General Business Archives - Page 4 of 10 - Klaxon

You Need Heart and Head to Overcome Content Shock

This week’s techmap event was all about content marketing, or more specifically, overcoming content shock.

We started off by introducing the core idea of content shock and then addressing some strategies for how to overcome it. And boy did we cover the topic in style. Our three guest speakers were content strategist Emily Turner, agency creative director Doug Kessler and Gareth Case, the global marketing director for a tech company.

Emily looked at the topic from the perspective of a strategy first approach and the changing shape of the modern marketer. Doug addressed what makes great creative content and, Gareth used his own experiences with technology for delivering content success at Xchanging.

There were plenty of key takeaways and you can read Lauren from Klaxon’s post here for a solid write up. For me the two takeaways that really stood out were:

1. Content marketing is the new norm. Get better at it and overcome content shock.

Just as the Fosbury flop was once new and revolutionary for high jumpers, and the provider of huge advantage, content marketing is no longer a differentiating tactic. Instead it is widely adopted. This doesn’t mean you have to find a new tactic. You just have to get much better at content marketing. This requires good creative, built using your head and your heart and distributed well.

Gareth Case’s example of using a new content platform called turtle demonstrated how a different approach to the creative and distribution has had a large up tick in measurable ROI.

Doug Kessler described the approach of creating home run content and related this to his experience of generating buzz for his agency Velocity:

Overcoming Content Shock

2.Marketers need to grow their skills or be left behind.

The worlds of marketing, advertising and PR are in a state of evolution, driven on by new technology. This is not a new phenomenon, just some of us have been quicker at adapting to the new norm.

Content marketing bridges all three disciplines (paid, owned and earned) and requires a varied knowledge base to deliver. Emily Turner’s diagram shows how she has developed a wide-ranging knowledge base that enables her to deliver effective content marketing solutions:

skills required for content marketing

 

We all need to “up-skill” to make sure we overcome content shock.

Thank you again to Emily, Doug and Gareth for joining us for a hugely interesting discussion on effective content marketing. You can see Emily and Doug’s slides here too:

For those uninitiated with techmap, it’s our monthly event series where we look at the applications of technology for driving marketing, advertising and PR performance. You can read all about it on our blog here.

If you would like to explore how you too can overcome content shock, get in touch. You can reach me here, or on twitter here.

Understanding Digital Analytics Data

Visits, Sessions and Users – do you understand how these metrics fit together or where they come from?

Data – we talk about it everyday; sessions, visits, conversions, pages, hits, the list goes on. The question is, do you understand how all of these metrics fit together? Enter digital analytics tools, which organise data.

Digital analytics data is grouped into a hierarchy of users, sessions and visits. Regardless of where the data comes from – a website or a mobile app. This hierarchy model works for web, apps or anything else. Take note, often the terms visitors is used instead of users and visits instead of sessions; mobile devices have prompted us to use new terms in our vocabulary.

It’s paramount to understand the different sections of the hierarchy and how each builds on the other to create an overview of our target market. Ultimately, this data is used to evaluate decisions and look for new business opportunities.

Let’s look at the hierarchy of visits, sessions and unique users in more depth.

Visits

Arguably the most granular piece of data in an analytics tool. All data is sent using a visit (previously referred to as a ‘hit’); the majority of visits are actually the request for an invisible image file. Some of the more common visits in Google Analytics include the following,

1. Page-views – often generated automatically and measures a user viewing a piece of content.

2. Events – used to measure how frequently a user takes action on a piece of content. An event must be manually implemented.

3. Transactions – sent when a user participates in the completion of an e-commerce transaction. This type of tracking must be manually implemented.

4. Social interaction hit – when a user clicks on a ReTweet button or Like button for example. Again, this type of tracking must be manually implemented.

5. Customised user timings – an easy way to measure the precise time between 2 activities; this tracking must be implemented with further code.

There’s a hell of a lot of visit types right?

All visit types are sent to Google Analytics through a tracking code. The tracking code will differ in accordance to what is specifically being tracked; for example if you are tracking a mobile app then an SDK (software development kit) generates hits. Take note, the mobile SDKs do not send data in real time; the visits instead are stored locally and sent out in intervals. This is referred to as ‘dispatching’.

