Moving customers through the B2B marketing/sales funnel can be a lengthy process, with 80% of sales made between the 5th and 12th contact [National Sales Executive Association]. Prospects constantly evaluate and reevaluate products and brands on their ‘Buyer Journey’ until purchase, and the process can be drawn-out as prospects simply don’t see the value to act.
Marketers have the power to speed up this process. With great influence over the shape of the sales cycle, the modern B2B Marketing team is equipped with tools that assist in closing more deals, faster through sales enablement.
B2B MARKETERS MUST KNOW THE BUYER’S JOURNEY
In order to shorten the sales funnel, Marketers must have a thorough understanding of how it is functioning. Marketers should constantly monitor and analyse the different stages of the sales funnel and identify areas where prospects are stalling and accelerating. Strategy can then be built around problem areas, identifying how to move customers past these bottlenecks to ensure maximum speed through the sales pipeline.
Moving customers through the Sales Funnel is dependent on each communication with the company. 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (Source: MarketingSherpa), engaging your prospects is key to decreasing this statistic. Marketers collect data on pain-points, interests and activities of each individual customer and use this to deliver content that is unique to their interests and stage in the funnel. This highly targeted form of nurturing positions your company as a helpful resource to buyers, and accelerates their speed through the sales cycle of their own accord. Learn about B2B lead generation.
When moving through the Sales Funnel, leads are nurtured by B2B Marketing then passed to Sales to close. An effective Lead Scoring strategy is imperative to ensure this process runs smoothly. Marketing and Sales should be clear on the definition of a ‘qualified lead’, with only the most qualified leads being passed on to sales. Defining a threshold Lead Score speeds up the process by keeping sales from wasting time on leads who aren’t likely to convert.
FOLLOWING UP PROSPECTS
50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy (Gleanster Research)
In the event that the customer has been engaged in your sales process, and doesn’t purchase, they will still expect to hear from you. Unsuccessful prospects should be put back in to the appropriate part of the sales funnel to continue their buying journey, freeing up the time of the sales department who don’t have waste time covering their tracks and rebuilding customer relationships.
Marketers are able to streamline and accelerate the sales process by removing sales-related time-consuming tasks. Engaging with consumers in a way that is compelling interesting, and aligned with their stage in the buyer journey efficiently moves them along the sales funnel and enables sales representatives to pursue leads within shorter sales cycles.
For more about B2B sales and marketing, read our article on Why B2B Marketing Must Own the Post-Sales Relationship, or learn more about B2B marketing strategies here.