The secret to jet-powered business growth is account expansion. By retaining existing customers and increasing the amount of revenue they provide, companies can boost their profits for less cost and effort than finding new customers.
This guide explains exactly what account expansion is and why it’s vital for your business. It also digs into the best practices and exact strategies for making it happen. By the end, you’ll have a time-tested process for helping your customers succeed and achieve their next goal with additional products or services.
Account expansion refers to growing the revenue generated by existing accounts. Account managers do this by upselling or cross-selling additional products to a current customer. This allows the company to increase its earnings without necessarily needing to acquire new business.
Time and time again, research proves retaining and selling to current accounts provides a higher return on investment (ROI) than acquiring new customers. According to ProfitWell, customer acquisition costs (CAC) have increased by 50% over the past five years. Therefore, it’s essential that account managers work to provide excellent service and ensure buyer success to avoid churn or the loss of customers over time.
Selling to current customers offers massive ROI and business growth potential, but expansion probably isn’t the right fit for every client. Consider these best practices:
Find the Right Clients
Not every new customer is a win for the company. If your sales team is hustling to get anybody and everybody to sign up for your product or service, chances are they’re signing new clients who are destined to churn. This is an expensive mistake.
The reality is your solution isn’t right for everyone. A discerning sales strategy recognizes this and prioritizes prospects who are a proven fit. This ensures you’re spending money acquiring customers with great lifetime value (LTV).
Prioritize Client Success
Client success, also known as customer success, is when an account achieves the desired outcome by using your product or service. For them, this is the most important result of your partnership. It also guarantees a healthy customer retention rate, thus increasing your revenue.
Customer success is closely tied to business growth. According to a survey of 752 companies by HubSpot, businesses experiencing revenue increases are 21% percent more likely than their stagnant counterparts to view client success as “very important.”
This might be because successful clients not only stick with the company but are more likely to make additional, recurring purchases.
Have a Team Dedicated to Customer Success
Resist the temptation to have salespeople offer upsells and cross-sells to your existing customers. They often don’t have the full picture of how these clients are engaging with the company or understand what will best contribute to their success.
Instead, create a team of customer success managers (CSMs) who are responsible for helping clients get to their next benchmark. Unlike customer support reps—people who respond to roadblocks or challenges the client is facing with your product—CSMs anticipate problems and offer solutions that can help the customer experience wins.
This puts CSMs in a good position to manage account expansion since by identifying problems they can recommend products that provide a fix. However, forcing CSMs to upsell or cross-sell to existing clients creates a conflict of interest. The pressure to fulfill a quota can lead CSMs to push customers into new products or services that don’t increase their success.
Only Sell if It’s Logical
While it’s tempting to think of fulfilling quotas as the ultimate goal, CSMs must remember the customer doesn’t care about a company’s revenue. Upselling or cross-selling for the sake of meeting a benchmark at the expense of the customer’s success will only harm the business in the long-term.
Clients who feel they’ve been sold something that doesn’t actually help them reach their next milestone will likely forgo a contract renewal. CSMs should only offer an additional product or service if they genuinely believe it will help the client reach their goals.
On the upside, CSMs who are sure an expansion will increase a customer’s success will have an easier time making the sale. Their conviction that it’s the right move avoids the awkwardness they’d otherwise feel when pushing a poor solution for the purpose of hitting a quota.
Pay Commissions Based on Customer Success
Consider doing away with quotas for CSMs altogether. This way, they can prioritize customer success without feeling pressured by a competing influence.
You can still leverage financial incentives to increase account expansion. Commissions based on customer success are a powerful alternative. CSMs who are rewarded for sales that lead to the client’s next milestone are more likely to invest time into carefully identifying the best upsell and cross-sell candidates. They also won’t waste any effort selling to customers who wouldn’t benefit from an additional product.
3 Steps for Account Expansion
1. Create a Post-onboarding Customer Journey
A client’s experience with your company doesn’t end when they make their first purchase. After they start using your product, they should hit multiple milestones that demonstrate the value of doing business with you, as described in this chart from Sixteen Ventures:
A CSM helps facilitate this journey. Here’s how the process might play out:
During the first quarterly business review (QBR), the CSM assesses whether the client hit their first post-onboarding milestone. They may also work with the customer to set their next benchmark. This doubles as a good opportunity to ask for a review or referral.
At the second QBR, the CSM checks for the continued success of the client. They might provide support or advice about how to get more out of the customer’s current product. Another milestone is set for the future.
During the third QBR, the CSM assesses how satisfied the customer is and what ROI they get from using the product. If the CSM believes an additional product or service will help the client reach the next level of success, they can proceed with pitching an upsell or cross-sell.
After a successful expansion, the client and CSM should assess whether or not the added product helped the customer reach their desired milestone. This process can happen during the QBR, following the new purchase.
Reviewing the effectiveness of expansion shows the client their happiness comes before your profit, which helps build trust and loyalty to the company. It also reduces the likelihood they’ll feel exploited, and as a result, choose not to renew their contract.
Finally, the review session dissuades CSMs from making a sale for the wrong reasons, since this step determines whether they receive their commission.
3. Optimize the Account Expansion Process
CSMs and their supervisors should constantly be looking for opportunities to improve the customer’s journey. With each QBR, search for trends and adjust the client’s success process as needed.
For example, analyze accounts that have already undergone expansion. What do they have in common? Are there any traits that might indicate a customer is a good candidate for upselling or cross-selling? Isolate these characteristics and train CSMs to notice and act on them.
Next, take a look at instances where accounts expanded, then retracted, or weren’t retained. Was a solution offered when it shouldn’t have been? How can CSMs recognize and avoid making similar mistakes in the future?
By reflecting on what’s working and what’s not, you can better ensure client success and increased revenue.
Final Takeaway: Great Customers Drive Account Expansion
Client success is a powerful factor in account expansion. When customers experience firsthand the value your solution provides, they’re more likely to invest in additional products that will help them reach the next milestone.
To do that, however, you need to find prospects who are likely to get great results from your product. Lead intelligence software makes your search for those ideal clients more effective and automated.
That’s where LeadBoxer comes in. LeadBoxer gathers data about prospects, even site visitors who would otherwise remain anonymous. It then assigns a lead score, or a number describing how likely they are to convert, based on the criteria you set.