Sessions

A session is a group of hits, collected from the same user, which ends when there has been 30 minutes of inactivity. The majority of analytics tools use the time between the initial hit and the last hit to calculate the time on site. Time between hits can be used to work out other metrics too.

Most analytics tools allow you to alter the default inactivity time to suit your needs. This can be helpful if you have a large percentage of video on your site, especially if the video has a duration of more than 30 minutes. If the video is 45 minutes long, the user’s session will end 30 minutes after the initial hit. You don’t want this to happen. You want to ensure the session lasts until the end of the video.

Unique Users

A unique user is determined using an anonymous number of characters. The analytics tool will usually create the identifier the first time a unique user is identified; that identifier will remain until it expires or in some cases is deleted. The identifier then gets sent to the analytics tool with every hit. Hits are then grouped collectively using the identifier in the hits.

What Can You Do With Analytics?

So you have generated your analytics, what’s next?

You should now have a better overview of your target market: those who are regularly visiting your website, staying a while to take a look around and engaging with your website content; consequently you can begin to implement behavioural targeting.

Let’s apply this to an example: Imagine you are selling a cloud hosting service, and through your analytics data, you have identified a large proportion of your website audience are spending more time navigating around the blog section of your website, than anywhere else. Not only that, but they are mostly reading about the real cost of cloud computing.

This insight suggests it would be worthwhile increasing the regularity in which content is uploaded but also you should focus on pricing and cost of ownership issues.

Furthermore it would be beneficial to distribute this content across a variety of social platforms where your target audience hangout. This will in turn increase your content’s reach, leading to a likely increase in the number of ‘new’ visitors’ to your website. By taking these steps you are proactively responding to your audiences’ online behaviours.

To find out more about using data and data analytics in your business please contact us here. You can also leave a question in the comments below.

Digital Marketing Analytics: What it Means For Your Company

If most digital marketing programs or campaigns have a weak area, it’s analytics.

The Case for Data

HBR declared that ‘data scientist’ is the sexiest job of the century. Research company Gartner suggests that there will be 4.4 million big data jobs available in the next two years, and that approximately only a third of them will be successfully filled. It’s no surprise really. Everything is moving towards data: big data, mobile data, performance data, campaign data, and even data about how we track our data.

This creates two problems.

1. The first is that any professional in the internet world needs to strengthen their understanding of data and knowledge of how to manage it.

2. The second is for brands and agencies: the ability to manage successful campaigns will require strong data analysis with both human and technological capabilities. As the competition becomes more sophisticated, our ability to keep up will be directly helped or hindered by our data capabilities.

So where should you start when attempting to strengthen your capacity in this area?

A Breakdown of the Analytics World

Your company needs to evaluate your internet marketing performance on multiple levels to get the full picture. There are four steps involved in creating and implementing an analytics program:

  1. Defining your metrics and planning a data collection strategy
  2. Collecting the data
  3. Developing reporting features and capabilities
  4. Ongoing analysis and implementation

Understanding these components enables a company to make the right investments at the right time to yield an ROI. Successfully building a data plan is more than just identifying tools or learning how to interpret graphs. It’s about creating a culture that values data, ensuring that key business decisions are data-driven, and consistently identifying ways to drive data deeper into your business.

Prioritise Your Data Analysis Tasks

When faced with planning, collecting, reporting, and analysing data, it’s paramount to anticipate correct ratios. A suggestion via Google’s data experts suggest that approximately 15% of resource shoule be spent on data capture, 20% data reporting, and 65% data analysis.

Your breakdowns are likely to be different, but the point is that your strategy and execution should consider the following:

  • Data collection and reporting are crucial and need to be accomplished effectively and efficiently. Find ways to minimise the time being spent on these efforts and automate as much as possible.
  • A large percentage of your focus should be on analysing the data, articulating the implications and teaching your colleagues through the implementation. What the data means and what your team is supposed to do with it are the main priorities. The tighter your analysis and the more your focus is steered towards performance indicators that tie to your bottom line, the more successful you will be.
  • Data needs to drive actions that generate conversions and revenue. Tie your data collection and analysis efforts specifically with your bottom line.

