Acquire new business for your customers with proven digital strategies

acquire-new-business-for-your-customers-with-proven-digital-strategies2

As a digital marketing firm, your clients look up to you for the most efficient ways to reach their target market and influence their buying decisions. It is quite likely that you have more emphasis on one of the channels and this has been giving you sub-optimal results. You want to move to other channels, but need not necessarily have the skills and capabilities in each of the other channels identified.

If you do not innovate and show results, it is quite likely that the client may move work away from you. What are your options

Work with an agency that has capabilities in the adjacencies that you are looking for

Having all the necessary skills is never possible for a single agency. You will have some strength areas and some weakness areas. It makes better sense to be conscious about this and build on areas, where you are currently weak.

For e.g. you may have great campaign messaging and execution skills, but do not have the resources or the bandwidth to maintain your lists clean. Also, while scheduling your campaigns, it is common, not to have all the necessary skills in defining the right landing pages and powerful call to actions to ensure effectiveness of your campaigns.

Work as per a clearly defined process metric and a plan, so that you can track down all activities to closure. Having a strong project management rigour also helps in ensuring timely execution.

By having a partner, who can manage much of the execution related to the new marketing channels, you can focus better on client relationships and showcase new ways of winning new business.

At Xenia Consulting, this is really ingrained as part of our culture. With a strong execution ethic, , we ensure that our clients objectives are consistently met, no wonder clients really trust us for their back-office marketing support services.

Hope you liked the post, Comments/Feedback welcome

Best Regards,

Atul Dhakappa

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Posted in Demand Generation, Email Marketing, Graphic design, Key Accounts Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, positioning, Social media marketing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Committed to meet marketing objectives

Committed to meet Marketing Objectives

Committed to meet Marketing Objectives

As an organization, it is common to set objectives across its different functions. Marketing is no different. Marketing objectives are defined for a year and broken down into monthly and quarterly goals.

As a digital marketing agency, when you work with clients, it is very important to understand these client objectives and then set clear paths to go out and achieve it in acceptable time-frames.

However, a lot of organizations fail either to meet the objectives or get extensively delayed leading to the project objectives being sub optimally met.

How can you make sure that your teams as well as your vendors stay committed to meet your marketing objectives?

1. Project Blue-print

Have a clear project blue-print and make it available to the team with the expected completion dates and a clear understanding of what these dependencies mean for the project. The client relationship managers and the project managers are best placed to put this in place, as they have already set expectations with the client on this topic.

2. Process metrics

Within your teams, lay down clear process metrics as to who is going to do what and the related approval workflows. Don’t load all approvals on the project leads. Keep the ownership of relevant tasks on individual team-members, so that they can innovate and excel at the work they are delivering.

3. Reporting dashboards

Invest in reporting dashboards by working groups, so that you get a clear view of the current status of the project. If any specific items are getting delayed, then the team gets a clear visibility and if need be, the client can be informed about such potential delays

4.  Buffer time for approval delays

Having a buffer time for approvals or any such delays, so that campaigns and other initiatives do not get delayed because of lack of approvals or operational delays from your client

Having a team that has strong accountability and transparency ensures that your projects stay on track and you are able to deliver, meeting customer expectations.

At Xenia Consulting, we go the extra mile for every customer that we work with. We offer back-office marketing support services and digital agencies and they completely rely on us for timely execution. Whether it is for email campaigns, SEO, PPC, Graphic design, list building or content, Xenia consistently delivers smiles to its customers.

Hope you liked the post, Comments/Feedback welcome

Best Regards,

Atul Dhakappa

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In marketing, how does ‘Always being on-time’ matter?

Always being on time

Always Being ON-TIME

On-time delivery is always important. When you work with your clients, they always expect that all activities move based on a plan and as per a defined time schedule. Consistent delays can result in client dissatisfaction and can also lead to you losing the contract.

Marketing is all about maintaining a consistent presence in front of your target audience. If across your initiatives, your team ends up creating delays, it is quite likely that your initiatives will have sub-optimal impact.

