“We generate leads, but sales do not follow them up!”
“Marketing gives us leads that are not qualified!”
Sound familiar? We too experienced this misalignment of sales and marketing and decided to investigate. We arranged a sales and marketing meeting and analysed our sales calls. We found that when sales were following up on the leads that marketing provided they would often hear ‘we are not ready’ or ‘we don’t have budget’. These leads were often ruled out as poor quality, however they may have been legitimate buyers but they were just not ‘sales ready’.
When sales engaged they were still at the researching stage and were not ready for a ‘sales pitch’ yet. We learnt that our customers are almost half way through their sales cycle before they are ready to engage with sales. Although our sales cycle can be quite short the sales cycle for the buyer begins before we become aware of it. There was an invisible pipeline that we were not managing.
Sales were spending a lot of time drip feeding leads with relevant content which meant that they were spending time on leads that were not ‘hot enough’ instead of focusing on deals that would have a higher conversion rate. The manual nature of this process was an administrative burden. It also meant that we could not track the effectiveness of our content, meaning it was hard to determine the value from our content marketing strategy.
We needed to work out how to manage our invisible pipeline and required a way of nurturing our leads from initial interest through to the point that they were ‘sales ready’ and beyond.
The answer turned out to be a simple one; we integrated a marketing automation tool with our CRM. This enabled us to:
Deliver relevant content
We can now deliver content that is relevant to our buyers at their particular stage of the buying cycle. They are provided with the content that they find useful so our prospects are happier.
Nurture our leads
We can nurture our leads with drip campaign emails, landing pages and content and track them through their buying cycle.
Get a holistic view of our leads
We are now able to see how our leads engage with our content and what their interests are. Sales can tailor their follow up approach improving their conversion rate.
We can look into our analytics to determine the effectiveness of our content. We can now make changes to our marketing strategy to improve our lead generation activities.
Determine campaign ROI
Closed loop reporting allows us to track a closed deal all the way back to the campaign it originated from.
Score and grade our leads
Marketing automation allows us to score and grade our leads. We can now track lead behaviours and only engage when the leads are ‘sales ready’. There is also now a consistent definition of what a lead is ready for sales to engage.
Save time and overheads
Marketing is increasingly process driven and the integration has saved a lot of manual administration tasks. Marketing can spend more time on creating new leads and sales can spend more time on converting these leads.