Chris Ogburn, Vice President, WW Field and Channel Marketing at HPE, is considered one of the industry's top digital marketers. He provided CRN with five tips for partners to increase lead generation and sales growth via digital marketing,
1. Top Executive Support Is Essential
Leadership of the company has to believe in the partnership between marketing and sales, and that digital marketing can create demand and drive sales pipeline to help the company grow. "That executive support is critical," said Ogburn. "I can tell within 30 minutes of a discussion with a CEO or the CEO staff if they are going to be successful with this. If they understand it, believe it and support it, they are going to get good people and dedicate dollars to it and ensure that the digital marketing team has a good connection between the marketing and sales team so they can generate pipeline."
2. Don't Do Digital Marketing In A Silo
Digital marketing teams must be proactively aligned with sales. "You need alignment inside the company with the sales team," said Ogburn. "You need to have a good handoff with the sales organization around leads. The companies that do this best have a pipeline management methodology. They have got a CRM tool and sales force discipline in CRM."
Digital marketers must continue to market to customers in the sales pipeline and pay attention to the sales leads as they move through the sales funnel.
3. Embrace The Buyer's Digital Journey
You need to understand how customers are researching and buying, with two-thirds of their journey spent online before they talk to a salesperson. "You need to engage with customers in a way that is aligned to where they are investing their time," said Ogburn. "You need to embrace that buyer's journey when they are researching. Managing content along that journey is really important." Partners that are not embracing that buyer's digital journey risk losing their own customers to a competitor that has a strong digital marketing footprint.
4. Traditional Marketing Activities Have A Place
You don't have to eliminate traditional marketing activities. "Some people think it is all or nothing," said Ogburn. "It is not binary. There is always balance in the world. We are still big believers in customer seminars and events and some traditional forms of marketing.
Partners who do good events and seminars will marry a combination of traditional and digital. Some partners are very adept at using social media to drive participation in local events and seminars, especially when they are trying to capture new clients and customers."
5. Measuring Results Is Critical
If you can't measure it, you can't improve it. "The partners that do digital marketing best have a very precise process for how they create leads, how they hand those leads over to sales, and how they track that in their CRM tool to get data around the pipeline, what the shape and size of the pipeline is, and what the velocity is through the pipeline and how much of that is converting to revenue."
Ogburn said partners need to put more data analysis into their digital marketing efforts. "It needs to be data-driven," he said. "It sounds mundane, but a lot of partners are not there yet. Those that are see much better returns."