With revenue generation an ongoing challenge for many organizations, a new survey conducted by Silverpop confirms that BtoB marketers will be focusing more on the lead-to-sales funnel over the next 12 months, especially on the conversion of leads to opportunities. Based on responses from 446 marketers, the Silverpop study found nearly one quarter (24%) said “ensuring qualified leads are converting into appropriate sales opportunities.” was their top priority.
The report also showed that a growing number of marketers are emphasizing tactics and measurements farther down the funnel. For example, 44% said they have a lead nurturing program in place, and ensuring qualified leads are converting into appropriate sales opportunities is a focus of 30% of marketers who nurture leads, compared to only 21% of marketers who don’t.
Although the survey found that less than half of marketers (45%) score leads, those that do are nearly 3x more likely to measure the number of marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads and the cost per lead than marketers who don’t score leads.
In addition to converting leads to opportunities, other priorities identified by the study included:
• Nurturing and converting initial inquires into qualified leads (22%)
• Increasing sales effectiveness and improving close rates (19%)
• Cross-selling and/or up-selling existing customers (11%)
• Reporting campaign effectiveness at each step throughout the funnel (6%)
“BtoB marketers face two primary challenges, both of which are critically important to revenue growth,” said Silverpop CEO Bill Nussey. “Marketers must plug leaky sales funnels and deliver qualified leads to sales. Not nurturing or scoring leads will put any company working to grow revenue behind the eight ball, and certainly behind competitors with strong lead-management programs.”
Silverpop’s survey found that BtoB marketers understand the importance of driving revenue and the ability to measure marketing impact. Only 39% of the marketers responding to the survey are using a marketing automation solution. Therefore, most marketers are either unable to evaluate important metrics or fail to do so. When asked what metrics they report to senior management, 59% said email opens and clicks and 49% said number of inquiries. Only 21% reported either the cost per opportunity or the cost per closed opportunity.
Indicating there still remains a segment of BtoB marketers who believe quantity is more important than quality, 18% said filling the top of the sales pipeline with as many “inquiries” as possible would be their top goal going forward. More concerning, of those who plan to focus on the top of the pipeline, 53% don’t score leads and 69% don’t nurture them.
“BtoB marketers have to do more than show how many ads they placed or how many white papers were downloaded last month,” Nussey said. “You have to prove what your efforts meant to the company’s bottom line. And to do that, you have to take a look at some key revenue-oriented metrics.”