The 7 Step Process to Achieve Great Results
As a digital lead generation specialist, Morey Publishing is tasked with developing prospects and nurturing them through a defined sales process. While we have a defined process for cultivating leads for our clients, not every relationship is created equal. The most successful campaigns occur when there is deep collaboration between our team and designated members of our clients’ organizations. Below is an outline of our 7 step process for successful lead generation. In order to make this more than a theoretical exercise, each step includes an example from MerchantPro Express (MPX), a credit card processing company based in Woodbury, NY. MPX retained Morey Publishing for the purpose of generating top of the funnel merchant processing leads and agent recruitment.
Meaningful relationships are built on mutual understanding. When Morey Publishing onboards a client, we take great pains getting to know their business model and industry. This starts with basic tasks such as learning industry lingo, reading industry reports, collecting their existing marketing collateral and asking questions. Once we have the basics, we probe the client further to determine their unique selling propositions, pain points and baseline sales objectives. With the necessary information to build a content and sales plan in hand, we dig in further to develop financial models to ascertain the lifetime value of a new customer.
MPX EXAMPLE: The path to success for MPX was established early. From the start, the principals of MPX clearly articulated their goals and were forthcoming about their business model, desired growth plans and challenges. It was evident from the beginning that they were highly engaged in their business and believed wholeheartedly in the MPX mission and value proposition. This confidence and their willingness to answer our questions honestly allowed us to streamline the onboarding process and develop a strong content plan from the outset.
2. “Buy In”.
Most of the time a new client relationship begins with ownership. If we have properly and systematically collected the information we require to make an informed decision as to whether or not a particular client would benefit from digital lead generation, communicating to leadership is fairly straightforward. More often than not, however, there are key members of the client’s team that are responsible for collaborating with the Morey content team. Therefore, it’s important to identify these players before jumping ahead with an agreement. The best lead generation campaign results are achieved when both teams are highly motivated to work together with a common purpose. Any hesitation or outright dissent on the part of the client can torpedo even the best lead generation initiative.
MPX EXAMPLE: Here again the MPX team was incredibly responsive. They brought key players into the loop at an early stage and allowed us the time to explain our methodology. Once explained, we trained a few of the team members to use the tools we created and invited them to participate in the content development process. As campaigns progress, new elements are added to enhance the process. Every time we add something to the mix, the MPX team responds enthusiastically and embraces the change.
It’s hard to tell how far you’ve come if you don’t know where the journey began. We take a basic snapshot of our client’s current performance for a few reasons. If a client has little to no data on website traffic, conversion ratios or historic sales performance, chances are they might be overwhelmed by a sophisticated reporting mechanism. Moreover, it becomes difficult to define success moving forward. These situations are typically uncovered during the onboarding process, at which point we can either work together to uncover them or decide to work together at a later date. This information is that important. Assuming we can gather this data, however, we can make certain baseline assumptions and generate realistic performance goals for the campaign. This process often times brings clients closer to their own numbers than they have been or, at a minimum, provides them with a fresh perspective. For us it helps communicate successes and failures along the way so we can correct mistakes and further improve the positive results.
MPX EXAMPLE: Benchmarking means getting close to the numbers. This can sometimes be uncomfortable, particularly in the beginning of a relationship when trust has yet to be fully established. Here again the MPX leadership adopted a positive attitude and willingness to dig into their books. Ultimately, this mitigates any mistrust or frustration because new results can always be set against where we started. Not only does this transparency clarify our objectives but it incentivizes us to get the job done. After all— Performance = renewal / Non-performance = termination.
Every client has a story to tell. Our job is to tease out the narrative and deliver it in a compelling way to their prospective customers. And every good story has a beginning, middle and an end. Telling the client’s story (the lead generation and nurturing process) is the beginning and middle; the end of the story (closing the lead) often occurs out of our view. Therefore, it’s imperative that our team not only knows the value of a prospect but what happens to them once they become a customer. Knowing our client’s full sales process and their goals allows us to agree on a work flow ahead of time and develop acceptable thresholds for success.
MPX EXAMPLE: Because we have a dual mission (employee recruitment and new customers) for MPX, we spent a good deal of time developing a strategy to pursue both avenues simultaneously. It was important for our team to comprehend the qualitative and quantitative differences between each type of lead. Here again, MPX went above and beyond to clarify the process. Sean O’Neil and Joe Doyle, the principals we work with most often, actually developed a spreadsheet based upon our traffic assumptions to generate a full forecast based on varying conversion ratios. This became the baseline document that guided our content plan and allowed us to confidently agree on specific targets.
Lead Generation is layered, nuanced and multi-faceted. Our biggest weapon in the fight is HubSpot, the most sophisticated lead generation platform in the world. As a partner agency we have gone through hundreds of hours of training and will continue to do so as the world of Inbound changes rapidly. HubSpot is the vehicle and we’re the driver but there’s more to consider in the race. Therefore it’s important that we align our efforts with a client’s assets and processes. Everything from branding and collateral to website design and customer relationship management (CRM) software must be aligned with the lead generation and content plan we establish. Every piece of the process should look, feel and act the same to ensure success.
MPX EXAMPLE: MerchantPro Express had recently re-launched its website with another company. Overall the site looked terrific and was totally functional. But there were a few items on the back end that we needed to manipulate to enhance the site’s performance and align it with our lead generation messaging. MPX gave us control, which enabled us to make certain changes immediately. We worked with the principals to create new collateral marketing materials that supported the shift in strategy and provided their key players with training on the custom CRM we implemented to help track leads and conversions.
This is one of the most important aspects of a successful Inbound campaign. As we mentioned, there are several moving parts to a campaign. Coordinating with the client on processes as simple as sharing blog posts, reaching out to existing customers for reviews and leveraging their network of experts for information helps campaigns take root faster. The more complicated systems such as jointly developing work flows, updating information on the CRM and responding quickly to campaign metrics to constantly improve is something that happens over time.
MPX EXAMPLE: Needless to say, MPX was on board from day one. They entered their existing relationships into custom work flows, shared new content with their network and adopted suggested best practices into their existing routine. Every time we suggest something new or add a layer to the campaign they act immediately and ask what’s next. Their insatiable appetite for improvement is unparalleled.
There isn’t a relationship advice column or book that doesn’t include this little nugget of advice. Communication is the key to any successful relationship and Inbound Lead Generation is no exception. It’s imperative for us to communicate successes and failures as they occur. Likewise, it’s important for clients to express enthusiasm or frustration the moment they feel it. Weekly calls, monthly meetings. Face-to-face as often as possible. Morey Publishing utilizes Basecamp for project management and frequently invites clients to participate in our conversations. Not only does this allow the client to see how the sauce is made but it helps avoid mistakes when developing content and creates accountability for team members assigned to each account. Not every client wants this level of access, but it’s one that we afford to those who are interested.
MPX EXAMPLE: They’re on Basecamp. Emails fly back and forth daily. Calls happen once a week at a minimum. We’re going for drinks next week. If you made it this far through the post, you had to expect that we would be attached at the hip with this client.
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