The “funnel” is a common metaphor used in many marketing and sales departments to describe the process through which prospective leads are converted into paying customers. Though the metaphor remains the same regardless of whether you’re talking to marketing executives or salespeople, what does change is the sense of ownership.
Those involved with marketing, the people who generate the leads to begin with, understandably call it the “marketing automation funnel.” At the other end of the spectrum, sales—those who take the leads and convert them into customers—deem it the “sales funnel.” At the end of the day, the two parties only take ownership of part of the funnel instead of the entire process, misconstruing who “owns” the funnel and leaving it incomplete.
Any lead generation funnel needs to be whole and complete to work properly. Any gaps or holes will inevitably lead to a mess, which distracts departments from other tasks. The disconnect between the marketing and sales departments is a gap in the funnel and the mess it creates hinders organizations from reaching their full potential.
The Marketing Automation Mess
Marketers are increasingly taking on more responsibilities with how their brand is managed and can no longer afford to just focus on the top of the funnel as they have in the past. While marketers are generating more leads than ever before, sales teams are being neglected.
Salespeople need to be able to reach out and engage leads in a personal and meaningful way or the lead will dry up or spill out of the funnel. A main contributor to the problem is that many marketers have to support an external sales team that is spread across the country and they don’t have time to customize sales materials for each and every prospect. The result is a lack of support for sales who is then forced to either not use, or edit marketing materials to make them personal and relevant.
This damages the brand experience that marketing has worked so hard to create, and dramatically decreases sales’ likelihood of converting prospects into paying customers. Companies with a CRM or a campaign management platform have no trouble filling the funnel—instead, they have trouble finishing it.
Finish the Funnel to Empower Sales and Marketing Teams
Sales needs the proper equipment to help them do their jobs and a funnel finishing solution enables them to quickly follow up on the leads passed down to them by marketing. However, speed isn’t the only thing this tool addresses—it also enables them to stay on-message and compliant with the brand created by marketing. Sales can quickly search through digital marketing assets and find the content they need to create relevant collateral that will surely convert customers.
At the same time, this solution allows marketing to rest easy, knowing their brand is safe. They are the ones creating the content used by sales, so it’s all on-point with the brand message they are trying to send. They don’t have to worry about customers being confused by inconsistent promotional materials and losing the trust that they established with these individuals.
This type of solution also helps marketers maintain visibility throughout the funnel. They no longer lose track of the leads after they pass through the top of the funnel. Analytics enables them to monitor which assets are being used to reach which prospects. This allows marketers to work in conjunction with sales to change content on the fly to improve prospecting even while the campaign is still running.
It is clear that neither marketing, nor sales owns the entire funnel. Conversely, they need to work together because they each have a crucial role in making sure it works properly.