Engage leads earlier in the revenue funnel

Several studies have indicated that B2B buyers are near their final decisions before they directly contact your organization. With potential customers moving through so much of the revenue funnels without your knowledge, they may already be leaning toward a particular product offering by the time they initiate communication. You can attract new customers when you use marketing automation to identify and engage with leads earlier in the sales cycle.

An increasing number of parts of the sales cycle are occurring behind the scenes online. Chief Executive Board and Forrester found between 57 and 67 percent of the process happens before a lead reaches out to a salesperson, David Dodd wrote for Business 2 Community. He added that research has suggested that buyers want to be contacted by sales representatives before they narrow down their selections to a shortlist of vendors. Leads often find it useful to connect with salespeople when they have realized a need for a new solution but are still educating themselves on their options.

These different studies indicate that B2B demand generation may be more complicated than what was once thought. You may need an online marketing system to more effectively conduct Internet lead generation campaigns.

Sales and marketing alignment can boost early engagement

The B2B revenue funnel has evolved in a way that marketing teams were largely responsible for deploying lead generation techniques and conducting nurturing activities, according to Dodd. There can sometimes be a disconnect between sales and marketing in terms in the kind of leads who would be the best fit for the organization. Over time, sales reps may have become less effective at generating their own leads, and their time is split in a number of directions. Because B2B buyers are continuing to grow more independent over time, you may be facing a greater number of challenges when it comes to closing deals.

Better alignment and a shared definition of what makes a qualified lead can improve how your sales employees are able to engage with prospects at various stages of the sales cycle. When sales and marketing teams are working toward the same goal, both groups can present a united front to potential customers. Marketers can attract a higher number of more qualified leads, and sales reps can craft meaningful conversations at an earlier stage. This can help build the relationship and establish your brand as a potential solution for clients’ needs.

Marketing automation plays a vital role in this pursuit. Not only can these platforms improve sales and marketing collaboration and alignment, but they also help you identify leads as they enter the revenue funnel and create more relevant content for the different stages of the sales cycle.

Using marketing automation to streamline the sales process

Marketing automation can be a valuable tool for many B2B firms to better enables sales employees, but some organizations fail when it comes to utilizing these platforms. This is often the result of a lack of content, according to an article by Peter Baron for MarketingProfs. Because buyers are doing so much independent research, you need to support this with informative, valuable content. Especially if you have concerns about engaging leads earlier in the sales cycle, content should be a primary area of focus. While marketing automation can do many things for you, it’s important to place emphasis on content rather than the technology itself.

However, it’s difficult to get content marketing right. Leads need different types of information depending on where they are in the revenue funnel or their interest in your product. This is why it’s so important for sales and marketing employees to be in agreement about what constitutes a qualified lead. When identifying different stages of the buyer’s journey and your ideal prospects, you need to start with an understanding of your target customer’s needs. Mapping out client journeys can help you identify where there are gaps in the sales process, Baron wrote. Find areas that could be improved through more strategic lead nurturing. When creating new content, you should ask yourself whether it will answer prospects’ questions at a particular stage in the sales cycle.

Marketing automation tools can also help you measure the effectiveness of your content and determine how leads interact with it. Constantly monitoring how content performs can help you make necessary adjustments over time, which can improve demand generation. Considering most B2B customer journeys now start online, it’s essential to provide detailed, relevant content to attract leads. High-quality content can open the door for engagement earlier in the sales cycle. All these attributes can help your marketing team produce more relevant materials, which can make it easier to convert prospects when they are ready to speak to sales reps.