Marketing is responsible for more of the sales funnel

If you’re a marketer, you’re responsible for more of the buying journey than ever before.

This is a big shift from your traditional role, which was creating awareness and running campaigns at the top of the funnel. Those campaigns generated interest, but at some point, there was always that handoff to Sales, who would ultimately guide the buyer toward a decision.

Then, several years ago, it all started to change. Buyers began doing research, forming opinions, and narrowing their options all on their own. In 2012, CEB noted that B2B buyers weren’t contacting suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process was complete.

In other words, nearly two-thirds of your buyers’ decision-making process was happening without any input from your sellers.

As buyers turned to digital content to learn and shop at their own pace, Sales lost some influence, and marketers found themselves responsible for guiding buyers’ decisions with useful and persuasive content.

The problem? As one Think with Google article put it at the time, “Most content is low value; it may be interesting or get a lot of ‘engagement,’ but it doesn’t help buyers make commercial decisions… Marketing’s content creation machine is not designed to create consistent, focused messages.”

Today, it’s a similar story but with higher stakes.

The Evolving Role of Marketing

Prominent industry analysts now say that 80 percent of the sales cycle happens in digital or remote settings. And Gartner reports that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase, they spend only 17 percent of their time meeting with potential suppliers. That means that if a buyer is considering, say, three vendors, they spend only five percent of the buying cycle with any one seller.

Digital content and changing buyer preferences continue to push the role of marketing even further down the sales funnel. And that means owning an even bigger chunk of the sales process.

Business development functions are shifting to the marketing organization. In fact, some industry leaders believe that more than 50 percent of sales enablement organizations will eventually report to Marketing.

In addition to doing more on the acquisition side, marketers are also more involved in customer engagement marketing—keeping and growing business with existing customers. It’s Marketing that runs renewal and upsell cadences, creates quarterly business review decks, and educates customers on additional purchase options.

As the marketing role evolves, one thing is clear: It’s no longer enough to drive awareness or interest—you are now in the business of influencing buying decisions.

But how do you influence those decisions with your marketing?

How Can Marketers Adapt?

Corporate Visions research shows that the primary factor that drives decisions is memory. Your buyer interacts with your marketing content in one moment, but they decide to act later on.

So, if you want to drive buying decisions, your marketing must be memorable enough to not only stick in your buyer’s mind as they move through their decision-making process but influence their action at the point of decision.

But is it possible to influence your buyers so they remember you in the future, when they make their decisions?

Yes, you can, according to our new research. And over the next several weeks, you’ll see that research and learn how to directly influence buying decisions with your marketing.

Watch Dr. Carmen Simon’s on-demand webinar, How to Make Marketing Memorable, to learn more about our new research.

In this article series, you’ll find out how to make your messages, content, visuals, and stories engaging, different, and persuasive enough to stick with your audience and guide their buying decisions in your direction.