Tracking the Data That Matters

Neil Patel, founder of CrazyEgg and KISSMetrics, has a very simple philosophy on data collection and analysis: “measure what matters”. With metrics, it’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are those that make you feel good and may give you some idea of what’s going on, but they’re not indicative of what’s happening to your business, for example:

bounce rate vs load time

Bounce rate compared to load time – SEMrush

  • Visits to your site
  • Page views
  • Number of newsletter subscribers
  • Followers on social media
  • Bounce rate
  • Time spent on your site

Seeing growth over time can be an extremely useful trend, but for the most part, you’re instead looking for the metrics that show one thing: action.

Evaluation Tips

Useful data tracking comes down to evaluating the following:

  • Who is visiting your site, and what are those visitors doing once they get there;
  • What channels are driving conversions;
  • Who is converting;
  • What conversions are cementing relationships;
  • What conversions are driving revenue;
  • Who is buying multiple times;
  • What’s your lifetime customer value;
  • What are your churn rates

To Summarise

A solid analytics plan will take your business model into account and develop metrics that maps to your unique needs and funnel. To find out more about using data and data analytics in your business please contact us here. You can also leave a question in the comments below.

My Highlights From This Year’s TFM&A Show

Technology for Marketing and Advertising 2015.

I’ve just returned from our second day at TFM&A 2015. Want to know what we got up to? Read on.

photo (1)

First stop, the Tech of Today and Tomorrow Theatre where Keynote Speaker, Dave Chaffey, CEO and founder of SmartInsights.com talked about how we should be ‘Managing Digital Marketing’.

Chaffey noted how it’s now “26 years since Tim Berners Lee developed the web.” And yet: research clearly shows businesses struggle to get to grips with the fast-evolving digital world.

Digital prophet Mary Meekers had pinpointed 2014 as the tipping point where mobile traffic would eclipse that of desktop PCs and Chaffey said she had probably been proved right. “We’ve now past the tipping point of mobile.”

Mobile first? Not so fast..

A Comscore study showed that focusing too much on mobile to the detriment of the desktop experience was a particular folly in retail; it’s a simplification. People who use smartphones only are in a minority; most people are multichannel and a third are even PC-only when it comes to retail. “If you’ve degraded the desktop experience,” warned Chaffey, then you’ll suffer.

Strategy and planning

Does your organisation have a clearly defined strategy? Half don’t, revealed Chaffey – think of the wastage, the waste of resources, the lack of vision resulting from its absence.

When asked what they felt most deficient in those polled, most commonly cited the tracking and measurement of interactions and data. “Although digital is the most measurable medium ever,” said Chaffey, “we’re not exploiting all this data – and volume is one reason. They also often lack the time or skills.”

Social media backlash

Moving on to a comparison of various channels Chaffey wondered whether many businesses were “spending enough on mobile targeting? Maybe not.” It might be as old as the internet itself but the humble email is still the top marketing channel.

By contrast the much more fashionable medium social media is subject to something of a “backlash – perhaps we concentrate too much on it. “In most businesses it [accounts for] less than 5% [of leads]. Search and affiliate can drive much more.” Social media, revealed Chaffey, has actually declined as a contribution to sales in the last two years. Customer acquisition via email, meanwhile, has quadrupled in four.

Enabling the Data Driven Organisation

Second stop, Marketing University 2 where speaker Terry Hogan (not Wogan, Hogan) from Golden Orb, focused his talk around enabling the data-driven organisation.

What is the data-driven organisation? Where everyone who has to take a decision as part of their job has access to tools and data to make the best possible decisions.

Many companies like to think that they are data-driven – and, of course, all businesses are, to the extent that they look at their sales reports to understand how they are performing. However, there is a vast gulf between companies for whom data is an integral part of the way they conduct their business and those who merely use data to monitor their performance.

Terry examined the strategies for enabling data to inform all aspects of the business, including identifying and removing roadblocks, breaking down silos and empowering employees with the necessary tools to take full advantage of all the company’s data to take the best possible decisions.

