In the past, before our age of digital technology, marketing played a role in the sales funnel through lead generation and also by providing general resources for sales teams to utilize during the sales process, like basic overviews of brochures and charts that included descriptions of features as well as benefits PowerPoint presentation, as well as cases studies.
In the past, bringing clients through the sales funnel was typically left to sales, and marketing was focused on their own goals as well as metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs)
Modern marketers have access to greater data and tools for marketing than they have ever had. One of the ways they’re making use of them is to make informed decisions and work closely with sales personnel to nurture prospective customers throughout the sales funnel.
It is a change from filling at the very top with leads as much as they can to revenue generation along with a cost-per-lead KPI.
This guide explains the concept of pipeline marketing and how it functions through its different stages, how it is different in comparison to lead generation, and the steps you need to follow to create the marketing and sales pipeline.
What Is The Pipeline Marketing?
Pipeline marketing integrates sales and marketing data to improve the qualification of leads and increase prospects’ engagement throughout the sales cycle. The objective is to boost conversion rates and generate more revenue.
It encourages collaboration with sales and marketing, aligns goals between marketing and sales, and allows marketers to prove their contribution to revenue generation more clearly.
In the end, pipeline marketing will increase Marketing investments (MROI) and assist marketers in justifying their future expenditures and allocation of budget.
Let’s say, for instance, that the data from marketing and sales suggests that there is a problem with lead qualification within the pipeline for sales.
Instead of wasting time and money in order to create more leads, a pipeline-based marketing strategy makes use of these resources to develop methods to qualify leads and get potential customers into the next phase of the sales funnel.
For example, it could involve making changes to the lead magnets that collect contact details and data from potential customers who show an interest and desire.
How does Pipeline Marketing Function, and how is it so important?
Similar to funnels for sales and marketing, sales funnels are larger at the top and smaller at the lower levels, where buyers make a purchase and then become customers.
Pipeline marketing is a strategy to expand those middle and bottom segments of the marketing and sales pipelines, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates.
It is accomplished by looking at the sales funnel as a whole and combining marketing and sales efforts to develop an integrated, interactive, customer-centric process that improves the quality of leads and makes more sales.
Pipeline marketing can also be an option that can help companies overcome their “numbers game” concept, placing more focus on the generation of many leads than the middle or lower pipeline stages.
The concept is that when your conversion rates are, let’s say, 5 %, more revenue can be made with a greater number of leads. It results in a funnel at the top, which is extremely narrow at the bottom and usually has an extremely high cost per opportunity (CPO).
A well-planned pipeline marketing strategy will not only result in an expanded but also a more productive and efficient sales pipeline and reduce CPO.
A low CPO is a sign that both marketing and sales are reaching their objectives. By bridging sales and marketing efforts, the department’s goals are more aligned, and the cost per opportunity could be used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for both groups.
What Are The Stages Of The Sales Pipeline?
Let’s begin by defining the meaning of a sales pipeline. It’s simply an overview of the available and forthcoming sales opportunities that salespeople use to decide on the actions they’ll need to take to move prospective customers through the sales funnel to identify bottlenecks within the sales funnel, as well as the project revenue.
The seven stages of the sales pipeline, as described below, must be monitored and tracked. Be aware that sales pipelines may differ between businesses due to various causes.
If your sales staff doesn’t have the resources or know-how to develop an effective sales pipeline and track metrics, think about the possibility of staff augmentation for the task.
Prospecting’s purpose is to build a pipeline of prospective buyers who are most likely to buy. At this point, marketing can employ a variety of strategies for marketing that are both inbound and outbound marketing efforts at the specific target audience.
Prospecting campaigns must also focus on buyer profiles that represent the characteristics of the ideal customer and your existing customer base.
Leads are individuals or companies who can ultimately shift into customers. Qualified leads are those you can determine are likely to be customers based on the criteria and data that they provide freely.
For instance, you might choose to give an ebooklet to determine whether a business or individual is interested in knowing more about your service or product. If they do follow up and provide the information needed to download or access the booklet, they are moved from being lead qualified leads.
Meeting or demonstration
At this stage, a lead has shown a curiosity in understanding more. It is the perfect moment to set up an appointment online or in-person or demonstration to tailor the buyer’s experience to build trust, give more details about the ways your product or service will meet the buyer’s specific needs, and also answer any questions.
The objective is to determine whether you are able to move forward with your proposal that will move the buyer to the next stage of the pipeline.
Examine the ways in which the product you offer can best meet the prospects’ issues as well as their needs and wants and the reasons that make your answer the most reasonable.
Discuss your competitive advantages and the overall value and provide the price. It is the perfect moment to offer a unique incentive.
It all depends on a variety of aspects, including whether you’ve detected an early price point issue. If you choose to include any kind of incentive in your proposal, be aware that you might need to provide an additional sweetener in the negotiation stage.
Engagement and negotiation
The potential buyer has indicated they’re ready to buy, and it’s now time to discuss. You might have to control expectations, manage opposition, refine the scope of work, and then further define the value of your brand and its benefits and advantages.
Congratulations! You’ve sold the product and are now able to finish the purchase. Remember the promises you made to your customers during the stages of pipeline development and ensure that your commitments will be kept.
