This week, Todd Lebo, CEO from Ascend 2 and Kacyn Goranson, Head of Marketing at RevSure sat down to discuss our State of Pipeline Generation report. They shared a few findings and dug into their experiences on what contributes to these. If you missed the webinar, check it out here!
95% of marketers surveyed feel that having the ability to predict pipeline outcomes is important to the overall success of marketing programs.
We also found that 39% of marketers have identified improving pipeline analysis as a key priority for the upcoming year. This suggests that pipeline analysis is increasingly recognized for its value to a marketing team. There is a willingness to invest resources into this area to achieve better results.
With the increasing availability of data and advanced analytics tools, marketers have more opportunities than ever to gain insights into their pipeline. They can also make data-driven decisions that lead to greater success. By prioritizing pipeline analysis and investing in the right tools and resources, marketing teams can improve their ability to predict outcomes and achieve business goals.
There is a general lack of confidence in marketers’ ability to convert throughout the entirety of the marketing funnel.
Many marketing teams struggle to keep up with executives' demands and spend too much time on reactive, ad-hoc requests rather than proactive, strategic activities. This situation can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of clarity around marketing objectives and metrics. In addition, there is ineffective communication between marketing and sales teams, and a lack of visibility into marketing performance data.
Todd shared an example of why it’s so critical to understand what leadership looks at regarding marketing performance. He also shared how they need to communicate those metrics. Aligning with what’s relevant at the top helps triage and prevent fire drills.
Three-quarters of marketers surveyed report that they spend too much time in “fire drill mode” answering questions from leadership regarding revenue projections and pipeline forecasts.
Many marketing teams are struggling to keep up with the demands of executives and are spending too much time on reactive, ad-hoc requests rather than proactive, strategic activities. This situation can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of clarity around marketing objectives and metrics, ineffective communication between marketing and sales teams, and a lack of visibility into marketing performance data.
Todd shared an example of why it’s so important to understand what leadership looks at regarding marketing performance and how they need to communicate those metrics, aligning what’s important at the top helps triage and prevent those fire drills from occurring.
Over two-thirds (68%) of marketers don’t know where there is funnel leakage and conversion bottlenecks.
“Honestly, this one blows my mind,” Kacyn shared, “how can marketing leaders be effectively focused on revenue contributions and pipeline and not have insight into the conversion rates throughout the funnel?” Lacking insight into the performance of marketing leads and opportunities can lead to suboptimal performance and missed targets– as well as frustration from counterparts in sales.
Looking at reports and dashboards that allow you to segment in various ways can reveal a lot about what is happening throughout the funnel. This can signal how the conversion process– and at what stage- needs to be improved. For example, if leads are coming in– but rarely making it to SAL, they are most likely of low quality. However, if tons of opportunities are being created, but account executives can't move them through sales stages– perhaps the criteria for sales acceptance isn’t stringent enough.
54% of leadership teams have full visibility into pipeline. Of this group, 81% of the executives have an extremely positive outlook on the success of their business in the coming year.
Typically, senior leaders have more visibility across the business than others. However, this shows us that specific visibility into pipeline can be a key driver of confidence and optimism among senior leaders. However, the survey also found that only 44% of marketers reported feeling extremely positive about the success of their organization in the year ahead. This suggests that many marketers may feel disconnected from senior leadership and may not fully understand how their marketing efforts contribute to broader business objectives.
Sharing from their own experiences, depending on the stage of the business– revenue may not always be the KPI for senior leaders each year. So, are some senior leaders more positive due to other factors? For example, did several customers not only sign a long-term renewal, but also purchase an upsell that pushes overall revenue over this year? Is the company working to get more funding, where LTV/CAC or EBITDA are more important? While marketing may be focused on creating new business revenue– that’s not always the company's main success metric each year. “What do leadership teams know that we do not?" is a question to ask around the 81% of extremely positive executives, compared to the 44% of all marketers.
What’s a favorite finding from the report?
Todd's favorite finding was that 40% of respondents felt that the greatest benefit of successfully predicting or forecasting pipeline was the improved ability to quickly adjust to market and economic events. This finding is especially relevant given the current situation where businesses are facing unprecedented challenges due to the ongoing pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty. With the help of accurate pipeline forecasting, businesses can identify potential risks and opportunities in their market and adjust their strategies accordingly. This allows them to respond quickly and effectively to changing market conditions, which is crucial for staying competitive and maintaining a strong position in the marketplace.
However, Kacyn’s favorite finding was the fact that 42% of marketers surveyed believe that email marketing has the greatest impact on pipeline generation. This is interesting, especially given that 43% reported needing to improve lead quality and nurturing. Sending kudos to the marketing operations, lifecycle and email teams out there. Almost every contact in your database receives marketing emails at some point in their journey, so it's key to get those right and not as an afterthought. Ultimately, by taking a more holistic approach to lead generation and nurturing, marketers can improve the quality of their leads. This will drive better pipeline generation and business results.
While every marketing team and business is different, there are some experiences and themes that helped align these findings in the State of Pipeline Generation. These findings also include the underlying thoughts behind them.