The most effective lead strategy methods are constantly changing, and for your company to succeed, you must evolve with them. If you aren’t reassessing your business plan and lead strategy tactics at least once a year, you’re missing out on opportunities to find new prospects.
We’ve compiled a list detailing the top lead strategy approaches for 2021, coupled with impressive statistics that will make you want to get started using them today.
Because consumers check their email 20 times per day on average, the logical place to start thinking about lead strategy is email marketing. This type of marketing is a great way to update customers about new features or products you have available, and more importantly, nurture potential new customers into purchasing your product for the first time.
The first step in developing an email marketing strategy is to implement a tracking pixel into your email campaigns. The tracking pixel will provide better statistics to measure email engagement and give real-time data. Use software that will integrate with website data for the most accurate view of users’ behaviors.
With only 25% of leads ending up being legitimate and converting into actual sales, a lead nurturing campaign based on software with cutting edge data analytic tools or sales AI tools is imperative for trimming the other 75% of leads that have no realistic chance of ending in positive sales outcomes. You can create lead nurturing campaigns with marketing automation workflows you set up, and then relevant information is automatically sent to the prospect based on what they viewed on your website.
If you don’t already send out a newsletter, you need to start. Newsletters are a great way to inform your current customers of your complete service or product offerings in order to cross-sell them on other services they need.
In the US, 75% of marketers generate their leads through event marketing. At events, you get to meet with people who are more likely to be interested in the services or products you provide since events all have a common theme or industry they serve. Also, conferences are a great place to show people your company’s brand and let them know what you stand for. Although in this new reality we all should think more about the future of sales.
Meet New People Through Networking
Networking—it’s been around longer than the internet, and it’s still important to include in your lead strategy. Networking is one of the best ways to build a great foundation to get to know other people who may potentially be interested in your services.
When you start going to trade shows, you can expect to see 5% to 20% of your new customer base being acquired at these events. When networking, you need to remember you’re not meeting these people with the intent of selling to them.
You’re simply making new business connections. Even if you’re able to help them, or you can sell them something they need, it shouldn’t be your top priority when attending networking events.
Cold Calling The Right Prospects
You might hear people say cold calling is dead, but the fact of the matter is, in 2020 cold calling was still relevant. When you combine this tactic with the right tools, it can be extremely effective.
Use a lead intelligence tool that can identify website visitors and provide you with their information. This way, you’re only calling people who are interested in your services.
90% of people say a video helps them in making their buying decisions, and 64% say seeing a video makes them more likely to purchase: Creating video content is a must.
You can start creating video content by hosting live and recorded webinars. Create a content calendar where you can schedule out topics as well as dates and times when the webinar will go live. Then, send people emails asking them to sign up for the webinar, and promote it on your social media channels.
Another way to get started with video content is by going live on social media platforms. You can do this from your smartphone, and you’ll notice you reach a larger audience compared to the response you receive from a standard image or video posts.
3.5 billion people are on some social media platform, making it an expansive marketplace to start reaching new people who fit your target demographic(s).
Facebook is great if you’re looking for a less formal way to reach your potential customers. 32% of Facebook users regularly engage with different brands on the platform, so you can expect people to engage with your page.
Post interesting content and images that will grab people’s attention and you can quickly build a large audience, even without advertising on Facebook. If you do decide you want to use Facebook advertising, you can do so without spending a lot of money. The average cost per click on a Facebook ad is $1.72.
LinkedIn is one of the best places for B2B companies to generate leads and is a must-have in your lead strategy. 89% of B2B marketers admit to using the platform for their lead generation. LinkedIn is also a powerful platform for international businesses, with 70% of its users located outside the US.
One of the best tools LinkedIn offers to aid in your lead strategy is their lead generation forms. These are specific ads that run on LinkedIn and are geared towards getting people to fill out their information so you can contact them about their product or service.
These lead generation forms work so well because people are actively engaging with you by volunteering their information, with the understanding that you’re going to reach out to them. That individual is no longer a cold lead; that person has now been converted to a warm lead ready to receive your pitch.
For companies that have an actual product and not a service, Instagram is a great place to showcase it. The platform only allows posts with images or videos, making it the perfect venue for grabbing attention with eye-catching photos. 90% of Instagram users follow one or more businesses, so posting on this platform can yield great results.
Public Relations Strategy
Most companies only look at public relations (PR) strategies after something bad has happened. But that’s like looking at buying car insurance after you have had an accident. With the majority of people having a cell phone and the ability to share videos online, your company could find itself facing a PR disaster overnight.
Consider hiring a PR manager if you don’t already have one. And work with them to start doing community outreach and implement positive campaigns before a crisis occurs. Be sure to fully inform employees about your company’s values and its guiding mission to prevent anyone from doing something that could be detrimental to your business. PR may not give you immediate leads, but its ability to aid you in cultivating your company brand is well worth the investment of time and resources.
Create A Content Marketing Plan
Blogging generates 3 times as many potential customers compared to outbound marketing, and it also costs 62% less than traditional marketing campaigns, making it a powerful lead strategy. However, it’s not enough to just create content and post it to your site; you need to have a plan that includes the following tactics:
Search Engine Optimization Plan
It would be nonproductive to create content, only to find you’re not showing up in search results. Or that people simply aren’t interested in the content you’re providing. This is why you need to create a search engine optimization (SEO) plan. This way you can understand the types of information your customers are searching for and develop your content accordingly.
A Link Building Strategy
A backlink is an incoming link from one website to yours and is an important factor Google weighs when deciding where your website should rank. To gain more backlinks, you need to look for opportunities to guest post on blogs within your industry. For example, if you’re a web app designer, check out these 11 blogging platforms that specialize in web development and volunteer to write guest posts.
Keep Your Website Updated
A good content marketing plan can easily go wrong if you have a bad or outdated website. Google recommends websites aim for a loading time that’s less than 2 seconds. If you create a great article or guide that you know your target customer would love to read, but it takes too long for the page to load, odds are most people will not have the patience to wait and see it.
Therefore, keeping your website updated is an essential component of your lead generation plan and be sure to know all you need about inbound vs outbound marketing.
Start Generating Leads Today
Now that you know the top lead strategies for 2021, it’s time to get started. Check out this informative post on B2B lead generation strategies for additional information.
