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The Secret to a More Efficient Sales Funnel

“Batch and blast” marketing is over.

With today’s tracking tools and marketing technology, cramming as many leads into the sales funnel as possible and hoping for the best is no longer a viable approach to doing business — and marketing automation is at the forefront of this movement.

Let’s take a look at two ways in which marketing automation can transform your sales funnel from an abstract, inefficient cost center to a revenue-generating machine, and how these changes can ultimately impact your bottom line.

Easily Spot the Most Qualified Leads.

Marketing automation platform users have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing-qualified lead than non-users. (Aberdeen Group, Marketing Lead Management 2012)

How? Lead scoring and grading. Filtering out the bad leads before they ever get into your funnel increases the value of your database, saving time and ensuring that your sales reps focus their resources on only the most qualified leads.

So, how does it work? Lead scoring automatically assigns scores to leads based on implicit buying signals (such as form submissions, downloads or page views) to assess a prospect’s level of interest and buying intent, while lead grading automatically qualifies leads based on factors such as company size or industry, preventing your sales reps from wasting time on leads that aren’t a good fit for your product. Marketing automation allows marketers to build their own blended scoring and grading model based on their product, industry, and buyer persona. As each lead enters the marketing automation database or CRM, they will automatically have a grade displayed on their profile, and will begin building their score based on activities. For more on setting up your ideal scoring and grading model, check out our recent blog post, Marketing Automation 101: Intro to Lead Scoring & Grading.

ROI Impact: Scoring and grading allows businesses to stop wasting time and resources on unqualified leads. Particularly when marketing budgets are tight, putting your dollars where they matter most is essential to business success.

Wait Until Leads Are Sales-Ready.

Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research)

Even leads that are a good fit for your product can still be a drain on your resources if you’re reaching out before they’re ready to talk. According to the latest research, two-thirds of a customer’s purchasing journey now takes place before they ever contact a sales representative — making lead nurturing an absolute necessity for modern marketers. Customers are looking for information to educate themselves on products, and if you aren’t providing them with these educational materials, your competitors certainly will.

Marketing automation simplifies the process of educating leads to a sales-ready state by automatically delivering relevant content and information based on a buyer’s actions or a predetermined time interval. Nurturing allows you to be a helpful resource to your entire database, providing exactly what each individual lead needs at the perfect moment.

ROI Value:  Not only does lead nurturing save time and resources by providing insight to sales reps and allowing them to reach out when the moment is right, it also prevents cold leads from slipping through the cracks. You invest a significant amount of money into building your database, so don’t let a lead go to waste just because they aren’t ready to speak with a rep.

Shortening your sales cycle is just one way that marketing automation can impact your bottom line. To see exactly what a marketing automation solution could do for your business, check out our ROI calculator.

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