The Changing Marketing Funnel?

sales funnel marketing

As we all know, sales and marketing are constantly changing. Therefore, the sales and marketing funnels are changing. While we might not like it, we have to adapt. recently published a post on this very topic, featuring our very own marketing automation sponsors, Right On Interactive. Troy Burk, CEO and founder, makes some good points. But there is one insight that is scary for marketers:

sales funnel marketingAccording to Forrester Research, nearly half of all B2B marketers say they close less than 4% of all marketing-generated leads. Furthermore, less than 25% of all revenue is attributed to marketing.

As a marketer, that’s a scary finding. Think about it – it’s our job to create leads and nurture them. If we’re only converting 4%, then our c-level execs are probably not that happy with us and not willing to spend the budget on our efforts. Despite this statistic, this is actually not the case at all.

We are necessary to any and all organizations. In fact, while about 75% of the revenue comes from up-sells and referrals, most marketing budgets are going towards creating and nurturing new leads in the marketing funnel. We are viable! And needed.

The overall problem in today’s digital world is aligning sales and marketing. Traditionally, these have always been two separate departments. Regardless if they are or aren’t in the new age, it’s important that the marketing plans and sales plans coincide and have a formal process in place so that the hand-off is seamless and timely. Marketing automation is a way to do this. Sales sends marketing a new lead’s email address, marketing adds them to the system, the marketing automation system creates and tracks a customer profile, and both parties are now “in the know” about what the prospect is doing and when they are doing it. That’s not always the workflow, but it’s definitely a foundation for what can be a successful roadmap for closing more leads for marketing.

The goals of the marketing funnel and sales funnel might be different, but the calls-to-action and marketing lifecycle are similar, from a digital standpoint. Why not work together?

Marketing and sales are equally imperative to lifecycle marketing – let’s stop fighting and start working as one.


  1. 1

    This is definitely an issue I’ve experienced as well. It’s not necessarily that there’s any love lost between marketing and sales, but that we have different priorities. Marketing (in my world) is about metrics and ROI (perhaps a product of having to always prove our value), whereas sales is more concerned about the one-off interaction and closing each client one at a time.

    Our biggest disconnect is simply tracking the funnel entirely through to the sale closing process. I can track the leads that we bring in, but we have to rely on the sales staff to log and track the actual revenue appropriately, which isn’t always the case. Combine that with the fact that in our industry (very high fee services, mostly), our leads may come in from any number of hundreds of touches, and really nailing down the ROI on any particular activity can be tough.

    • 2

      Thanks for the comment, Tyler! I agree with your comment about different priorities. That is very true. But I think that if we both realize that our efforts are working towards the same goal by doing different activities, then we can align our priorities in a better way (and reap the rewards!).

      As far as ROI goes, I’ve always thought it was difficult to determine ROI for sales or marketing as a whole. There are activities that we do that can’t have a “price tag” on them. Sure, a sales rep could have coffee with a potential prospect and they just clicked, and that’s when that prospect decided they wanted to work with that company. But the conversion didn’t happen until 2 months later due to other internal or external factors. In a “multiple touch point” world, we don’t know when we made an impact. Which activities should have ROI? It’s all very vague and hard to determine.

      • 3

        I definitely agree. It’s not an easy problem to tackle. My approach is to basically do a statistical analysis from the very top of your funnel and determine which types of activities are most valuable to you.

        So, for instance if you say that 2% of organic traffic on your site submits a request for more info, and of that 2%, 30% eventually convert into sales, and those sales totaled $100k, then you could do an analysis to estimate the value of each new organic visitor you generate — essentially an ROI tied directly to your SEO time/effort.

        You’re right that multiple touch points complicate it, though. Oh — trust me — I know all about that. But, I think we have to at least have approximate measurements in order to optimize our processes, optimize our dollars, and optimize our time. (e.g., should we spend 10 more hours per month working on SEO? — well lets look at cost versus return).

What do you think?

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