If you spend more of your time scouring the internet for leads than actually closing deals, consider adding lead capture pages to your marketing strategy. With lead capture pages, you can automatically populate your CRM with fresh, highly qualified prospects, letting you spend more time connecting with people and less time combing through lead databases.
Best of all, lead capture pages can be implemented quickly. With the right software and strategies, you can get a lead capture page up, running, and working for your business in no time. Before you know it, you’ll find new leads for your business without lifting a finger.
A lead capture page is an essential component of an inbound marketing strategy. Visitors usually land on the page after searching for business solutions or learning about your company through social media, blog posts, or search engines.
A lead capture page attracts potential customers by offering a free resource, such as a white paper, report, or trial of a product. In exchange, the prospect fills out a short form with their contact information. This supplies your sales team with a continual source of leads.
The info collected from a lead capture page is then uploaded to your CRM, becoming the foundation of any contact record in your sales pipeline. Once you’ve identified a lead, lead intelligence software can uncover additional details about a prospect, analyze how engaged they are, and offer insights into how to best communicate with that person.
How Lead Capture Pages Help Sales Teams
Between calling clients and closing deals, your salespeople are busy enough. Lead capture pages give them the freedom to focus on these high-touch tasks and understand their prospects better.
Find qualified leads on autopilot
An efficient lead capture page reduces the time your salespeople would otherwise spend trawling LinkedIn or contact databases for leads. It also automatically begins the qualification process, as leads who express interest in your offerings are likely to be more receptive than cold leads to communications from your sales team.
Gain insight into prospects
Manual lead generation can’t compare to the level of contact enrichment that lead capture pages help provide. Many programs that build and run lead capture pages can take the data submitted and use it as a launchpad to uncover tons of other details about leads. This gives your sales reps a greater understanding of who they’re selling to.
Score and prioritize leads
If members of your sales team often wonder which leads they should prioritize over others, a lead capture page can help. When used in tandem with lead scoring software, you can analyze the online behavior of leads captured from a web form and more accurately predict which ones are likely to buy. That way, sales reps know exactly who to focus their energy on and who they can pass on.
15 Lead Capture Page Software Options
Many tools and sales artificial intelligence tools too with lead capture page functions come packed with additional features that help you get more from your leads. These software options usually fall under one of three categories:
Lead capture page software with lead intelligence and nurturing
CRMs with lead capture page builders
Landing page builders
Lead Capture Page Software with Lead Intelligence and Nurturing
Act-On integrates with your CRM to help you attract, convert, nurture, and score leads with ease. Its web form builder tracks conversion rates and the source of form visits so you know which of your marketing efforts are working best.
Automatically starts sending drip campaigns to leads
Comes with features that help score leads based on their website activity, so sales reps know their level of engagement
Easier to use than direct competitors like Marketo
Incredibly feature-rich and on the pricier side, so it’s not feasible for many small and medium-sized businesses
Karta was designed as the most complete marketing and sales solution on the market. It touches almost every aspect of the customer journey, from letting you build lead capture pages to scoring and prioritizing leads for your sales team.
Includes lead tagging and scoring features
Doesn’t require integrations to manage all aspects of your business
Zoho CRM, one of the top-rated CRMs available, comes packed with features like web forms for lead generation. The tool can meet your customers at every stage of their lifecycle, from marketing to customer support.
Drag and drop web form builder makes it easy to launch lead capture pages in minutes
Multiple levels of billing is great for businesses that plan to scale up
The interface is so user-friendly, many customers claim not to need training before getting started
Customers report that importing and exporting leads sometimes leads to corrupted files
Emails generated by Zoho CRM can sometimes get sent to leads’ spam or blocked entirely
Instapage started as a dynamic landing page builder but has since transformed into an advertising conversion cloud. With Instapage, you have all the tools you need to optimize your advertising funnel and turn more leads into customers.
Create an entire advertising funnel to attract visitors to your web forms, then convert them into leads
Automates the process of creating multiple landing pages that match the messaging of your social media or search engine ads
Drag and drop landing page builder creates stunning lead capture pages with no coding required
Doesn’t integrate with email marketing platforms like ConvertKit, so you’ll need to find a workaround if you want to start automatically nurturing new leads from form submissions
Unbounce offers many of the same features as Instapage but at almost half the price. Small businesses that want to build unique lead capture pages to match all their ads will love Unbounce’s functionality and affordability.
Drag and drop builder lets you collaborate with team members and make edits in real-time
Lets you create pop-ups and sticky bars for even more lead capturing opportunities
Uses A/B testing to automatically optimize pages for the best conversions
The builder isn’t as intuitive as some of its competitors, so new users should expect a slight learning curve
Certain landing page features require additional coding
Mailchimp has long since upgraded from an email marketing tool to an all-in-one marketing platform, offering features like a landing page builder, conversion rate tracking, and even free domains.
Easy to integrate with almost any tool
Start building and hosting landing pages for freet
Its paid version is the most affordable of its competitors, making it ideal for small or new businesses
A landing page builder isn’t nearly as dynamic as others on this list
Limited segmentation ability
No plugin with Spotify
Cost: Mailchimp’s paid plans start at $9.99 per month.
Tips for Creating an Optimized Lead Capture Page
Not all lead capture pages are created equal. To maximize your conversions, there are certain best practices you should keep in mind when designing a form.
Limit the fields in the lead form
Having too many fields, especially ones that feel irrelevant or invasive, can lead many visitors to navigate away before they finish completing the form. The quicker a visitor can enter their info, the more likely they are to convert.
For example, visitors who want to sign up for a free trial of LeadBoxer only have to enter their email address to get started.
This is presumably so attendees can receive the link and a calendar reminder for the webinar. If Kinsta were to ask for less relevant information, such as company name or job title, visitors might be put off and leave the page before completing their registration.
Choose the right positioning for the lead form
There are three places you can position the lead capture form: above the fold, at the bottom of a page, or in a pop-up. Each has different benefits.
If the form is above the fold, that means you can see the form at the top of the page without having to scroll. This type of form is quick to grab a visitor’s attention and works best when used as a post-click landing page for a search engine or social media ad.
This method keeps visitors focused on the form, so they’re less likely to be distracted by other links or elements on the page before submitting their info.
