Four Sales Funnel Misconceptions
Through dialogue between the departments, you can identify the types of companies the sales force sees as valuable targets, and establish clear priorities for which of those companies should get marketing attention first.
Misconception #3: Having a high-level description of your target segment is enough.
This is common. If a marketing team is satisfied with constructing only a high-level description of the target segment, this may be enough to get a list vendor started. However, we already know that approach is ineffective. Instead, create your own marketing database through consulting with your sales team.
The first step in building your marketing database is to increase the specificity of the description—e.g., SIC code, site size, company size, etc.—of your target segment. Do this until you are able to make accept/reject decisions on a record-by-record basis for site records sourced either from company records or third-party data sources such as Dun & Bradstreet. This has two dramatic benefits.
• You will be able to go to your sales team and have a detailed discussion about account/site prioritization.
• Visibility. My group’s experience with dozens of B-to-B Fortune 1,000 companies points out that prior to taking this step, these marketing teams had visibility to only 20 percent to 30 percent of the sites in their high-priority segments. Following this step, you should now be able to market and sell to 100 percent of your target segment.
Misconception #4: When sales is anxious for leads, send them all responders.
This is the shortest route to having the sales organization decide that marketing has no clue.
Even if you’re already only marketing to sites and individuals the sales team has validated as important, it is essential to establish clear criteria as to which responses truly are valuable to the sales organization, i.e., those that indicate current or imminent involvement in a budgeted acquisition project. If they are valuable, send the response out as a lead. If the response is not valuable to sales yet, hold onto it for a follow-up. Experience makes it clear: “B” leads and “C” leads from previous campaigns are the most likely to become “A” leads when approached correctly in the next campaign.