When Marketing Optimizes for Sales Closes, Everyone Wins
December 4, 2018
Editor's Note: This post has been contributed by Pallavi Sharma, VP Marketing at AdStage.
I recently attended the CMO Inflect conference where a speaker shared a story that had the entire audience (which was incidentally filled with marketing leaders) nodding their heads in agreement. He talked about attending a retreat where the marketing team had champagne flowing as they gave each other congratulatory high-fives for hitting their numbers.
The sales team, however, had their heads hanging in disappointment. How could the marketing and sales teams of the same company be having such different experiences? He did a bit of digging, and as usual, the data revealed the truth. Marketing had been measuring their success based on top-of-funnel metrics like ad clicks, impressions, and website page views. Their website traffic had never been higher. What’s not to celebrate? Sales, however, felt the leads were low quality and simply not converting at a high enough rate. One major reason for the disconnect was that marketing was allocating money in their paid marketing efforts to ad networks that brought traffic, not necessarily the right quality of leads for their business.
The marketing leaders I spoke with at the event agreed that unlike the marketers in the company mentioned above, they were increasingly being measured on actual business impact like revenue, not just increasing overall website activity. The hurdle they ran into was the expectation to produce results quickly. This was the trap marketers had been falling into.
Increasing overall web traffic by throwing money into paid marketing isn’t that difficult. Quick results are great, but if the results don’t have a positive impact on company revenue with a strong ROI, they simply aren’t a good place to focus. It seems the old adage “you get what you pay for” was playing out in the paid marketing world on a grand scale. With marketing and sales agreeing that the focus needs to shift from quantity of leads to quality of leads, the strategy in finding these leads will also need to shift.
LinkedIn, for example, has long been known as a premium network. With its more than 590 million members, LinkedIn has the capability to get marketers in front of the right decision makers. Because of this capability, LinkedIn excels in delivering long-term ROI metrics to marketers (and, ultimately, to salespeople). The quality of the pool is more likely to result in paying customers, ultimately making it a highly effective ad network. By shifting your paid strategy to attract higher quality of leads, you might not get the instant gratification of an uptick in vanity metrics like website visits, but you should see an increase where it counts, namely paying customers.
In order to prove the true worth of the LinkedIn advertising investment, both agencies and in-house teams must be able to show the full Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). The issue remains that many marketers are still optimizing paid campaigns on high-level top-of-the-funnel metrics because the data systems they have in place don’t make it easy to optimize to down-funnel metrics in Google Analytics and CRMs like Salesforce. As we’ve discussed, this can be misleading since the vast majority of top-of-the-funnel interactions don’t result in paying customers. This is a tremendous amount of investment that is simply wasted. The lead generation marketers who are trying to optimize on these metrics end up spending countless hours using spreadsheets to manually connect data from different systems to see the full picture. This method is not only time-consuming, but also prone to errors with the number of steps and aggregation involved.
LinkedIn Marketing Certified Partner AdStage has launched AdStage Join, a technology solution to increase marketing and sales alignment. AdStage Join changes the way marketers measure and optimize their paid campaigns. AdStage Join enables marketers to not only link their paid marketing data directly to Google Analytics and Salesforce, but report, optimize, and automate campaigns based on down-funnel metrics like sales closes. This laborious process of connecting data manually and using VLOOKUPs can now be replaced with a more powerful solution that enables you to get and use your data more quickly, accelerating your path to ROI. Marketers can now look further down the funnel to prove that premium channels like LinkedIn can actually perform better on ROI metrics than networks that seemingly cost less per click or impression. AdStage Join fits in perfectly with LinkedIn’s reputation of being a premium source of B2B lead generation. AdStage Join can directly show the higher conversion rate (and lower cost per conversion) for LinkedIn Ads.
Large agencies like 3Q Digital and Atypical Digital are using AdStage Join to fully close-the-loop on every ad dollar spent. 3Q Digital’s CEO, David Rodnitzky, commented, “With AdStage Join we can directly measure the impact our paid marketing efforts have on a client’s revenue and pipeline in Salesforce. Not only does AdStage help us automate an otherwise highly manual process, our agency can now further differentiate our offering by helping our clients close the sales and marketing loop.”
Most marketers I’ve met are well aware of the macro trend toward increased organizational alignment between marketing and sales. The gap has been in the technology that will help drive both teams toward the same goals. A solution like AdStage Join finally enables lead generation marketers to close the loop between paid marketing efforts and sales pipeline/revenue data. It has direct integrations to Facebook Ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Yahoo Gemini Ads, Bing Ads, Google Analytics, and Salesforce. Marketers can finally tie specific paid search and social ads performance directly to web conversions, sales pipeline data, revenue data, and even long-term customer value, showing a full return on ad spend analysis in a marketing platform that is much more powerful than any manual process that links data.
The revenue goals for a company, sales team, and marketing team should ultimately align for maximum impact. Leading companies realize this and are actively making changes. Technologies like AdStage Join help make this shift a more practical reality, not just an organization intention. We’re looking forward to more marketing and sales teams celebrating together at their next retreats!
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