The info collected through lead capture pages is sensitive enough to qualify as personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR, which regulates the personal data of all European Union residents, requires that you disclose how and why the data is collected, as well as how you handle the data and dispose of it.
Generate Leads on Autopilot for Your Sales Team
Your B2B marketing strategy is incomplete without a lead capture page. A lead capture page is the simplest way to find and qualify prospects for your sales team, who can then redirect their energy on nurturing leads and closing deals. In the long run, this relatively inexpensive strategy can end up generating significant revenue for your company.
However, even if you follow all the tips and best practices for creating an optimized lead capture page, the page only works as well as the software you pair it with. With the right software, you’ll never have another high-quality lead slip through the cracks because of pipeline mismanagement. Your best bet is to use a lead intelligence tool that can take the info you collect from lead capture pages and turn into actionable data that helps you prioritize leads and convert them into customers with ease.
There’s a new buzzword on the minds of sales managers across the country: sales enablement.
It’s not a new concept, just a new name. The idea is to provide your sales teams with the resources they need to excel. Doesn’t sound too revolutionary, right?
Unfortunately, many offices are structured in such a way that a few top earners carry the entire office and the rest of the reps don’t get much attention.
In reality, some people are just naturally great at selling things. That doesn’t mean the other guys can’t perform at the same level, or even that they don’t perform at a high level themselves. They just need a little help to develop their skills, and that’s where sales enablement comes into play.
Read on or use these links to jump to a particular section:
It doesn’t matter how great your top-earning sales reps are, there’s almost always room for improvement. Sales enablement helps everyone on the team excel by teaching, motivating. And most importantly, enabling them to exceed office quotas and expectations.
Sales enablement is sales empowerment, and it’s more important now than it’s ever been. Of course, we could repeat that statement every week. Because the competition is always on the rise, and buyers continue to become more informed than ever before.
Sales enablement provides the clearest avenue for sales and marketing teams to take their game to the next level. Regardless of where they are now.
The Importance of Sales Enablement
Consumers have more information and power at their fingertips than ever before. A study by Salesforce & Publicis.Sapient found that 87% of consumers begin their buying journey with online research. The study also found that 64% of shoppers say they feel that brands don’t truly understand their individual needs and desires.
Brands have to work hard to personalize their approach. Therefore selling to informed customers has become a nightmare for many in the sales game. You can check our post about how to make a brand persona to learn more.
There was a time when interruption ads stood a chance. Many buyers were naive, and if something popped up and caught their attention, they clicked. They didn’t know any better, but these days, they do. In order to break through and start a genuine conversation with potential buyers or clients, your sales and marketing teams need to be equipped with the most advanced resources available.
Four Benefits of Sales Enablement
The benefits of a sales enablement strategy are vast. So long as the sales reps within the team are capable and the products or services being sold are valuable.
1. Better Teamwork
Sales enablement enhances the team as a whole, not just the best sellers and not just those that need help. By implementing sales enablement strategies, as a result, companies no longer have to rely on top earners to carry the sales team.
2. Better Data
Sales enablement provides a superior framework for the collection and organization of data from engagements between reps and consumers. Data relating to pain points, customer personas, buyer intent, historic behavior, and more, all combine to help salespeople personalize each engagement.
3. More Efficiency
Better data and organization also increase team efficiency. With valuable resources at their disposal, therefore salespeople are able to make faster data-driven decisions, decreasing the time it takes to go from prospect to client.
4. More Collaboration
Sales enablement increases collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Sales reps have to provide valuable, personalized content to prospects in order to persuade them to make the deal. The marketing team is often the source of that content. With that being said, marketing is invaluable and, in many cases, inseparable from the sales process.
Sales Enablement Resources
Sales enablement empowers sales and marketing teams to enhance their performance near the end of the cycle, where the actual sale takes place when it counts most.
Sales enablement is proven to increase sales efficiency. Booking.com for Business is the B2B division of the popular travel website. They used LeadBoxer to improve the quality of the leads being presented to the enterprise sales team.
After implementing a variety of sales enablement solutions, LeadBoxer helped Booking.com disqualify false-positives, qualify false-negatives, and even provide the enterprise sales team with invaluable behavioral data, allowing them to focus their efforts on consumer interests and buyer intent. Check out the case study here.
It seems like a no-brainer to want to give your sales and marketing teams better resources, but it’s not always the case for many companies. In most cases, when a sales rep fails to meet a quota, the blame falls squarely on their shoulders. They didn’t listen. They didn’t work hard enough.
While there are reps out there who simply don’t belong on a sales team, more often than not, better training, coaching, enablement technology, and content can improve the performance of almost anyone. These elements make up the foundation of sales enablement, but what do they truly entail?
What is “Better Training?”
A lot of companies are using the same onboarding process they’ve had for 25+ years. There’s no way the company is in the same position it was in two decades ago, but the onboarding and training materials still reflect that version of the company. The goals have likely evolved, the products and services have likely evolved, and the average customer has most certainly evolved.
In this context, “better training” means more relevant training. You could hire the most capable sales rep in your state, but if they’re not accustomed to your products, your services, and your culture, they won’t perform at the level you anticipate.
What is “Better Coaching?”
Sales coaching is essentially the process of putting proven leaders in front of your sales and marketing teams and allowing those leaders to guide your reps to better performance. For companies that offer no coaching at all, any type of coaching is an improvement.
When we talk about coaching, a lot of sales managers probably think of professional speakers who travel around the world giving live presentations. Of course, it’s valuable to have one of these sales and marketing gurus speak to your teams in-person, but this isn’t always an option – and it’s not always necessary.
You likely have one or two employees among your staff right now that are ready to step up and lead the pack. You likely have a manager that could take the initiative and coach your teams to more success.
What is “Enablement Technology?”
Most sales managers and marketing directors are familiar with the various types of sales enablement technology available today, even if they don’t make the connection right away.
The most common of these include Content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, lead nurturing software, and learning management systems.
Buyers today want personalized content. They need education and entertainment. If you educate consumers about various problems they face, not only can you reveal problems they may not have known about, but they’ll trust you as an authoritative source of value.
