If conversion is really about closing sales, the conversion process must happen not once at the end of the buyer’s journey, but at numerous times throughout their journey.
It’s not a linear journey either, so being able to support the buyer as they progress towards the purchase, many conversions need to be addressed along the way.
You’ve probably read at ad nauseam the need to understand your buyer’s journey. While every vendor and though leadership firm beats your inbox to death with messages, you really do need to make some time to understand how your buyer buys.
What’s stopping you?
No one knows your customers like you do. Make some time to talk to your good customers, try and understand from them how they arrived at the decision to purchase your goods or services.
Identify similarities, try and understand time frames and then map the buyer’s journey to the seller’s journey or to your sales process.
Tip 1: Understand the Buying Journey
Depending on the current level of technology you have in place to support your organisation, you will have a range of ways to explore your buyer’s journey.
The CRM and its opportunity management object is a good place to start. Your CRM administrator should be able to help you extract data to show the Sales Funnel Velocity e.g. the overall time it takes a prospect to enter the opportunity at stage one and make it through to the final stage and then either convert to “closed won” or not convert to “closed lost”.
At the same time, your CRM administrator should be able to extract reports showing you where prospects fall out of the sales funnel or where their time at particular stage of the sale exceeds the average time at that particular stage.
The latter data is particularly helpful for the marketing team because they can use it to support trigger based campaigns designed to progress people by addressing typical objections known at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
At the same time, if your organisation is actively using the Lead object from your CRM you should have good data providing insight into lead source or origin and the conversion of leads to opportunities.
Tip 2: Integrate Marketing and Sales
Many of the points raised in Tip 1 above, will help support the integration of marketing and sales.
Much of the change needed to integrate marketing and sales is attitudinal and requires smart senior management to create an environment that fosters a more integrated approach to support the customer.
Technology can play an important role. It makes sense that the CRM be at the centre of this strategy.
Oracle Marketing Cloud Eloqua has a range of Sales Tools to help the marketing team provide sales with a much greater amount of information than we typically see in most organisations.
When you have good and reliable flow of information between the two teams, it creates a foundation for greater productivity and integration.
Keep in mind though, even with all of the best technology in place, the major challenge for most organisations is the human element.
I once spent some time with a company where sales and marketing teams sat together, on the same floor in adjacent cubes. It was not received well at first, but the dividends began to pay off quickly as the teams began to have a greater understanding of each other’s roles and functions.
It’s hard for two teams, physically separated by a floor, a building or city boundaries to really work closely. Of course conference calls, video chat tools etc all help, but most sales and marketing people are, by nature, “people” people. They perform best when they can interact face-to-face.
Knowing the proper route to engagement, whether it be through social media or by navigating specific sales channels can help create real connections with the right people.
Enter Content Marketing
This past week, I had the opportunity to meet with the CEO and founder of Curated Content, an Australian based company with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles.
It’s the hot topic right now for any Modern Marketer and there’s much to be learnt by marketers in order to do develop and execute a good content marketing strategy.
To support your buyers journey, you must first understand what that journey looks like. Once you’re able to identify the common exit points where prospects fall out of the buyer’s journey, you’re able to develop and supply content to help overcome objections.
One common mistake I see, if marketers offering “war and peace”. By this I mean a 24 page white paper or a hour long video. These assets need to be broken down to bit size chunks, easily digestible snippets of information to help support the buyer on their journey.
How to get started
Define your strategy on one intuitive marketing calendar.
Make it easy to use so everyone in the organisation can participate. More about Content Workflow Management.
Push content to your blog, content hub, microsystem, and cross-channel marketing platform.
Schedule and promote content to social channels through our built-in social publishing platform or with Oracle Social Relationship Management.
Quantify to justify with reporting on a content marketing dashboard.
Depending on your budget, outsourcing your content development can be a good strategy. Agencies like, Curated Content provide expertise around what works and what doesn’t and in many instances are in a position to save you time as you navigate your way through the world of content marketing.
Closed loop reporting or end-to-end reporting enables the Marketing and Sales team to see the fruits of their efforts.
Regardless of how a contact may come in contact with your organisation, it’s critical to understand their engagement from the beginning until the end.
This is really only achieved, from an automated perspective, when your Marketing Automation platform e.g. Eloqua and your CRM e.g. Oracle Sales Cloud are integrated.
Without the integration, you will spend many hours performing calisthenics with excel spreadsheets.
Source data is critical. If a Form Submission is the starting point for some contacts, then adding hidden fields to all forms with field data like “Lead Source – Original” and “Lead Source – Most Recent” should be implemented. For Eloqua customers, these are out of the box fields, there’s a reason why Eloqua do this, it’s important. The data is added to the Eloqua Contact each time a form is submitted.
That’s the starting point.
Marketers can then devise campaigns to support the buyer on their journey by creating trigger based campaigns linked to the CRM Lead and Opportunity objects. This is how you engage people at the appropriate time, with the appropriate content.
Again, without a Marketing Automation platform, this can be a challenging and time consuming process. The final step is reporting, generally from the CRM, that brings together Lead, Campaign, Account, Contact and Opportunity data.
This is where you’re able to measure the overall impact a campaign has had on closing sales.
Do you need a hand?
My team and I at work help our customers achieve this level of reporting. If you’re using a CRM like Oracle Sales Cloud, Salesforce or NetSuite integrated with Oracle Marketing Cloud Eloqua, I’d be happy to engage.