sales follow-up results in a higher conversion rate.

Continue this approach over time. As you nurture contacts through multiple touch-points, conversion rates will rise.

5.   Metrics

Here are some recommended metrics for your campaign:

·      Cost per opportunity. “For every opportunity created, how much did we spend?”

·      Formula: Total marketing costs/number of opportunities

·      Sales Pipeline Created. “How much pipeline did we build from this campaign?”

·      Formula: Total sales pipeline (in the form of potential revenue) created by leads from your campaign

·      Conversion Rate. “At what rate are my leads turning into opportunities?”

·      Formula: Number of leads/number of opportunities

·      ROI “How much closed business was created from the campaign”

·      Calculate ROI after ample amount of time. Take the average sales cycle and add 1-2 months before you calculate.

·      Formula: Closed business generated from leads from the campaign.

 For more tips and content pertaining successful outbound campaigns, please view our webinar at http://bit.ly/boughtalist

One Response to “You Bought a List… Now What?”

  1. Great overview, Gary. I like your point about measuring results in bite-size chunks. Few plans are perfect at their conception. It's a good idea to plan on making tweaks in early stages of execution so results can be optimized.

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