The problem is that there’s a growing sea of content readily available and anyone with a keyboard, a monitor, and an internet connection can create and distribute with the click of a button. Consumers have come to ignore the majority of what they see online, so your content has to catch and hold their attention.
In order to stand out, companies need a lot of content. Sales and marketing teams must work together to create and curate personalized content that speaks directly to consumers. Without a good CMS and lead capture page strategy, this process is nearly impossible.
You need to be able to provide relevant content at different steps in the buyer journey. If the buyer is just looking for information on a particular product, hitting them with sales copy is not the answer.
While a good CMS helps you identify the right types of content to use, a good CRM helps you identify the right time to use it.
The path a customer takes from learning about your brand to purchasing your products is called the customer journey.
As previously stated, a buyer who’s just looking for information about a product or who’s researching possible solutions to a problem is not ready to be hit with sales copy. They need informational copy that educates them about their problem and about your solutions, but they need content that does this in a way that’s not pushy or “salesy.”
The right CRM helps your team achieve this and much more.
A CRM helps your team organize customer or client relationships. Every interaction is a touchpoint, and every touchpoint must be documented. When an initial email goes out to a potential client, the team marks that interaction in the CRM. This keeps your sales and marketing teams from going overboard and pushing prospects and current customers away.
CRMs help with lead management, as well. When a new lead is entered into the CRM, the entire team has access to this data. This type of teamwork is key to the success of your company, and the right CRM allows and encourages this collaboration.
The sales process racks up a ton of data. Without a great CRM, the data alone will overwhelm your team and crush productivity and morale.
All of the enablement tools in the world won’t make a bit of difference if your sales reps aren’t capable and well-informed. At the end of the day, the success of your company depends upon the expertise of your sales and marketing teams and their ability to persuade prospects to invest.
There are several roles played by the LMS. The role it plays for you will depend on your goals and objectives. Most LMS solutions allow you to create and deploy training initiatives for your teams and track the progress of individual employees.
You can also utilize training and coaching content from other professionals in your industry. These high-profile coaches bring a lot of energy and expertise. Names that come to mind include Brian Tracy, Grant Cardone, and others.
SalesHacker.com released a list of the best sales training programs and coaches of 2019. The top five included:
One of the most important functions of sales enablement is ensuring that your teams have the right content and that they utilize that content at the right time.
There’s a wide variety of sales enablement content, but three of the most common types are:
Case studies document real-life examples of a product or service in action. They’re essentially glorified testimonials, as they help identify the struggles faced by your customers as well as solutions you bring to the table.
They’re versatile as they can be distributed to customers to highlight the advantages of working with your products and services, but they can also be distributed to sales and marketing teams to highlight consumer behavior and customer pain points.
Although content marketing and sales enablement are two different fields of study, there are some obvious applications that are worth highlighting here. Blog posts provide value to readers without asking for anything in return. Not only can you build a wealth of trust and establish your brand as a source of authority in the industry, but you can also reveal to readers problems they didn’t even know they had.
For many brands, email is the first touch with potential customers. While this may be true, email marketing is an invaluable tool for the closing stages of a sale. It can be difficult to discern which types of emails to send and the best time to send them, but the combination of a great CRM and a great CMS will make the job much easier. There are several types of emails that are perfect for the closing stages of a sale. They include:
Thank you emails
Abandoned cart emails
Most people check their emails on a daily basis. There are several elements to a great email and demand generation marketing strategy, and we won’t dive into them here, but emails are personal and you can personalize them in a number of ways.
Bringing it all together
Using a Lead & Customer Data Platform like LeadBoxer helps you to bring all this data together. Build rich customer profiles and track all behavioral events to get a complete picture of your audience.
Sales enablement is still a buzzword. But as the B2B and B2C landscape shifts in the coming years, it will become an indispensable element of the sales process.
Sales managers must deal with growing competition, a growing sea of content, and a new generation of sales reps.
LeadBoxer offers proven sales enablement solutions that can help your sales and marketing teams excel. By embracing smart sales enablement techniques, they can help their teams excel and perform at a higher level than ever before.
Advertising and marketing campaigns are key to finding new customers for your business, but how do you know if those campaigns are working effectively? If you’re getting new customers but paying more than they’re worth in ad spend, it could mean an unsustainable future for your business.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to measure how cost-effective your campaigns are. Cost per lead (CPL) is a metric that tells you whether or not your efforts and ad spend are paying off.
In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into CPL, from what it is to how to lower it. Once you start tracking CPL, you can create more effective marketing campaigns and attract more leads for less money. Keep reading, or jump ahead to these sections:
The cost per lead (CPL) is the amount of money it takes to generate a new prospective customer for your sales team from a current marketing campaign. These prospective customers — or leads — have seen an ad, clicked on it, then given some of their contact details in exchange for a white paper or more information about your product, thus keeping your sales pipeline full.
CPL lets marketing teams know if they’re spending an appropriate amount on different avenues of acquiring new leads, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads. The higher the CPL compared to other businesses in your industry, the less effective the marketing campaign is. Naturally, a lower CPL is considered ideal.
CPL is only one of many metrics that digital marketers often look at. Try not to confuse it with these other abbreviations:
Cost per Thousand (CPM) – The cost of 1000 users viewing the ad
The Cost per Click (CPC) – The cost of one person clicking on the ad
Cost per Action (CPA) – The cost of one person buying a product
CPM is a more useful metric for companies who are trying to build awareness around their brand, like McDonald’s or Coca-Cola
Users who view the ad don’t necessarily take any action, but they might remember the brand later on. CPA comes into play for eCommerce companies that sell low-ticket items at high volume. If you’re a B2B company or a brand with a high-ticket item like a luxury car, it’s not as likely that visitors are going to buy a product the first time they click on an ad.
CPC measures how much it costs when a person clicks on an ad in a pay per click (PPC) marketing campaign, which is important for determining how much you should spend. If your average CPC is $1, your conversion rate is 10%, and you want 100 new leads this month, you would need to spend $1000 on that campaign.
How to Calculate Cost per Lead
Calculating CPL is relatively straightforward. Simply divide the amount of money you spent on a campaign during a set period by the number of leads acquired through that campaign in the same period.
For example, if you acquired 100 leads through a Google Ads campaign that cost $1000, the CPL for that campaign would be $10.