Terry highlighted the 6 key silos which require breaking down:

  1. Silo problem – different systems are used within different departments to utilise / produce data
  2. Gatekeeper problem – there is usually one particular department which an employee must go to, to authorise the use of data; this makes for a time-consuming ordeal
  3. Excel problem – excel is a spreadsheet, not a database and so is not an ideal repository for company data
  4. IT problem – data is not owned by the IT department, it is owned by the business; IT departments should support not control data
  5. Parallel universe problem – different departments create different forecasts, there is no relation between them
  6. The promised land problem – don’t delay, computers won’t solve anything. Think through the issues and produce clarity over them

By breaking down these silos, Terry argued you can achieve a truly data-driven organisation.

How to Master Metrics

Third and final stop, Marketing University 3, where Ray Coppinger from Marketo talked about how to master your metrics.

So, your click-through rates are off the charts and you’re often heard bragging about how incredible your webinar attendance numbers are. The question: do you know how those programs are impacting your bottom line? Are you confident that you’re interpreting your data correctly? If not, you can’t justify spending the money of those programs in the future and you may be dooming their future success.

Ray highlighted where, oh so often metrics go wrong:

  • Vanity metrics – look and sound good but don’t measure impact or revenue
  • Activity metrics – focus on what you do instead of what results and impact you have on generating revenue or pipeline
  • Cost metrics – in terms of cost and spending instead of results and outcomes

He went onto explain the right metrics we should be utilising,

  • Revenue cycle (funnel) metrics – referring to Tofu, Mofu and Bofu (top, middle and bottom phases of the funnel)
  • Program performance metrics – highly useful but often difficult due to multiple touch points and multiple influencers being present

That’s my day in a nutshell! TFM&A 2015 was definitely a worthwhile event for us at Klaxon! If you visited on one or both of the events days, tell us what you learnt in the comments section below.

Have you Defined Your Content Distribution Strategy?

Modern day marketers all know the problem of content shock.

The fact is we produce far more content than our target audiences could ever possibly consume; whether that’s blog posts, white papers, infographics, videos… the list goes on and on and on. Too much content means one thing: content shock.

There was a time when you could achieve some cut through by simply sharing something of value. We used to get tens of comments on every blog post. But that’s no longer the case. In the ever-competitive content marketing landscape, we all have to work harder to eek out some value from our creative output. To rise above the din.

One of the best ways to do this is to define a content distribution strategy.

If I look back 3-5 years, we would write a blog post, post it here and the comments would come. A bit like Costner’s Field of Dreams…

Now we have a rule: there must be at least 5 places you share any content for it to be considered a completed task.

Let’s take this blog post as an example. Here’s how we will squeeze as much value as we can from the time it has taken to write this post:

1. We will publish it here on Klaxon’s blog first. By the way, you should have noticed that I skipped the whole content strategy and planning part of the process because I assume you are all doing this already. Right?

2. The post will be shared through Klaxon’s Linkedin company page.

3. A link will also be posted, several times, on my personal twitter and Klaxon’s twitter handles, using appropriate hashtags.

4. It will also then be shared through Klaxon’s Google+ page, re shared to all of my personal G+ circles too.

5. I will then edit the post and share it on my personal Linkedin profile too.

6. I will then edit it again and share it via a marketing industry blog as a guest post.

7. Last but not least, I will record it as an audio post and share it via Soundcloud too.

This is a fairly basic content distribution strategy and there’s a lot more we could do with this post. Why not get in touch here or on twitter to find out how we can help you with a content distribution strategy too.

By the way, if you are really interesting in overcoming content shock, why not join our techmap session called ‘Overcoming Content Shock’ on exactly this topic on 27 April 2015 in London.

6 Key KPIs for B2B Content Marketers

When you set out on a content marketing journey, it helps to set your key KPIs at the outset.

The first question you should yourself is: “What are we trying to accomplish?” This will help you to think through an effective content marketing strategy in the first place. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘what gets measured gets done’.

