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Highlights From MSFT Earnings: Surface Sells, Bing Revenue Up, Windows Struggles

Microsoft announced fiscal quarterly revenues this afternoon. The company had $26.5 million in revenue (up 8 percent YoY) and $7.8 billion in operating income, which was down 2 percent. Selected divisions performed very well (devices, commercial and cloud services), while Windows and traditional…

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6 Basic Reports Every Marketer Should Know How to Run


Truthfully, there are tons of metrics that you can report on. You’ve got reports on the number of Twitter followers, the number of Facebook Likes, the number of visits to your website, the number of conversions, the number of leads from different campaigns or channels — just to name a few. The world is your oyster.

But that’s exactly what makes it so hard to get started — there are so many reports you can run that it’s not easy to identify the ones that are actually helpful, run them, and then act on them.

To help you wade through the haze of reports at your disposal, here are the key, basic reports that marketers should think about running. 

Report #1: Your typical reports, but segmented by persona type.

You probably have a set of reports that you typically look at on a regular basis. That could be the number of pageviews your website is getting, the number of leads you are generating per month, or possibly how your various marketing channels are doing. Whatever you are looking at, you can probably dig in a bit deeper into the data.

These reports don’t give you information about what your buyer persona likes and how they’re acting on your website — so you should create separate reports for just your persona segments. You may uncover insights that you originally glossed over because the original report was too broad.

From that segmented report, you can then use the data from the report to decide how to market specifically to that part of your audience. After all, different personas are interested in different topics, different formats, and different communication channels. 

Let’s take a look at the example below. This report looks specifically at data for the persona Big Data Billy. It tells us that Billy is interested in predominantly ebooks and whitepapers — but not blog posts. Based on that information, I might want to devote more resources to ebooks and whitepapers. 

big data billy content

Report #2: Sources that drives MQLs.

In addition to your persona-specific metrics, it’s important to take a look at the sources that are generating marketing qualified leads. This is a report that helps you understand the health of your funnel, giving you a much better idea of how well you’re holding up your part of your company’s SLA

Let’s take a look at the report below, MQLs by Source. This report gives you insight into how many marketing qualified leads you are driving as a result of your different marketing channels. You can use the score column on the right to figure out the most valuable marketing channel. The higher the score, the more time you might want to invest in that channel to drive more MQLs. 

(HubSpot Customers: Take a look at this blog post to find out how to do this in HubSpot.)

MQLs by Source

Report #3: Content that drives MQLs.

In addition to looking at the most important sources for driving conversions, it is also important to look at the content that drives those conversions. This can help you figure out what content should actually be promoted through various channels to get more MQLs in the door. 

While understanding what pages are viewed the most is a good metric, the conversion rate on your different pages is a great metric. This metric helps you really understand what content moves website visitors throughout your funnel.

Let’s take a look at the report below to show you what one of these reports looks like. This report displays the content that marketing qualified leads are viewing before and during a conversion. If you take this report and the previous report together, you have your full package. You can decide the best content to promote through your best channels to achieve the best outcome possible. 

(HubSpot Customers: Take a look at this blog post to find out how to do it in HubSpot.)

mql conversions

Report #4: Content that generates leads. 

While understanding content that drives marketing qualified leads is important, it is also important to understand the content that drives conversions in other areas of your funnel. Before someone is qualified enough to be considered an MQL, they’re probably a regular ol’ lead. And to get more MQLs in the door, you need to get more leads in the door. 

And the content that your leads find important may be different than what your marketing qualified leads and customers find important. Understand what content is being consumed at each stage of the funnel can help you formulate a plan to move your visitors down it. You can also experiment with showing some of the content that converts leads to marketing qualified leads earlier to decrease the amount of time it takes to turn someone from a lead into a marketing qualified lead.

Let’s take a look at the report below. This report shows the different URLs that contributed to lead conversions ranking in order of importance.

content that converts leads

Report #5: Content that converts customers.

If you skipped ahead to the image instead of reading this text first, you may be thinking that this looks like the same report as well! You’re 90% right.

While each of these reports are the same, the part of the funnel you’re investigating is different. The content that helps convert people in each stage of the funnel is different — so you’ve got to dive deep into each to do a full, quality analysis.

Let’s take a closer look at the report below. This is showing the content viewed as your leads (or marketing qualified leads) become customers. Ultimately the goal of creating content is to drive customer conversions. This information will help you prioritize the content that drives customers to help your company close more deals.

content that converts customers

Report #6: Actions that your website visitors are taking.

We have talked a lot about how to report on the content your website visitors are viewing in addition to the sources they are coming to your website from. But what about the different actions they take on your website? They may prefer certain CTAs over others. Or maybe they always view certain pages. Maybe a certain image gets their attention. Whatever it is, it is important to track how people are interacting with your website — and see how these interactions play into your funnel metrics.

After you collect this information, there are a few things that you can do with it. First, you can build a report to better understand the people who took the action. You should find out of the people who took the action, how many became new leads? Did any become customers? This will help you understand the importance of the action. For example, let’s say that you’re tracking who is clicking on a CTA that says “contact us” while on your pricing page — and people that do tend to become customers faster than those who don’t click on that CTA. This could tell you that you might need to test out a more prominent design for that CTA, or experiment with putting that CTA on other parts of your website. 

