Red Points gets a 38 million dollar investment. 5 marketing lessons we’ve learnedApr 7, 2019 - Marcel Odena
Red Points has secured an investment round worth 38 million dollars. Various media outlets have published the acquisition, from from Red Points’ own press page to the prestigious TechCrunch. This is pretty big news in the industry because it isn’t easy for a start-up to reach such great heights.
Red Points protects online brands against the loss of income caused by counterfeit goods. These days, the rise of online shopping has seen the number of fake products sold online grow exponentially. What Red Points does is search the internet for products that could be fake, by evaluating all types of listings through its in-built technology. If a product is a fake, the program initiates an action to prevent it from being sold on the internet. You can see the fine details of how it works on the Red Points product page.
5 Marketing lessons we’ve learned from Red Points
From the beginning, Magnetica Advertising has been helping the Red Points marketing team in all aspects of demand generation by developing lead capture strategies based on Pay Per Click Advertising. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. We will share some of these with you to inspire you to understand your business better and take appropriate action.
1) It’s not enough to generate thousands of leads; we must also contribute towards building a sales pipeline.
Companies that want rapid growth know they need to implement demand generation programs. Although word-of-mouth marketing may be useful, it doesn’t create the necessary business each month to sustain our desired growth. All this leads us to come to a simple conclusion: we have to get qualified leads!
The lesson here is that generating thousands of leads is the means rather than the ends. The idea is to generate business (sales pipeline as it’s called in the industry) through generated leads, which means signed contracts with new clients that increase the company’s monthly turnover (Monthly Recurring Revenue – MRR).
Obtaining a large number of qualified leads every month isn’t easy, which is why many marketing teams focus on this objective. However, it’s crucial to remember that marketing has to help generate business for the company. Therefore, a good holistic strategy should have some campaigns aimed at generating leads and others aimed at progressing those leads through the funnel in order to build a sales pipeline. A good remarketing strategy is crucial to offer the user content that is specific to their stage in the sales funnel. Furthermore, it’s vital to have a marketing automation program: a lead scoring and lead nurturing system.
Marketing % of the MRR: this metric indicates the percentage of recurring business generated through marketing. Note that this metric doesn’t measure the number of leads, but rather it measures the volume of business generated each month. We could generate €5,000 of MRR per month with 1000 leads or with 600. The more efficient we are in converting leads into sales opportunities, the fewer leads we need to obtain. In other words, we’ll be able to generate much more business (pipe) with the same number of leads.
2) You have to choose a key metric that creates a sales pipeline and focuses on maximizing results
One method of using marketing to generate pipe is to analyze the marketing metrics we can control that are intrinsically related to sales. What almost always occurs before you make a sale? For SaaS companies such as Red Points, it’s common to give a product demonstration right before the sale. But be warned. You mustn’t take this for granted; I recommend you do a good analysis beforehand: Use Google Analytics to determine the activity of the users who’ve generated a sale within your Sales CRM (Salesforce provides detailed information) and your Marketing CRM (HubSpot provides a lot of tracking information regarding what a contact has done). You can do both a quantitative and qualitative analysis. Choose a number of different sales and delve into the details: take a look at the lead from which the sale was obtained; what behaviours the user exhibited; what content they downloaded; what pages of your website they saw; which “lead nurturing” emails worked best; and what actions they made on the web (requesting a demo, making contact, subscribing to your blog, etc.).
3) Campaigns must be optimized according to business metrics
It’s common to optimize campaigns in platforms such as Google Ads, Linkedin Ads, Facebook, and Twitter Ads based on the fundamental metrics of each platform: the number of leads, cost per lead, number of conversions, and cost per conversion. Such optimization isn’t sufficient, however, as it’s also necessary to optimize campaigns based on their results in terms of business generation.
Imagine if the marketing and sales team were a factory and an assembly line. First, marketing generates leads, so let’s imagine them filling a box full of a thousand leads. The box is then delivered to the Sales Department, who is the next stop on the “assembly line,” and whose objective is to generate business. The Sales Department starts working with the leads individually and discovers that some of these leads are useful and some are not. Those who aren’t are discarded because they’re not suitable to proceed with the sales process according to specific criteria.
The metric that measures whether a lead meets the quality criteria set by the sales team is called the “Sales Accepted Lead (SAL).” A SAL on the sales desk serves as a green light to start the sales process with that lead. The sales team can’t turn around and say the lead isn’t any good since it meets the previously determined criteria. This aspect is essential for there to be a productive workflow between the Marketing and Sales departments.
