Please only read this if you are B2B organization with a long sales cycle and you want to build a sound strategy to empower yourself to make the expected revenue for your organization.
Over 25 percent of sales cycles take seven months or longer to close. That’s why it’s important for marketers and salespeople alike to start thinking about the health of their sales cycle. Because the longer your sales cycle, the longer it takes to bring in revenue. Fortunately, tools like marketing automation can automate many of the marketing and sales tasks that slow your teams down.
And with more time on their hands, marketing can focus on sourcing and nurturing the right leads, and sales can concentrate on closing deals. This article will cover all of the ways that marketing automation can help accelerate your sales pipeline, including:
- How an efficient lead management process can improve sales and marketing alignment, positively impacting the pace of your sales cycle.
- How you can continue to build relationships throughout the length of your sales cycle with lead nurturing and automated follow-up.
- How you can diagnose the health of your sales funnel with vastly improved reporting and analytics.
- A look at how you can bring in and retain the types of customers you want with marketing automation.
- Save time with automated lead qualification.
Blended lead scoring and grading ensure that only the most qualified leads get passed on to sales (a lead score measures the amount of interest that a prospect has shown in your company while a lead grade determines how good of a fit they are for your product or service). Using both a score and a grade helps marketing and sales teams find common ground when it comes to defining a qualified lead. Companies throw away huge portions of their marketing budgets generating and qualifying leads that will never buy. If you’re operating under a tight budget, like many marketers, putting your dollars where they can make the most impact is essential to business success.
- Save even more time with automated lead assignment.
Blended lead scoring and grading also make it easier for leads to be assigned once they’ve reached a threshold score and grade, keeping sales from wasting time on leads who aren’t good matches for their product. This can be a huge timesaver for both marketing and sales — marketing doesn’t waste time feeding sales low-quality leads, and sales only follows up with the leads who are more likely to close. By focusing on the quality of leads, rather than the quantity, you can invest your time and resources in the leads that are more likely to move all the way through the sales funnel.
- Take advantage of detailed prospect tracking.
Marketing automation’s scoring and grading capabilities are powered by detailed prospect tracking and analytics, which provide the prospect activity data needed to fine-tune your lead qualification process. With marketing automation, your prospect’s location in the sales cycle is never a mystery. Real-time alerts delivered straight to your sales reps’ desktops or phones give them detailed information about which types of content their prospects have engaged with, what actions they’ve been taking on your website, and what their interests and pain points might be.
- Build 1:1 relationships with your prospects.
Accelerating your funnel isn’t just about better lead qualification and assignment. It’s also about continuing to build relationships with your prospects throughout the length of the sales cycle — without all of the manual work that relationship-building normally requires. With the ability to automate 1:1 communications and tedious follow-ups, your sales reps can move prospects through the sales cycle with minimal time and effort.
- Nurture leads actively participating in the research process.
According to marketing consulting firms from the State of Demand Generation study, 77 percent of buyers want different content at each stage of their research. Using lead nurturing, sales and marketing teams can cater to these preferences by “dripping” appropriate content depending on where they are in the sales cycle. Content can then be adjusted accordingly based on prospect responses. When buyers have completed their research and start reaching out to sales reps, they’ll already be educated, meaning that sales won’t have to waste time guessing at their pain points and needs.
- Have your sales team automate their follow-ups.
When follow-up isn’t automated, it can be easy to forget. While your sales and marketing teams may recognize the importance of a prompt follow-up when trying to close deals, they’re often too busy to make it a priority. Instead of wasting time covering their tracks and rebuilding relationships, they could be using marketing automation to define appropriate follow-ups for specific situations. These messages can then be automated and personalized so that sales reps get regular touch points with each of their prospects, reducing time spent on manual tasks and freeing them up to focus on closing deals.
At Flawless Inbound, we are helping B2B organizations in the IT, MSP, SaaS, Healthcare and Manufacturing markets with their sales process. We would love to hear from you.