The trend is clear. The role of marketing is changing and expanding to encompass revenue accountability. In the not-so-distant past, the sole goal of many B2B marketers was focused on building awareness, creating desire and generating leads. Once initial interest was generated, sales took over. Sales leads were handed off to sales teams, and the marketing team could scoot back to their creative dens to plot the next campaign. No longer. Marketing is not limited to brand awareness and lead generation anymore and is becoming more directly responsible for revenue generation. That job doesn’t end with dropping the leads off at the sales funnel entrance.
Greater revenue accountability means the role of marketing needs to evolve and get more involved further down the sales funnel. That requires marketing and sales teams to work together more closely. The statistics about the importance of the two functions being aligned is truer than ever. Marketo reports that, when sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies are up to 67% better at closing deals. Additionally, Sirius Decisions research shows that companies that align product, marketing and sales achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability than other companies.
Marketing must pay attention to measuring its impact on moving deals through sales stages, which ultimately leads to revenue. Although counting the number of leads may continue to be an important measurement, marketing should not stop measuring there. Is marketing developing content and programs that align to the company’s sales stages? Are there measurements in place to know if it’s working?
Here are some ways to approach and measure the productivity of your marketing content on sales funnel activities:
Before the hand-off to sales:
- Which marketing activities generate the most leads?
- Do you have content aligned to the buyer’s journey?
This may be measured by site traffic, ad impressions, click through rates, downloads and overall engagement with your brand.
- Has sales and marketing agreed upon a definition for good lead? Are those the types of leads being handed to sales?
- Which pieces of content produce the most qualified leads? Why?
The most common measurement at this stage is the number of leads, but it’s important to emphasize quality leads. Many companies measure Sales Accepted Leads—meaning that sales agreed to take it because it is a promising prospect.
The sales process:
- Does your content align to your sales stages?
- Do your sales reps have the right amount of content for each sales stage?
Sales usage of the content and being able to attribute the content’s impact on moving the deal forward are two important measurements at this phase.
The final phase of the sales process is often overlooked by marketing, but marketing can play an important role.
- Do you have content that helps sellers continue to sell on value as price negotiations start to get heated?
- Have you developed content that speaks to each person in the buyers family? Have you equipped the champion within your prospect to sell others in their organization?
The measurements at this stage are straightforward. Did marketing content help close the deal?
Many organizations lack the ability to measure all of these stages, but technology can play an important role in delivering and measuring marketing’s impact on sales. The same technology tools that help measure can also be especially helpful in delivering the right content to the salesperson at the right time as well. Advances in machine learning within sales enablement tools also take out the guesswork and wasted time in finding content. The right content at the right time will result in better selling conversations and ultimately better sales.
As you work to improve your sales performance and marketing accountability, be tough and hold marketing to a new standard. Challenge old processes and perform audits on your existing content. Measure the conversion rates from one sales stage to the next and stalls in the sales process. With the right tools and a strong partnership between sales and marketing, you are well on your way to achieving a new level of sales performance.
Brian Fravel is VP of Marketing for Veelo, an award-winning cloud-based marketing and sales enablement provider. Brian is a frequent contributor on topics related to learning, sales and marketing and sales enablement solutions.