Is your sales team managing the marketing funnel? Stop it now!

As the B2B customer journey grows in complexity, there may be more overlap between marketing and sales. While your sales representatives may need to make some adjustments to their processes to boost effectiveness, they shouldn’t be getting bogged down with marketing communications.

If your sales team is also responsible for managing the marketing funnel, there may be significant gaps, and this can allow revenue to slip through cracks. The first step to improving sales effectiveness is by searching for holes in your funnel, according to an infographic from Tie Kinetix, a content syndication platform. If your website is full of old content, you may be seeing lackluster levels of Internet lead generation and low conversion rates. However, sales professionals have too many other tasks to do to constantly stay on top of marketing materials.

Sales teams need support to close more deals

B2B purchasing has changed with the advent of the Internet. In the past, the sales cycle was shorter because prospects had to rely on reps for all product information and pitches. However, now leads have more access to information through Internet marketing methods, and this has significantly extended the sales cycle in many B2B industries, Business 2 Community said. Rather than approaching selling as a sprint to the finish line, your team needs to treat it like a marathon and adopt longer-term strategies.

This is where the marketing funnel comes into play. B2B firms have tools to create more relevant content, but the expectations for marketing efforts are higher.

An online marketing system helps your sales team refine the funnel

To maintain a well-functioning revenue funnel, your company needs have regularly updated content that applies to customers in different stages of the buying cycle. Building awareness and engaging prospects can improve sales conversion rates. However, branding is traditionally seen as a marketing duty. Even if your company doesn’t have a dedicated marketing team, this doesn’t mean you are absolved from lead nurturing activities in your campaigns. Marketing automation platforms can reduce the tedium of manually sending emails and sales collateral to leads, in addition to give your team more actionable metrics that can improve the process.

Marketing automation can significantly simplify the process of creating and distributing content without adding to your representatives’ workloads. These platforms can help your team send targeted emails to prospects, which can improve lead nurturing processes.

How to improve sales practices to drive results

In addition to streamlining marketing activity through one integrated platform, there are a number of steps your team can take to ensure leads don’t drop out mid-funnel. The Globe and Mail offered the following advice for establishing better sales processes:

  • Agree on qualification standards: With no marketing team to define the criteria of what makes a lead ready to listen to a pitch, your representatives need to be in agreement to present a unified front. While this may seem easy to determine, many B2B organizations don’t have a good idea of their customers’ needs and how to communicate with their prospects. If a lead isn’t qualified, sales professionals may waste their time pitching to someone who isn’t ready to buy. Some common qualifiers include whether your product alleviates pain points, saves customers money or time and if your product is within their budgets. If leads don’t have these characteristics, it won’t be worth pursing the sale.
  • Refine the conversion funnel: You can do this by deciding how many deals you would like to close within a certain period of time, and then determining how much activity your reps would need to generate within that same time. Marketing automation platforms can streamline some of the necessary communication to simplify the sales process.