Don’t forget to calculate separate CPL metrics for different campaign platforms. On its own, calculating the CPL for all of your marketing efforts across email, social media, and search engines would have limited usefulness. If the CPL was higher than the standard for your industry, you wouldn’t know which platform’s campaign needed adjustments.
This is why it’s so vital to know where your leads are coming from. You wouldn’t want to attribute John Smith to your Facebook Ad CPL calculation if he actually learned about your product through Google Ads.
How to track leads?
A common way to track where leads came from is through a UTM code. A UTM code attaches to the URL of a landing page so that Google Analytics can see which ad campaign referred visitors to the page. You can then count up the number of leads acquired through unique campaigns.
Lead generation software like LeadBoxer automates this process. The Segments feature can add a tag to each lead acquired specifying their industry, location, and referrer, to name a few.
Finding your total attributed leads is then as easy as selecting the right filters to see who was acquired in a certain period from a certain campaign.
Cost per Lead Industry Benchmarks
Knowing your cost per lead is only the beginning. By comparing the CPL you calculated in the previous step to the industry average, you can know whether you’re paying too much or just the right amount for your leads.
To help out, GoConvert aggregated data from over one hundred sites and reports to come up with cost per lead averages by industry.
As can be expected, higher-ticket items like marketing agencies and financial services have higher CPLs, with the highest average CPL at $100. Media and publishing, meanwhile, have the lowest average CPL at $11.
6 Ways to Reduce Cost per Lead
If your CPL is a little higher than it should be, don’t worry. There are several ways you can tweak campaigns and acquire more customers for less.
1. Personalize your campaigns
One possible reason why you’re not getting more leads for your money is that your ads and landing page don’t match. Message matching is when the expectation set by the ad is met by the experience on the landing page.
For an example of an ad that gets this right, take a look at what happens when you search for “best CRM” in Google. Zoho CRM claims the top spot with this ad:
Notice how the phrase “best CRM” is repeated in the title of Zoho’s ad. With a title like that, potential customers know exactly what kind of promise Zoho is throwing out there.
After clicking through, visitors land on this page:
“Best CRM” is repeated in the page’s header. Not only that, but a call to action and place to submit info is displayed clearly above the fold of the page. From start to finish, potential customers know exactly what to expect from Zoho.
There’s no sign above the fold that Resulticks helps with marketing automation. Customers might be left wondering if they landed on the wrong page and won’t be as inclined to submit their info for a demo.
2. A/B test ads
Between your keywords, copy, and images, there are several variables influencing how well your ads are performing. It can be tempting to go with your creative instincts when crafting an ad, but instincts don’t guarantee results. Only by running two versions of the same ad can you figure out which elements resonate most with your ideal customers.
Here’s how that might play out in an example ad created by AdEspresso for their eBook:
The first ad clearly outperforms the second ad with a higher click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate. The lower cost per sale shows the marketing team that they’re on the right track with the first ad.
Remember: When you’re A/B testing, it’s best only to change one variable with each test. Tweak the title of an ad during one test, then the image during another. By reducing the number of variables at play, you can be sure about what your audience likes.
3. Rethink your keywords
Every once in a while, go into your ads manager—whether it’s for Google, Bing, or another platform—and analyze how well your chosen keywords are performing. Clean out the ones that aren’t driving leads and spend time optimizing the ones that are. Don’t worry if the keywords you deleted are highly searched. If they aren’t bringing prospects to your business, they’re a drain on your ad spend.
Another way to improve your keyword performance is to target more long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less searched than broad keywords, but the audience also tends to be more motivated and willing to convert.
4. Lower keyword bids
Those keywords that are converting but with a high CPL? Consider bringing the bid down. Lower bids might drop your search engine campaign’s average position, but it would also give you longer exposure on results pages and more clicks.
It might also be that the manual bid you set months ago no longer reflects the average cost of landing on the first page, as was the case with this client at White Shark Media:
If you don’t want to manually adjust your bids all the time, Google offers Automated Bidding so you can hit your goals without a ton of extra labor. There are several types of automated bidding strategies, including one to maximize conversions. With Maximize Conversions, Google’s AI tries to get the most conversions for your campaign within your budget.
5. Retarget site visitors based on behavior
It’s one thing to retarget people who have visited your site with another round of ads. It’s another to retarget them based on the specific action they took on your site.
Start by analyzing the behavior of leads who have already converted. Keep your eye out for certain trends, like visiting a particular page or taking a specific action before finally making the sale. It may be that customers exhibit the same behavior before buying from you.
Once you’ve identified certain behaviors, you can create a retargeting campaign based around those behaviors. For instance, if a high percentage of prospects turned into customers after viewing the pricing page for more than a minute, you may want to retarget future prospects who take the same action.
This strategy can be applied to almost any behavior, whether they only visited your homepage for a few seconds or watched an entire demo video.
6. Check performance by time, device, or location
There are several variables about your audience that may be influencing your CPLs. Take a look at your ads manager and compare how campaigns are performing by:
Time of day – When are most leads acquired?
Device – Are leads more likely to be on desktop or mobile?
Location – Where are the most leads located?
These aren’t the only factors that might be driving up your CPLs. Analyze trends across your audience and try adjusting campaigns to focus on times, devices, and demographics that are performing well.
Use Cost per Lead to Make Your Marketing Campaigns More Effective
If there’s one marketing metric to keep your eye on, it might by CPL. Knowing where your marketing efforts stand next to your competitors’ lets you know if you’re on the right track or if you need to tweak some campaigns.
LeadBoxer simplifies CPL monitoring so you can focus on optimizing your marketing campaigns. The Segments feature quickly filters leads based on which ad campaign first brought them to your site so you can quickly calculate the CPL for each campaign. When it’s time to optimize, use the website and email tracking feature to identify which lead behaviors warrant retargeting. Get started today and try out LeadBoxer for free.
According to research, the average B2B buyer is already 67% of the way through the buying journey before having extended contact with a salesperson. By that time, they’ve likely formulated some ideas about possible solutions to their pain point. And might even be leaning toward buying from your competitor.
Intent data is the key to identifying those leads sooner, nurturing them earlier in their buying journey, and making more sales. This comprehensive guide will outline the fundamentals of intent data, including:
By the end, you should know exactly how intent data fits into your marketing and sales processes. You’ll also learn how to pick the right intent data supplier for your needs. So you don’t end up with the wrong strategy for your business.