But setting your KPIs is one thing, actually measuring the impact of your content marketing is another. This is where you need a well defined analytics plan. This will help you get to that actionable information you need to optimise the performance of your content marketing campaign.
Here are our 6 key KPIs for B2B content marketers:

1. Return on Marketing Investment (aka ROMI or ROI)

What? Essentially reporting if the value generated by your campaign exceeds the cost of running it.
How? Simples: (Revenue – Cost) / Cost

2. Cost Per Lead

What? Basically how much it costs to acquire a lead.
How? Marketing spend / volume of leads from each tactic.

3. Site Traffic to Lead Ratio

What? Essentially how well your website converts traffic into leads. Overall this is an important metric, but you can get more of an in depth view by considering these 4 metrics too:

> unique visits to your website
> marketing qualified leads from website conversions
> conversions per site visit
> conversion by source

4. Organic Search

What? Essentially the volume of traffic to your site referred from search engines. There are 4 primary metrics you need to monitor:

> % of leads that come from organic search
> % of leads that come in using branded key words
> % of leads that come in using unbranded search other terms
> number of customers you acquire via organic search

5. Social Media Reach

What? How many customers are you acquiring with social platforms? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ etc. 

6. Mobile Traffic

What? We live in a mobile world. Thus it is important that you know the amount of traffic coming in from mobile devices. You need tools that enable you to report on mobile conversions.

Once you’ve got to grips with these top line metrics, you can begin to get a little more granular with your KPIs. You can explore how to increase your contribution to revenue, or in layman’s terms, improve your performance. Sound’s good right? 

But it all comes down to setting KPIs that are easy to measure and that means they should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

Make your Website more Secure in 5 Minutes

The internet is a dark and dangerous place. There are people around every corner trying to access your site and steal your data. The worrying thing is, most sites make it painfully easy.

Why am I writing about website security now? Well we recently had an (substantial) attempted attack on Klaxon’s web server. No data was lost and no access was gained, but boy did they try.

After looking through the server logs and assessing what happened, I had a brain-wave; regardless of how well hosting is secured, there are some fundamental rules you can follow to take a belt and braces approach to securing your website. Better to be safe than sorry.

Here are three ways you can make your website more secure without needing a developer, regardless of platform, or services used.

Short, weak and repeated passwords

How does this effect me?

Most on-site hacking occurs in one of three ways.

  1. You become a victim of social-engineering. You’re sent an email, or communication which results in you accidentally giving away your password.
  2. Your password is guessed – which is more common than you would believe.
  3. Your password gets ‘brute forced’, where a hacker will use a massive list of common passwords to automate the process of logging into to your site.

If a hacker gets in to your site and your monitoring and detection is poor, you might not notice for weeks; resulting in data being stolen. Whilst preventing your site completely from hacking isn’t possible (see Sony , or US Military , or JP Morgan Chase) there are many ways to make your site less vulnerable.

How to protect yourself?

There are some simple steps which you can take to reduce the likelihood of your website being accessed by entering your password.

  1. Use more than one password, this reduces the risk if your password is revealed.
  2. Enforce ‘good’ passwords across all your services. A ‘good’ password is not a complex password, they don’t have to have a dozen numbers and symbols. But it does have to be long (ideally over 15 characters), not personally identifiable to you, and memorable.
  3. Get a password vault tool, then you can randomly generate passwords and never have to recommend another one, ever again. We recommend 1password.
  4. If anyone or any piece of software asks for your password; do not give it away, report the attempt to get your password to management and block that contact.

Using public Wifi networks

How does this effect me?

Hacking via Wifi happens in three main ways;

  1. A hacker places themselves between two computers, they intercept or modify the information, this a ‘Man in the Middle Attack’.
  2. A rogue Wifi network is set-up this imitates a genuine Wifi network and may even provide a connection to the web. This allows the hacker to access all information which passes through this network.
  3. A hacker will use a tool called a “packet sniffer”, this allows them to read the keys you hit and intercept a certain amount of data which is transferred between your computer and the internet.

The most worrying aspect of attacks over Wifi is that for the average user it is fairly hard to determine that one has actually occurred. On any-given Wifi network it is relatively easy to monitor packets (bundles which are used to transport data over networks) or in some cases trace your keystrokes. All of these techniques can be used to intercept the username and passwords for accounts you sign into every day, one of which could easily be your website.

