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The Marketers Checklist - 10 Tips For Connecting and Converting Leads To Accelerate The Sales Cycle

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Are you aligned with your sales team on more than just qualifying leads? What about when it comes to converting leads into opportunities? Here are ten tips to help forward-thinking marketers support …

Are you aligned with your sales team on more than just qualifying leads? What about when it comes to converting leads into opportunities? Here are ten tips to help forward-thinking marketers support the qualification and conversion of leads.

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  • 1. CHECKLIST 10 Tips For Connecting and Converting Leads To Accelerate The Sales Cycle Marketers have traditionally been charged with generating high-quality leads for the sales team. Modern marketing teams are now partnering with sales to move as many opportunities through the pipeline as possible. In fact, IDC’s CMO Advisory Service reported that up to 70% of companies planned to increase organizational alignment between marketing and sales in 2012. In addition, Aberdeen reported that 40% of the sales forecasted pipeline is generated by the marketing department. 3. Here are 10 tips to help marketers qualify and convert more leads to accelerate the sales cycle: Bring intelligence — not just product information — to the table. Make it easy to find the right resources. With a central hub for all of the content, subject matter experts, sales tip sheets and other information, marketers can serve up the right information to support the sales team’s efforts to accelerate opportunities. In many organizations, salespeople rely on a customer relationship management (CRM) system for all of their daily activities. Prioritize the right leads. All leads are not created equal. According to MarketingSherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, while only 27% of those leads will be qualified. A lead scoring system jointly developed by marketing and sales can improve lead conversion and accelerate the sales cycle. 2. Marketing departments have to develop trustworthy and unbiased content at all stages of the process. In the B2B 2013 Content Preferences Survey, 61.6% of survey respondents said that “sales heavy” content is a problem. The marketing department has to create content to help salespeople converse with prospects about industry trends and identify situational selling opportunities. Alignment between the marketing and sales teams is crucial in ensuring that the investments made in developing leads actually result in revenue. Revenue growth is cited by 66% of marketing executives as the top goal driving their strategies, according to Aberdeen. 1. The sales and marketing teams need to collaborate so the salesperson is presenting the buyer with content and resources that address their needs. 4. Meet buyers where they are in the buying journey. A buyer may have attended a webinar, visited the web site and downloaded a white paper before ever talking to a salesperson. Corporate Executive Board estimates that 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even contacts 1
  • 2. a supplier. Because buyers are coming to the conversation more educated than ever, marketers need to be ready to connect with them at whatever point they are in the process. 5. Develop processes that can be applied in multiple situations. Flesh out scenarios for different types of buyers and different industries to address key concerns and objections. Groups of buyers and buyers at similar points in the buying journey often behave in similar, predictable ways. SiriusDecisions calls these “observable outcomes,” and defines them as measurable, verifiable actions or responses from a buyer. For example: Has the buyer identified a budget is available? Has the buyer provided decision criteria? Did the buyer schedule a follow-up meeting for a demonstration? 6. Adapt to different selling situations. While being adaptable seems to contradict point No. 5, people still buy from people and every purchase has its own set of requirements. 7. Foster a collaborative relationship between marketing and sales. As marketing looks to improve the lead conversion process and sales looks to accelerate the sales cycle, responsibilities are blurring. The goal is more closed deals. 8. Become a trusted advisor. Buyers don’t need sales reps to spout the features of their product, as they have already done as much as 70% of their research online before engaging with a salesperson. Buyers are looking for partners who understand their industry and its particular challenges. Vendors who support buyers by providing subject matter experts and other resources will have an edge. 9. Communicate efficiently and effectively. The salesperson has just one shot on that first call to capture the attention of the buyer. Marketing and sales have to work together on the right materials to ensure that the first call, and future calls, are productive. Speed of response is also essential. According to research conducted by Dr. James Oldroyd, Ph.D., the chances of entering the lead into the sales cycle increase 21 times if called within five minutes of the sales rep receiving a message from the buyer compared to 30 minutes. 10. Continue to support once the deal is signed. The sales team will continue to check in with current customers to see how their needs have changed and what challenges they are facing. Be adaptable to any adjustments and continue to offer relevant collateral and coaching as the sales cycle evolves. 2
  • 3. When marketing makes it easier and faster for sales reps to take the lead with confidence, companies are better positioned to improve conversion rates and reach their revenue targets. To learn more about bridging the gap between lead generation and conversion, visit www.savogroup.com. Corporate Headquarters 155 N. Wacker Drive Suite 1000 Chicago, IL 60606 312.506.1700 877.542.7266 3