As an agency, how can you ensure that you are always on-time

1.      Make sure that you are staffed with the right resources based on the project plan. If you are expecting the same set of people to manage multiple clients and activities, it is quite likely that you are going to face delays

2.      Have a detailed plan and make that available to your teams, so that they know what is due when, and the dependencies are clearly identified. Ad-hoc working can cause a lot of damages.

3.      Allow time for approval delays, so that your campaigns and other initiatives do not get delayed because of approval delays from your clients.

4.      Make sure that right skills are working on the right projects. If the team members are less-skilled at particular tasks, then it is quite likely that they will not achieve their goals in time

Being consistently ‘on-time’ requires a different attitude and culture within your teams. They have to realize that it is sacrosanct to maintain delivery timeframes and ensure consistent execution.

At Xenia Consulting, this is really ingrained as part of our culture. By executing all initiatives on time, we ensure that our clients objectives are consistently met, no wonder clients really trust us for their back-office marketing support services.

Hope you liked the post, Comments/Feedback welcome

Best Regards,

Atul Dhakappa

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Improving metrics across your marketing initiatives

Improving Metrics

Improving Metrics

Long gone are the days when Marketing was viewed as art and craft. Over the period of time it has evolved completely as a data driven domain powered by conversion rates, click-to-open percentages, SEO, keyword analytics, and submission rates.

Marketing initiatives are the prime mover of any business and more often than not, a sound documented strategy is required to achieve it. As a digital marketing agency, as you work with clients, it is very important to define and understand these initiatives well for your clients and then set clear paths to go out and achieve it in acceptable time-frames. However, a lot of organizations fail either to improve the metrics or get extensively delayed leading to the marketing objectives being sub optimally met.

The most important & key metric to track when measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaign is the cost to acquire a single new customer. This simple statistic will help you evaluate the overall rate of growth of your business.

So how can you ensure effectiveness of your marketing initiatives?

Have a clear project blue-print and make it available to the team with the expected completion dates and a clear understanding of the dependencies involved. Keeping the ownership of relevant tasks on individual team-members is important, so that they can innovate and excel at the work they are delivering.

There are also things that you have to take into account when measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, but one towers over all the rest, ROI. Click through rates or response rates are great information to look at but if they do not result in revenue for the business, then you might be spinning your wheels and not getting any real traction.

Invest in reporting dashboards by working groups, so that you get a clear view of the current status of the project and improve.

At Xenia, our strong process metrics ensures that every activity that has been executed has clear metrics defined, which are tracked on a regular basis. It is because of this culture, that we are able to deliver results consistently to our clients. Having a team that has strong accountability and transparency ensures that your projects stay on track and you are able to deliver the scope and meet your client expectations.

We have a mantra. Listen to your customers, else you will have none.

Now the question arises how does it benefit you as an agency?

Improved process metrics ensures seamless execution of your marketing initiatives and thereby an improved ROI.  We provide all optimization metrics and a unified view of all communications across all channels and devices so that you as marketers look at bigger picture and plan out tactical needs.

Xenia helps improves metrics across your marketing initiatives.

Hope you liked the post, Comments/Feedback welcome

Best Regards,

Atul Dhakappa

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Posted in Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Outsourcing, Marketing Strategy, positioning, Products Marketing, Social media marketing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Staying safe from Ransomware

staying-safe-from-ransomware

For people in both the public and private sector, cyber-attack has become a potentially life-altering and seemingly unstoppable threat that is beginning to define our everyday lives.

In few hours, 200,000 machines were infected. Big organizations were struck and crippled by the attack.

Ransomware has been a growing trend for the past two years, and this is just a culmination, a grand reveal to the wider world of just how big of a threat it is

This variant of ransomware is a type of malware that exploits backdoors in operating systems with no user interaction needed to spread. It is also the first ransomware worm seen in the wild and works by:

  • Encrypting 176 different file types, adding .WCRY as an extension
  • Displaying a pop-up message stating, “Oops, your files have been encrypted
  • Demanding a $300 Bitcoin ransom that doubles after three days
  • Deleting user’s files if not paid in 7 days

Unfortunately, we also learned that:

  • Decrypting ransomed files was not possible.
  • Paying ransom did not guarantee files would be decrypted or left unharmed by a hidden future threat.

