“Why on earth aren’t we using this already?”
That is the response we had whilst running a recent workshop for a B2B client. We were in the midst of showing them how they could extract a complete digital history of a prospect or existing customer’s interactions with their brands through their digital channels, and how we could start to automate their sales funnel nurturing journeys to deliver more leads.
We run a lot of these workshops: the difference was that this time we didn’t just have the marketing and content team in the room, but the Sales Director had also been invited to the table. We were there to talk about using customer experience and personalisation to drive increased online conversions, and ended up on a whiteboard mapping out their sales processes, cost per acquisition, lead scoring, lead value and a whole bunch of things that we rarely get a chance to talk about.
It completely changed the conversation from lead gen to revenue gen.
It reaffirmed our thinking that even in mature organisations who feel they already have good marketing and sales alignment, there’s a big trick being missed by excluding the Sales team from direct exposure to technology, where their insight and objectives could significantly influence the outcome. Statistics from the likes of Aberdeen Research indicate that organisations with true alignment see 20% increase in revenue growth, so why aren’t we involving Sales more?
What value does digital bring us anyway?
A common challenge within B2B digital teams is often how they prove their value to the ultimate aims of the business – revenue generation – and often to a cynical sales team who see a website as a brochure rather than a sales tool. In larger organisations especially, most of the sales process is perceived to happen offline, through direct relationships with sales people, with digital acting as a thought leadership mouthpiece to demonstrate credibility.
However, when we look at a client’s analytics data to see 30,000 hits every month, the businesses and individuals who are returning, and the content they’re consuming, we can see that prospects and customers are also coming back at key reference points throughout the sales process, from awareness through to purchase and ongoing engagement, and through various channels.
But that’s only half the story. We also know that sales teams often find themselves dealing with large numbers of “tyre kickers” before they unearth a hot prospect. If marketing are only targeted on the volume of leads generated rather than the quality or average value of those leads, and a robust sales funnel isn’t in place to support the journey from prospect to purchase, then the whole process is inherently flawed.
A good place to start when looking at a sales funnel is the SiriusDecisionsDemand Waterfall model which gives excellent guidance on how a sales funnel should be structured, where leads are separated and qualified, and how the delivery of high quality leads to Sales can be controlled.