Smarketing Blog

A Strategic Marketing Process for Home Builders: Meet "Smarketing"

If you want crystal clear insight into buying behavior, sales qualified leads, and strategic marketing process development, “smarketing” is for you. The word might sound silly, but the concept is indispensable.  Simply, it’s the alignment of sales and marketing into a cohesive unit.

Jul-Creative-sales-marketing-alignment-1.jpgAccording to a study by the Aberdeen Group, organizations with strong sales/marketing alignment achieved 20% annual sales growth in 2010. Alignment is crucial in industries where each sale is high-value, like home building.

Let’s discover the steps to smarketing, lets use home builders as an example!

Closed-Loop Reporting: The Foundation of Your Strategic Marketing Process

Without reporting, lead definition and scoring are impossible. In a “closed-loop,” sales and marketing teams have access to data they need no matter who generated it. The pillars of this are your marketing software and CRM.

When these work together, data for generating, tracking, nurturing, and converting leads flows into one pool. In an ideal system, you can automatically synchronize lead info, remove duplicates, and segment leads.

Which information should be shared?

  • Lead intelligence, including behavioral histories of leads.
  • Lead alerts when a lead visits your site or finishes a form.
  • Contact touches when your team emails or calls a contact.
  • Lead status updates: Whether a lead is qualified or not.
  • Revenue numbers for calculating ROI from a lead.

For a truly strategic marketing process, the marketing team needs to analyze Web content and ensure new content incorporates best practices. Luckily, data can illuminate customer needs and identify content gaps.

Recognizing effective content is easy: Calculate the percentage of leads who read or viewed the content before conversion. It’s also important to analyze landing page performance, helping create clearer funnels.                                    

Funnel Definition: Your Buyers & Their Journey

Funnel definition is key to motivating prospects to take action.

Defining funnels starts with strategic thinking. In home building, it can be a bit easier since you may have fewer buyer personas than some other industries. Still, it’s important to illuminate buying behavior so you can expand your market reach.

As you architect your funnel, start with a lead profile:

  • What is the lead’s job description? What duties and problems do they have?
  • When making purchases, where do they fit into the decision-making process?
  • How could their role be described? Influencer, end user, decision-maker?

This helps you define your marketing-qualified leads (MQL) and sales-qualified leads (SQL).

In home building, they might look like this:

Spotting a Marketing-Qualified Lead

When prospects signal interest in your offerings, they become MQLs. This happens when they join your list or download premium content, for example. Not all MQLs become SQLs, but their engagement with content offers clues about whether they fit your buyer personas.

The Golden Goose: A Sales Qualified LeadJul-Creative-Smarketing-Buying-Behavior-1.jpg

Once sales verifies a prospect is a potential buyer, that person becomes an SQL. This happens as prospects volunteer budget, timing, and need data. Submitting an estimate request might be the last stage between MQL and SQL, but the prospect needs to be in your area and have funds.

Tracking Your Successes With Lead Scoring

To convert, a lead must be a good fit and interested in what you have to offer. It can take months to determine both of these are true – especially as a prospect’s opinions evolve. How can you track each one?

For consistency, lead scoring is critical. Lead scoring tracks prospects’ progress from unknown to MQL to SQL. Scoring is based on patterns of behavior prospects who converted followed: As new prospects follow those steps, their score goes up.

Team Accountability – Adopting an SLA

For true smarketing greatness, the tension between sales and marketing must be eased. That’s accomplished through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs). SLAs are common in tech, but have made a big splash in other industries.

An SLA is a bilateral agreement outlining cooperation between sales and marketing:

  • Marketing commits to delivering a certain number of MQLs each month or quarter.
  • Sales commits to follow up on leads and attempt contact a certain number of times.

Quotas are vital to SLAs: Average revenue per lead determines how many leads sales teams must generate. Quotas should also account for the marketing activity needed to nurture leads.

Monitoring Progress is Essential

Just as closed-loop reporting empowers your smarketing efforts, performance management helps each stakeholder contribute to SLAs. Failing to monitor progress is a costly mistake, making it impossible to optimize a campaign's results.

Common situations:

  • Leads Low: Marketing should develop new content, increase social media engagement, or improve PPC investments to get on track.
  • Leads on Track: Marketing can start work on the next campaign or hold back completed content for the following month’s promotions.

"Smarketing" makes it possible to implement a strategic marketing process with consistent, repeatable yields. When you commit to data-driven improvement and team collaboration, you can reap the benefits in the home building industry.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing for Home Contractors