History of ransomware

The first ransomware takes us back to 1989 (that’s 27 years ago). It was called the AIDS Trojan, whose modus operandi seems crude nowadays. It spread via floppy disks and involved sending $189 to a post office box in Panama to pay the ransom.

How times have changed!

The appearance of Bit coin, and evolution of encryption algorithms helped turn ransomware from a minor threat used in cyber vandalism, to a full-fledged money-making machine.

The WannaCry attack is a perfect example of this since it used a wide-spread Windows vulnerability to infect a computer with basically no user interaction.

That’s why each new variant is a bit different from its forerunner. Malware creators incorporate new evasion tactics and pack their “product” with piercing exploit kits, pre-coded software vulnerabilities to target and more.

Conclusion

Ransomware brought extortion to a global scale, and it’s up to all of us, users, business-owners and decision-makers, to disrupt it.

  • Creating malware or ransomware threats is now a business and it should be treated as such;
  • The present threat landscape is dominated by well-defined and well-funded groups that employ advanced technical tools and social engineering skills to access computer systems and networks;
  • Even more, cyber-criminal groups are hired by large states to target not only financial objectives, but political and strategic interests.

We also know that we’re not powerless and there are a handful of simple things we can do to avoid ransomware.

Stay safe and don’t forget the best protection is always a lot of common sense and keeping offline backups in addition to the online ones!

Best Regards,

Atul Dhakappa

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LinkedIn Content Marketing – ways to get your message in front of your target audience

LinkedIn Content Marketing - ways to get your message in front of your target audience

LinkedIn Content Marketing – ways to get your message in front of your target audience

“People spend time on other social networks, but they invest time on LinkedIn.”  This quote by Jason Miller, LinkedIn’s Global Content Marketing Leader is an indication of the sophisticated level that LinkedIn has reached in terms of professional networking.

Today, LinkedIn is extensively used by knowledge intensive industries and for B2B products and services. The most effective content marketers reach their audience in multiple ways across LinkedIn:

  • Updates via Company Pages & Showcase Pages
  • Interactions in Groups & with Influencers
  • Conversations via Messaging and sponsored In-mail
  • Sponsored Updates, Direct Sponsored Content

Short-form content such as articles, images and stats helps you gain followers, while long-form content helps spread your ideas.

The humble Status Update may actually be one of LinkedIn’s most underutilized features – and provides invaluable ways to connect with and stay in front of your target audience consistently. You can engage with, like, comment and share other people’s content as well and the more you engage with others, the more they’ll return the engagement.

Another powerful way to distribute content on LinkedIn is through the LinkedIn article publishing platform. Content published here is attached to and becomes a part of your LinkedIn profile and positions you as a thought leader. It gives you immense exposure – showcasing your thought leadership and increasing your following.

Company pages are your brand identity on LinkedIn. A well-optimised company page can show up on page 1 of search engine results and ensures your company can easily be found in searches and that people interested in your brand can follow you. Showcase Pages allow you to serve content to distinct audiences based on their interest in a specific brand, business unit, or initiative.

LinkedIn Groups offer opportunities to share your expertise, build trust. If you join the right groups, contribute to discussions, and offer insightful content and opinion, you will find traction and generate valuable leads and also get ideas for relevant content. Similarly, following an exclusive group of Influencers on LinkedIn is one of the newer ways to increase engagement with industry thought leaders. Engage with Influencers either by liking a post or commenting on their post and eventually getting these influencers to react to you or your content.

Promoting your content

 “If you’re not paying to promote your good content, then I think you’re missing the boat in content marketing.” — Jason Miller

You must drive traffic to your content – for free – using social techniques – and also strategically by investing budget into paid promotions that push your content to those who the LinkedIn algorithm knows follow your topics

Sponsored Updates allows intricate targeting, using criteria such as location, company size, industry, job function, and seniority. Additionally, they appear alongside high-quality content, leading to a positive association with your brand. An added bonus is that you get access to impression and engagement metrics.

Direct Sponsored Content allows you to send content in the news feed without creating posts on a company page – allowing you to try content specific for their audiences, send them personalized messages or conduct A/B tests to optimize content.

