A Digital Marketing Strategy That Boosts Sales? Five Key Steps
So, you’ve decided to invest in digital marketing with a recurring monthly budget... It's a big decision that requires some thought. Just doing what your competition is doing is not a good idea – copying their strategy will end up building their position rather than your's.
This blog looks at 5 steps to make sure you deliver on a digital marketing strategy that works to strengthen your position and boost sales.
Before you embark on buying online visibility and go crazy online, it’s a good idea to take a step back and consider how your company's overall strategy translates into digital.
Over the years I have seen companies which, although otherwise investing heavily in strategy creation, dive into online and digital marketing without an inkling of a plan.
Over the years I have seen companies which, although otherwise investing heavily in strategy creation, dive into online and digital marketing without an inkling of a plan. Even now in 2020, I occasionally speak with C-Level managers who, although admitting that online is critical, put very little effort into considering how they intend to play the digital game to win.
A Digital Strategy Is Shared by Marketing & Sales
A good place to start is to look at your company's objectives and goals. Do they take into account how buying has changed? What opportunity does digital provide? Online will impact how and which goals you set so what needs or doesn't need to change?
To establish whether your goals are relevant, it's illustrative to map out your customers' buyer's journey (i.e. experience) and see how it's changed.
You will probably notice that marketing and sales are more aligned than ever - or should be. In terms of goals, this means you need to establish some shared ones and make sure your digital strategy links marketing to sales and vice versa.
What are your company’s goals and how do they translate to digital?
We can aspire to strengthen our brand, or educate the market, or attract new visitors to our website. In the end, however, most of us who work for plain old ordinary B2B companies want to generate new quality leads and grow sales.
Some typical top level goals include:
- Top of Mind, Brand Awareness or Brand Engagement. Let’s say you’re not known in your category or your differentiation is weak. Time to build the brand? In most cases you need to establish a base level of recognition before penetrating a market. Try to find digital KPI’s that you can follow and measure preferably in real time.
- Growth from existing customers. Up-selling and cross-selling to current customers is one of the surest ways to grow. Remember that digital makes it possible to hyper target and personalise advertising, websites and outbound activities like marketing emails to new prospects and customers alike.
- And finally, the most famous goal for most of us: The acquisition of new customers which typically starts with lead generation. Key metrics to look at can include new leads generated in total, or leads qualified for sales, offers sent, or the always desirable number of closed deals.
Traditional marketing refers to any type of marketing that isn’t online. This means print, broadcast, direct mail, phone, and outdoor advertising like billboards... Digital marketing is any marketing a company conducts online, such as paid social media ads, email marketing, and PPC advertising. (HubSpot)
The 5 Steps To Create A Digital Strategy To Support Sales
- Research and understand your target. Think in terms of how they behave online and what their challenges and needs are in that context. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to resonate and be relevant.
- Analyse the competition and their role online. Look at both direct and indirect competition, as well as potential partners looking to get the same job done. Don’t attempt to just match the competition in budget, keep your focus and do things your own way. How are you different?
- Articulate what your company needs to do to win in digital. What do you stand for? What are your core competencies? What do you promise and how do you add value? What is your role in the market and, indeed, on digital channels ? Be sure to include a strong mission statement outlining which steps you intend to take to reach your goals.
- Pick the metrics that enable concise information on whether or not you’re hitting your goals. Tie the metrics to opportunities provided by appropriate digital technologies (like marketing and/or sales automation, CRM etc.) to enable efficient, real time analytics and reporting. Makes sure new metrics become a staple of your marketing/sales diet.
- Document your strategy and pay special attention to creating a process that aligns marketing with sales. What happens when leads come in? What qualifies a lead for sales? What are the steps each rep will take and when? Make sure sales and marketing are on the same team with a shared language, goals, reporting and tools.
Sponsored Social Or Native Advertising? Go Tactical With Your Digital Mix
At some point it has to happen. The fun part. Given that your digital top-level strategy is X, what will your tactical plan look like and which channels will your mix include?
Your choice of weaponry will reflect your strategy. It will most likely cover areas like SEO, Paid Search, Display Advertising, Sponsored Social Posts, Email Marketing, Native Advertising, and Customer Advocacy Marketing, You may decide to use dynamic (Smart) content and make sure all data is captured in your CRM / Customer Database.
For a good summary please refer to HubSpot’s blog here.
Get Sales Involved
In a worst case scenario, management lets a digital team come up with a digital strategy that coexists as an entirely separate entity with its own goals and metrics. It can actually be an expensive recipe for - if not disaster - at least a massive loss of potential.
A solid digital marketing strategy aligns with overall strategy, translating and transferring it into the digital realm. An understanding of your customer's buyer's journey (context) as well as measurable, shared goals help align your marketing and sales efforts starting with first touch online customer engagements, Creating a digital marketing strategy will hence benefit from bringing sales in on the planning process.
What's Your Opinion? Let me know and if aligning marketing and sales is one of your organisation's challenges please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomi Lindholm has worked in the wild, fast moving world of digital sales and marketing since 2006 and helped customers win over the modern buyer with HubSpot since 2012.