Let's discuss how using lead scoring, tools, and other methods to measure performance indicators can help you prove value.
With so many measurable metrics, how do you know what matters most? Sales metrics are direct and easier to present while marketing metrics are far more nuanced. When it comes to justifying efforts the CMO is usually sweating because their work is difficult to quantify, yet it's often the nuanced influences in addition to data metrics that lead to overall success.
Sales closes the door that marketing opens. Neither is expendable, but both need to prove themselves. If your CMO is working to earn an increased budget or justify the results of your team's recent work, here are some things you can do to measure valuable performance indicators and help them make a strong case.
Persona-driven lead scoring
Lead scoring is a company-specific, collaborative process. You can search for exact strategies and best practices forever and if you do find a standard, it's still not likely that it will align perfectly with your goals. The best way to establish lead scoring that works for your business is by diving into how your ideal customers behave.
Establishing a lead scoring framework in a persona-driven way means taking a look at things like where your customers are interacting (LinkedIn, Facebook, at conferences, or in professional communities) and what media are they taking in (podcasts, streaming music, Amazon Prime, etc.) Knowing information like that will allow you to start tracking the interactions that lead to a sale. It will also give you the intelligence required to decide what each type of touch is worth to you.
Interactions are naturally going to be weighted differently. For example, in the business world, it's typical that a LinkedIn share is worth far more than one from Instagram because of the type of professional that "lives" there. These engagements must all be assigned a value that makes up the minimum lead level to be considered worth pursuing.
It can take many touches before a person becomes a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and even more before they reach sales qualified lead (SQL) status, so to justify your efforts, it's important to know the full cycle.
Expanding MQL & SQL
When reporting to higher ups, CMOs are often held to a gold standard of MQLs and SQLs alone, but the holistic buying picture is much more valuable, especially in the awareness and ongoing relationship sense. While the steps may not look exactly the same for every situation, it's important to take the time to better define the other stages that surround MQL and SQL.
Hotjar outlines them well from by aligning them with awareness, consideration, and decision blocks. Even before the MQL stages, there are visitors and leads involved in the process. Then after the SQL step, there's an opportunity phase, and finally the customer one.
Even beyond that graphic, there are also dimensions that exist within the marketing and sales process that are much more complex than just two categories. As you can see from our infinite marketing graphic, many factors are at play that can be aligned with a smart lead scoring method to help boost your success by answering them head-on and be used to create alternate lenses for reporting to higher ups.
Tools & processes to use
One problem that exists within the marketing sector is the likelihood that runs on small teams. Even large organizations can have small marketing teams.
Using software to automate the process of actually scoring the leads and notifying sales of viability can help your team be more effective. There are lots of tools to do this, but it can only be implemented after lead scoring standards are established and communicated.
Once you establish the stops along your sales journey, it's time to make them visual. That's where dashboards come in. They allow you to track metrics in terms of month-over-month (MoM) and year-over-year (YoY) growth, proving that your work is making an impact. Many upper-level executives will respond positively to a presentation with metrics that show growth in this manner as opposed to just "how many X did we earn in this period?" alone.
Alert you to noticeable metric dips in real-time so that you can address dips immediately.
Showcase how your chosen spend is influencing your results.
Help you make a metric-baked case to show what you could accomplish at a larger scale.
Can be used to present both paid with organic efforts side-by-side, helping you avoid cannibalization and optimize your performance across the board.
Regularly reporting on keyword rank using tools like Semrush can be a sure-fire way to prove that both your organic and pay-per-click efforts are paying off. It also highlights holes that can be filled with new content.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
GA4 is the standard when it comes to tracking touches that lead to conversions. The metrics gathered from this platform can be used independently, or added into a more visual dashboard. wi
GA4 allows you to:
Track all touches so that you can further refine your lead-scoring methods.
Show the value of marketing's influence when it comes to justifying budgets.
See budgets and organic in action.
Closing the loop
Unfortunately, none of these things are going to work unless you do the following:
Communicate openly with sales and provide the support that they need to close the sale.
Regroup with sales regularly to see what closed and how your influence can be leveraged better.
Debrief about why things didn't close and address that with new content and campaigns.
Essentially, you need to close the loop.
Implementing some of these methods and tools can start with simple internal conversations, while others could benefit from having a team of strategic minds at the ready. If you'd like a team to help you move forward, let's talk.