How Marketers are Tackling Sales Pipeline Ownership

How Marketers are Tackling Sales Pipeline Ownership

Pipeline marketing is the next evolutionary step marketers need to take to gain ownership of the pipeline and fuel revenue.

As business evolves, so does marketing. Lead generation is no longer enough.

Potential clients have so many touchpoints, marketing must evolve their strategies to provide their prospects with the solutions they need to convert to paying clients. For pipeline marketing to see success, sales and marketing needs to be aligned. This ensures the prospect, sales, and marketing are on the same page through the buyer’s journey.

This is where pipeline management becomes important. The core of delivering a lucrative pipeline strategy is for the marketing and sales team to have the same end goal: close the deal and get a good ROI on their resources and efforts. This means marketing must employ a tactical lead generation and management strategy to allow marketing initiatives to turn to revenue for the company.

What is Pipeline Marketing?

Pipeline marketing is more than just generating leads to make a sale. It enables marketers to take a more active role in the lead generation efforts to create revenue for the company. The goal is to connect both marketing and sales to make decisions based on a common goal.

Pipeline marketing concerns all channels and campaigns in a company’s lead generation strategy used to drive people down the pipeline and convert prospects into paying clients. Good campaigns' call to action and content assets should have an impact on a pipeline metric to increase ROI.
As a professional marketer, it’s important the content marketing your team creates reflects the goals and strategies you pursue in your pipeline marketing efforts. Your content should be interesting, knowledgeable, and relevant to your readers, pushing them to subscribe and come back for more. And when they are ready to engage, they will contact you. That’s when you can implement your conversion plan in your pipeline.
Focusing on pipeline marketing has become essential in marketers' lead generation strategies as bottom-of-the-funnel efforts get a lot of attention. Because the goal is gaining revenue, bottom-of-the-funnel efforts become more important rather than campaign diagnostics where the focus is at the top of the funnel.
This results-drive focus will drive marketers to look at all aspects of the company’s marketing efforts as opposed to micro points. This will ensure ROI and revenue targets are met and not missed. Understanding which part of the funnel does not yield results can help marketers refocus on what requires more resources and what strategies will deliver tactical execution.

The Alignment Between Sales and Marketing

A successful marketing pipeline needs both marketing and sales to work together. It should be noted that both activities of marketing and sales should lead to one thing: revenue for the company. Sales can only be effective with the help of marketing and marketing will only be relevant with sales.

According to Content Marketing Institute, the current disconnect between marketing and sales results in 60 to 70 percent of the content becoming useless because irrelevant content doesn't appeal to the brand’s target audience. More importantly, without having the same goals, sales chases after 79 percent of marketing leads that ultimately lead to nowhere because of failure to nurture consumer connections.

With pipeline management, it will be easier for both sales and marketing teams to achieve revenue goals as they both approach the buyer journey from lead generation to closing. Both teams, instead of looking at their own metrics can see the relevance or irrelevance of what they do and how their actions contribute to the overall goal of revenue generation for the company.

To help align both sales and marketing, here are a few key points that both teams should consider:

  • The target buyer and the buying process
  • The revenue process formed from a set of conversion points
  • Messaging crafted for revenue generation
  • Alignment of content to the overall strategy
  • The lead hand-off process from marketing to sales
  • Revenue service-level agreements between both teams
  • Optimization and feedback loops through revenue machine meetings, demand generation closed loop meetings, and sales enablement meetings

While it may require some work for both teams to align their strategies and assist each other at weak points, it should be noted that sales and marketing teams that work together have:

  • 36% higher customer retention rates
  • Achieved 38% higher sales win rates
  • 24% faster growth
  • 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period

Why Focus on Pipeline Marketing?

The marketing pipeline is a multi-stage, and multi-dimensional way of looking at the buyer’s journey, so a simple slide down the pipeline to revenue is not what happens when leads are generated. In every stage of the funnel, potential B2B clients can always exit if they feel it doesn’t suit their organization’s needs. Lack of nurturing, wrong messages, and even the wrong timing of content, can make prospects leave the funnel at any given time.

As with any good marketing, bringing in quality leads is the foundation of a good marketing pipeline. Many leads don’t make a sale. Leads that show initiative in buying and interest in your products and solutions are quality leads. But targeting these potential clients can only be possible if both sales and marketing comb through their data to see which leads qualify as quality leads. Data on lead qualification from sales gives marketing a perspective of quality leads. More importantly, this data gives marketers information on how to make decisions based on where the leads are in the pipeline and how to encourage prospects to move along.

