In the b2b world of long sales cycles involving multiple decision-makers and influencers, sales funnel leakage is one of the most challenging issues Sales and Marketing face. It occurs when Marketing Qualified Leads are passed to Sales but do not actively enter the sales cycle, and as a result, fall out of the funnel. Why should reducing funnel leakage be a top priority for organizations? According to DemandGen Report, 80% of un-worked leads – those not worked by your sales team for various reasons - will buy from someone over the next two years. Plugging leaks in your sales funnel can prevent you from losing un-worked leads to your competitors and significantly impact your bottom line. Below are 5 ways marketing automation can enable you to prevent sales funnel leakage:
- Create a lead scoring model to enable Sales to automatically prioritize leads. Lead Scoring models help your sales team prioritize leads that are ready for action. The total lead score is comprised of both a fit and interest score, and leads are automatically passed to sales once they reach a certain score. The key to creating a successful lead scoring model is getting Sales and Marketing to agree on what constitutes a qualified lead. According to a SiriusDecisions report, about 80% of leads are not followed up by on by Sales. This is probably because of a disconnect between Marketing and Sales.
- Use sales alerts to respond to high-scoring leads at the right time with the right message. Connecting with today’s crazy-busy buyer is incredibly difficult. If you are lucky enough to get them on the phone, you have about a 5-second window to say something valuable before you’re dismissed. Marketing automation provides your sales team with real-time sales alerts tracking when prospects enter your website and what pages they view – giving sales reps the ability to have a relevant conversation at the moment the prospect is focusing on you.
- Develop a lead nurturing process to engage decision-makers. According to a survey by American Business Media, 78% of business decision-makers say they are spending less time with sales representatives. Before scheduling a meeting, they want relevant information delivered to them. Content should be objective, personalized, and delivered in a simple, clean format. Each touch-point should provide more information and value than the last preparing them for the initial meeting with a sales rep.
- Close the loop between the sales and marketing process with tight CRM integration. In the long b2b sales cycle, circumstances, such as budget, role or need, are constantly changing. A lead that was initially qualified may become unqualified or not sales-ready. These leads should be passed back to marketing for continued nurturing. Tightly integrated CRM and marketing automation platforms, enable sales reps to enter those leads into a marketing-driven lead nurturing campaign directly from their contact records. Leads will continued to be nurtured by marketing until they are sales-ready – and when passed back to Sales, your company will be top of mind.
- Track your results and revise your process. Building a solid process to utilize your marketing automation solution to its fullest potential is a work in progress. You should constantly track and evaluate your results. Are there bottlenecks in your sales funnel? Does your lead nurturing process fizzle at a certain touch-point? Is your lead scoring model aligned with what Sales considers a truly qualified lead? Tracking your results and revising your process accordingly is critical to creating an effective sales funnel.
Plugging the leaks in your sales funnel can lower your cost of doing business and significantly increase deals closed per sales rep. Marketing automation enables you to plug those leaks and keep your hard-earned leads’ eyes on you throughout the sales cycle.