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As the economy slows, B2B marketers are being challenged with longer sales cycles, lower deal amounts and churning customers. If that isn’t enough, many companies are slashing marketing spend.
With that being said, CMOs can see significant short-term improvements that will help them power through the forecasted downturn by focusing on these areas of their business:
1. Optimizing campaigns for offline conversion events
Your most important priority should be to integrate your advertising platforms with your CRM or demand-gen platform. This will allow you to optimize your ad campaigns for bottom-funnel conversion events. This is especially important when using Google since you can use Google’s algorithm to optimize your campaigns for bottom-of-funnel events. If you have a sales team that takes inbound calls, make sure to get third-party call analytics software that can track calls by channel and down to the most granular source. Having phone tracking will let you identify which marketing channel is contributing to sales and help you make budget allocation decisions.
2. Marketing channels with short-term CAC payback periods
Privacy changes have made marketing attribution tools less reliable in the last two years and makes finding winning campaigns more complex. To overcome this, you can ask users on form sign-ups or post-purchase surveys how they found your business. While also not 100% reliable, these self-reported attribution workflows can help you see which channel is driving the most sales. Based on what customers are telling you and what your other attribution tools show, you can then allocate budget by channel based on their relative performance and pause what’s not working.
3. Your best customer cohorts
When sales performance starts to drop, investigate your data to see which customer cohorts are underperforming or churning, and exclude them from your ad targeting. This could be unprofitable business verticals, job titles, geographic regions, age or other demographic cohorts. If you have a revenue intelligence platform to listen to and/or transcribe call recordings, analyze the calls that resulted in demos and sales.
For example, if calls show a spike in Fintech startups that are purchasing your product, test new ad creative with what they say they like about your product and test landing pages with matching messaging. On the media buying front, see if you can improve targeting for this cohort and get more ads to serve it.
It’s also important to keep track of buyer personas. You can figure out which persona to focus on by running a report on all your customers and their respective job title, and then focus your marketing on the personas with the highest lead count. Make sure to arm your prospects with the metrics they look for — that is, you’ll need to show that the service or solution is an investment, not a cost.
4. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Focus on the segments that are driving the most revenue for your business — such as landing pages, product pages and pricing pages. Use a qualitative analytics tool that can view what users are clicking on as they interact with your site. If you are running paid advertising campaigns, it’s important to not run the tests on all your campaigns. Carve out at least 80% of your budget for the campaigns that are carrying your quota and the rest for testing out new ideas.
Next on your list is improving page loading speed. For every additional second it takes the page to load, conversion rates drop by up to 20%. A good benchmark is a loading time below three seconds. Another time-sensitive indicator to optimize for is lead response times. Ideally, you should attempt to phone, text or email a prospective lead within five minutes. Just doing this will help increase conversion rates by double digits.
Of course, it takes resources to do these things. But making these changes during a downturn, if done right, will help you improve performance and build a data-driven and winning business.