So, what is marketing’s role in the modern sales cycle?
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Marketing in the modern sales cycle
One thing is for sure: the pressure to generate leads has not eased off.
Instead, additional pressures have been added.
Marketing’s responsibility is far from over having placed a new lead into the mix. The handover to sales remains a long way off.
It is at this point that the perceived value of a lead is assigned through lead scoring.
After this, relationships are created that will help add value to each lead via lead nurturing.
It is only when agreed benchmarks have been meat that a marketing qualified lead (MQL) can become a sales qualified leads (SQL) and the sales team pick up the process.
Marketing and lead generation
With the modern buyer placed in control of information flow thanks to search engines and social media the need for a sales team to ‘educate’ has diminished from the early/middle stages of the sales cycle.
The oft-quoted stat here is that nearly 85% of business buyers say that the availability of online information means they are more informed about product and service options than ever before.
It is highly rare to find an uninformed buyer these days.
And so, marketing’s role has become to place itself in the process of information gathering and decision making to try and influence outcomes. Using inbound methods, buyers are draw in through targeted, online content.
Again, a couple of stats often rolled out here include the revealing nine out of ten buyers who say that online content affects their buying decision process (which must be weighed judiciously against the 75% who claim to be royally narked by the sheer scale of irrelevant content they are exposed to.
Marketing and relationship building
Marketing’s role also extends to creating brand awareness, building brand identity and developing relationships with existing customers.
The best form of content marketing will help you both generate leads, qualify these and assist in the longer-term promotion of your brand and fostering of lasting, valuable relationships with customers.
Marketing and lead scoring
A core problem in achieving sales and marketing alignment is that, historically, the two departments have used different metrics to measure success.
Lead scoring is the solution to this – and also helps balance quantity and quality concerns.
Lead scoring is based on an agreed definition of what a SQL looks like. This means only leads that achieve this definition are handed over to sales.
Marketing will lose lead nurturing tactics to further qualify leads to achieve this, usually through an automated process.
The process of setting scoring for leads is an incredibly useful one in promoting alignment between the departments.
Marketing gains insight into the leads that convert better for the sales team – and which campaigns these come from.
Lead scores reveal interventions – or nurturing opportunities – that could push underachieving lead groups further down the sales cycle
Sales can focus on only the most valuable leads and close deals faster as a result
Marketing and lead nurturing
Very few MQLs are pret-a-purchase – that’s Frenglish for ready-to-buy.