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February 16, 2022

Why Do My Leads Suck? 5 Benefits of an Agile Marketing Methodology

By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist, and Lauren Lyon, Senior Analyst and Research Writer

In our “Why Do My Leads Suck?” series, we’ve covered a few different ways to address the quality of your leads: aligning your marketing and sales teams, changing how you define “good” and “bad” leads, and making your lead nurturing process engaging and educational to help you attract leads that are a better fit for your business.

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However you decide to address the quality of your leads, it’s important to remember that this isn’t an overnight process. Building processes that reliably and sustainably generate qualified leads takes time and requires testing, learning, and refining.

No marketing methodology encompasses this process of testing and learning better than agile marketing. In the final installment of our series, we’ll teach you the basics of an agile marketing methodology and show you how you can apply those principles to your mission of generating better leads.

What is an agile marketing methodology?

Agile marketing prioritizes data-driven decisions, shorter production cycles, and continual improvement over launching full-scale campaigns. Agile marketers continually test, collect data, and refine their marketing strategies. 

As a methodology, agile workflows originated in software development but has become popular in other disciplines. In 2021, 51% of marketing teams used agile marketing (up from 41% in 2020), and it has strong results for those teams. Agile marketing teams report greater efficiency, effectiveness, and management value than their non-agile counterparts.1 

The principles of agile marketing include:

  • Testing and iteration: Traditional marketing campaigns are built upfront, with the messaging, content, and design elements all created before the campaign is launched. Agile marketing is built on smaller sprints — usually a week or two long — that include limited releases and heavy testing and analysis. Each sprint is an opportunity to test and refine your messaging depending on its performance. It’s a fast and flexible approach to marketing.
  • Focus on small, impactful changes: Agile marketers focus their energy on small changes with big impacts on outcomes. For example, if a gated content landing page has a low conversion rate, agile marketers don’t scrap the entire thing and start over. They might include fewer fields in the form, tweak the copy to make it easier to skim, and revise the H1 (the title header) to better communicate the benefit of downloading that content. Then, they test the landing page for a week and see how it performs. It’s much easier to see how the changes you’re making affect conversion rates when making small, incremental changes than when you’re changing everything at once.
  • Data-driven decision making: Agile marketing is data-driven in every way. Agile teams know which key performance indicators (KPIs) point toward conversion, and they use that data from each sprint to make decisions when planning the next one. Data isn’t just used to determine if a completed sprint was successful — agile teams use it to inform all of their decisions and determine where to focus their energy.
  • Collaboration: Agile marketing teams collaborate extensively instead of working in individual siloes. Each person on a marketing team brings their own unique skill set, but they work together to plan each sprint and optimize their campaigns. Agile marketing also requires collaboration with your counterparts on the sales team to ensure you’re taking advantage of the unique data and knowledge they have about your leads and customers. The better aligned marketing and sales are, the more successful your marketing efforts will be; software company Marketo found that aligned organizations had 67% higher conversion rates and their leads generated over 209% more revenue.2
  • Focus on outcomes over outputs: This may be the most critical aspect of agile marketing. Traditional marketing tends to overemphasize activities and outputs. Planning traditional campaigns is typically centered around generating a lot of assets and planning activities, like posting to social media and blogging a certain number of times a week. This kind of planning uses up a lot of valuable time, and it’s all done before the team has any opportunities to learn whether their messaging is going to resonate with buyers or not. 

Agile marketing is about being fast and flexible in the pursuit of your goals. Ultimately, the word count of your blogs and the length of your content offers don’t matter if they aren’t leading people toward conversion. The purpose an agile marketing methodology is to find the messaging that attracts qualified leads and chase it down with every marketing activity your team executes. For your agile team to succeed, you have to focus on that outcome and not on completing a certain number or type of activity. Agile teams follow the data to find what works and improve upon it.

How to improve lead quality with agile marketing

You don’t have to completely rehaul your sales and marketing processes all at once to improve the quality of the leads you’re attracting. An agile marketing methodology helps you breaks big tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces and constantly evaluate whether or not you’re moving the needle towards your goals.

You can approach everything you’ve learned in this series with an agile mindset. You don’t need perfect synergy between your sales and marketing teams right away — you just need to get them talking. You don’t need an extensive automated lead nurturing process for every ideal customer profile in all of the industries you serve by tomorrow — you start with figuring out what’s attractive to leads at each stage in the funnel and testing whether you’re right.

Implementing an agile marketing methodology will help your team spend less time on tactics that aren’t working and focus their attention on consistent improvement. Your efforts will build up over time, and you’ll have data showing that you're generating better leads and getting closer to meeting your marketing and sales goals with every sprint.

Learn how Ironpaper can help you improve your lead generation strategy.

Sources:

1Agile Sherpas, 4th Annual State of Agile Marketing Report, 2022

2Marketo, How Sales-Marketing Alignment Results in Better Lead Nurturing

Atlassian, What is Agile Marketing: From Buzzword to Best-in-Class Way of Working

Agile Sherpas, What is Agile Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

B2B Marketing Alliance, How do you know your agile marketing is effective?, November 2, 2021

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