Sponsored In-mail is a unique marketing solution allowing you to send direct messages to a person’s LinkedIn account without being connected to that individual. An invaluable tool to reach out to people not connected to you but with better results than cold emailing.

One of the other advantages of being a paying LinkedIn member is that two fabulous tools, The Content Marketing Score and Trending Content are available to you.

The Content Marketing Score is a metric that quantifies the influence of your company and brand on LinkedIn. It tells you which members within your target audience are engaging with your content. And it can show you how you stack up against your competitors.

What topics and keywords are most important to your readers? How do you know just which topics will catch – and keep – their attention? And how do you know which members will be most interested in your content? Trending Content will answer that. You’ll see which topics matter, and which members are sharing the most content on any given subject.

What’s Coming Up:

LinkedIn will soon be implementing Lead Generation Ads. Users will be able to submit their contact info directly on LinkedIn, providing an effective way for businesses to generate leads.

In addition, LinkedIn will add an email remarketing option, similar to Facebook’s offering, which means when you upload a list of contacts, those associated with a LinkedIn account will be available for targeting with ads.

It takes time and effort to begin building your content credibility on LinkedIn. High quality of content is irreplaceable and without it, the time you spend on content marketing will be entirely wasted.

Creating great content that demonstrates your expertise, and helps others solve a pressing problem or reach a specific goal, is the real key to success in marketing through LinkedIn.

If you need to partner with someone who’s got the talent to create content and help drive a successful LinkedIn engagement strategy, give us a shout at Xenia Consulting.

Hope you liked the post, Comments and feedback welcome

Regards,

Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

Posted in Campaigns, Case Studies, Content Services, Demand Generation, Email Campaigns, Lead Generation, Leads, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy | Leave a comment

Collaborate with the right digital marketing Partner, this 2017

Collaborate with the right digital marketing Partner, this 2017

Collaborate with the right digital marketing Partner, this 2017

As you get into 2017, it is a great time to introspect on what went right and what went wrong through the last year. As you resolve to chase your revenue goals this year, consider using some of the latest and advanced marketing mechanisms, small and medium businesses have been leveraging these days.

Yes, indeed the world is talking about digital marketing and how to leverage it to drive your business revenue. How can you use it to reach your target market in the most effective way. How can you use it to persuade or influence your target market in the best manner possible?

It is truly time to fasten seat belts and take off to achieve desired results. With the advent of the Digital Revolution, you can really achieve the growth objectives that you have set for your business, and that too in budgets that you can afford.

Digital Marketing provides small and medium businesses the chance to compete and attract their share of targeted traffic. Small companies now have the resources to perform sales and marketing processes that were previously available only to large corporations. Digital marketing provides them with a better and much more cost-effective marketing channel that delivers results.

“At the end of the day, it’s about growth and business sustainability”

Most of the Businesses half-heartedly attempt marketing, give it a go, and fail because they don’t know what they’re doing and give up too easily, or they haven’t budgeted to hire someone to help them. Several others only end up investing in direct sales resources (incidentally the costliest option). Without the awareness and the reach being created in the marketplace, they end up being highly unsuccessful. They either move on to other companies or are eventually fired from their jobs for non-performance. They are not the ones to be blamed though.

The truth is that, to attract the right and relevant potential customers, it requires a strong marketing plan that is consistently executed with the help of a Right Digital Marketing Partner. Digital marketing helps to make use of proven strategies and techniques that attract not necessarily more traffic, but highly targeted traffic that delivers results. Targeting the right kind of people that delivers the right kind of results is what Digital Marketing all about.

At Xenia Consulting, we have been helping clients realize their dreams from a digital marketing strategy that works. Our consistent approach across social media, campaigns, content and several other channels has provided significant brand exposure to our clients as well as a steady stream of warm leads.

