What Should the Modern Marketing and Sales Funnel Look Like? The Cleriti Team Weighs In.
What should a marketing and sales funnel look like today? This is a question weighing on the minds of marketers and salespeople alike. Why? Because while we’re expected to work together to drive revenue, it’s not that easy to get on the same page. But as buyers are evolving and their expectations are shifting, so should your marketing and sales strategy.
The Cleriti team feels pretty strongly about adapting your marketing and sales funnel to meet the changing needs of your target audience. We don’t think leads convert to customers through a linear set of actions, and we like to think of every lead as an actual human, not a contact messing around on our website. We also are huge advocates of breaking down organizational silos to make sure marketing and sales work in tandem, not against each other. We know tension between marketing and sales can get ugly, but we also know a strong relationship gets results.
As such, my colleagues put together a video to give fellow marketers and salespeople insight into how to evolve from old-school "Me! Me! Me!" marketing and sales tactics to a more modern, personalized set of follow-up interactions that build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Check out our newest YouTube video featuring Gina Young (our VP of marketing), Sarah Tsai (one of our inbound marketing managers) and Andrew Rogers (our COO).
Marketing: Stop Operating in a Vacuum
The best marketing and sales strategies today are the ones that focus on meeting buyers where they are at right now. All too often, marketing and sales teams create a set of rigid actions a lead is supposed to take as they become more qualified — think downloading a whitepaper, opening a case study and then filling out a 'request a demo' form. But if you know people, you know they don't all work the same.
Buyers move along in their journey in a way that makes sense to them and fits the experience they're looking for. Marketing professionals today must strive to meet individual prospects where they're at in their journeys and think critically about what resources they may need to help them throughout their exploration.
With the right tools like HubSpot, marketing can gather insights into how leads interact on a website once they enter their contact information into a form. Based on qualifications such as company size, company revenue, number of web pages visited or amount of resources downloaded, marketing can score leads and categorize them as "lead," "marketing qualified lead" and "sales qualified lead." Marketing qualified leads are nurtured by marketing with soft follow-up communications, such as an email suggesting an additional whitepaper, until the lead has taken enough actions and shown enough interest to become sales qualified. Then, it's time for salespeople to take over.
Sales: Don't Rush It
Many salespeople are quick to write off leads if they aren't ready to buy right away. However, as Sarah so wisely says in the video, "It’s great to trust your marketing team when they bring a sales qualified lead to continue to follow up and not write them off as someone who’s not interested if they don’t want a demo right away."
So, you savvy salespeople, don't give up on leads just because they're not "demo-ready." Maybe they'd appreciate discussing a case study, or maybe they'd benefit from a consultative call. Either way, not every lead is ready to hear your sales pitch. For deeper insights into how to communicate with leads, develop clear lines of communication with your marketing team. Have an agreed-upon definition of what makes leads sales qualified. Do research on them or their business to find out why exactly they'd be a good fit to work with.
Bottom line: let leads move through the journey at their own pace, and be a helpful hand along the way. Not only will you build trust, but you'll build up authority as a credible resource (one they might be interested in working with someday!).
Everyone: Automation Is Out (Kind Of)
No matter if you're a marketer or a salesperson, you must understand that today, automation in a vacuum isn't going to work. The old-school follow-up email sequence that offers up information about your company or asks if a lead is ready to talk to you yet is out. In contrast, the modern marketing and sales funnel focuses on buyer intent and a lead's current position within the buyer's journey. Instead of a lead nurturing follow-up sequence that focuses on your company and how a lead can use your products or services, think along the lines of what Gina mentions in the video: "Set up alerts when someone views particular pages on [your] website, like a pricing page, demo page or consultation page — and gage where people are at in their journey and hold [your] sales teams accountable for providing more education and a better experience for people on the other end."
If you're in marketing or sales, you've heard the buzzword "Age of the Customer." In this age, experience is everything. Leads don't want to be treated like everyone else. They choose to interact with companies that cater to their individual needs and understand their specific pains.
Andrew hits the nail on the head in the video: "Remember that we’re marketing and selling to actual human beings. We want to keep that top of mind with every action we’re working on." Be the resource every qualified lead needs as they explore your website. Be the expert who can lend a helping hand as a lead makes a decision. You never know when providing education, advice and help will pay off in a business relationship. It could be right away, or it could be a few months down the road.