“There is a digital disconnect in executive ranks, a leadership vacuum created by a mismatch between expertise and authority.” So says Jake Scrofman in The Harvard Business Review Blog.

This pithy summary hits the nail on the head. In many, many of our meetings with prospective and current clients the senior team are aware, in principle at least, of the potential of digital, inbound marketing to drive increased revenue, improve sales and marketing efficiency and a reduction in their cost of sales. But they don’t know what and how to change.

The result is they cling to analog marketing tactics like a leaky life raft tossed on the open sea. That is to say, better than nothing, but most likely doomed to failure.

Scrofman attributes this to the digital (inbound) marketing revolution taking place from the bottom up, driven by so-called digital natives utterly comfortable in digital culture and practice. Those allegedly troublesome Gen Yers, who came of age on the social web. Whilst in time some of these same folks will rise to the giddy heights of the CMO and CEO, right now the senior executive ranks are struggling to assimilate digital, inbound marketing into their processes and performance measurement criteria.

Which is, to say the least, ironic.

For the first time marketing is genuinely measureable and not just at the individual tactic level. Frankly, who cares what your email open rate or monthly website visitors are, unless you can go on to link that specific tactic’s impact on revenue?

Business and marketing leaders need a 5 step plan and a framework to transform their marketing

  1. A clearly defined view of your revenue generation “maths”. Exactly how many deals of what size need to close to hit your growth goals? How many proposals, meetings, sales ready leads, unquaified contacts and website visitors do you need to generate to close those deals? In short a clearly defined and unified view of your sales AND marketing funnel. For without this how do you know the velocity and level of activity that needs to be undertaken to hit your revenue goals
  2. A carefully selected array of content set to inform, educate and engage with buyers at the different stages of their buying journey.
  3. A clearly defined set of digital tactics to distribute that connect and engage with strangers, visitors, contacts and leads.
  4. A marketing automation platform that performs much of the heavy lifting.
  5. Lastly and crucially, a process for improvement underpinned by robust analytics that measures the success of the tactics indetified in step three to ensure lead generation engine is being run at a speed that will achieve your required funnel velocity.

When we work with our clients it is this process of continuous improvement – a set baseline, monthly measurement of the full marketing and sales funnel, and an assessment of each lead generation tactic – that allows us to invest in tactics that are working well and improve or ultimately discard sub-optimal tactics. This sequence brings the impressive return on investment that digital, inbound marketing promises. Research has shown that when this “digital marketing framework” is applied, the cost per lead falls by more than 60%.

Just embarking on random acts of digital marketing will not bring the required rigour to your sales and marketing P&L. Only a systematised lead generation process that is carefully and deliberately measured each step of the way, examined and improved on a regular basis, will allow the undoubted benefits of digital transformation to be released within your firm.

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Chris Fell is the Managing Director of g2m Solutions, and an accredited align.me Funnel Coach. To read more of his insights, go to the g2M Solutions blog.