In case you are looking for help in driving growth for your business leveraging digital marketing, please feel free to reach out to me

Comments & Feedback welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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Posted in Business Development, Campaigns, Cold Calling, Demand Generation, Email Campaigns, Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Leads, Marketing Budget, Marketing Content, Marketing Operations, Marketing Strategy, positioning, Social media marketing | Leave a comment

Analyze and Adapt – The key to reinventing your Marketing Programs

analyze-and-adapt-the-key-to-reinventing-your-marketing-programsOne of the most famous quotes in marketing history is certainly Peter Drucker’s: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. That’s how important data analysis is to marketing success! So most marketing agencies now report numbers to their clients: 3000 Facebook fans, 15% increase in blog traffic, 22% increase in Twitter mentions. But how is this affecting the business? Does it have any impact on the bottom line?

Clients are really interested in finding out if their investments in marketing initiatives are producing results; which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. For example, how confidently would you be able to forecast the impact of a 10% increase in your client’s marketing budget on their revenue generation on an annual basis and therefore over 3 or 5 years?
If these challenges sound familiar, then you MUST read on!

But firstly, don’t worry – you are not alone! According to a study by MMA/Forrester/ANA, as many as 87% of senior marketers do not feel confident of their ability to impact the sales forecast of their programs. This may be the reason why many marketers suffer from a lack of credibility with clients and CXOs.

Marketing is an investment – and it is critical to understand how much investment will be needed to generate business, the return that can be expected on that investment and the time it will take to get that return. Marketing technology and automation have now made such data gathering and number crunching more plausible than ever before.

Traditionally marketing agencies have focused on soft metrics like brand awareness, impressions, organic search rankings and reach. While these are important, in today’s times, agencies also need to be able to quantifiably connect their activities to hard metrics like pipeline, revenue, and profit margins. You need to follow-through the entire brand experience cycle: need-evaluate-buy-use-support and not just the fun part of branding!

How to collect relevant data to re-invent your marketing programs:

Define objectives of each marketing channel / program

  • Pick 5-6 key metrics to measure – DO NOT fall into the trap of trying to measure everything. Choose metrics that matter to the client and show impact on pipeline, opportunities, revenue.
  • Use the language of the business – Talk about metrics in terms that stakeholders can relate to.
  • Do not make the mistake of focusing on soft marketing KPIs instead of revenue growth. Bias your mindset toward hard financial metrics.
  • Forecast results, not spending: Clients should look at your services not as a cost center but as a revenue generation opportunity
  • Focus on data which shows how marketing impacts sales successes, to get a comprehensive view of true ROI.


Ear to the ground approach – listen, learn, re-invent. Repeat.

Data does not always corroborate your initial hypothesis. It is a bad idea to try to stick rigidly to your original plan if you find that initial results do not support it. Agility is crucial when you find that your marketing efforts are actually not fetching the results that your client wants to see. There may be some unexpected trends and some puzzling twists. It is crucial that you use advanced data analytics to diagnose weaknesses, derive actionable insights and modify the marketing plan. Analytics should guide changes to strategy and tactics, based on what may improve ROI.

Analysis and optimization should be cyclical. Set weekly, monthly, and quarterly reviews – treating each review as an opportunity to improve. Build new initiatives as you see what works and what doesn’t. Then repeat the whole cycle.

It is a good idea to use concise visual dashboards to report goals versus actual results for each key metric for every campaign, every channel, etc. and also display trends for those metrics over time. This also helps you to keep track at any given moment of how key metrics stack up against targets, and what to do to improve their results.
Improving ROI means continuously evolving and adapting your campaigns as well as your measurement systems – refining and re-inventing your programs to get better with time.
Sounds challenging? Sure, achieving marketing ROI is never easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Fortunately, there’s always help at hand. Across its engagements, Xenia Consulting always focuses on metrics to make sure that we are improving all the time and we continue to deliver measurable results to our clients.

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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Posted in Articles, Blogs, Business Development, Case Studies, Cold Calling, Content Services, Demand Generation, Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, Leads, Marketing Collateral, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Messaging, Sales Enablement, Social media marketing, Thought Leadership Content, White Papers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

choosing-a-digital-marketing-agencyThe purpose of this article is to help you make the right decision when choosing a digital marketing agency. So we will start with discussing digital marketing agency options available in Pune, various services offered by the agencies and points to consider while appointing one.

Since you are reading this article, we assume that you already know the benefits of digital marketing and the advantages it provides over traditional marketing.