How to protect yourself?

There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk over Wifi, some of which are entirely passive;

  1. Be aware of which network you’re connecting to. If you’re connecting to an unsecured network in a airport, cafe or hotel, it’s best to always presume someone is looking over your shoulder.
  2. Enable your firewall and make sure your operating system are up to date. These steps will not prevent an accomplished hacker, though they will provide a inconvenience at the least. As a general rule, the older the operating system, the more vulnerabilities have been discovered.
  3. Only send secure data over an encrypted connection. This is really simple to see ( all of the email, banking, and messaging services you use will likely already do this) look for https in your address bar. The encryption is designed to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks and forging of pages you’re loading. Making it much harder to intercept information online.
  4. Reduce all risk and tether your device to your mobile phone. This is my personal recommendation, if you have data available to you on your phone contract, use it. That way you can be more sure of the integrity of what you are sending and receiving.

Poorly allocated roles and responsibilities

How does this effect me?

Privilege creep is a scary concept: more so considering that many smaller enterprises are completely unaware of it. Privilege creep happens when users are given more access than they need to perform their role. To many people, this might not seam like much of a hassle, though it becomes highly concerning dealing with pages on your site which are profitable for your business.

Let’s take an example of an disgruntled employee with the privilege to edit, export, delete, and create data  within your site. It is entirely possible that through user-error site critical content gets edited to the point where it can’t be used; though this can typically be recovered.

Now imagine that the data in question belongs to a page which collects client data, just as this disgruntled employee leaves the company they decide that as one final hurrah they export all the data from the site’s database, then delete the files and database.

Not only does this create unwanted downtime and a reduced experience for users, but now there is also a copy of user data (which will be incredible difficult to recover) – presuming that there are the correct processes in place to notice that it’s been exported in the first place…

How to protect yourself?

Creating clear and consistent levels of user access is a simple concept, though one which is typically poorly executed. Let’s give an example of user access ‘done well’.

Export Delete Edit Create Read
Project Manager x x x x x
Project Supervisor x x x x
Account Manager x x x
Account Executive x x

This access scheme reduces the risk as effectively as possible with limited access levels. As you can see only one user has the rights to export content, and only two users can delete, ensuring that if data is lost it is clear who deleted it. A similar scheme of access levels can be setup for access to many systems, by giving only the rights needed to perform their job, it is possible to reduce risk associated with the human element of data management.

Just by following these simple rules you can reduce the risk of damage to your site — no developer required.

If you would like some help with your security, please contact me here or on twitter.

The Evolution of the Buying Cycle

A sales funnel is a marketing system. It’s the ‘ideal’ process you intend your customers to experience as they go from Prospect to Lead to Customer to Repeat Buyer.  A well-defined, carefully measured sales funnel can be one of the most powerful tools a business has at its disposal.

Why I hear you ask?

Because if you understand the metrics within your sales pipeline, you’ll have access to the information you need to create more opportunities, generate more leads and encourage existing customers to purchase more.

But what should you measure?

Measuring your pipeline provides the raw information you need to enable you to proactively manage your sales process to ensure you get better results.

However take note, selling itself is changing! 

The role of sales is changing as buyers do more and more pre-purchase research online. What does this mean? Sales is gradually being pushed further towards the bottom of the buying journey. This does not mean sales is less important –  the sales team is still needed to provide a personal contact point and to close business. Their ability to carry this out is increasingly reliant on aligning with marketing as well as being actively involved in the digital buying process.

Let’s look at the stages of the sales cycle and the changes which are apparent.

Sales pipeline

Recognition of needs stage – uncovering customers’ problems and offering solutions used to be a quick and simple process. Why? Because there was less choice for customers and their problems were not so complex. Today’s problems are a different story altogether; customers’ needs are deeper, more systemic and more about value.

Evaluation of options stage – nowadays the customer has carried out the comparison process before a sales person is engaged. How? Modern day customers’ have access to over 20 times as much data during the research phase. Comparing what your business and your competition are offering is made much simpler; customers’ of today are seeking value. 

