Lifecycle Marketing Vs. Sales Funnel Which Works Best?
Along with customer needs, the role of marketing in the sales cycle also changes: now, there is a greater focus on lead management. Marketing and sales teams need to work together to generate, nurture, and convert leads.
The role of marketing in the sales cycle
Thanks to Internet access and technological developments, consumers are increasingly aware and informed. For this reason, marketing is gradually becoming a crucial element in the sales cycle. In the past, there was a clear division between marketing and sales: marketing was responsible for generating leads and sales for transforming points into customers, with little or no overlap.
Nowadays, the role of marketing is expanding as sales lead management becomes critical, but for this to work smoothly, both teams must interact and collaborate towards a common goal.
Marketing still has a lot of responsibilities when it comes to lead generation, but the role has penetrated more in-depth into the sales cycle. Once generated, leads aren’t merely passed on to sales. Instead, it is vital to determine their value (lead evaluation), develop individually defined relationships with them throughout the sales cycle (lead consolidation), and finally ensure that those marketing qualified leads (MQL) are ready to become leads, Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
What does all of this mean when it comes to generating leads?
It means that marketing now has to do more than collect leads – it has to collaborate with sales to generate targeted, qualified leads. With inbound marketing methods, the team can attract interested buyers with targeted content and valuable information using online marketing assets.
Inbound marketing can be defined as “the process of creating involvement and interest in your company by offering value to potential customers and then transforming that interest into a mutually beneficial business relationship.” The keyword in this definition is value: 9 out of 10 shoppers say content influences their buying decisions, and about three-quarters say they’re tired of irrelevant content. Inbound marketing content should be designed to educate, entertain, and inform, so customers will feel right from the start that your company is worth interacting with.
What is sales funnel?
If you have a business or company, the sales funnel is the process that allows you to convert consumers into customers.
The sales funnel, or sales funnel, is a process that consists of a series of strategic actions. The journey traces the stages consumers go through on their journey to purchase.
The model uses the funnel as an analogy because, at the top of the funnel, you need to attract a large number of leads. These will then decrease during the descent in the other phases, and only a fraction of the initial consumers will make the purchase.
When the consumer goes through the stages of the purchasing process, it means a further interest in the product or service and your ever more profound commitment to the sale.
At each stage of the funnel, consumers take actions that bring them closer or further away from the next step. Therefore, you must take measures to encourage their interest not to leave and to bring them closer and closer to the final goal.
Here are the two main characteristics of the sales funnel
Universal: can be applied and adapted to any business, in any sector.
Timeless: if processes change, the sales funnel also transforms and adapts
Having a sales funnel helps you determine a strategic and repeatable process. You can learn how many customers there are at different stages and identify which methods require optimizations.
Why is the sales funnel a benefit for your business?
So here is the effectiveness of having a sales funnel; it offers you a strategy or even just a simple roadmap to determine your income. It helps you to focus your energies on the most critical phases for you at different times: lead generation, lead qualification, conversion, sale, loyalty.
Furthermore, to build a sales funnel, you need to know the consumers you want to target; this is very useful for establishing the right communication and creating messages that potential customers can truly understand.
Understanding your audience is critical in selling because it gives you an awareness of who people are and what they want.
Constant collaboration between marketing and sales
In a Demand Gen Report survey carried out by our digital agency based in Thailand, some respondents said that two of the biggest challenges of marketing-sales alignment are communicating and evaluating with different metrics. The scenario is typical: the sales team wants more leads, so the marketing pushes towards a strategy that focuses on quantity instead of quality to satisfy demand; in turn, the sales team fails to sell to all leads. Lead evaluation can help avoid these problems. When marketing and sales work together to develop an efficient valuation method, they all achieve greater success.
According to an article by Thomas Koletas, Marketing Land, you can make the most of the the assessment of the lead by setting policies, automating, taking into account implicit and explicit criteria, and coordinating sales and marketing.
- Set criteria: Collaborate sales and marketing to determine what is essential in the lead and how to consolidate it.
- Automate: Set up algorithms to do the lead collection and analysis work for you. Artificial intelligence in the form of predictive lead assessment is particularly useful. It can bring together a range of algorithms and data structures to predict how a lead will behave.
- Consider implicit and explicit criteria: Consider both demographic and behavioral aspects when evaluating leads.
- Coordinate sales and marketing Compare leads across departments, share information, and avoid reaching out to the same leads with overlapping messages.
The passing of the baton: a smooth transition from qualified marketing leads to qualified sales leads
Specific criteria or behaviors of some leads make them seem particularly promising. These leads can be called Qualified Marketing Leads (MQL) and Qualified Sales Leads (SQL).
- Qualified marketing leads are leads who have shown interest, but who may not be ready to buy yet and may respond well to consolidation.
- Qualified sales leads have entered the sales section of the funnel (often as a result of successful consolidation) and have more specific questions and needs that may prompt them to communicate directly with the sales department.
With lead conversion rates averaging up to 10% across industries, it is critically important to agree on a clear definition of MQL and SQL from the start, as well as when and how MQLs are passed on to the sales team . Marketing software may prove useful in this process. Still, it is especially helpful in determining what should happen at each stage and establishing the chronology of events in advance focusing on high-quality leads increases conversion.
In conclusion, both are essential, but sales funnel brings in the chunk of the marketing results.