There are different strategies marketing can employ to gain and retain qualified leads until they close. These strategies include inbound marketing, content marketing, lead nurturing, and growth hacking. Using these strategies from your sales funnel addresses different parts of the sales
pipeline.

Even if your pipeline is adverse, you can still make efforts to improve it by focusing on key areas to recover the health of your pipeline. These four
metrics determine the health of your pipeline and what you can do to enhance it:

  • Number of Deals in the Pipelines
  • Average Size of Deals
  • Average Percentage of Closed Deals
  • Average Time for Closing Deals

Marketers Tackling Ownership of the Sales Pipeline

Many companies are realizing the value of marketing and sales coming together as their revenue goals tie into pulling out qualified marketing leads and converting them to customers. Marketers that care for the performance of the company are involved in the sales processes, understanding the sales pipeline, and the steps needed to gain more in sales.

This doesn’t mean that marketing should take over sales. Rather, it means that marketing should take ownership and responsibility for the leads they generate and send through the sales pipeline. It helps marketing understand the sales processes and the steps needed to take to help them drive better results on their side of the pipeline.

Marketing teams who do want to take ownership of the sales pipeline should have a strategy to maximize their involvement in the sales process.

Some of the important strategies that marketers should consider include:

  1. Connect Viable Leads with Revenue Goals
    It all starts with the alignment of goals between the company and marketing. Marketing should be able to know the details of company targets to achieve revenue goal with questions like:
    a. How many closed deals does sales need to achieve that revenue goal?
    b. How many opportunities does the sales team need to reach the closed-deals goal?
    c. How many leads does marketing need to create those opportunities?
    d. How much traffic does the site need to attain that number of leads?
    e. What kind of marketing content is needed to drive that traffic to the site?
  2. Enable Sales and Marketing to Succeed
    Marketers should know the personas of closable leads and get them on board the customer journey. With this knowledge, marketing is setting up sales to succeed, which is what your ultimate goal is.
  3. Manage Customer Expectations
    An important aspect of getting the customer through the end of your pipeline is the customer itself. B2B buyers have expectations when they begin the buyer’s journey. Missing the mark in knowing who they are, what they want, how they want it, and when they want it could upset customers. They could be lost making it not possible to hand them off to sales to close them.
  4. Listen to Sales Calls
    One of the best ways to know a good customer persona is to listen to sales calls. You can then understand where in the pipeline your strategy isn’t working or where you lack content. Listening makes it easier for sales to give the right answers for leads to become customers.
  5. Bring Sales Into Marketing Strategy
    Collaboration should not be a one-way street. Sales should also be interested in marketing to get a picture of what they are going through and what their perspectives are. The partnership means that both need to understand goals and implementations to drive revenue.

Marketers have to be fully aware of the impact they have on the pipeline. Taking ownership of it means that your team is taking a step toward achieving your revenue targets as a team player with the sales team. The marketing pipeline induces this cooperative environment, and those that are aligned report an average increase of 32 percent in annual revenue growth. Take ownership of the pipeline and tackle revenue results.

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Marketers Tackling Ownership of the Sales Pipeline

Many companies are realizing the value of marketing and sales coming together as their revenue goals tie into pulling out qualified marketing leads and converting them to customers. Marketers that care for the performance of the company are involved in the sales processes, understanding the sales pipeline, and the steps needed to gain more in sales.

This doesn’t mean that marketing should take over sales. Rather, it means that marketing should take ownership and responsibility for the leads they generate and send through the sales pipeline. It helps marketing understand the sales processes and the steps needed to take to help them drive better results on their side of the pipeline.

Marketing teams who do want to take ownership of the sales pipeline should have a strategy to maximize their involvement in the sales process.

Some of the important strategies that marketers should consider include:

1. Connect Viable Leads with Revenue Goals

It all starts with the alignment of goals between the company and marketing. Marketing should be able to know the details of company targets to achieve revenue goal with questions like:

  • How many closed deals does sales need to achieve that revenue goal?
  • How many opportunities does the sales team need to reach the closed-deals goal?
  • How many leads does marketing need to create those opportunities?
  • How much traffic does the site need to attain that number of leads?
  • What kind of marketing content is needed to drive that traffic to the site?