As a B2B outsourced sales company and B2B sales marketing company we have watched the typical sales cycle go through some radical gyrations over the past year. In some cases your buyers are now buying more quickly as they reach out just in time to make a decision after budget is approved, as they are quickly shortlisting and making a decision in less than 60 days. About 20% of your buyers (according to Sirius Decisions and what we have seen from our Marketing Automation Platform) are reaching out and essentially placing an order for smaller transactions. There are still buyers buying via relationships and you also have buyers that are taking a much longer time to research and explore their options prior to the making a decision and this extends the sales cycle. Bottom Line you have buyers that are now buying in a much less predictable and much more fractured way. This means you need to have a strong cold calling, strong inbound and strong content marketing program in place or you will lose between 10%-20% of the revenue you used to take for granted to a competitor that is selling to that particular buyer the way that buyer wants to buy. Below is a quick overview of the shortest path to meeting the needs of this now fractured market.
Marketing Automation Implementation
From our perspective as a B2B outsourced sales and B2B Sales Company the first step in being able to address these new challenges we all face is to strongly consider a Marketing Automation Software. A marketing automation solution brings significant advantages in terms of increasing the productivity of your sales demand generation across a wide variety of buying cycles. Marketer can now generate, score and nurture leads to a level that was not possible just a few years ago and in some cases for smaller businesses we are able to help implement solutions with some of our proprietary tools that allows you to eliminate marketing as a function and put these demand generation tools into the hands of your sales reps for decreased costs and increased productivity.
In fact the number one reason we have seen companies fail to convert these breakthrough technologies into success is because they are not letting sales professionals drive the implementation of the solution. The reason that many companies fail to exploit their demand generation success is that they fail to implement the key events of a sales persons proven sales process into their demand generation process.
Probably the biggest efficiency gain you can get from a marketing automation tool is its ability to score leads so your sales reps are focusing their phone time on the buyers most likely to buy. The lead scoring and nurturing features of these tools ensure that your company can manage the top of the funnel through to marketing qualified leads (MQL) with limited interaction with the sales reps. Marketing Automation Software allows you to observe and score the content your prospects are digesting online and in email follow ups. Once a lead has indicated (through the way they have navigated your content and digested information) that they are ready to buy your lead generation reps can prioritize that lead and take them through the final qualification steps with some human contact to move them to a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and into the pipeline.
Dedicated Demand Gen Team
The key to achieving a process that puts more Sales Qualified Leads into your sales reps pipe is to create a dedicated team that takes the MQLs and converts them to SQLs. Many companies try to short cycle this by having the sales teams do this job. This does lead to pipeline and closed business this quarter but this has a cost to the long term value of your pipe. You will land the 20% that are buying quickly but what happens to the rest of your revenue? It goes away and the reason for this is simple; sales people will take the shortest route to solving their needs and will cherry pick the good leads and leave the others. Why spend thousands on demand generation programs, only to have your company waste the investment, due to lack of rigor?
If you would like to learn more about how a sales marketing company can help you align your inbound and outbound efforts for a fatter pipe and more closed revenue please feel free to CONTACT US for a free initial strategy conversation.
If you are having cultural issues between sales and marketing we suggest you check out B to B Demand Generation Requires Sales and Marketing Alignment. You can also checkout our Free White Paper on 10 Tips and What to Avoid to Sell Smarter and Faster.