On Building a Healthy Funnel

How a Lead Management Framework can create a more engaged funnel – one where Marketing and Sales work together to generate meaningful results.

The following article is an excerpt from our inaugural issue of The Empowered Buyer™ Magazine. Click Here to read the full article, ‘A Healthy Sales Funnel Begins with Lead Management.’

Virtually every Marketing executive understands we can use technology to send Sales more gold and less junk. But if you want meaningful results beyond operational tweaks, we don’t just need a new tool. We need a new way of working with each other, fueling Sales with a healthier, more engaged funnel by uniting departments and bridging silos. Knowing it is one thing. Implementing it is another.

The first revelation to accept: we don’t run the show anymore. Not in Marketing, and not in Sales. In the internet age, the modern buyer is in charge. And if your Marketing and Sales teams aren’t linked-up — worse yet, if they’re even competitive or antagonistic — it’ll be that much harder to transform the funnel both teams share. 

Fundamentally, Sales is still performing the same activities. They’re hustling. But for Marketing, the informed buyer is an absolutely massive shift that has expanded our domain. With modern buyers relying on their own self-discovered sources of learning, Marketers are not only tasked with collecting emails but with starting the conversation, offering education and guidance, and earning the trust of highly skeptical buyers long before a lead is passed to Sales. 

No longer is marketing a practice of scooping up as many leads as possible, hoping enough go somewhere. The informed buyer means we’ve got to create content and experiences that are magnetic, drawing the right people with the right needs to us organically, at the right moment. 

If you’re interested in learning more about lead management, download our free e-book – Lead Management: The Framework for Transformation

New Marketing for the New Sales

If we were to write a lead management philosophy, we’d begin by declaring the following key principles: 

  1. Marketing is first up to bat in managing and influencing the customer journey. 
  2. To extract the highest-possible learning, results, and repeatability from every campaign, Marketing must apply observable structure to the customer journey. 
  3. Precise measurement is the engine of precise outcomes. 
  4. Lead generation should not be a volume play, but a quality-play. A firehose of email addresses clogs the sales intake. A moderate number of warm, qualified, ready-to-buy leads are priceless. 
  5. Marketing teams need not work harder, but smarter.

When we think of the iconic Salesperson, we imagine the charismatic handshake, personal connection, and a near-clairvoyant knack for discovering unmet needs. In the digital age, that icon has only disappeared in the sense that it’s no longer a single individual. All the elements once delivered in a linear fashion — that single rep’s unique charisma, attentiveness, and intuition — are now delivered by way of a diverse array of channels, people, and touchpoints. 

A single sales cycle might involve ten different people (Marketing, Inbound Sales, Tech Support, Product Experts, Account Reps), ten different touchpoints (a trade show, a newsletter, a Google ad, a phone call, a demo, a series of email outreaches, a webinar), and ten different modes (texting, social media, in-person meetings, phone calls, emails). The orchestration is dizzying — especially given we want the buyer’s perception to reflect well on us as a prospective partner. From the first hello, we want the buyer’s experience of us to be elegant, well-executed, and helpful. Worthy of the trust required to say Yes.

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The Benefits of a Lead Management Framework

A lead management framework keeps people looped-in, touchpoints consistent, and communication modes universally smooth and convenient. While it sounds ideal, it represents a tectonic shift for both Marketing and Sales. While nobody would disagree with the key principles of our philosophy — structure, precision, quality, efficiency — the staging of it will disrupt the way things have been done for decades. 

Lead management takes away the chaos in favor of organization in the form of better access, data, and functionality. It introduces fiscal predictability and accountability where there was previously very little. It requires marketing-sales alignment and shares the best practices of your best people across the playing field. It frees up energy and time to design tools and resources that close more flagship wins — more of the right kind of ideal customers. 

This is a definitive break from the status quo. Lead Management is designed to infuse the revenue funnel with an almost instinctual, magnetic forward motion from brand exposure to sales pitch for less friction and the better results of two truly empowered, collaborating teams.

Click Here to read the full article, ‘A Healthy Sales Funnel Begins with Lead Management.’

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