Changes to the way buyers are buying has put knowledge and data—and our ability to apply them to content creation in a way that resonates with buyers—at the forefront of successful B2B marketing programs. These changes to buying behavior have also made it a marketing imperative that content support and facilitate the salesperson's later entry into the buying process as well as help them increase momentum toward purchase decisions.
Last month you were introduced to Juan Eloqua with the first Grande Guide in the series on Lead Scoring. As the grower of coffee and revenues, Juan makes it clear in his latest video, Dinner with the Eloquas, that success is not related to luck—as his son, Diego reports learning from his teacher. With Sirius Decisions reporting that sales cycles have lengthened by 22% over the last five years, he has a point. Luck must be replaced with intelligence.
Effective sales enablement is dependent upon co-ownership of the funnel by both marketing and sales. Although not as simple as it sounds, creating a consistent process that sustains momentum throughout the buying journey is made easier with the visibility marketing automation provides.
Measuring marketing success falls short if it stops at counting the number of qualified leads salespeople accept as worthy for pursuit. Success that translates to revenues depends upon smooth transitions designed to eliminate stalls and step backs experienced during later buying stages by arming salespeople with the knowledge they need to have more effective meetings that move deals to close faster.
Download Juan Eloqua's Grande Guide to Sales Enablement (you won't want to miss my sidebar!)
Now let's tackle one of the points the guide makes about what's next for sales enablement: Getting Predictable
"Sales reps are always looking for a way to shorten the sales cycle. Soon they'll want you to predict the next best course of action with hot leads based on your analysis of how similar buyers responded to your content and website while still in research mode."
One of the goals of both sales and marketing is the ability to recreate successes on a consistent basis to create sustainable growth. When this becomes a singular goal across the entire buying process, results can be exponential.
With the insights gleaned from marketing automation in relation to prospect response to campaigns over time, patterns can be discerned that enable marketers to see the impact content assets have on driving momentum by reviewing the activity history of buyers who buy. Not only can we refine our nurturing programs in real time, but marketers can get closer to discerning which information is critical to creating pipeline progression with prospects in similar situations. Through arming salespeople with better insights, the value they add to meetings will keep them in conversations that produce more wins. Being able to prove marketing's contribution to driving downstream revenues is the ultimate in accountability.
What do you say? Isn't it time for marketing to apply focus to helping sales succeed as an extension to the creation of qualified leads?