Ten Tips For Accelerating Your Pipeline - Salesforce

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Ten Tips for AcceleratingYour PipelineShorten the sales cycle and bring in more revenue —no additional headcount required.

INTRODUCTIONWhy choosemarketing automation?The average sales cycle length has increased 22% over thepast five years due to more decision makers being involvedin the buying process (SiriusDecisions). And with over 25%of B2B sales cycles taking seven months or more to close(according to research done by Harvard University), anythingthat marketing and sales teams can do accelerate speedthrough the pipeline is worth the extra effort.Contrary to popular belief, marketing is just as responsiblefor the health of the sales cycle as the sales team. Marketershave far more power over the pace of the sales process thanin the past, meaning that when it comes to speeding up (orslowing down) the length of time it takes for a prospect topass through the sales funnel, both teams should be heldaccountable.This accountability may sound daunting, but it doesn’t haveto mean more work for your marketing and sales teams.In fact, many recent marketing technologies have beendesigned to help you shorten the length of your sales cycle.Tools like marketing automation, which traditionally sync witha CRM, can automate many of the marketing and sales tasksthat slow your teams down. And with more time on theirhands, marketing can focus on sourcing and nurturing the rightleads, and sales can concentrate on closing deals.This white paper will walk you through ten ways thatmarketing automation can help you shorten the length of yoursales cycle — without the additional investment in time andresources. Take a look through the following pages to see howyou can drive sales and accelerate your funnel with automatedlead qualification, lead nurturing, detailed prospect tracking,automated follow-ups, and more.Improve Lead Quality.3Automate Lead Assignment.3Track Prospect Activities.4Build 1:1 Relationships.5Nurture Active Leads.5Nurture Non Sales-Ready Leads.6Automate Sales Follow-Ups.6Start Reporting.7Measure Sales Funnel Health.7Report on Campaign Success.72 / Pardot

Efficient LeadManagement1. Save time with automatedlead qualification.2. Save even more time withautomated lead assignment.Blended lead scoring and grading ensure that only themost qualified leads get passed on to sales (a lead scoremeasures the amount of interest that a prospect hasshown in your company while a lead grade determineshow good of a fit they are for your product or service).Using both a score and a grade helps marketing and salesteams find common ground when it comes to defining aqualified lead.Blended lead scoring and grading also make it easier forleads to be assigned once they’ve reached a threshold scoreand grade, keeping sales from wasting time on leads whoaren’t good matches for their product. This can be a hugetimesaver for both marketing and sales — marketing doesn’twaste time feeding sales low-quality leads, and sales onlyfollows up with the leads who are more likely to close. Byfocusing on the quality of leads, rather than the quantity,you can invest your time and resources in the leads who aremore likely to move all the way through the sales funnel.Companies throw away huge portions of their marketingbudgets generating and qualifying leads that will neverbuy. If you’re operating under a tight budget, like manymarketers, putting your dollars where they can make themost impact is essential to business success.61% of B2B marketers sendall leads directly to sales;however, only 27% of thoseleads will be qualified.-MarketingSherpa3 / Pardot

3. Take advantage ofdetailed prospect tracking.Marketing automation’s scoring and gradingcapabilities are powered by detailed prospecttracking and analytics, which provide the prospectactivity data needed to fine-tune your leadqualification process. With marketing automation,your prospect’s location in the sales cycle is never amystery. Real-time alerts delivered straight to yoursales reps’ desktops or phones give them detailedinformation about which types of content theirprospects have engaged with, what actions they’vebeen taking on your website, and what their interestsand pain points might be. This makes it possiblefor your reps to respond quickly with relevantinformation, increasing the effectiveness of sales callsand improving your chances of a lead turning into aclosed deal somewhere down the line.

Better Follow-Up4. Build 1:1 relationships withyour prospects.Accelerating your funnel isn’t just about better leadqualification and assignment. It’s also about continuingto build relationships with your prospects throughoutthe length of the sales cycle — without all of the manualwork that relationship-building normally requires. Withthe ability to automate 1:1 communications and tediousfollow-ups, your sales reps can move prospects throughthe sales cycle with minimal time and effort.77% of buyers want differentcontent at each stage of theirresearch. -Pardot State of Demand5. Nurture leads activelyparticipating in the researchprocess.According to Pardot’s State of Demand Generationstudy, 77% of buyers want different content at eachstage of their research. Using lead nurturing, salesand marketing teams can cater to these preferencesby “dripping” appropriate content depending onwhere they are in the sales cycle. Content canthen be adjusted accordingly based on prospectresponses.When buyers have completed their research andstart reaching out to sales reps, they’ll already beeducated, meaning that sales won’t have to wastetime guessing at their pain points and needs.Generation Report5 / Pardot