Account management and follow-up are crucial elements of the selling process, as well as for maintaining an authentic relationship with the customer. Be aware that nearly every customer will become an ongoing, loyal customer in the near future.
A satisfied customer will help you “sell” your service or product by referring others to it.
Difference Between Pipeline Marketing And Lead Generation
Do you remember you played the “numbers game” we mentioned earlier? Lead generation is usually about quantity. The idea is that the more leads you create that you can add to the pipeline towards the upper end of the funnel, the more sales you’ll be able to make.
Instead of trying to create the most leads possible and making lead generation the primary measurement pipeline, marketing tracks leads but concentrates on the entire pipeline and focuses on quality efficiency and buyer readiness as opposed to sheer volume.
As previously stated, the cost per opportunity can be used to measure a KPI instead of top-of-the-funnel metrics.
It’s not to suggest that lead generation doesn’t have an important role, but a lead will not be worth anything until it comes into the sale. In a similar way, what does it mean to spend time and money to gather as many horses as you can, but if they’re not able to lead them to drink water once they have reached the water?
It is a waste of effort. What if using the data you’ve gathered, it was possible to apply more resources to develop better methods of identifying the horses who are thirsty in the roundup and not only guide them to water but get them to drink? It is, in essence, pipeline marketing.
How To Create a Aales and Marketing Pipeline In Just 8 Steps
In constructing your B2B pipeline for marketing and sales, be aware that each marketing strategy and content asset and each contact that a prospective customer is in with sales will affect a pipeline metric.
But, be open and willing to discover new and more efficient ways to connect with prospective customers and increase the chances of concluding a deal.
Consider pipeline marketing as a dynamic rather than a static process. When new information is discovered, you can use it to analyze the pipeline and make changes whenever necessary.
Determine your market’s target segment, determine the buyer’s persona
Begin by laying a solid base. Booming, improved marketing pipeline methods need upfront preparation.
Create a profile of your ideal customer to define your ideal customer profile, identify your target market, and then, based on the demographics of your customers along with the item or service that you’re selling, you can divide the audience.
Segmentation may be determined by corporate revenue or percentage of market shares for B2B sales, demographics and sales behaviors, and psychological factors for B2C sales.
Psychological factors that affect purchase behavior include interest levels as well as lifestyle and social status.
After targeting and segmentation are completed, develop a marketing strategy that includes inbound marketing, which will help to increase awareness and support the sales process from beginning to completion.
Create your pitch and sell strategy
Once you’ve finished step one, write your pitch. Today, most buyers expect to have a personalized buyer experience. Tools and pitches could differ slightly based on the segments of your marketing that you’ve identified, as well as the distinct buyer personas.
Create a concise elevator pitch, as well as an official sales pitch. Create the sales tools and the fresh content required, and then develop these marketing tools. Think about the issues and requirements that lead businesses or individuals to look for an item or service similar to yours.
Discuss the reasons why you are the most effective solution. Highlight the benefits and frame your pitch with data whenever it is possible. Finish the pitch with an open-ended query, giving you the opportunity to engage in an exchange.
Find target companies and identify the accounts you want to target
Take the information you gained from the segmentation and market procedure to determine the companies you want to target and accounts. Prioritize them and develop strategies that target those most likely to buy.
In the case of selling B2B, determine the kinds of people who are involved in the process of making a decision and those who ultimately decide and approve of a purchase decision. It is important to influence all who are involved with the process by providing personalized content and sales communications.
Choose the best internal contacts
Don’t waste time contacting and conversing with the wrong people. Do some research to find the person’s title or job to identify the appropriate individuals to make the decisions.
Utilize different ways to interact with contacts and generate curiosity. Customized emails using Social media (e.g., via LinkedIn) to communicate with prospective customers, or postal mail or phone calls could be utilized.
You’ll have identified the tools and content needed for this in the course of developing your strategy for sales and marketing.
Plan meetings and demonstrations
Based on the results of your outreach and your outreach results, take your prospects into the following pipeline step by arranging meetings (video and in person) and demonstrations. Offer prospects a scenario study that matches their own solution/problem scenario.
Create faith and confidence in your skills and expertise along with the approach you suggest. If you decide a plan will be the next thing to do, then provide one following the meeting.
Each customer is unique, But most will ask more questions, raise some concerns, and want some additional incentive to purchase. Be prepared by examining different scenarios and preparing strategies and tools for negotiation to meet every scenario.
There are pre-approved sweeteners that you can use at your discretion. Create strategies to emphasize the importance and value of your company’s brand and product or service, and explain what it is that makes it the ideal solution to satisfy their needs.
Follow-up and sale
Don’t make a sale and then forget about it. A satisfied customer is typically a frequent customer and a defender of your brand the product.
Make sure that order fulfillment happens in the manner you have described and that your business provides the customer experience you expect. Create ways to remain in touch besides formal reviews from customers.
Send e-newsletters or targeted announcements of new services or products, as well as relevant press releases, to stay in contact.
Keep building relationships with your client and offer adequate management of accounts.
Pipeline marketing is an important part of the marketing and sales strategy for a lot of companies. It involves collecting data on marketing and sales, reviewing it, interpreting it accurately, and then taking action to increase the number of sales and make more deals.
If you do not have the staff available or the skills to do this, you should think about staff augmentation to meet your requirements.
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