Phew! With over 18,000 attendees at INBOUND 2016, the Socedo team has worn through their networking chops. And while we’d love to spend this week resting, the conference left us with more than a few action items to take back to the office.
We may have been 3,000 miles away in Boston, but these five sessions hit close to home.
1. Lead Scoring
In a very aptly titled session “23½ Tips to Master Lead Scoring: The Hows, The Whos and The Whatchamacallits,” Michael Rejmaniak and Vanessa Stirling of Measured Results Marketing discussed how to create a lead scoring model that will work for your business.
They suggested starting with common definitions of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) between the marketing and sales teams, then assigning point values to different actions. They assign points by looking at past marketing campaigns they’ve run and measuring which actions, such as a click on a certain email or downloading a specific piece of content, led to the most deals.
Most importantly, Michael and Vanessa stressed the importance of regularly analyzing your lead scoring program for effectiveness. We recently re-did our lead scoring model at Socedo. In fact, we’ve adjusted our lead scoring model every month for the past six months. We are not crazy. It’s just that the needs and priorities of our sales team change over time, and as we become better at our own marketing campaigns, certain campaigns and programs become more effective at converting leads.
2. Data Management
In his session “Chaos Under Control: How to Organize a Messy Contacts Database to Market More Effectively,” Nick Salvatoriello, VP of Inbound Services at Innovative Marketing Resources, stressed the importance of keeping a clean, organized, and up-to-date contact database.
This one is a tough one for us, and we’re not ashamed to admit that we struggle with data integrity just like any other marketing team. We add leads to our database from many different sources, and we enhance lead records with external data sources like Clearbit and our own Socedo platform. All of this can create quite a mess if not managed properly.
Thankfully, in Nick’s own words, “a messy database is a sign you’re doing something right.” Nick’s advice starts with segmentation. Make sure you have separate lists for each stage of the lifecycle, as well as buyer personas and other key factors. That way, you can quickly reference contacts as members of the appropriate lists when you spin up a new marketing campaign. When you send more relevant emails, your unsubscribe rates decrease, and your database stays active.
3. Creativity Reigns
Jenifer Kern, CMO of Tracx, used her session “Why Data Isn’t Everything & What Most Marketers Are Missing” to offer a counter-perspective to our data-obsessed marketing culture. Granted, she’ll be the first to admit that data-driven decisions are necessary for any modern marketing team. However, Jenifer wants to emphasize core metrics over the deluge of big data. She says to focus on KPIs like total traffic, conversion rates, and velocity to diagnose the health of your marketing funnel.
Why? Your business needs and your audience’s interest will change over time. To stay head, you need to always be experimenting. That’s where creativity comes in. Use data to find your largest areas of opportunity—then try something new. Measure your results after the test using your core metrics, and continue to iterate.
Staying creative in a fast-paced, data-centric business can be difficult. At Socedo, we revamp our nurture programs every few months, but we mostly focus on the obvious areas, improving subject lines and adding new content. No wonder our open rates and click-through rates have been declining!
However, recently we’ve tried sending real-time emails based on social media triggers. For example, we sent an email to everyone in our database who Tweeted #INBOUND16 with some information about how Socedo integrates with HubSpot and encouraged them to stop by our booth if they were attending the conference. The emails have seen about a 45% open rate and 5% click-through rate. That’s far better than our usual nurtures. Now we can continue to experiment with more of these real-time emails.
4. Artificial Intelligence
If one theme ran true at INBOUND, it was that nobody has enough time. In his session “AI: How Robots are Changing the Way we Sell,” Knut Hellan, CTO at Companybook, discussed the use of artificial intelligence in the sales process. From lead scoring to automated emails, technology has the potential to make us more efficient—if we use it correctly.
Artificial intelligence is all about the data we feed it, as Knut is quick to point out. If you’re not measuring a prospect’s journey across every source, online and in-person, then you’re missing out on valuable information about the buying cycle. That’s why, at Socedo, we think adding social activities to lead records is crucial. If done correctly, we can use these touchpoints to reach out to prospects when they’re the most engaged, as well as build a better predictive model for buyer’s intent over time.
5. Search is Everywhere
Dharmesh Shah, CTO and Founder of HubSpot, gave a future-looking keynote on Wednesday. He discussed many emerging trends in the marketing industry, but one that stood out was search marketing. Search has been around since practically the beginning of the consumer Internet, yet marketers are just beginning to grasp Google Analytics and SEO rankings. Unfortunately, the search industry is moving even faster.
Now Amazon and Facebook have their own search algorithms to find relevant products, posts, or friends. We can now even search for things while going about our own home, via voice command devices. Dharmesh believes search is becoming diversified, and the best brands will build a cross-platform strategy. The fundamentals haven’t changed—it’s all about keywords, and we know a thing or two about building out keyword lists. Now, however, we need to proactively find our prospects where they are, even before they find us, utilizing the power of their organic search.
It’s easy to take tactics back to the marketing team and spin up a few new campaigns, but Inbound doesn’t just belong to us marketers. It’s a strategy that affects the entire organization, from how we manage leads to how we track success. We can’t wait for next year’s INBOUND conference. Until then, we’ll be crafting more relevant messages, providing value through our content, and filling out pipeline with inbound leads.