According to MarketingSherpa, a surprising 68% of B2B organizations have yet to identify their sales funnel. In a digital-first world where success is predicated on a company’s ability to recognize, analyze, and capitalize on new business opportunities, this stat is somewhat alarming.
Luckily for these brands, there are market resources to help put a structure in place. The SiriusDecisions Rearchitected Demand Waterfall has become an industry standard for B2B organizations to measure their demand generation initiatives and institute a more effective methodology to managing the sales funnel and measuring ROMI.
The SiriusDecisions Rearchitected Demand Waterfall is a guide intended to closely follow lead generation and revenue attribution. It can be overlaid with a multi-channel and multi-touch buyer journey that helps drive inquiries, nurture leads, and provides sales enablement along that journey. The exact lead flow and semantics for pipeline development may vary from one business model to the next, but let’s take a look at the main reasons why B2B organizations must introduce a sales funnel in order to create organizational growth as well as a well-organized approach to demand generation.
1. Lead Attribution
With so many digital touchpoints involved in a B2B buyer’s journey, it’s vital to understand the path a prospective buyer has taken in order to accurately assign credit to the right marketing or sales program. Having a detailed sales funnel in place will give B2B companies the inherent ability to show where and how these leads were obtained.
Of course, different organizations will have different philosophies in terms of attribution models (First-click, Last-click, Time-decay, etc.), however without first establishing an organized sales funnel, it would be near impossible for business executives to understand which of these programs is performing well, and which need to be optimized accordingly.
2. Lead Qualification and Accuracy
While it may be deemed necessary to route certain leads around steps of the sales funnel in order to respond to time-sensitive opportunities, it’s important for B2B brands to have a multi-tier qualification process in place before handing their sales team each and every lead that comes in the door.
Much of this qualification process can be accomplished using a Marketing Automation system which has the ability to score leads according to historical interactions, digital behaviors, and customer information, all of which are important components to understand a buyer’s phase and urgency in their journey.
While MA systems can supplement much of the work, it’s difficult for marketers to accurately qualify new and existing leads without some type of sales funnel on which to base priorities. Without a Sales funnel in place, B2B companies can create a number of organizational inefficiencies, such as:
- Supplying underqualified leads to the sales team that wastes time and resources
- Passing off qualified leads to the Sales team too early in the buyer journey, causing leads to feel pressured and straining relationship
- Passing off qualified leads to the sales too late in the buyer journey and missing the opportunity to convert
Bottom line: qualification allows organizations to identify the right lead opportunities and methodically pass them along to the sales team if and when the right moment comes along.
3. Marketing & Sales Alignment
Marketing and Sales is (or should be) two sides of the same coin. By establishing a sales funnel to organize prospective leads based on their stage in the buyer journey, organizations will ensure that their marketing department is focused on creating campaigns that bring in qualified leads, and also hold their sales department responsible for closing on these opportunities.