Shining light on the end of the sales funnel

Marketing automation is Job One among b2b companies. Or not.

Twenty-one percent of b2b marketers said their marketing automation software is fully implemented while 37% said their marketing automation software is partially implemented, according to “MarketingSherpa’s 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.”

However, 21% of respondents indicated that they had no plans to implement a marketing automation software solution.

What’s more, the report showed an apparent disconnect among some b2b companies between a lengthening sales cycle and the structural changes needed to improve pipeline from demand-to-close.

According to the survey, 26% respondents said their sales cycle was seven months to a year and 24% said their sales cycle was four to six months. Overall, the length of time in sales cycles cited by respondents ranged from less than a month to more than a year. Nevertheless, 22% of organizations indicated that they had not yet defined a formal sales funnel.

Given a list of metrics designed to track the marketing-sales funnel, 71% of respondents checked Registered Lead; 48% checked Sales-Ready Opportunity and 48% checked Sales Outcome.

The report, which was generated from insights from 935 b2b marketers, focuses on three key areas of the buying cycle: Generating Interest and Attracting Prospects, Qualifying and Nurturing Sales Leads, and Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Each Customer. This year MarketingSherpa added a fourth section, Closing the Loop,” which examines marketing analytics.

A few points:

  • The hunt grows fiercer: Generating high quality leads/high volume leads are the two biggest (and growing) marketing challenges for b2b organizations. Surprisingly – given the growth in purchasing-by-committee – marketing to a growing number of people involved in the buying process was at the bottom of the list among the marketing challenges.
  • Web site design, management and optimization and social media get the lion’s share of budget: 69% of respondents said they were increasing budget this year to improve their Web sites while only 5% said they were decreasing budget; 69% said they were boosting budget for social media and 4% said they were decreasing investment.
  • Social media quickly comes of age: The initial skepticism about the effectiveness of social media as a business tool seems to be on the wane. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that social media was either “very effective” or “somewhat effective” as a marketing tactic, compared with 93% for Web site design, management and optimization.
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About The ZoomInfo Team

ZoomInfo offers the most accurate and actionable B2B contact and company intelligence to help organizations accelerate growth and profitability. Their Growth Acceleration Platform enables sales and marketing teams to execute more effective marketing campaigns and improve sales prospecting efforts with access to on demand direct dial phone numbers, email addresses, and background information.

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