How long does it typically take your sales team to close a lead? B2B sales cycles can be long, with 74.6% of leads taking 4 months to close, and 46.4% (nearly half!) taking 7 months or more, according to CSO Insights’ 2018-2019 Sales Performance Study. Getting a prospect through the entire sales cycle is difficult, and it may be sucking up a lot of your sales team’s time.
The goal of Growth-Focused Performance Marketing boils down to one thing: making it easier for your sales team to close deals by providing more engaged prospects. To make this goal a reality, we need to focus on acquiring higher quality leads, educating them, and easing the burden on sales.
How to Increase B2B Lead Quality
Because sales and marketing are so closely connected, it’s important that their goals, strategies, and KPIs are aligned. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage cyclical feedback between your sales and marketing teams. Without sales’ feedback, marketers are flying blind. It’s difficult to know if the leads are high-quality without an effective sales and marketing feedback loop.
Marketers do not inherently know how many quality leads they’ve acquired with their efforts – they simply know the quantity. When sales closes that knowledge gap, marketing gains a holistic view of their performance and can fine-tune their messaging and strategy to better target quality leads.
These actions aim to optimize all marketing efforts. For example, if sales consistently sees issues with the leads from Google Ads, but gets great responses from Facebook Ads, marketing can use this information to adjust their messaging on the poor-performing Google Ad platform, or shift more budget to capitalize on their success with Facebook.
Educating B2B Leads
B2B solutions tend to be more complex than your everyday product or service. More often than not, your lead already has a good idea of what you do – they reached out to you because they think you might be able to solve their problem! The goal, then, becomes to educate them – why they need your solution, why your solution is better than any competitors’, and more.
By educating leads, marketing eases some of the burden off of sales. Engaging leads with valuable content, social proof, or testimonials can help them begin to realize the value of your solution without a salesperson walking them through every feature. Engaged leads respond quicker, more often and more favorably.
Engaging with leads also keeps your brand top of mind. Although a lead’s interest in your solution may wane, your goal should be to stay in the back of their mind so when they are ready to purchase the solution you offer, they’re emailing your sales rep instead of looking elsewhere.
Take the Pressure Off of Sales
Your sales team is spending hours each week trying to move a lead through the sales funnel, nurturing cold leads, or any number of tasks. But there’s a lot marketing can do to support sales, simplify their processes, and eliminate some processes completely.
With everything sales has on their plates, the average salesperson only spends one-third of their day talking to prospects, according to HubSpot’s Sales Statistics. How much more productive would this salesperson be if they no longer needed to prospect their leads, and if these leads are already well-informed about the solution they’re selling?
As mentioned in a previous blog, B2B consumer preferences are changing. Only 19% of buyers want to connect with a salesperson during the Awareness stage. This increases significantly to 60% during the Consideration stage, and decreases again to 20% during the Decision stage, once they’ve decided which product to buy.
Awareness, Consideration, and Decision
Your marketing efforts can make a huge impact during the Awareness and Decision stages, when leads are less interested in speaking with your salespeople. Increasingly busy, self-reliant buyers may not want to spend 30 minutes on the phone with a sales rep when they can see if your solution meets their most basic requirements.. Another benefit of cyclical feedback: your team can more easily locate common pain points, and find ways to incorporate answers to frequently asked questions in your site copy.
Consider adding information anywhere that’s readily accessible to help leads work through the Awareness stage. Sales typically takes over during Consideration, then things shift back to marketing as they move into the Decision stage.
The Decision stage is where marketing works best in conjunction with sales. Both teams can work together to carefully engage with leads depending on factors such as company size, budget, interest, and more. Whether the lead is deciding between your solution and a competitors, or if they simply want to spend money on your solution, it’s marketing’s job to provide them with information that tips them towards your solution.
By carefully aligning sales and marketing, leads are more likely to move through common sales cycle slowdowns at a faster pace, and your sales team will have more time to effectively sell to them.
Ready to optimize your sales team’s day-to-day? Book a call and let’s see how OM can make it happen.