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by John Bonini John Bonini on November 19, 2012

Defining your Sales and Marketing Funnel and Making Adjustments

November 19, 2012

sales and marketing funnelAccording to a study by the Aberdeen Group, organizations with good alignment between sales and marketing teams achieved 20% annual growth in 2010, as opposed to organizations with poor alignment who saw annual revenues decrease by 4%.


Pretty big disparity, isn't it? It certainly paints the picture of importance for aligning your sales and marketing teams to ensure they're not only on the same page, but that they are working together to generate more qualified leads for the company. Perhaps the biggest reason for poor alignment between sales and marketing is the different views each team has of the sales and marketing funnel.


That's why both teams need to establish this funnel together. And it doesn't stop there; there must be constant communication between the teams to ensure the funnel is functioning correctly, and if it isn't, the steps to take to get it performing at peak level once again.


Interested in learning more on defining your sales and marketing funnel? Contact IMPACT and learn how we can help!


Prospect & Lead Quality


It's absolutely critical that both sales and marketing are on the same page on what makes up a quality prospect or lead. From the sales team's standpoint, they know which prospects and leads work better on the phone and are more sales ready, and most importantly, they know what attracted these types of prospects in the first place.


It's then the job of the marketing team of attracting more of these prospects and leads, but the first step is developing a common ground where the criteria for a quality lead is clearly defined. This ensures that your sales and marketing funnel will be filled with more quality prospects and visitors at the start, hopefully improving your conversion rates all the way down the funnel.


The following graphic is a great example of a well-performing and defined sales and marketing funnel and a breakdown on how to analyze and improve each area.


Sales and Marketing Funnel


Visitors


Website visitors are what makes the entire sales and marketing funnel function. Without a high volume of visitors, the rest of your leads and conversions will surely take a hit. obviously the type of business and industry you're in will likely dictate the volume of visitors that you need, however, there are certainly proven ways of boosting your traffic numbers using inbound marketing best practices.


Focusing on content, publishing consistent blog articles on a daily basis will help your website get found more effectively in search engines, and also drive more traffic to your website. Utilizing the various social media platforms is another proven way of driving traffic back to your website, as sharing your blog articles and other helpful content helps to create brand awareness and drive your social media followers back to your website where they'll be greeted with calls-to-action and attractive offers to provide opportunities for them to convert to a lead.


Once you start driving more traffic, a great number to shoot for for traffic to lead ratio is 5%. So using the graphic as an example, if we generate 5,000 leads out of 100,000 website visitors, we're in great shape.


Leads


Things are looking good. Due to the large volume of website visitors you're generating, you've managed to convert 5% of this traffic to leads through your killer CTA's and landing pages that are promoting your offers.


However, if your traffic-to-lead ratio isn't looking so hot, there are some steps you can take to both identify and fix the problem.



  • Are your calls-to-action attractive and/or effectively pushing your leads to action? Try changing the content on the graphic itself, as if it's not actionable, it can affect the visitor experience.

  • Are your landing pages fully conveying the value of your offers? Don't bore your visitors with dry, industry jargon talk. Quickly convey value and why they need this information to improve their own situation.


If you ensure that both your CTAs and landing pages are killer and effectively generating leads at the 5% conversion rate, you're on your way! The next step is determining how many of the leads you generate are quality, or marketing qualified leads (MQLs).


MQL's


Back to our graphic; so out of your 5,000 leads, you'll want to aim that over half of them are MQL's, meaning they're more inclined to move further down the sales funnel due to the fact that they're needs are in line with what you're offering. If you're noticing that too many of your leads aren't qualified, it may be time to take a second look at your offers. Are they fully conveying the value of your product or service? Or are they too broad and as a result, limiting your ability to generate more quality leads?


If the majority of your leads are downloading your offers on "How to Use Facebook," when your business is more focused on the bigger picture of marketing, it may be time to ditch those broad offers for something more specific to your services. Your overall leads may see a slight decline, but the quality of the leads you generate will greatly increase.


SQL's


As we get further down the sales funnel, the focus becomes more about making the sale. Out of those 300 qualified leads, try to shoot, once again, for over 50% of them becoming sales qualified leads (SQL's.)


SQL's are certainly the holy grail for the sales team, as these leads are extremely easy to sell to and are much more likely to result in a sale rather than wasted time on the phone. However, if your sales team isn't satisfied with the amount of SQL's coming through, it may be time to reassess your lead nurturing efforts. Is your email marketing effectively pushing your leads toward a sale through attractive and resourceful content?


By utilizing HubSpot's marketing software, IMPACT not only uses email marketing to further engage leads to become sales qualified, but we also utilize HubSpot Workflows which automate a series of relevant emails that your leads will receive that help to push them further down the sales funnel.


Opportunities


Here's where the performance of your sales team comes in. They've been delivered a great list of sales qualified leads, it's now up to them to see how many of these actually become sales opportunities. If you can manage to get at least 40% of your SQL's to convert to opportunities, your sales team is doing a killer job! The next and final step is actually closing the sale.


Customers


Here's the end result we're all looking for as marketers and business owners; customers. As you can see from our graphic, from that list of 100,000 website visitors, if 40 of them convert to customers, you're doing great! However, this is all dependent on the number of website visitors you initially generate. The more visitors you drive to your website, the greater the opportunity to generate more customers.


Defining your Sales and Marketing Funnel


Looking to more successfully define and implement your sales and marketing funnel to give direction to your entire marketing campaign? Contact IMPACT and learn how we can help!

John Bonini

John Bonini

John is the Marketing Director at IMPACT, responsible for the overall marketing and branding strategy. He also writes for the HubSpot Blog, Social Media Examiner, and Convince & Convert among others. He enjoys playing guitar, high-fives, and anything with marinara sauce.

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