Agencies in Pune and what do they offer

Pune city has emerged as the hub for digital marketing. The reason for this has been the overall enabling business environment that has resulted in business growth and expansion of the city. Pune being an education hub, availability of talent, in form of creative designers, developers, content writers and digital marketers is also not a problem for the agencies.

Xenia Consulting is a full service Creative Digital Marketing agency in Pune that is a one-stop solution for your every digital marketing need.

In Pune, many agencies have popped up over the years. Pune, today, offers plenty of agencies for you to choose from- be it the small or big firms offering specific services to complete 360 degree solution.

It becomes imperative that you choose an agency which will suit your needs, fulfill your expectations and fit your service and budget expectations.

Typically, Digital Marketing agencies offer following services:

  • Website design and Development
  • Content creation & Promotion
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Email Marketing campaigns
  • Paid Ads – Pay per click Management (PPC)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • LinkedIn Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Reputation Management
  • Affiliate Marketing

The assortment of choices can spin anyone’s head and that is why, it is essential to choose a digital marketing agency that will help you promote your business and get you the visibility and business leads that you are looking for.

So let us drill this bit by bit. Before appointing an agency, you need to consider.

1)     Email Marketing: Email marketing is the most neglected part of the digital marketing, though it is the most effective digital marketing strategy. (check source here ) Email marketing is a very effective and efficient way in getting your message in front of your target market. But the base of a successful email strategy is quality content.

Also, email lists that you use can make it or break it for you.

2)     Website & Marketing: A user friendly website with information that your customers seek, is a base for any digital marketing action plan.

  • How are you going to maintain the website? If it is going to be in house, will it be your present website developer or the newly appointed digital marketing agency?
  •  If you choose to keep it separate, ensure a proper communication plan and also make sure that responsibilities are clearly agreed between the website developer and the digital marketing agency.
  •  If you are creating a new website, please involve the digital marketing agency right from the development stage. This way, you will get vital inputs that will help you improve your web presence

3)     Social Media Marketing (SMM): Choose social channels carefully, It is important to find where your audience is and then maintain a consistent presence on social media, so that you have the highest chance of reaching your target audience. It is seen that SMM is most effective in B2C space. A good communication strategy can create a WOW factor for your product, nothing will do better then the word of mouth, customers telling customers about your product/service.

4)     LinkedIn: LinkedIn is one of the most effective platforms for the B2B Space. LinkedIn provides opportunity to connect with right audience, understand their needs and publish content that matters to them. The pulse blogging platform provides an opportunity to reach your connections consistently with thoughtfully crafted posts. Groups and shares help you keep your content alive in front of your connections and also helps your content go viral, as people share or like it.

5)     Content: Doing Search Engine Optimization requires updating the website content and constant development of new content. Quality of the content will have recursions on the image of your company. You will need to decide if you will provide the content or would want the agency to do it for you. If you are a company dealing in technology, engineering or Sciences check if the agency has people who can do research on your topics and develop the relevant content.

6)     Creatives: Each piece of content that you put together whether it is a blog, social media post or a website update will require a creative design and graphic. It is essential that the graphic team works on innovative creatives as soon as content is ready so you publish and promote on time. If you have a design team who does in- house graphic design work, you may consider using them for some of the work but as you generate loads of content it will be better this activity is outsourced.

Tip: Consider using the past creatives that already exists within the company.

After you consider the above points and start meeting different agencies, observe the following while interacting with the agency and observe if the agency tries to understand the same while they are pitching.

A good digital marketing agency will try to understand your products & services, their relevance to your potential target customer and work with you to devise a plan to effectively reach your target market most effectively using various marketing channels and with optimum budgets.

Always consider signing a Non-Disclosure agreement with the agency. Clarify with the agency about the copyright over the work that is done for you.

Also, try to determine your compatibility with the agency. Try to know

  • The team you’ll be working with,
  • Past work done by the agency,
  • Their in-house ability and the work that is going to be outsourced
  • The reports you could be expecting from them and at what frequency
  • The number of times communication between you and the agency will typically occur in a month
  • Data the agency will require from your end
  • Typically the work you’ll be expecting each month from the agency- service level

Digital marketing is different from your traditional marketing in the sense that it is focused on results. Measuring the marketing effectiveness is the name of the game.

