Q4 can be a slow period for most B2B marketers, especially the few work weeks in December. But as tempting as it might be to take it easy and enjoy the slow period, this is the best time to take some time to reflect and get organized for 2017.
Here are five simple but effective marketing tips to get ready for the new year – based on some of the things we’ll be doing at Leadspace to help kick off 2017 with a bang:
Tip 1: Take a look back
Almost every marketing blog you read will tell you to take a look back on your 2016 numbers and see what’s performed the best. And they’d be right; you should learn from previous numbers to see what produced the most MQLs and which channels resulted in the most closed won deals.
But you should also talk with your sales team about what they thought worked the best. Your sales team’s perspective can bring a number of valuable insights to the table: they can help back up (or correct) marketing’s numbers, and perhaps even more importantly, they can bring to attention areas of marketing which performed better – or worse – than you might have realized.
For example, I recently asked our sales team which events they thought we should be attending next year. I was surprised to hear that some conferences we’d attended this past year were not quite as successful as I’d initially thought. That information will help me to prioritize our packed events calendar for 2017.
On the flip side, our sales team put a number of potentially interesting new events on my radar to consider.
Tip 2: Evaluate Account Lists with Sales
Take it one step further as well, and ask them what types of contacts they would like in the database. Are they particularly interested in C-level contacts, VPs, directors or managers? What type of contacts do they tend to have successful conversations with in new accounts?
This forward-thinking, holistic approach will draw out the information you need to pull a targeted list of the contacts within your named accounts, which both marketing and sales can start reaching out to as soon as the new year kicks off.
Tip 3: Analyze your database
Make sure to evaluate your marketing database to ensure you’re reaching everyone possible, and clean out the junk. Note the percentage that is invalid, bounced or inactive.
On a personal note, I must confess that I don’t have the time to look at the health of my data quite as regularly as I’d like to. Still, it was surprising for me to learn how many of my contacts didn’t have an email address – which makes it pretty hard to engage as a marketer!
Fortunately, I was able to correct that problem fairly easily, by using Leadspace Audience Data Management to pull as many email addresses as possible. For the inactive contacts, I created a specific nurture stream to hopefully bring them back to life.
Any leads that I am not actively engaging with, I’ll simply purge from my database.
Tip 4: Start Strategizing Now
What types of marketing strategies worked the best for you? This past year, for example, we added direct mail into our mid-funnel marketing efforts and have seen a huge improvement in moving opportunities further down the sales funnel.
Email is a classic but essential channel, and always produces results if done properly. Take the time to ensure your core message is flowing through all of your marketing channels, from advertising, to email, to your website.
There will always be room for improvement, so never rest on your laurels. Our own marketing team recently found and fixed some messaging disconnect, which resulted in a noticeable increase in engagement.
Tip 5: Optimize Your Scoring
Lead scoring is a living, breathing part of your marketing efforts. It constantly needs to be tweaked to deliver the best MQLs to sales.
Spend some time talking to your BDR or SDR team and discuss what they think makes a qualified lead. They are really the front line, as the people who are actually calling and communicating with these leads on a regular basis, so getting their input can be very impactful, and an efficient way to optimize your lead scoring.
Take this month to connect with your sales team, organize your data and enjoy the holidays – and you’ll hit the ground running in 2017!
Image credit: iStock