What is Intent Data?
Intent data shows the likelihood that a person or company is in the market to purchase a solution for a pain point. It’s derived from information about the online research contact or account is conducting about a particular topic. As well as context clues that might signal their purchasing intention. Topic and context data are the two main types of intent data. Both rely on tracking cookies, cross-domain tracking and IP addresses to form a complete picture.
If a hiker needs to buy new hiking boots, she may scout online reviews of top brands. Before she ever goes to the store and tries on a pair. Anyone looking at her search history might assume she’s interested in the topic of “hiking boots”. The same is true of B2B leads and target accounts. Forrester claims that 68% of B2B buyers research by themselves, a significant increase from 53% in 2015.
In addition, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before connecting with someone in sales. Even before signing up for a free trial of the software that might solve their problem, your lead is probably researching their pain point and weighing multiple options. Topic data tells you what they’re researching. There are four types of topic data available.
Anonymous First-Party Behavioral
These are unknown visitors to your company’s site and the actions they take while there. They haven’t yet filled out a form or explicitly revealed information about themselves. However, it’s possible to identify their company by tracking their IP address. A lead generation tool like LeadBoxer can help fill in the gaps and show more contact information about these otherwise anonymous visitors. Consequently giving a more complete picture of who they are and what they’re researching on your site.
Known First-Party Behavioral
These visitors to your company’s site have provided their contact information by filling out a form, therefore they are “known” individuals. Lead generation or marketing automation software can track what pages they visit and other ways they engage with the site.
Anonymous Third-Party Behavioral
These are unknown visitors to sites you don’t own but that might still be relevant to your business. You can track different topics over a network of sites and see what’s most popular.
If you’re a supplier of project management solutions, and someone from a company that fits your ideal customer profile is reading articles about “project management” on Business Insider, you can access that information through intent data suppliers. A few of which we’ll review in a future section.
Known Third-Party Behavioral
These are visitors to sites you don’t own that have shared some of their contact information. Like with anonymous third-party behavioral, you can access their information and the topics they’re researching through the right supplier.
Context data tells you whose intent data is valuable and who only has a passing interest in a topic. There are a few details that are especially useful for establishing context.
If a sales professional is researching “sales pipeline management”, it’s possible they’re looking for a CRM tool that can help manage leads. If a marketing professional or content creator is researching the same topic, it may be more likely that they’re putting together a blog, video, or another piece of content on the subject.
Job Postings or Leadership Changes
Job postings and leadership changes can tell you whether or not to reach out to a lead. If you sell advertising services but the target account is in the process of looking for a new marketing director, now might not be the best time to approach them. And if the account has announced the recent hire of a marketing director, it’s a better opportunity to pounce and offer a better option than what the predecessor left behind.
A new round of funding is another indicator that a company could be open to new solutions, both because they have a bigger budget and because they may be growing their operation and need more sophisticated tools to manage their company.
Did new legislation just pass that requires an account to operate their company in a certain way, or opens them up to new business? If you have the solution they need in response to these changes, this context lets you know if you should act.
Keep a close eye on accounts that make the news. Press about an expansion of operations or increase in earnings might indicate that they need new solutions, while bad press may mean that they need some space to do damage control before focusing on other things. However, not all bad press is a sign to stay away. If an account makes the news for poor customer service, maybe now is the time to reach out and offer information about your CRM software.
What to Use Intent Data For
There are several uses for intent data, but before diving into the specifics, know that if your competitor isn’t already using intent data, they might soon. Polls show that nearly a quarter of B2B companies are already using intent data, while another 35% plan to use it within the next 12 months. Using intent data in some capacity will become increasingly necessary to stay competitive. These are the main ways that it can benefit your business.
Reaching Leads Early
The most obvious use of intent data is to establish contact with leads earlier in the buying journey. Getting in touch with leads before other salespeople do is one of the biggest ways to get a leg up on the competition; research shows that in 70% of cases, the first salesperson to connect with a lead is ultimately who they give their business to.
Context data can help make a distinction between who is actively researching a pain point and who is just reading about a certain topic without any intention of making a purchase. This information illuminates whether or not a lead fits your ideal customer profile. A tool like LeadBoxer quickly shows you the highest priority leads by allowing you to search by filters such as location, industry, and company size.
First-party leads that give off certain signals can trigger automatic marketing or sales processes, such as an email series, that can instantly start nurturing them when it matters most.
Hone in on what content works best at engaging first-party leads, and what needs more refining.
Personalization of Outreach
By knowing what topics and articles leads are researching, sales agents can personalize how they make contact and develop a relationship with them. They can mention specific topics and establish relevance quickly to capture and hold a lead’s attention.
Get even more granular with your advertising strategy by honing in on leads who give off certain signals. That way, you’re not wasting any of your advertising dollars on people who only have a passing interest but have no intention of buying your product.
Targeted Account List
Develop a list of accounts who are engaging with third-party sites about relevant topics but aren’t yet engaging with your company. You’ll be able to connect with leads who your sales team might have otherwise never considered.
Analyze and Retain Customers
Intent data works with existing customers, too. Monitoring what current clients are researching so you know if they’re thinking about switching to a competitor or if there’s something you can upsell them on. With intent data in your toolbox, you can continue to anticipate and solve problems long after the initial purchase has been made.
How to Obtain Intent Data
There are several intent data vendors out there who can help you access intent data on your site or data available on third-party sites.
First-Party Intent Data Vendors
First-party intent data is nothing new. You may already have access to some thanks to free tools such as Google Analytics. Other vendors can provide you more details about who is visiting your site and turn anonymous visitors into known visitors.
Google Analytics is a free tool that monitors the activity on a site, such as page views and how visitors arrived at the site. While it can’t identify individuals, it can hone in on IP addresses and show you what accounts are active on the site.
In the example above, several businesses use branded aliases, making it possible to identify which accounts are visiting a site. However, Google Analytics can’t provide any further context than that. It also can’t go into detail about what the visitors’ unique actions were on the site.
LeadBoxer catalogs all known visitors to your website. If a visitor fills out a form, the information they provide automatically populates their profile within the software. LeadBoxer can then calculate a lead score for that person using other data points such as what pages they visited, what topics they seem most interested in, and how engaged they are with the site.
