Building and maintaining a high-performance customer acquisition engine is top of the list for every company. How you identify, attract, convert, and retain new customers is a constantly changing puzzle that is a top priority for sales and marketing professionals.
To accelerate sales pipeline performance in an effort to achieve this customer acquisition nirvana requires three related but different building blocks.
1. Measure Lead Velocity Rate
This is a leading indicator of sales pipeline performance and assumes a proper level of targeting and qualification as these leads enter the pipeline. It measures the growth in qualified leads month over month. A name and email address is not a qualified lead. One that has met the qualifications of a “Marketing Qualified Lead” is, and even better if it is a “Sales Qualified Lead.”
Here’s a great write up on Lead Velocity Rate (LVR) and why it is such an important metric especially for software as a service businesses, but has applicability to any B2B business.
The thing is, sales is variant, and sales pipelines have big data quality issues — and worse, sales as a metric is a lagging indicator. In fact, your monthly sales tell you about the past.
2. Understand the Buyer Journey
We’ve touched previously on the importance of understanding the buyer journey, but a focus and consciousness of where a prospect is in their buying process is essential to delivering the right content and context at the proper time.
Here is a great write up on the importance of understanding the buyer journey by Jeff Ernst of Forrester Research.
You need to recognize that the B2B buying process is not one big decision; it is a series of micro decisions. And the company that wins the business is the company that is there to answer those questions and provide fresh insights that influence how the buyers think about the problem so that the buyers can confidently advance their journey.
3. Use a Sales Enablement Platform
Now that you’ve got the right leads at the right volume and understand their buyer journey so you can win all the “micro decisions” being made, bring it all together with a sales enablement platform.
A sales enablement platform like Highspot intelligently organizes your content, making it easier for marketing to update and share, and easier for sales to access and put to use. When deployed as a sales playbook inside a CRM system like Salesforce.com, it puts the best content at the fingertips of the sales professional exactly when they need it based on deal stage, product line, or type of customer. Once the opportunity for a meeting arises, being able to conduct a pitch presentation via the web or share a trackable version via email redefines the “last mile” between sales professional and prospect. Add content analytics that show what is working best, where gaps may exist, and critically closing the loop from marketing to sales to customer you have added fuel to your sales pipeline that will accelerate sales cycles and lead to more revenue.