You may be in marketing, but chances are, you’re just as responsible for the health of your sales cycle as your sales team. In this day and age, marketers have far more power over the pace of the sales process, which explains why many companies are placing a greater emphasis on sales enablement. When marketers have the power to help the sales team close more deals, faster, why shouldn’t they use it?
If you’re wondering how you can help shorten the length of your sales cycle, take a look at a few ideas below, many of which are made possible by marketing automation.
Objective Lead Qualification
Blended lead scoring and grading ensure that only the most qualified leads get passed on to sales (note: a lead score measures the amount of interest that a prospect has shown in your company while a lead grade determines how good of a fit they are for your product or service). Using both a score and a grade helps marketing and sales teams find common ground when it comes to defining a qualified lead. It also keeps sales from wasting time on leads who aren’t good matches for their product, and makes it easier for marketers to automate the assignment process once leads have reached a threshold score.
According to Pardot’s State of Demand Generation study (a webinar recording summarizing the study will be up soon!), 77% of buyers want different content at each stage of their research. Using lead nurturing, marketers can cater to these preferences by “dripping” appropriate content to prospects over time depending on where they are in the sales cycle. You can then track responses and adjust the next round of content accordingly. When consumers have completed their research and reached a sales-ready state, they’ll already be educated, meaning that sales won’t have to waste time guessing at their pain points and needs.
Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (DemandGen Report)
Detailed Prospect Tracking
With marketing automation, your prospect’s location in the sales cycle is never a mystery. Real-time alerts delivered straight to your sales reps’ desktops or phones give them detailed information about which types of content their prospects have engaged with, what actions they’ve been taking on your website, and what their interests and pain points might be. This makes it possible for your reps to respond quickly with relevant information, increasing the effectiveness of sales calls and increasing your chances of a lead turning into a closed deal somewhere down the line.
Prospect Lifecycle Reporting
Lifecycle reporting, which combines all of your marketing and sales reports into one dashboard, can help diagnose the health of your sales funnel — including areas where prospects are stalling and areas where they are moving at an optimum pace. Metrics collected by the Lifecycle report include net new prospects, new opportunities, won opportunities, and percentage change over time. Having this detailed insight, along with data like the average amount of time spent in each stage and the total revenue of all won opportunities, gives you the information you need to ensure maximum speed through the pipeline.
When follow-up isn’t automated, it can be easy to forget. While your sales and marketing teams may recognize the importance of a prompt follow-up when trying to close deals, they’re often too busy to make it a priority. Instead of wasting time covering their tracks and rebuilding relationships, they could be using marketing automation to define appropriate follow-ups for specific situations. These messages can then be automated so that sales reps get regular touch points with prospects, reducing time spent on manual tasks and freeing them up to focus on closing deals.
Are there any other ways that you can shorten the sales cycle? Let us know in the comments! And, check out our free Art of Marketing Automation white paper to see how you can automate your marketing campaigns even further to help speed up the sales cycle.