Is Your Marketing and Sales Funnel Constipated?
You sense that something is not right. Your marketing performance lately has been a bit bloated. Leads are not flowing on a regular schedule. You—and Sales—are feeling the pain of less lead output. When you are really honest with yourself, this lead blockage has been going on for a while now. This could be the first telltale sign of a condition that can have a detrimental impact on your marketing vision, funnel, and thinking.
It could be time for a quick marketing health check.
When it comes to marketing, maintaining the status quo (MTSQ) is a condition that could be hurting your organization’s performance and revenue impact. There is often quite a bit of discomfort as your leads become impacted by a lack of regular lead nurturing and don’t travel down the funnel. They become stuck, and your lead conversion rates get weaker and weaker. MTSQ is a silent killer that can go unnoticed because of a healthy top of the funnel performance and outward appearance indicators such as high email open rates, social media followers, and trade show booth visitors. It affects millions of marketers each year and MTSQ can quickly escalate to a serious situation. Left untreated, it will wreak havoc on potentially healthy leads and cost many companies millions of dollars in lost revenue and productivity.
It’s time to get a Marketing Health Check for a True Diagnosis.
Here are four questions to ask yourself today as part of a quick marketing health check:
1. Do I suffer from operational blurred vision periodically?
Many marketers use outsourced call centers or telesales people year after year to help them qualify leads. While these resources are effective, their costs need to be audited and carefully managed—otherwise operational blurred vision can set in and create unproductive Sales and Marketing expenses. A few years ago, it may have taken three calls to reach a prospect. Now it may take up to eight calls to reach the same person. You either keep your telesales budget the same as last year and get less results or you have to significantly increase your budget to reach the same amount of prospects you did last year. Let’s face it, these days prospects want to increase online engagement time and reduce sales talk time. It is going to be even harder to reach those prospects via phone this year. Depending on your commitment to outsourced telesales we could be talking about millions of dollars. Worse yet, many companies have gone temporarily blind to lead qualification and are handing leads that are not “sales ready” directly to Sales. It could be time to clear your eyes and cut costs by focusing on additional ways to qualify and manage leads more effectively.
2. Does my funnel suffer from occasional constipation?
Don’t be ashamed. It happens to the best of us. Most marketers have an appetite for demand generation and have no problem stuffing names into the top of the funnel. In fact, many of us spend significant time and money feeding the top of our funnel through email, webinar, direct mail, trade show, social media, web, advertising, and other programs. However, for many of us, those top of the funnel names are not converting into sales ready leads as quickly as, or in the volume, we would like. They get stuck in the middle of our funnel. Depending on your lead volume, you could have millions—or tens or hundreds of millions—of dollars’ worth of leads stuck in limbo in the middle of the funnel. These are people who showed some level of interest at some time but were not sales ready. Most companies either hand off these leads directly to Sales or they try to run drip nurturing campaigns that do not use predictive analytics or personalized digital content. In either case, the results give Marketing, Sales, or Executive Management indigestion. Imagine converting 5, 10, or 15 percent of these into new sales opportunities. What would the incremental impact be on revenue?
3. Are leads running right through my funnel like water?
As we mentioned in Question 1, some marketers have gone temporarily blind to lead generation, so leads that are not “sales ready” are pouring out of the funnel to Sales at a sickening pace. This is another possible outcome of the MTSQ condition. This causes a lot of pain and mess for everyone. Eventually Sales disengages and stops accepting and following up on the leads. Sales doesn’t trust the leads—or Marketing—and focus their time generating and qualifying their own leads. An expensive proposition. Marketing become frustrated as it feels that it is spending a significant amount of time and money providing Sales with leads that are not being followed up. All of those leads end up in limbo. Poor sales and marketing alignment occurs. It is very unhealthy for all involved.
4. Does my head go numb as I try to wrap it around my target audience behaviors?
Overwhelming research across a broad range of industries indicates that most prospects conduct at least 60% of the buying process online. Yet many marketers are not as in touch with their prospects as they could be—choosing non-digital channels for most of their prospect engagement and lead qualification—remember the outsourced telesales team? Think how you would go about a major purchase. Chances are you would visit webpages, download fact sheets or documents, read what others had to say about the product, look at a demo, etc.—all before you would want to speak to anyone.
So, how did you do? If you answered “Yes” to any of the four marketing health check questions, I suggest that you consult with a marketing professional such as MarketBridge immediately. A significant amount of performance and revenue damage may have already occurred. For most, the remedy could simply be a shot of Digital Lead Nurturing. In an effective treatment program, marketers should start seeing results in as early as two months.
For others, turning to an outsourced firm can be a hard pill to swallow. I understand. I have been in your shoes. You want to figure it out for yourself. However, I will tell you that there literally could be millions of dollars at stake—in cost savings and incremental revenue—so I ask you to consider trusting an adviser who will apply best practices and save you time ramping up.
To be effective, lead nurturing must be driven by accurate, predictive data and personalized with relevant content. Lead nurturing can be a little cumbersome to set up as it requires segmentation, personas, buyer journey mapping, and a reporting structure—in addition to rich content. At MarketBridge, our proven RevenueEngine™/Lead Nurturing solution combines powerful predictive analytics (lead scoring, content relevance, best offer) with scalable digital content to increase your lead conversion rates, velocity, and cost effectiveness.
Establishing an effective and efficient lead nurturing process/program will give you some of your highest revenue opportunity returns. Think about it. Few programs will give you more return. It should be one of your top three priorities for 2015.
So, how’s your marketing health? Are you ready for a shot of digital lead nurturing? Would you like to show that Marketing had an impact on an additional few million dollars—or more— in 2015?