Marketers Mastering the Sales Funnel
Sales and marketing are intrinsically linked. It is a balanced relationship that requires both sides to maintain that balance. That said, marketing needs to be fully integrated in the sales process, and should understand that their responsibility is to fully support the sales funnel – every, single, step of the way. For better or worse; ’til death to we part. Get the picture? Marketing needs to LOVE sales.
Our philosophy on the sales funnel is very simple and is broken into three different stages – Leads, Prospects and Customers.
Stage 1 is where marketing takes the lead with branding initiatives, PR, the overall website strategy, advertising, content marketing, etc. in order to generate leads. Although marketing owns this stage, it relies heavily on sales for insights and collaboration. Sales is the front line, so communication about industry trends and customer hot buttons is necessary.
The transition between a lead to a prospect requires meticulous planning and strategy on how best to convert the gathered leads into ultimate customers. This stage is where technology comes heavily into play – both in lead nurturing as well as customer insights.
Automated lead nurturing should be generated based on insights from the website or other marketing streams. If customer X is interested in product A, targeted marketing should be sent regarding that specific product, not product B. Typical timing of the lead nurturing is the following, but definitely varies on the industry, demographic and documented sales cycle.
Lead Conversion – Lead converts by filling out a web form, attending a tradeshow, viewing a webinar, etc.
Lead Nurture 1 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 3 days after conversion
Lead Nurture 2 – Call from inside sales speaking to the hot button seen from the conversion
Lead Nurture 3 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 10 days after conversion
Lead Nurture 4 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 17 days after conversion
Lead Nurture 5 – Direct mail is delivered 21 days after conversion
Lead Nurture 6 – Call from inside sales speaking to the hot button seen from the conversion and subsequent lead nurturing
Lead Nurture 7 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 28 days after conversion
Lead Nurture 8 – Email requesting some sort of sales step – a meeting, demo, etc.
Lead Nurture 9 – Call from inside sales speaking to the request of some sort of sales step – a meeting, demo, etc.
Of course, many leads will jump out of this system by jumping to stage 2 and 3, but for those who don’t this system is necessary. 50-80% of all new business is developed after the fifth, sixth and even seventh touch or contact.
Stage 2 is when a lead turns into a prospect and sales now takes the ball from marketing to convert this qualified prospect into a bonafide customer. But marketing’s job is far from over. During this stage marketing is providing support to the sales staff in the form of collateral, case studies, white papers, webinars, proposals, etc. Sales knows what is needed to close that sale and marketing needs to be there to help make that happen.
When you reach Stage 3, you have a new customer! Wooo hoooo!!! But a marketers work is still not through. Continued efforts need to be made to make that customer a repeat customer and to have them spread the word about how awesome your company is. Social media, continued email campaigns, PR and branding efforts should all take place, but you also need to show them some additional love. Client appreciation events, holiday cards, charity dinners where only customers and their friends are invited, even treats around the holidays are needed. Remember, keeping a customer is far less expensive then getting new ones, so love the one you’re with.
If you would like help with strategically implementing marketing into your sales funnel or simply executing against it, give us a shout!