When leads are passed to sales, Inbound Marketers often believe their jobs are done. But they are leaving sales closers without the necessary support and materials to drive movement to the bottom of the funnel and on to the closing table.
Bottom-Heavy Marketing Departments
Bottom-of-the-funnel marketing involves the creation of various types of ads, newsletters, direct mail, sales collateral, and presentations used to catch the attention of ready B2B buyers and convert them into customers.
B2B marketers working at the bottom of the funnel typically have:
- Better than average graphic design and PowerPoint skills
- The ability to craft sales-oriented messages about the company and its products and services
- No issues responding to last-minute requests for needed marketing / sales materials
- Little to no knowledge about Inbound Marketing
They thrive on helping with the close and are beloved by the sales team. Not surprisingly, bottom-heavy marketing departments tend to have high close ratios. This may sound great at first, but the problem is that these departments don’t generate very many opportunities to close. The top of the pipeline is anemic because marketers haven’t been focused on the early stages of a buyer’s journey. A few good closes mask the fact that most Prospective B2B buyers don’t want to be sold to until they’re good and ready.
Without a robust lead generation / Inbound Marketing program to back them, sales departments are left to rely on leads that are few, far between, and not nurtured in ways that promote long-term customer loyalty.
Top-to-Bottom Marketing Departments
All B2B companies want leads and lots of them. They also want to convert those leads into new business and generate company growth. Yet so many companies struggle in large part because of marketing / sales funnel misalignment. To avoid what can be a debilitating problem, here’s some advice…
- Identify your problem area: Lead generation, closing new business, or both. If it’s lead generation, you need more or better marketing at the top. If it’s closing new business, you need help at the bottom. If it’s both, reevaluate your marketing and sales teams because neither one is serving you well.
- Tap outside resources: If you don’t have experienced marketing talent in-house, hire a strategic marketing consultant who understands the B2B buyer of today. He or she can assess a marketing department and suggest how that department can be restructured or refocused to better meet a company’s needs.
Building a balanced, top to bottom marketing department takes time, knowledge, and a little faith. I’ve crafted quite a few, with positive and measurable results. My clients will tell you that it was definitely worth the “weight.”
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