Friday, June 18, 2010

Can Marketing Accelerate the Sales Pipeline?

By Sally Lowery, Director of Demand Generation, Bronto Software

As a demand generation marketer (aka revenue marketer), I’m met with the challenge of not just thinking about the world in number of leads created. Marketing’s role, at our organization, spans all the way through the active sales pipeline…and I don’t just mean trending how many leads convert to sales.

I’m talking an active role in the sales pipeline. Now you may be saying to yourself, “I’m a marketer, my role stops at the top of the funnel”. However, how can a sales and marketing organization truly have a collaborative environment if they have misaligned goals?

Or, you may be asking yourself, “Can marketing really accelerate the sales pipeline”? The answer is yes. A demand generation marketer’s role doesn’t stop at the demand for the lead, but in aiding the sales team with an arsenal of tools to drive urgency and win deals. I will say our own journey has not been an easy one, and we certainly haven’t figured out the perfect sauce, but by having the willingness to share in the responsibility of the sales pipeline, we create a team that is striving towards the same goal.

If you too are considering taking your demand generation beyond the qualified lead, consider these strategic tactics:

  • Marketing automation can play a role. Keep in mind, I said a role.  Deals win by tuning into your prospects needs and business objectives. This cannot happen through marketing automation. This is a relationship that is created and sustained by your sales organization. However, you can craft campaigns that reinforce your brand and engage your prospects based on their stage in the sales cycle. For your organization, a sales opportunity may initially have a “learn” stage that allows you to communicate the content and resources available to reinforce your value proposition. This can happen before a sales call is even made on behalf of the sales person, or perhaps triggers several days after the initial discovery conversation.
  • Consider integrated marketing campaigns. A well executed, collaborative sales and marketing campaign can make a significant impact on your prospects and create a compelling argument for your products or services. It takes some give and take to make this successful. Our marketing department loves making every piece of content creatively engaging. However, if you are a sales person sending a targeted message, simple text is just fine. We love our “marketing speak”. Sales doesn’t find that is an effective strategy. Why? Because it’s a different stage that requires a different conversation. We as marketer’s have to be willing to listen to what works during the sales cycle and use that intelligence to craft a relevant message that the sales organization will have “buy in”. At the end of the day, if you are creating campaigns that aren’t ever going to be used by your sales team, then you are wasting energy and resources. Listen, learn, you will be surprised at the insight you gain. Determine where you can impact the sales pipeline with a strategic campaign executed by the sales team. Perhaps, at 120 days out, you can create a convincing series of touches that drives urgency.
  • Test, trend, track. Just because it’s in the sales pipeline, doesn’t mean that you can’t trend the impact each campaign has, whether integrated or automated. Establish goals, set milestones and don’t be afraid to test. Not every component, just as any marketing campaign, is going to be a winner. As long as you’ve set expectations for the sales organization, that not all will close deals instantly, you will be okay. Really.

At the end of the day, we need to become revenue marketers focused on the sales pipeline. Instead of just calculating ROI (return on investment), why not take an active role in impacting that bottom line? It will create a more cohesive sales and marketing team focused on the same goal, not spending all of their time trying to throw one another under the bus.

Sally Lowery is the Director of Demand Generation at email service provider Bronto Software. In her role, she manages tactical and strategic lead acquisition, multi-channel marketing, marketing automation and the integration of marketing concepts. Sally has over 11 years of extensive experience in traditional and online marketing in both the BtoB and BtoC space.

4 comments:

玫友 said...

恨一個人,比原諒一個人,更傷力氣。..................................................................

Kevin said...

Hi Sally! I agree that there is a direct link between the marketing and sales pipelines. As such, it is vital for marketers to make targeted efforts that will secure contractor leads. It's important to see the trending and possible effects to the other departments of the company. Definitely, impacting the bottom line like revenue and profit should be a priority of most demand marketers.

HOW -2 DO said...

Thanks

Rashida Panxpan said...

Very valuable strategies shared here indeed. I'm eager to take my business demand beyond the qualified lead, and looking forward to consider these tactics. If you've struggled to manage your sales prospects, take a look at this analytics software (sales pipeline module from PanXpan). It helps you research and share your sales prospects with your team.