Both marketing and sales have their own funnels. Marketing must tie the end of the funnel to the beginning. The output of the sales funnel should also be tied back to the marketing funnel. Marketing must have a clear return on investment and be quantifiable. Each lead generated by the sales team must be tracked.
Traditional marketing is about creating awareness in the marketplace. This type of marketing can be costly and difficult to measure. This is a game that companies with large budgets win. Although they are able to create mindshare for their sales team, they spend excessive amounts of money. They don’t know what specific initiatives are responsible for their success. CEOs and CFOs today expect more from marketing and are examining every dollar spent. This scrutiny must be embraced by marketing executives.
Take everything into consideration.
This will be done by planning carefully and setting clear metrics to measure the success of campaigns. These metrics include, among others, total reach, number and first meetings, number of proposals, closing ratio, meeting-to-reach ratios, closing ratios, conversion rate, acquisition costs, cost per contact, the cost for each meeting, profit results, ROI, and cost per lead. Marketers need to track every activity from the marketing funnel through to the sales funnel. Three key steps should be included in the marketing funnel:
1. Reach – The number of suspects that will be contacted by a campaign.
2. Enquiry is the number of people who respond positively by starting a conversation.
3. First Meeting – The number of people who are so interested in the prospect that they are prepared to meet with a salesperson to discuss their particular challenges (i.e., qualified leads).
Marketing today must focus on generating qualified leads for the sales team. Each campaign should be measured by the number of qualified leads it generates for its sales team. Every sales representative must be evaluated on his or her ability to convert first meetings into sales.
The beginning of the sales funnel is at the end of the marketing funnel. The top of the sales funnel should be the first meeting. Even if the salespeople are not involved in these activities, all activities preceding the first meeting constitute part of a marketing funnel. (Yes, both sales and marketing need to learn how to work together. To connect sales and marketing activities, all opportunities must be linked to a campaign. After the first meeting has been concluded successfully, there should be three stages to your sales funnel.
1. Diagnose – The buyer is open to working with the sales representative to understand the situation and find a solution.
2. Propose – The buyer is clear about their challenge and what your firm can do to help it. They are open to receiving documentation detailing the specific ways you can help them solve their problems.
3. Close – The buyer is ready to act to solve their problems and is currently negotiating with you.
Phases vs. steps
Many of the companies we work with say they have more than a 3-step sales process. I agree. However, your sales process is different from your sales funnel. The management of the sales funnel involves managing the stages that potential customers go through. You may go through different steps to sell a product than the phases that an opportunity will experience. To use an analogy, the steps you take to harvest fruit are different from the phases it goes through as it matures. The fruit is unripe at first, then it becomes ripe, and then it can spoil if it’s still not eating. Harvesting fruit can involve several steps: planting, tilling and spraying, inspecting, picking, and so on. While the steps that you take might differ from mine, the phases that the fruit will experience are the same. The same goes for funnel management.
Rinse, Wash, Rinse and Repeat
The beginning of the marketing channel is at the end of the sales funnel. This means that existing customers should not be overlooked. Marketing must now engage in a separate set of campaigns that reach the entire client base, generate inquiries from existing clients and lead to first meetings with the sales team to discuss new challenges/opportunities.
Accurate metrics are essential to maximizing your marketing and sales investment. These metrics can be gathered and put into a management dashboard to ensure that every dollar spent in sales and marketing will yield greater returns. If your CRM and accounting systems have been appropriately set up and your sales and marketing teams are able to work together, these metrics can easily be captured. These metrics will be tracked and managed by sales and marketing, and you’ll have consistent cash flow regardless of economic conditions.
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