Resolution of concerns stage – we live in an era partly driven by difficult economic times and uncertainty, and so customers are increasingly becoming risk-adverse; they don’t want to make a bad decision. What does this mean? Buyers’ need more reassurance from sellers than ever before. Today’s risk-reduction process is more complex and more sophisticated; sellers need to overcome this if they want to close a deal.

Previous customer concerns were focused around quality, reliability and price. These concerns have changed; quality and reliability are now a given, customers’ expect you and your competition to perform (arguably you become more of a commodity). The differences between products are less important but the differences in how they are being sold are becoming paramount.

Today, buyers don’t want a salesperson telling them what they want or need; they’ve already gone online and informed themselves. consequently selling has become more difficult than ever and the buying journey is more complex than ever before.

You need to start paying close attention to the buying cycle, learn how your customers want to buy and start aligning your selling techniques accordingly. Lead your organisation to new heights of success by rethinking your sales cycle.

To find out more around this topic, get in touch; we would be delighted to talk. You can also leave your top tips in the comments section below.

The Importance of Measuring Your Sales Funnel

The sales funnel. The opportunity funnel.

The sales funnel visually describes the sales process from initial contact to final sale. The stages of a sales process refer to a potential customer’s degree of readiness to commit to a deal. You can manage the sales funnel by developing sales metrics appropriate for your business. As you gain experience in working with customers and sales processes, you can create your own version of the sales funnel, complete with specific steps and actions to move your prospects from stage to stage. Over time you will find that some sales metrics prove more critical for your business than others.

Read on and I’ll reveal 6 reasons why it’s uberly-wise to analyse and proactively measure your sales process.

A quick snapshot of why pipeline measurement is so important:

  1. You can identify where your sales funnel leaks
  2. You can identify which prospects can be ‘recycled’
  3. You can create more accurate sales forecasts
  4. You can find out early whether there’s a risk you’ll miss your sales targets
  5. You can assess how individual team members/departments are performing
  6. If you can measure it, you can manage it

As you may well know, your sales funnel is an important tool in your pocket which visualises how your customers move through your sales process. So, effective sales funnel management is important for your company. Let’s go into a little more detail and discuss how you can measure your sales funnel.

To accurately measure the true shape of your sales funnel, you need to know a number of things. Some are obvious – the volume and value of opportunities at each stage and the conversion rates from stage to the next; others however are less obvious, sales velocity for example. Sales velocity refers to the time taken for opportunities to flow from one stage to the next.

What’s next? You then need to identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s); some traditional KPI’s to measure could include,

  • Inbound traffic by source
  • Web form conversions and inbound calls by source
  • Prospects who want to talk
  • Prospects who have a project need and budget
  • Proposals
  • Close deals
  • Revenue

Thus tracking the entire funnel. This can be done using a combined integration of web analytics, marketing automation software, CRM software and experienced data analysts. Reporting which is built-in to your company is no longer just a competitive advantage, but is paramount to sustaining and growing your company in today’s market.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below the top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. Avoid being blinded by technology

Remember a simpler time? Before Google ruled the world. Before analytics, influencers, likes & shares, and social outreach. Networking was done on a golf course or at least face to face at an event. At the risk of sounding old, I think sometimes we’ve got so caught up in new technologies that we’ve lost sight of good old-fashioned principles of marketing – a lot of which is based on common sense and understanding your audience.

2. How social media can elevate your marketing automation

Full-power marketing automation has finally become available to businesses of all sizes. It’s now relatively easy and affordable to set up systems of triggered messages that help your leads to progress along the sales funnel. And with an effective social media marketing program in place, you can attract new, highly targeted audience members who are likely to find your product to be a great fit for their needs. By finding and engaging with these people on social media, always in a manner that’s more helpful than sales-y, you can expand your audience and capture a consistent flow of qualified leads for automated follow-up.

3. Record year for UK marketing budget growth

In the UK, marketing budgets have increased for the ninth successive quarter, according to the IPA Bellwether report. While growth in Q4 2014 was at a slower rate, the average growth rate for marketing budgets in 2014 was the highest recorded in the survey’s fifteen-year history.

Look out for next week’s most popular – bought to you by Klaxon!

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.