If you are a HubSpot customer, here’s how to use the events app in HubSpot.

Events Example

What other marketing reports do you use to measure your team’s performance?

Reblogged 3 years ago from

5 Attributes of an Effective Lead Management Process


Inbound marketing is a powerful strategy. When we implement it for a company here at Imagine Business Development, we will typically see a 2 to 7 times increase in lead generation in the first year and a 5 to 10 times increase in future years.

A 2013 study identified generating high quality leads as the number one challenge for B2B marketers. It’s no surprise that Inbound Marketing, with it’s proven track record, is exploding in use. While Inbound Marketing will certainly increase the generation of quality leads, it will also generate more low-quality leads. 

In our experience, of the leads created by an effective Inbound Marketing approach between 50% and 90% of leads will never become qualified in any fashion.  This rate is highly dependent upon the industry you’re in, how clearly you’ve segmented your market and how effective your process and strategy is.

It’s important to note that generating low quality leads is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. For companies whose message (and offers) appeals to a broad marketplace, and yet whose actual products and services appeal to a small percentage of that market, will experience a fairly high low-quality lead percentage. 

At Imagine Business Development, for example, we typically run between a 12% and 16% quality lead rate (meaning as many as 88% of the leads we generate are low quality and never enter any type of nurturing or pipeline process).

While at first blush this seems bad (it certainly did to me), our lead velocity growth rate of qualified leads (which at the end of the day is what we care about) is actually quite healthy.

What’s interesting is that when generating leads is among your biggest barriers to growth, you tend not to consider what you have to do when your lead velocity increases. We see this everyday, as oftentimes our clients are initially stuck once the leads start to develop. As I shared in an earlier post, inbound leads don’t behave like traditional outbound leads, and must be handled differently.

As you embark upon, or enhance, your Inbound Marketing efforts the development of an effective lead management process is crucial to maximize the ROI of your lead generation efforts.

From our experience, here are the 5 attributes of an effective lead management process:

1) Clear Definitions for Each Stage of the Funnel

It is important that you clearly define each stage of your funnel. For purposes of illustration, I will highlight the minimal areas of classification and share with you a baseline definition:

  • Visits – we define a visit simply as a unique visitor to our website. We have clients that weave in offline measurements (like trade show visits, ad impressions, etc.) to this metric.  The point here is that there’s no right or wrong definition, so long as there is a clear one.
  • Lead – we consider a lead simply a lead.  There’s no qualification.  The measurement we use for this is names that are added to our database. This could either be the result of someone downloading something online, leaving a business card at a trade show, a referral, etc.  An important point here is we measure leads as individuals, not companies.
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) – these are companies that have identified themselves as being more engaged, have the pain that you solve, and meet initial criteria that indicate they could be a fit.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – these are companies who not only have the pain we solve, but meet a deeper fit analysis that indicates a potential match. Additionally, these are companies where we’ve connected with the proper authority level, they demonstrate a defined need/pain and are open to conversation.

In our programs we define categories within each level of the funnel and provide a more detailed explanation that ensures a single definition that is understood and followed by all.

2) Clearly Articulated High Probability Indicators (HPI)

Spend the time before prospecting to identify the HPI that connect to the 3-5 causes that lead a prospect to buy from you. From there, you can build your story, challenge their thinking and create a stronger impression that will lead to action.

Clear HPIs provide focus for your marketing and sales efforts, which allow for greater alignment and more effective action.

3) Lead Triage or Lead Scoring Process

I’ve written much about lead triage vs. lead scoring (and for those that don’t want to read that post, only a small percentage of companies should actually be doing lead scoring, most should be doing triage).  For purposes of space, I won’t repeat all that I’ve written here.

Suffice it to say that a clear process for assessing both the company and the contact needs to be in place.

4) Service Level Agreement (SLA) Between Marketing, Sales (and if Necessary, Sales Development)

An effective service level agreement, at a minimum, meets three criteria

  1. Provide clear definitions for each stage of the funnel (as mentioned in the first point).
  2. Clearly lays out the protocols of who (marketing, sales development, sales) does what (connect, email, call, voice mail) when and how often.
  3. Lays out clear targets and measurements that will be used to assess progress and create accountability.

SLAs can certainly be deeper than these three criteria, and for those more advanced or looking to scale bigger and faster it certainly should be.  However, if you don’t have an SLA (and the majority of companies with marketing budgets under $1 million don’t), start with these three criteria and evolve from there.

5) A Defined Nurturing Process

The power of building out a full funnel is that it builds predictability and scalability into your growth efforts. The frustrating part is that just because someone is a “qualified lead” doesn’t mean that they’re ready to buy or talk to a salesperson. According to Gleanster Research, that applies to 50% of your qualified leads, and I’ve seen stats that indicate it could be as high as 80%.


  • Leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities (source: DemandGen)
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost (source: Forrester Research)

The bottom line is that effective nurturing is a requirement if you want to see the returns from your marketing and lead generation investments.

Want to learn more about lead management? Download our guide on how to effectively manage inbound leads.


Reblogged 3 years ago from