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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Ways you can ensure that marketing is supporting the Sales Process

ways-you-can-ensure-that-marketing-is-supporting-the-sales-process

How to ensure that marketing is supporting the sales process

I hear Marketing and sales often used interchangeably, but it is important to know the difference between the two and their individual goals. While both functions are absolutely needed to achieve sales and to realize revenues for the organization, there are too many debates about which one is more important. I will refrain from providing an opinion in this regard, as most likely, I will provide a biased opinion.

Let us look at the usual sales process.

Awareness stage

You really start with the anonymous customer who knows nothing about you nor your business. At this stage, you really need to engage with a lot of people and make them aware about your product/service. Some of the traditional marketing mechanisms used are advertising, events, email campaigns, PPC ads etc. You can increasingly leverage digital marketing and intelligently target the right set of potential prospects during this stage.

Of course, even before you get into the awareness stage, it is necessary for the business owners to be clear what they are going to be offering, how it addresses a current business pain area and why they will succeed in winning this business. An output of this thought process will be detailed out in the form of digital and physical collateral including flyers, website etc.

Several organizations prefer to use sales teams at the awareness stage as well and start making cold calls and cold visits into their target market. This is not only expensive but does not yield the desired results as well. The amount of money spent on sales at this stage can be far better utilized in the right and relevant digital marketing mechanisms

Excitement Stage

The potential buyer has seen some of your content posts, advertising, has met you at events and is now curious to understand your business, but most of the times, he does not take any action. He is just checking you out. From a sales stand point, it is very interesting to engage with such folks, but the challenge is that you don’t know who is excited about your services, since they have not really raised their hand in a crowd.

At this stage, as well, intelligent digital marketing mechanisms like email marketing analytics, PPC analytics, landing pages, social media engagement tools help you identify the people that are showing continued interest in your products/services. It may be too early for sales, as there is no real commitment from them, but marketing needs to engage with them, a bit deeper to make sure that they can jump the fence.

Lead stage

Powerful CTA’s/ offers made to an interested prospect in the excitement stage can help him jump the fence and convert him to a qualified lead for your business. At this stage, the prospect is reaching out to you asking for a sales appointment rather than the other way round. Obviously sales engagement is a lot better and closure time is expected to be far lesser than is the case with a cold engagement

Based on industry research and discussions with your sales team, marketing can create content for common stages that answers frequent questions along the buying cycle. If you truly know what questions your prospects need answered to take the next steps in their buying process, your efforts can be minimized by creating the content that delivers the right information at the right time.

For example, thought-leadership pieces on industry trends are often successful for creating awareness and bringing users into the sales funnel, while case studies or solution-specific content are better for leads toward the middle/bottom of the funnel. With the right content, you can guide prospects from initial touchpoint to close by giving them the exact information they need at each stage of the process.

Content distribution can be handled by marketing, sales or a combination thereof, depending on what makes the most sense for your organization and what marketing/sales software you have access to. Just be sure that both parties are aware of their responsibilities, and the actions of the other department to ensure a seamless, consistent experience for your leads.

Opportunity stage

The lead converts to an opportunity as soon as you can assign a money value to the prospect. That is the value of the proposal that you have submitted to the prospect. An opportunity will go through negotiation on several aspects and most likely lead to a sales closure.

In Summary

The goal of most marketing activities is to drive leads, which will convert to new customers and grow the business. To do this effectively, however, a deep integration between marketing and sales is needed.

Marketing can arm its sales team is by providing lead intelligence gathered during the qualification stage. This includes everything from contact and demographic information, to areas of interest and level of engagement. Insight can be captured and tracked using marketing software and/or CRM systems.

Lead behaviors like form completions, content downloads, event attendance, viewed web pages and more can help the sales team get a clearer picture of each prospect’s individual interests and challenges. As a result, sales is better able to tailor their conversations and prioritize follow up, spending time on the most qualified leads for more closes.

That being said, it’s important to establish a process for sales to give marketing feedback as well. With insight into sales data—such as conversions, customer lifetime value, revenue generated and more—marketing can refine its strategies to continually deliver the most qualified leads

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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