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This is our story. It’s a story of how a group of perplexed marketers sought out a solution to their marketing conundrums. And (surprise!), in the process learned that the story was applicable to every B2B marketer navigating today’s digital marketing landscape.

Most marketers tend to focus on generating leads for the sales team. While it might seem like a logical goal on the surface, our marketing team was frustrated by the lack of visibility into the marketing process. We watched untracked visitors pour into our website, and we watched a small portion of them magically float away into the sales team’s CRM. But who were they, where did they come from, and what happened to them?

As marketers, our main goal is revenue generation. Metrics like pageviews, bounce rates, average time on site, click throughs and lead volume give us a lot of important numbers. However, those metrics didn't answer our questions, and they could not persuasively prove the value of our marketing spend.

We needed to know which content, keywords, and/or advertisements brought in prospects, how we could target those prospects from the very beginning, and what ultimately turned those prospects into paying customers.

We Went Looking for a Solution...

While searching for an answer to those questions we decided to try something new, a marketing strategy known as Pipeline Marketing.

Rather than focusing solely on the top of the funnel (leads, pageviews, email open rates, etc.) we started looking at the bigger picture. We began to measure our marketing performance based on the sales opportunities we created, the money we made, and the new customers that we added to our client base.

This allowed us to optimize for the most important metric-- revenue.

In doing so, we learned some important things.

Although lead generation is a huge part of marketing, it should not be the only focus. Getting thousands of people to visit your website is great, but it means nothing if they aren’t qualified or interested in your product. How many of those leads turned into paying customers, and why? Without this connection to revenue and sales, marketing is a shot in the dark.

Imagine watching a baseball game and the TV turns off every time a batter gets to second base. Did he get to third? Did he make it all the way home? Did he steal the base or did another batter hit him in? What kind of pitch was hit to bring the runner in?

The journey and conversion of each lead matters.

There should be one comprehensive funnel that the marketing and sales teams follow, not two separate funnels.

Nobody likes a book with an unclear beginning, middle and end. Focusing merely on top-of-the-funnel metrics does just that-- it tells a half story. It leaves the marketing team wondering how the story ends and gives the sales team a protagonist without any context or character development.

The whole story matters and the marketing and sales team need to be reading the same book.

In the past, top-of-the-funnel metrics were all that mattered, but technology today allows us to do so much more. At times, the mass amount of data to track and analyze can seem overwhelming, but while there might be more work involved, the reward is greater and more important than ever.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our story next week, where we explain how to implement a Pipeline Marketing strategy. Can't wait? View the whole presentation here.