3 Ways to Bring Certainty to Your Sales Pipeline
For many B2B companies, the pandemic has forced a significant change in the way they do business. Due to lockdowns, financial losses and remote working, sales pipelines are not as effective as they were pre-pandemic and revenues are down. In response to these changes, B2B companies need to pivot their marketing strategies to account for this new landscape and in the process, bring more certainty to their sales pipelines in the current economic climate.
The biggest change is the way that B2B companies connect with each other, which is why it’s so difficult to reach buyers in the B2B space at the moment. Research shows that in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, face-to-face meetings were down from 57% to 20%. At the same time, there was also a 44% increase in B2B online sales activities compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Given the accelerated popularity of remote work during the pandemic, we don’t expect this model to lose much traction. In fact, it appears that the digital space is continuing to be much more important to B2B sales pipelines and marketing strategies than prior to the pandemic.
The solution to this new landscape and bring more certainty to your sales pipeline is to take a three-pronged marketing approach, as follows.
Keep activities consistent with your sales teams
BDRs (Business Development Reps) and SDRs (Sales Development Reps) funnel inbound and outbound leads into your sales pipeline. A team of experienced SDRs/BDRs will identify and qualify leads for your organisation, moving them further along the pipeline to your sales team. Setting clear targets and consistently going after them will not only help your sales team measure progress, but it will also provide them opportunities for growth. On average, it takes 12 calls to connect with a lead through a direct number. This implies that BDRs/SDRs spend a substantial part of their day researching and cold calling leads to book discovery meetings for the sales team who can ultimately drive more sales.
Utilising methods like BANT qualification are used by these reps to ensure that leads are worth pursuing for the sales team. It's estimated that between 40% and 60% of leads are converted into solid opportunities by BDRs alone. SDRs/BDRs ask for key information related to the budget, authority, needs and timeline of the prospective company, which provides your sales team with enough information to utilise in the discovery call and close deals more effectively.
That’s why a business development team is an essential component of maintaining consistent activities that are needed to build pipeline, particularly given the changing B2B landscape and the need to optimise every lead that’s available.
Focus on building strong ROI
Recent data indicates that just under $40 million was wasted by Australian brands on advertising campaigns in the first financial quarter of 2021. Then there’s data from 50 companies in the US during 2018 which revealed that between 12% to 80% of social media budgets didn’t produce the intended results, whilst another study in 2018 found that marketers wasted 26% of their budgets on ineffectual strategies.
Knowing where to spend your budget is key for successful lead gen activities, however, some companies still focus almost exclusively on inbound marketing, which takes time to generate results and can be an upfront investment initially. On the other hand, outbound marketing campaigns achieve results faster as they actively search out and contact potential leads, qualifying them quickly and feeding them into your sales pipeline. Outbound tactics are best used to generate new business and target new verticals or markets.
Many companies, however, don’t have sufficient resources and instead, focus almost exclusively on inbound strategies, despite the long lead times and costs involved. The solution is to focus on both marketing and business development to ensure your return on investment is strong.
Use data as the foundation of building pipeline
B2B data that is truly beneficial to your business aims to provide the most up-to-date contact information as a foundation for your various sales and marketing activities. Poor quality data can have a significant impact on the leads generated for your sales pipelines and ultimately, your revenue. For example, in 2018, Gartner found that organisations lose $15 million every year due to poor quality data, whilst Forrester Research found that poor quality data results in lowered productivity.
More recently in 2021, researchers (commissioned by SnapLogic) surveyed 500 IT Decision Makers at medium and large enterprises in the US and UK. They found 77% didn’t completely trust their data, 82% had to rework data analytics projects due to poor quality data and 76% believed they had missed revenue opportunities due to a lack of timely, accurate data.
So using bad data clearly has consequences but what does this mean for your sales and marketing strategies?
Inability to reach target audience
Companies rely on data to identify and understand their target audience, discover their pain points and recognise how their products or services provide the perfect solution. Without this type of accurate data, companies are unable to finetune their marketing strategies and may even be unable to locate these potential leads.
Poor quality data jeopardises both your outbound and inbound marketing campaigns, resulting in fewer qualified leads entering into your sales pipeline, reduced revenue and more than likely, a wasted budget.
Forecasting will be skewed
Most marketers use predictive software to forecast the ROI of potential campaigns, comparing campaigns and selecting the options with the best potential outcomes. Poor data, however, is more than likely to produce flawed outputs, resulting in ineffectual campaigns, fewer predicted leads and lost revenue. Essentially, bad data skews the results of your analyses and creates forecasts that are inherently incorrect, wasting your company’s time and money.
Sales team wastes time
When poor quality data produces bad leads, you not only waste your marketing budget on poorly defined campaigns, but you also waste the time of your sales and business development teams. Follow-up calls produce fewer results and your team loses trust in the data and the leads they have been given.
Optimising your marketing strategies with SalesPond
Experienced SDRs and reliable, up-to-date and accurate data are vital to optimising your marketing strategies. However, these are often unavoidable challenges when you’re operating with limited resources. That’s where SalesPond comes into the picture because of our SDR-As-A-Service and B2B Data Services to provide the solution you need to reach your target audience, feed qualified leads into your sales pipeline and increase your ROI.
SalesPond’s SDR-As-A-Service program helps you optimise your marketing strategy by providing you with a fully qualified and experienced SDR to work on your campaigns. Our sister company, DataList, provides you with custom built, B2B data that’s 99% accurate and allows you to confidently forecast outcomes based on reliable data.
Please contact us for more information on our SDR-As-A-Service and B2B Data Service.