With this information, you’ll know exactly when to act on a lead. LeadBoxer takes it one step further and can help identify previously unknown visitors. For example, if the visitor didn’t fill out a form but arrived at the site via LinkedIn, LeadBoxer can trace back to that person’s LinkedIn profile and use the information to populate the visitor’s information within the software.
Like LeadBoxer, BounceX can identify many website visitors (40-70%) who would otherwise remain anonymous. It then creates personalized marketing experiences – similar to account-based marketing – for these visitors based on their engagement.
BounceX can automatically engage with visitors who have not yet filled out a form or appear that they’re about to leave the site. In a way, it identifies users who are displaying intent and then begins to nurture them before a sales agent ever steps in.
While sophisticated, BounceX is said to have nearly a $4,000/month price tag, making it a serious investment for most businesses. It also doesn’t prioritize showing you accounts who express high intent but instead tries to let the AI nurture users through website personalization.
Third-Party Intent Data Vendors
If an account is researching topics around the web that are relevant to your product or service, these solutions will help you find them.
Bombora can tell you what companies are expressing active intent to purchase your products or services long before someone from that company ever lands on your site. This tool does this by monitoring 6,000 intent topics across 3,800+ publisher websites.
Bombora only tracks IP addresses, cookie IDs, and company domains provided by the publishers’ registration data. They can tell you what companies are expressing intent, but they can’t tell you exactly which employee is doing the research or who your sales team should engage with. In short, there’s no context data with this vendor.
Aberdeen bought The Big Willow, and intent data supplier, back in 2018. They offer a lot of the same value that Bombora does but take it a step further by integrating their solutions into Salesforce.
Companies expressing active intent pop up in the Salesforce dashboard so sales teams know exactly which accounts to jump on. You can also see how those accounts will impact the pipeline. You can also choose to integrate Aberdeen Marketscape, a product that shows all the topic keywords researched by each account showing intent.
This helps establish more context. If you’re not already using Salesforce, getting started with Aberdeen’s intent data (and then Marketscape) might be a little too complicated and cost-prohibitive.
How to Select an Intent Data Vendor
There are several different suppliers of intent data out there. It’s important to work with the one that best fits the needs and size of your company, or else you risk losing time and money. Here are a few considerations to keep at the top of mind when screening vendors.
How many sites are in the vendor’s network?
Ask this question if you’re considering third-party data vendors. The network refers to the websites they monitor, which tend to be publisher sites like Forbes. The larger the network, the better, as this gives them a bigger pool of data to draw from.
How many topics does the vendor monitor?
Third-party data vendors monitor a finite amount of topics. At the time of this writing, Bombora claims to have nearly 6,000 topics in their system, while Aberdeen claims to have hundreds of thousands of keywords at their disposal.
Can the vendor give context?
On its own, a list of names and topics they’re researching isn’t very useful. You need context to know if their company fits your ideal customer profile, as well as what their job title is and if they have any purchasing authority. Third-party data vendors can’t give much context at this time, but some solutions for first-party intent data can.
How to Use Intent Data
Trying to make use of intent data in its raw form is inefficient. Intent data works best when used to calculate a lead score. A lead score is a concise, visual way to describe how promising the lead is and therefore how much it’s worth pursuing them.
Some solutions, like LeadBoxer, will not only capture intent data but will automatically input it into a lead score. You can adjust what data points to use for calculating a lead score based on the needs of your company.
Here are three of the most important factors to keep in mind when adjusting what data points to use for a lead score.
This is as simple as asking the question: does this lead fit our ideal customer profile? Are they the right size company, in a certain location, etc.? If an account showing active intent doesn’t fit the mold of your ideal customer, then their lead score will go down.
Take into consideration not only the topics researched by that account but the frequency and recency of the research.
Has this account not only engaged with relevant third-party pages, but with your site or social media profiles? A solid first-party data vendor will be able to track and show you individual actions. Use that information to increase their lead score. The more specific the data points used to calculate a lead score, the more accurate and useful the lead score will be. This will help weed out accounts that aren’t the right fit or are researching topics without having any intent to buy a product or service.
When Intent Data Isn’t Enough
Intent data isn’t a magic bullet for identifying leads earlier. There are limitations to this technology that will hopefully improve as time goes on. Be aware of the following when incorporating intent data into your marketing and sales processes.
When a Visitor is Registered Under the Wrong IP Address
If an unknown visitor to your site or a third-party site is registered under the wrong IP address, you won’t be able to tell what company they work for. This often happens by accident but nevertheless makes it impossible to identify the correct account.
When a Buyer is Conducting Research Out-of-Network
Third-party intent data vendors like Bombora and Aberdeen don’t aggregate data from every corner of the internet. They only draw information from sites within their networks. If a buyer is researching on sites not covered by that network, then you’ll never know.
Decay Rate of Third-Party Data
Given the amount of content people consume regularly, you shouldn’t expect sales agents to always be able to reach out to a lead and reference content they read a week or two earlier.
Third-Party Data Lists Account But No Contacts
Bombora and Aberdeen only list the account, not the contact information of the individual who was searching.
While it’s certainly useful to know which accounts have an interest, you’re still limited by not knowing who to reach out to.
When Used At the Expense of a Sustainable Sales Pipeline
Relying on intent data is no reason not to have robust marketing strategies that help draw new leads into your sales pipeline. Like most sales tactics, it’s best used in tandem with other processes.
Get an Edge Over the Competition With Intent Data
Intent data is a hot technology that more and more businesses are using to gain an edge over their competitors. By seeing what topics leads are researching, you can reach out to them sooner and have a better chance at closing the deal. While it’s not the end-all, be-all way to keep your sales pipeline full, it is a valuable tool to have at hand.
Third-party intent data still isn’t as precise as some would hope it to be. Vendors can only provide accounts, not individual contacts, and don’t offer much in the way of context data. Third-party data also decays more quickly than first-party data.
Some first-party data is free and already at your fingertips via Google Analytics. A tool like LeadBoxer can keep you apprised of who exactly is visiting your site whether or not they’ve filled out a form. It’s also easy to get context data and use each data point to calculate a lead score, showing you exactly which leads to act upon at that moment.