6. Then, nurture leads whoaren’t yet ready to buy.7. Have your sales teamautomate their follow-ups.Lead nurturing is an equally powerful tool for buyerswho aren’t actively participating in the research process.According to Gleanster, 50% of leads are qualified but notyet ready to buy. Without a way to nurture these leads toa sales-ready state and keep your company top of mind,you risk letting them fall through the cracks, increasing thechances that they’ll be won over by a competitor. Steadilycommunicating with these prospects by delivering helpfulcontent ensures that sales reps never neglect leads whomight eventually turn into opportunities, or even closeddeals.When follow-up isn’t automated, it can be easy toforget. While your sales and marketing teams mayrecognize the importance of a prompt follow-up whentrying to close deals, they’re often too busy to makeit a priority. Instead of wasting time covering theirtracks and rebuilding relationships, they could be usingmarketing automation to define appropriate followups for specific situations. These messages can thenbe automated and personalized so that sales repsget regular touch points with each of their prospects,reducing time spent on manual tasks and freeing themup to focus on closing deals.For many marketing departments, lead and prospectdatabases represent one of the largest monetaryinvestments of the entire department. Don’t lose the leads(and potential revenue!) in your funnel to neglect, or evenworse, to your competitors.By automating follow-ups, it’s much less likely thatprospects will be neglected by sales reps, reducing thechance that they’ll be lost to a competitor. And withregular touch points, reps can stay with their prospectsall the way through the sales cycle.57% of B2B companies identify“converting qualified leads intopaying customers” as top funnelpriority. -Marketing Sherpa6 / Pardot

Improved Reporting8. Start reporting.Not only can marketing automation help marketers andsales reps report on what they’re doing well, it can alsopinpoint areas of improvement, like where prospects aregetting stuck in the funnel or where conversion ratesmight be suffering. With reports to help diagnose salesfunnel health and provide insight into each stage of thesales funnel, your marketing and sales teams have thetools they need at their disposal to optimize the pace ofthe sales cycle and focus their time where they need to.9. Use sales funnel reports todiagnose the health of yoursales pipeline.Sales Funnel (Lifecycle) reports, which combine all ofyour marketing and sales reports into one dashboard,can help diagnose the health of your sales funnel, giveyou a glimpse into detailed opportunity data, and showwhere your prospects are in the sales cycle — includingareas where prospects are stalling and areas wherethey are moving at an optimum pace. Metrics collectedby the Lifecycle report include net new prospects, newopportunities, won opportunities, and percentage changeover time. Having this detailed insight, along with datalike the average amount of time spent in each stage andthe total revenue of all won opportunities, gives salesreps the information they need to manage their time andensure maximum speed through the pipeline.10. Report on campaigns, too.To really be able to accelerate your pipeline, you shouldbe reporting on more than just your sales funnel. Youshould also be looking at your marketing campaigns, dripprograms, conversion rates — anything that can give youa glimpse into all of the various touchpoints you havewith prospects. Use these reporting features to look atpatterns and trends, regularly revisit and reassess yourscoring and grading models to make sure your leadqualification process is running as smoothly as possible,and evaluate your conversion rates to see where youmight be losing potential new leads. With marketingautomation, you can gain insight into all of the stages ofthe buyer’s journey, from before a lead enters the salescycle to closed deals and beyond.7 / Pardot

With detailed reporting in place, you’ll alwaysknow which campaigns are performing — andwhich are not. Use the data at your fingertips todecide which programs to pull the plug on, andwhich deserve more of your time and money.This will keep your pipeline functioning assmoothly as possible.ConclusionThe shorter your sales cycle, the sooner youcan bring in new clients and customers (read:revenue). And when revenue is at stake, why notdo everything in your power to ensure that yoursales cycle is as optimized as possible?More and more companies are making thetransition to marketing automation to help themwith this optimization process. With capabilitieslike lead nurturing, lead scoring and grading, andsales funnel reporting, marketing automationhas become the smart choice for marketing andsales teams that are looking to shorten theirsales cycles and bring in even more revenue —without having to invest in additional headcount.

WANT MORE INFORMATION?Pardot is B2Bmarketing automationby Salesforce.Your customers are smarter, more capable, and betterinformed than ever before. This new breed of consumerdemands a better breed of marketing, and the Pardotplatform has the capabilities to get you there.LEARN MOREf

sales funnel, your marketing and sales teams have the tools they need at their disposal to optimize the pace of the sales cycle and focus their time where they need to. 9. Use sales funnel reports to diagnose the health of your sales pipeline. Sales Funnel (Lifecycle) reports, which combine all of your marketing and sales reports into one .