Alignment between marketing & sales has been an on-going discussion in the business world from the time when corporates have come into existence. Sales professionals have been long complaining that the leads provided by marketers are not good enough & marketers have been complaining that salespeople are not properly working on the leads. It’s a common accusation that marketers just focus on filling up the top of the funnel with maximum leads leaving the sales team to put in double the efforts. The only solution for this is, rather than focusing on the top of the funnel the attention should be on impacting the entire funnel based on revenue which is what Pipeline marketing is about.
Pipeline marketing is considered as the next phase of lead generation that connects marketing & sales data for better decision making & achieve goals based on revenue. Lead generation which was earlier considered a method for marketers to generate plenty of leads to pass along to the sales team can be transformed to a more goal oriented strategic approach based on revenue. Rather than the primitive model where marketers focused on just filling the top of the funnel with leads, pipeline marketing is inclusive of all channels and pipelines.
According to Bizible “Pipeline marketing is what you’re doing while content marketing, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and growth hacking are how you do it”.
After surveying around 350 B2B & B2C marketers with sales team, Bizible released their third annual State of Pipeline Marketing Report which gives valuable insights to the stats regarding how marketers drive growth into the business using down-funnel metrics, like sales opportunities, pipeline, and revenue for driving growth.
Let’s get to the main trends that we have to be aware of in 2017 from the published report.
1. Converting Leads to Customers:
While considering the over-all benefit of the organization, it’s not the question of how many leads have been made or how many deals have been closed but the overall profit that the company is making. For this, the marketers should be focused on generating quality leads while focusing on the overall revenue that can be generated using it.
In 2016 only 34.1% of the overall top marketing priority was regarding converting leads to revenue while generating more leads was up to 45.7%. Now in 2017 converting leads to revenue has turned out to be 42.3% while the priority of generating more leads have gone down to 35.4%.
What is your top marketing priority this year?
2. Email Marketing – The most used channel:
Even though the number has reduced from 87.5% to 84.5% Email marketing is still topping the list, consecutively for the last three years. Even being used for years Email is still alive & kicking primarily because of the extra efforts that the marketers are putting regarding timing, content & design to keep the audience engaged.
Email Marketing is one of the prime examples that methods which can be altered according to customer use & behavior can still exist & thrive in the market even with the passage of time.
Which marketing activities / channels are you currently using?
3. Alignment of Sales & Marketing:
Sales & marketing have been considered as separate divisions although they are working for the same purpose which is revenue generation. Organizations should make sure that there should be sync in their work to avoid time wastage & for better customer acquisition.
Bizible has identified that the priority of sales & marketing alignment in organizations has increased in 2017 to 10.3% from last year’s 6.6%. This shows that organizations are realizing that marketing & sales team should be mixed together in the work to mutually benefit in the overall revenue generation. This process will also help to reduce the confusion which usually occurs within the teams.
What is your top marketing priority this year?
4. Rise of the Pipeline Marketing:
Pipeline Marketing as such is gaining importance in the business world as corporations have realized that lead generation should be focused on connecting marketing or sales data to enable decision making & goals based on revenue. Since Pipeline Marketing is inclusive of all channels & campaigns and only measure success by closed revenue marketers all over the world should definitely start focusing on it.
On a scale of 5 36.7% have chosen 4 in regards with the familiarity in Pipeline Marketing in 2017 while it was 32.7% in the past year. The numbers are going to increase as marketers will always be focusing on adopting whatever methods they can for improving the results.
What is your familiarity with pipeline marketing?
5. Word of Mouth – Somethings never change:
Word of mouth has always been a channel which drives revenue to organizations from the beginning of trade. It’s a prime example of the trust factor that will never change the mind of the consumer. Whatever marketing or sales strategies can never change the fact that people will be trusting other people in regards to what’s their experience on the product is.
Even though the numbers have reduced from 22.2% to 18.6%, it’s still topping the list above all the outbound & inbound marketing techniques.
Which marketing activities / channels make the most positive impact on revenue?
Winding up the data:
In today’s world, the usage of Data has been critical for analyzing the methods which can be used by organizations for developing their business in relation to all fields, especially marketing & sales. Business around the world should push themselves to boundaries to catch hold of any opportunity available for development.
To study in detail the full State of Pipeline Marketing Report 2016, click here. The information available can give you further insight to how organizations are planning how their marketing team should perform & what to concentrate for 2017.