In partnership with Ascend2, the 2023 State of Pipeline Generation research report endeavored to explore the current practices and challenges that marketing teams face in the critical task of generating pipeline and revenue.Drawing on responses from over 400 marketing professionals, the survey covered a range of topics. These included pipeline forecasting, the obstacles encountered in predicting pipelines, and the differences in confidence levels between practitioners and executives.
What gets measured is what gets prioritized right? Well, with almost half of marketing teams having a KPI or goal for the year focused on revenue generation – it’s imperative that they measure pipeline performance and health. We asked what these marketers are focused on to ensure they are hitting their pipeline targets and succeeding this year– and there were five key priorities.
#1 - Improving Lead Quality and Nurturing
The research showed that 43% of those surveyed are focused on improving their lead quality and lead nurturing programs this year. This helps marketing teams and sales teams, in a few ways. Improving lead quality increases conversion rates, meaning they need fewer total leads. This allows sales teams to focus on prospects likely to convert, instead of wasting time on “dead-end” leads. This also includes a faster sales cycle.
For marketing teams, ROI is another main goal this year (The top goal actually!), which is why lead nurturing is a priority. Companies with effective lead nurturing generate 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost – it’s a no brainer this is a focus. Lead nurturing also improves the prospect's customer experience if done properly. Personalized communication through a variety of channels can educate consumers on best practices. In addition, it can remind them why your product will help them perform better this year.
#2 - Improving Pipeline Analysis
Improving pipeline analysis is essential for marketers because it helps them identify and understand their funnel's strengths and weaknesses. This is why 39% of marketing teams are focusing on improving this analysis. This allows for increased insights into marketing campaigns and the ability to make data-driven decisions to optimize their strategies.
Improved analysis really allows marketing teams to identify bottlenecks in the pipeline and address those issues. It also allows them to optimize marketing campaigns and allocate resources more effectively and also measure their ROI and accurately forecast their contribution to pipeline and revenue.
#3 - Understanding Which Leads & Accounts are Converting Into Pipeline
34% of marketing teams are prioritizing the understanding of which leads and accounts are converting into pipeline is essential for marketing teams. This is because it allows them to focus their efforts on the most valuable and qualified prospects. By analyzing which leads and accounts are converting into pipeline, marketing teams can identify patterns and insights that can be used to optimize their strategies and improve ROI.
As more teams are focused on account-based marketing, the ability to prioritize those with a higher likelihood of conversion and revenue is key to success around these campaigns as well as sales and executive-level buy-in on these strategies. At the lead level, by analyzing which leads and accounts are converting into pipeline, marketing teams can identify the characteristics of their highest-value prospects.
#4 - Improving Marketing and Sales Hand-off or Routing Processes
Improving the marketing and sales handoff or routing processes is crucial for any organization that wants to maximize its revenue and growth potential, which is why 33% of marketers are focused here. By optimizing these processes, companies can ensure that qualified leads are handed off to sales teams in a timely and efficient manner. This leads to more closed deals and higher revenue.
The benefits of an improved marketing and sales handoff experience aren't limited to reduced friction between teams. They also include faster response times– which directly correlate with conversion rates. The benefits also include increased conversion rates, increased accountability between teams within the lead-to-revenue process, better team alignment and common goals, and an enhanced customer experience.
#5 - Align Marketing and Sales
When marketing and sales teams work together effectively, they can create a seamless lead-to-revenue process that improves conversion rates, drives more revenue, and enhances the overall customer experience. This is why 28% of teams are focused on this alignment.
When marketing and sales teams are misaligned, there’s a 10% or more loss in revenue per year. However, the alignment allows for more targeted and effective campaigns which produce higher-quality leads and increased conversion rates. Ultimately this results in a better use of resources and a shorter sales cycle, allowing sales to close deals more quickly and at a higher demand.
As you can see, these priorities can easily be addressed with insights and data throughout the lead journey. In addition, they can be addressed through segmentation and analysis of the types of leads and accounts that are converting. This stems back to the biggest challenge preventing marketing teams from achieving their pipeline targets– adequate data. Want to learn more about these priorities and survey results? Join us for a webinar discussing The State of Pipeline Generation with Ascend2? Register here.