The ultimate goal for your company is to put in place a predictable revenue model which will enable it to accurately forecast quarterly and annual revenue based on your marketing and sales activity.
First, your company has to outline activity. This typically consists of calls, networking events, tradeshows and industry conferences, partnerships, and digital marketing. Second, you have to analyze how many qualified leads each of these activities produces as well as the average channel cost. Third, you need to calculate the sales and revenue you have received from all the leads acquired through the outlined activity. Once you have the revenue numbers you'll know what you need to do in terms of the activity in order to sustain or increase the revenue.
Are You Generating Predictable Revenue Online?
Your customers are making decisions without you
According to research by Brent Adamson, co-author of "The Challenger Sale," customers are not contacting companies until they're 57 percent of the way through their decision-making process. So when prospective customers call or contact you, they've got strong ideas of what they need because they've already done the majority of the research about your particular product or service.
Knowing these statistics, it's clear that in order for your business to establish a predictable revenue model online, you'll need to turn your website into a consistent lead generation engine. We'd suggest getting started by following the basics of the See-Think-Do framework.
Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, outlines how companies can create a predictable lead generation/sales model using his See-Think-Do framework.
Avinash splits the target audience into three distinguished categories based on their purchasing intent:
- See: People that are using a particular product or service. About 90 percent of people are in this category.
- Think: People that are using a particular product or service who think they might need to look for upgrades or alternatives. About eight percent of people are in this category.
- Do: People that are using a particular product or service, who know they need to make a change and are actively in the purchasing mode. The average conversion rate is two percent.
In order to successfully implement this framework, you must create content, marketing campaigns, and tracking for all three target categories — not just the actionable "Do" category.
Check out the full article on the See-Think-Do framework where Avinash shares specific examples for content strategy, marketing, and measurement frameworks.
What are you tracking? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Your company (like a majority of others) probably wants to focus on the people in your audience that are ready to buy — the people in the "Do" category. For that reason, the main key performance indicator (KPI) is the number of conversions. And, because you are focused on conversions, the content, marketing, and tracking are also all focused on conversions. Unfortunately, by focusing solely on the end goal, your company loses sight of the audience in the first two categories of the framework. You might not even realize you're missing out on visitors who "see" and "think" about your company because you don't have content or tracking in place to properly track those interactions.
But first: Set SMART goals
Before explaining how companies can create a predictable lead generation model, I'm going to emphasize that the full potential of this model will be achieved by companies that believe their marketing teams should strive to set and achieve SMART goals.
After you commit to setting SMART goals for your website, then you can create a predictable lead generation model online.
Create a Predictable Lead Generation Model for Your Website
Step One: Raise Awareness & Visibility Online
You can do this by increasing rankings on search engines, publishing and promoting content on social media, building up and optimizing your YouTube channel, promoting your products and services through display advertising, etc. The goal of the first step is to build your qualified traffic.
Create strategies that will increase your qualified traffic by a certain percentage on a quarterly and yearly basis. For example, the goal can be to increase qualified traffic by 15 percent year over year. The overall increase should then be split into different channels.
Content/messaging and marketing in this stage is targeted at raising awareness and capturing the attention of people that are users of your particular product or service.
By accomplishing this goal, your company can effectively make the connection with people that will be in the buying mode in 9 to 12 months. These are your visitors in the "See" category.
Step Two: Increase User Engagement
By user engagement, I don't mean marketing metrics (bounce rate, time spent on site, pages per visit, etc). User engagement is measured by actions performed by users to inform your company that you have the right people on your website.
What to track in this stage:
- Email and newsletter subscription
- Blog comments
- Number of downloads (company info, case studies, white papers, product specifications)
- Interaction with social properties (comments, shares, likes)
For most of the user activities at this stage, you'll get more personal information about your users (email, name, phone number, company). This is your first step in building your marketing pipeline.
A couple of important things to note about this stage:
- Users will only give their personal information in exchange for something valuable. If you are not doing well at this stage, that means that you need to take your user experience and quality of content to another level. That means that this stage is an area for improvement for your company.
- Once you get a visitor's email, you will no longer rely on search engines and social media to bring them back to you website. From here on, you'll have a direct communication channel with your potential customers.
As for the goal setting for this stage, you can establish the following SMART goals:
- x number of blog subscribers in Q1
- x number of blog post shares in Q1
- x number of newsletter subscribers in Q1
- x number of product case studies downloads in Q1
- x number of product demos in Q1
- x number of whitepapers downloads in Q1
By accomplishing these goals, your company will have connections with people who will be in the buying mode in 3 to 6 months. These are your visitors in the "Think" category.
*Email marketing and marketing automation campaigns are crucial to achieving success at this stage.
Step Three: Conversions
In this step, it is all about conversions. Your company should get as good as they possibly can at converting your visitors into leads and sales. However, the average conversion rate is about two percent and it will be difficult to reach your goals simply by focusing on this metric.
Goals to track in this stage:
- Qualified leads (lead generation websites)
- Sales (e-commerce websites)
- Time to conversion since first engagement point (this is extremely important to track)
- Blog and newsletter subscriptions
- Product case study downloads
- Whitepaper downloads
- Product demos
Getting qualified leads and making sales online mean that your company has successfully connected with the "Do" audience, that one that was ready to buy now.
By tracking time-to-conversion goals, your company will have a better understanding of your marketing pipeline. And you'll learn when your "Think" audience will be ready to buy.
If your company successfully implements this model, you'll reach and influence your customers at all major stages of their purchasing intent. This creates a digital marketing pipeline of people that will buy from you right now, in six months, and even a year down the road.
Does your company have an established predictable lead generation model? Can you predict revenue from leads generated through your website?
Photo Credit: "repeat" by Cyndy Sims Parr is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0