Goal-Based Marketing Strategies: Improving Qualified Leads

Goal-Based Marketing Strategies: Improving Qualified Leads

By Dave GrendzynskiOct 25 /2018

If you’re going to be successful in life, you must have goals. Take me, for instance. My goal was to become a sports broadcaster. And guess what? I achieved it—sort of. “How?” you ask. I turned myself into a qualified lead by using some goal-based marketing strategies, that’s how.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but I decided I wanted to achieve this goal when I was still in college and took steps to make it happen. I interned at radio stations where I learned the ins and outs of the business from some of the biggest names in Cleveland radio. And I knew that, to achieve my goal, I would have to take my talents to Augusta, Georgia. (Sorry, LeBron!) I picked Augusta because, with the experience I gained during college, my goal was attainable in such a small market.

It wasn’t long before I was working part-time in television, doing a sports radio call-in show during my afternoon drive, and landing jobs as a sideline reporter and covering The Masters. It all goes back to establishing some SMART goals (we’ll get to that later) and developing a resume that qualified me to work in Augusta. I knew what I was looking for, and I put my resume in front of people who were looking for people like me.

Now you’re probably wondering, what does this have to with me, goal-based marketing, and improving my qualified leads? Well, this is the second post of our three-part series about goal-based marketing strategies. Step one is to drive website-qualified traffic. Now we’ll show you how applying the SMART-goal method to your marketing plan can improve the number of qualified leads you see.

Start by Understanding “What’s a Qualified Lead?”

Your goal is to improve your qualified leads, right? So, let’s start by pinning down exactly what that means.

A qualified lead is the person who is most likely to buy your product or services. This simple definition can save your sales team from going on wild goose chases because they will know each call they’re making is someone who matters to you. This makes them more efficient.

It starts by creating resources relevant to the people most likely to buy—and making it easy for them to find those resources through SEO, demand generation and other strategies. Once they start visiting your site, lead scoring can help you determine how likely a prospect is to buy based on a couple of key factors:

  • Explicit Data: Information provided directly by the lead through interactions on your web assets, like when someone fills out a form.
  • Implicit Data: Information you get through observing the lead’s interactions on your website.

This is important information we track and discuss with all our clients, particularly in the first few months. We want to make sure the leads coming in reflect our client’s ideal buyers.

If you’re a forward-thinking marketer, you understand the traditional marketing funnel doesn’t reflect today’s consumers’ path to purchase. There are a number of digital touch points that block the path, but you can use those touch points to gather information, measure your performance and optimize your marketing against identifiable goals.

Improve Qualified Leads With SMART Goals

A good way to clear that path is by developing SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Here’s what it means:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
    • Specific goals signal a clear message for everyone at your company.
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
    • A way to determine when a goal has or has not been met.
  • Attainable (agreed, attainable).
    • When setting a goal, be sure to discuss it with the whole team (marketing department and sales department) and get their input to get a realistic assessment of whether success is likely within the parameters you’ve set.
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
    • Don’t set goals that are too lofty or that aren’t meaningful to your organization and its long-term strategy.
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited)
    • Keeping an end date will motivate your team to work on and achieve them.

Let’s say you’re hoping to improve your conversion rates. That’s your goal. You think your lead generation is lacking a bit, so you want to do something about it. You’re currently getting 10 qualified leads a month, and you just redesigned your website and started running PPC campaigns. What would be a realistic goal based on your current traffic and the percentage of people who convert?

You want to make sure you’re setting a specific goal—in this case, increasing conversion rates. Your goal is measurable because you know how many qualified leads you’re getting each month—10. Now you need to make sure your goal is attainable, so let’s say you’d like to increase the conversion rate by 5 percent. This would be realistic because remember, you just did a redesign, so there’s a lot going on right now. And let’s say you want to give it six months to see how it goes. That’s SMART.

It’s like me when I was looking for that first sports job. It wasn’t realistic for me to think I was going to work in Los Angeles, so I chose a specific market to target that I felt was attainable. I knew when I was moving to Augusta and could measure my goal by whether or not I found work. I had a job within two weeks.

SMART Goals Align Your Teams

You can apply the same knowledge to attaining more qualified leads. If your marketing goals align with sales, you’re on the right track. It will help ensure your marketing qualified leads are legitimate sales qualified leads because your marketing efforts are built around the buyer personas your marketing and sales teams developed together. Everyone is on the same page.

Creating specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based marketing goals will drive your business objectives, from awareness to engagement to conversion to loyalty. It will also motivate your marketing and sales teams because there will always be a finish line to cross, but it doesn’t end there. As the market evolves and your goals change, you can adapt your system at the push of a button (thank you HubSpot), giving you full control over your results.

Essentially, you’re finding the precise combinations of audiences, content, and messages that will best achieve your marketing goals, and then repeating the cycle. It’s an infinite loop.

An Example of Improving Qualified Leads

A real-life example of how to use SMART goals to improve qualified leads is what we did with one of our clients. This medical manufacturing company helps cerebrovascular surgeons improve patient outcomes by giving the surgeon the optimal location for aneurysm clipping and allows them to take immediate corrective action before closing the patient. This helps reduce the instances of post-operative stroke.

Not only did we want to improve the product’s awareness, we also wanted to drive more qualified leads through the sales funnel to request a demo.

One of the main challenges is that there is a very small audience for this type of device. This new product is used by cerebrovascular neurosurgeons. There are only a few hundred of them in the world. So, to improve brand recognition, the Kuno team first collaborated to create relevant content, including: blog posts, product handbooks and a press release.

We then created selective, targeted ads on Facebook for this content. We targeted based on relevant personas and job titles. Once someone engaged with blog posts or interactive web pages, we retargeted them with gated content, encouraging them to fill out a form to get a guide about using the technology.

In only three short months, more than 30 percent of the cerebrovascular neurosurgeons on the list expressed an interest in the product.

The Kuno team worked with the client’s marketing to develop a specific goal— to get 20 percent of our list to fill out a form to learn more about the product. We felt our goal was attainable because we were starting with little or no awareness. It was measurable for the same reason. Any increase in awareness would be good. We knew the information we were sending was relevant because it was going to highly specialized surgeons.

By focusing the new page content we felt cerebrovascular neurosurgeons were looking for, the page generated a 283 percent increase in bottom-funnel, sales-ready conversions.

The collaboration between the Kuno (Marketing) and the medical device manufacturer’s sales team fueled the success of the campaign. Their sales team is made up of medical professionals who handle product demonstrations and can speak the language. Kuno worked with them to create a handbook for the product and the product launch. A member of the Kuno content team wrote a press release, the demo page, email and blogs. That type of collaboration keeps everyone on the same page.

So, you can see how marketing goals can help set the stage for developing more qualified leads. By keeping your marketing goals and objectives aligned with the sales department and the prospects they’re speaking to, you will save lots of time and energy. Your team will become more efficient and you will generate more leads and revenue.

If you need more information on how to generate more qualified leads for your company, take a look at our guide: “Lead Generation and Management Guide”. And be sure to check out part three of our series, where we’ll you’ll learn how to use your marketing efforts to help your sales team close more deals.

Effective Lead Generation and Lead Management Strategy eBook

The Author

Dave Grendzynski

Dave uses the skills that won him three Emmy Awards as a television news producer to create compelling content for our clients. Dave honed his email, blog and social media writing skills in the Corporate Communications Department at Cleveland Clinic.