It’s (un)Common for a digital marketing agency to step beyond the typical client/agency relationship and serve as a true strategic partner – but that’s what we do.

For example, working closely with a B2B client in the consulting industry on their marketing strategies focusing on paid social, our team achieved a 90% lift in quality leads with only a 4% increase in CPL in one year.

How did we do it? Attaining results like these starts with understanding the pain points your client team is experiencing and the goals they’re reaching for. Read on to learn what we did to get feedback like this from our client:

“You guys are – THANK YOU!”

– Director of Marketing

What Was the Problem?

Our client’s pain point was one we’ve all heard before: their sales team needed more qualified leads. And where did they want to focus their paid social media efforts? On improving lead quality in LinkedIn! What kind of leads did they want? Not just people with the right job titles but people who are ready to start a conversation with the sales team. So, how do you make that happen?

How Did We Start to Solve It?

The first step was to make sure we were all on the same page about what defined a quality lead.

Step 1: Define Lead Quality

Lead quality can mean different things to different people, so it’s important to define what a quality lead looks like for your specific business, situation, and goals. Definitions can include details around personas, stage in the funnel, attributes, and demographics.

For this B2B client, lead quality meant decision makers (Directors and up) at relevant companies/industries that yielded $250MM annual revenue, and that understood submitting a lead form meant you were requesting a meeting with the sales team.

What Was the Next Step?

Since the sales team ultimately decides what is and is not a qualified lead, it was important to include them and get their feedback regularly in the marketing process.

Step 2: Monthly Syncs with Sales

We implemented monthly check-ins with the team that makes it all happen – the sales team! Looping sales, once each month, into our existing weekly performance call with the Director of Marketing made for some brilliant brainstorms.

A monthly drop-in on our weekly performance call made it possible for us to connect with the team without adding additional meetings to the calendar. We encourage you to craft a plan and meeting cadence that works best for your team. If sales is experiencing numerous ongoing challenges with lead quality, it may be best to meet more frequently. We recommend keeping marketing stakeholders involved in the conversations to make sure everyone is on the same page and to ensure testing supports all departments’ initiatives.

For us, monthly syncs with sales were extremely productive and so many ideas came out of our calls that we had to take it a step further.

Then What?

Once you have an ongoing process for including sales and their feedback, it’s time to start running paid social media campaigns and testing to find what works best.

Step 3. The LinkedIn Testing Pipeline

With lead quality defined and a rich list of ideas to test, our team developed a testing pipeline to track, measure, and prioritize testing. It also gave our meetings with sales something tangible to walk away with for next steps and ensured no idea was forgotten.

Many of our priority tests centered around qualifying messaging to make sure we set proper expectations for those engaging with our ads. We tested additional audience targeting strategies to craft and refine a highly relevant prospecting audience. Then we leveled up our full-funnel strategy with strategic remarketing tactics and layered in lead form testing with qualifying custom questions. With each testing cycle, we took learnings from every test and built on them in the next.

If you’re looking to start a testing pipeline, we recommend including fields to define the test, test goals, success indicators, and timeframes or priority ratings. Here’s a segment of what we worked on for this client:

graphic showing a segment of a testing pipeline

Don’t forget plenty of time holds for analyses along the way! Analyzing progress and results between each test and about every two to three weeks has worked well for our clients. What good is having a testing pipeline if you never stop to analyze the results and learn? When is it time to call the test? Well, that really depends! You’ll want to ensure enough data is collected so that your results are statistically significant.

What Were the Results?

Initially, results came in the form of learnings – incremental increases to CTR or CVR. However, these initial learnings were the steppingstones toward seeing big results. Building on these small learnings, we continued testing. Gradually, over a year, we began to see improvements but not without some small dips. Sometimes, lead quality testing means you must trade off lead volume. By remaining committed to testing, our team achieved a 90% lift in quality leads with a relatively stable 4% increase in CPL.

chart showing increase in quality leads at a stable cost per lead

Ultimately, a testing pipeline must be tailored to meet the needs of your business goals and each one should look different from the next. But we’ve seen similar results from focused testing and optimizing for many of our clients.

Want to learn more? Read about how we work with clients on lead validation and CRM data, incrementality testing, paid social advertising, and how to close the sales and marketing gap.

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