The landscape in which we as life science marketers are working is becoming more and more complex. The number of marketing tools available is increasing rapidly with no sign of slowing down.
One might think that marketing technology and communication channels will make marketers more effective, but that this isn’t automatically the case.
The marketing-tactic landscape is changing so rapidly that there often isn't enough time to assimilate the changes before it changes again. Simultaneously, the amount of content being produced is also increasing, resulting in a large increase in noise.
Disappointing lead-conversion rates
A September 2016 survey by Hubspot3 asked B2B companies what their top marketing priorities were over the next 12 months. Seventy-four per cent reported that converting leads to customers was the top priority. Driving lead conversion remains essential to businesses.
The same survey found that the average lead-to-customer conversion rate is below 20%, which means that over 80% of leads aren't of sufficient quality to convert. That’s an enormous attrition rate. It’s not surprising that sales reps are complaining that they're faced with far more, lower quality leads than ever before.
What are the implications for the sales funnel? Here’s an example based on average conversion rates for life science products. In Viveo's experience, life science products typically have a lead-to-sales conversion rate of between 10% and 20%. Let’s assume that you need to sell 100 units. With these typical conversion rates you would need to contact over 300,000 prospective buyers, a very large number that's extremely difficult to achieve.
Improving lead-conversion rates benefits sales and marketing
Let's look at the impact of improving lead conversion from 20% to 30%.
For simplicity, let’s keep all other conversion rates the same. Now the number of contacts needed at the top of the funnel has decreased by one third to just over 200,000. This is an oversimplification to demonstrate a point —Improving your marketing in a way that increases your lead-to-sales conversion ratio is also likely to positively affect conversion rates at other stages of the sales funnel. And while the average life science marketing campaign might only achieve a lead-to-sales conversion rate of between 10% and 20%, it is possible to achieve rates of approximately 30%.
Improve lead quality with strategic content
Rather than focusing on the latest marketing technology or social media channel and producing more content that isn't strategically optimized, we recommend that marketing teams first concentrate on creating compelling campaigns that revolve around solving the customer’s unmet need.
Once marketing teams have insight into the real need that their products solve, ie, the value proposition, they can formulate a compelling message and communicate it through engaging content at each stage of the customer purchase journey.
An excellent framework to design the message and the accompanying content is Hamid Ghanadan’s content-centric model for life science and healthcare marketing4.
Hamid discusses 3 classes of content, each one intended to resonate with the audience at the appropriate point in the audiences’ decision journey.
The first is leadership content — to make prospective customers curious so that they recognise that they have a need.
The second is educational content, which is aimed at helping the scientist explore that need and begin to formulate a hypothesis as to how they might satisfy the need.
And the final class of content is persuasive content, which will help the customer to validate their hypothesis and be persuaded by your product’s value proposition.
Creating strategic content
After planning your content matrix, the next step is to select the relevant channel to use to distribute the content. The choice of channel will reflect the type of content you want to use at each stage in the purchase journey.
We’ve summarized the type of content that’s best suited for each stage based on our experience at Viveo. The information is not presented as hard and fast rules. At the top of the content matrix are the stages that the customers travel through the purchase journey. The left side lists the activities that customers execute at each stage of the journey. This infographic is available for download.
Content that's optimized for each point in the decision-making process will:
Taking a step back and getting the basics right, like developing a message that matters to customers together with a strong content delivery strategy, will boost lead quality. Why? Because you’re providing customers with the information they need when they need it.
Is your content currently aligned with the customer journey and is it generating the quality leads that you need?
Marina Hop is the Managing Director at Viveo Ltd. Viveo helps Bioscience companies companies to understand their customers more intimately so that they are able to deliver effective marketing that improves revenue. Before Viveo, she served as a Brand and Customer Insight Director at Horizon Discovery and as a Strategic Marketing Manager at GE Healthcare.