Previous to June 2012, Recombo was trapped in a traditional marketing and sales approach. The two departments were seen as just that: two departments, operating with mutual interests yet mostly independent. As a result, acquiring customers was expensive, pipeline conversion was poor, and there was no way to track returns on sales and marketing investments.
Then, Derek Sather “drank the content marketing Kool-Aid.”
Sather’s background is in traditional enterprise sales for companies like Oracle. But as the Chief Revenue Officer for the start-up Recombo, a cloud-based SaaS company serving the financial services industry, he is now responsible for both sales and marketing. A new approach was certainly needed, and Sather recognized the combined powers of content marketing and marketing automation as the answer.
And the results are astounding.
By adhering to a lead to revenue performance management strategy, the company with a staff of 30 people saw a 264% increase in the return on marketing investment and a 358% increase in ARR bookings. All this with a 7% decrease in staff costs and 48% decrease in discretionary marketing spending. Recombo is a model for how content marketing and automated marketing helps companies do more with less.
Recently, the Content Marketeer talked to Sather, now a soapbox evangelist for adopting this new marketing-sales model.
“Content marketing and automated marketing provides intelligence and data that frankly just didn’t exist before,” he told The Content Marketeer. “Being able to tie on- and offline behavior in to a methodology helps you find the fastest, highest velocity opportunities that optimize sales and marketing efficiency to help you do more with less and provide predictable revenue.”
According to Sather, here are four things companies can do today to increase revenue with less effort.
Re-purpose funds to provide results.
Take a look at your current marketing and sales expenditures. What are the returns on your investments? For instance, some companies are paying sales executives to generate their own leads through traditional outbound methods. This is not a good use of resources. By defining specialized roles of staff, Sather says, you’ll attract qualified leads with an accelerated path to revenue. In fact, it’s been reported that using inbound lead generation with content and automated marketing saves 13% in overall cost per lead.
Hire a journalist and take advantage of internal experts.
Sather believes a companies’ content should be created in-house rather than outsourced. Though there is one former journalist on staff at Recombo, he would like to hire more. Currently, of the 30 folks working for Recombo, one third produce content, which includes leadership. “Our senior staff are mandated to create content that accelerates deal velocity and provides thought leadership,” he says.
No more heavy lifting!
Though Sather jokingly laments that he still uses Excel to track target buyers’ persona, this is not the best way. Any time you find yourself doing something manually like that, look for tools to help you do this more efficiently. The initial investment in a tool will lead to spending less to make more down the line.
Map the sales funnel.
Sather points out that 70% of the buyer’s journey is compete before the initial sales contact. If you have no methodology of knowing where the buyer is on the road to revenue, you’re likely wasting your resources and aggravating the buyer as you walk them down a path they’ve already completed. What’s more, if you know where they are in the journey, you can tailor content to their interests. Some buyers are ready to sit down and do a demo, while others only want to see a 30-second video. Any longer, and you lost them.
One important cliche to remember is “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Just as Derek Sather still uses Excel, the transition to a more efficient marketing and sales strategy is a long process not a light switch. Sather points out that at first you still have to rely on old tools and relationships. But even the first steps will show returns greater than your efforts.