What usually happens is that in its drive to generate hundreds or thousands of leads, Marketing will focus on campaigns that generate more leads at a lower cost per lead — big mistake. Doing so would optimize campaigns that only care about maximizing leads; but what we really want to maximize our sales pipeline. Therefore, we must optimize our campaigns according to the number of SALs they generate and the cost of each SAL. It could well be that these campaigns are great at generating leads at a low price point. However, note that a low percentage of these will be Sales Accepted Leads (at a cost per SAL that is much higher than a campaign that has a lower cost per lead but a better cost per SAL). Therefore, that wouldn’t be such a good campaign in terms of expanding our sales pipeline.
What challenges can we expect to face when optimizing campaigns based on business metrics such as “SAL”? PPC platforms (Linkedin Ads, Google Ads, AdRoll, etc.) measure leads and conversions. The lead qualification is done in the lead management system within your Sales CRM. Therefore, it is necessary to link a SAL with the campaign from which it was obtained. This linkage has to be done for all your leads every month. There are considerable technical challenges here in terms of data analysis and lead traceability. And finally, we have to consider campaign management, since we’ve got to determine how good each campaign is at generating SALs (or other business metrics). Based on this information, we can take a look at whether we should hold off or stay active, pour more money into a campaign, or modify bids. We can also determine whether things like targeting and creatives have been modified.
4) It’s not possible to scale without a good system to track the origin of your leads
Everything in the previous point leads us to conclude that it’s complicated to scale up without a fine-tuned and reliable system to track the origin of your leads.
Imagine three great leads come in: they’re declared Sales Accepted Leads, they’re from qualified companies, they become sales opportunities, and two of them become sales (deals!). Someone will come straight up to marketing and go, “Hey, get more leads like those three; because you can, right?”
“You can, right?” isn’t asking if it will happen randomly. They’re asking marketing if they have detailed and specific information about the buyer journey of those three leads to be able to reproduce it again with a systematic approach. This means having:
- Acquisition channel: we want to know which channel we acquired the lead from. For example, was it content downloaded through advertising on Linkedin (source = LinkedIn, medium = CPC)? A content promoted via social media on Linkedin (source = LinkedIn, medium = social)? A Google organic search (source = Google, medium = organic)? Or Google Ads (source = Google, medium = CPC)?
- Winning Targeting: if it was through pay-per-click advertising, we want to know what campaign it came from so we can understand what targeting is generating the best leads and deals. We also want to know what ad it came from so we can work out what promoted content and banners work best.
- Channels of influence: once the lead has been acquired, that user will have participated in one or more other campaigns. Which campaigns were they? What channels have best influenced the user?
Reliably and accurately measuring the origin of a lead is complicated. Measuring the origin of multiple user interactions, however, is super-duper complicated. But measuring the origin of a lead and their subsequent activity is an ongoing challenge that must be overcome to have control over what happens to our leads and to generate more leads of a particular type.
If you are interested in more information on this topic, I recommend you read these articles:
- 10 Basic concepts for tracking the origin of your company’s sales
- How to measure the origin of yours leads in pay per click campaigns (PPC)
5) You have to create content that interests your audience
What does the user gain from reading the content you offer?
If there’s one thing I’ve seen during my time with Red Points, it’s that content that interests the user will generate more leads (right content, right audience). The content department has a fundamental hurdle to overcome: generating content that not only talks about the scope of company action, but that is also interesting to the user. A user is usually interested in content when they’re able to take something away from it. The content has to inform, train, and educate the user about something they’re interested in.
To help you classify content, let’s divide it into the three stages of the funnel:
- TOFU content (Top of the FUnnel): The theme may be related to what you sell but isn’t necessarily the focus, which is usually an area of interest to the user.
- MOFU content (Middle Of the FUnnel): The focus begins to shift onto your product, and could be a product guide, how to get better results with tools such as your product, etc.
- BOFU content (Bottom Of the FUnnel): The focus is on demonstrating the benefits of your product, its qualities, etc. Success stories usually result from good content in this phase.
The contents that generate most interest are usually those that fall in the “TOFU” phase. Why? Because they talk very little about your product and a lot about what the user is interested in, what they are worried about, what they want to achieve.
With “TOFU” contents we can get more leads than with MOFU and BOFU contents. That is why it is so important to have a strategy to get the user to progress in the funnel.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Red Points team for trusting in Magnetica. A year of life in a startup is like 7 years in a conventional company, everything goes so fast, the changes happen at a dizzying pace, the objectives change very fast. And the same goes for talent, which comes and goes, each one leaving its mark on the company. Red Points has been forged with the sum of a lot of talent and continues to be forged with great talent. A lot of talent with which I had the privilege to make this journey together, learning from many people. You are probably one of them, for this I want to thank you.