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Borrow a pipeline mentality to become a more commercial marketer

Lead generation
Data HQ boom pillow

By David Battson 2 min read

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The best salespeople manage their pipeline much like a portfolio. They invest time in a number of opportunities knowing that some will close and some will not.

They track the performance of each opportunity and monitor its status according to stage. Is the buyer at research stage? Is it now qualified? Has a quote been provided? Are we in negotiation?

They are also able to conduct an analysis of their pipeline at any time to determine where they sit relative to their quota target.

Imagine applying this same mentality to your prospecting pool.

Imagine putting your activity into this same funnel.

Some marketing activity is appropriate for the research stage, some is good for qualifying interest, others for deepening relationship and confidence during negotiations.

  1. Being clear which marketing activity relates to which purpose will:

    - scale it appropriately
    - involve the right internal stakeholders
    - segment your prospect list clearly
    - tailor the content

  2. Measuring activity by stage will allow you to:

    - set yourself targets of what you need to achieve in each stage to meet your goals (quota)
    - identify any shortfall in results by stage? Is your prospect pool to small at the start? Are you struggling to move people to the final stage?
    - find out where people are dropping out of the process at the highest rate?
    - see if you’re spending your budget (and human effort!) where it matters

Does this sound spookily familiar?

Anyone involved in content journeys will realise some similarities here. It’s about getting the right content, to the right person, at the right time.

Spot on.

Now take that theory and elevate it to span your entire marketing plan by activity and see if you can get it onto a one-page plan that works like a pipeline clearly showing the handoff points to sales.

Here’s a typical conversation that illustrates the point

Last week I was talking with a marketing colleague who had been asked to define the roadmap for their customer community initiative. In their mind this was an activity for personalised engagement with 100-200 people.

But the senior stakeholders were imagining something different.

They were thinking of auto-enrolling the 8000 people who had previously bought something from them over the past few years and using the community as a base to build a deeper connection from which they could start cross selling.

As we talked, it became clear that the business hadn’t yet mapped out where this initiative sits in their marketing pipeline.

For example:

  • Is its role to acquire new customers?
  • Is it to nurture and grow existing?
  • At what stage of the relationship does the conversation begin?

Without this clarity you can’t set meaningful goals around scale, budget, stakeholders and targets – let alone content, tone of voice and activity type.

Multiply this by 10 activities and it’s not difficult to see how marketing teams become overworked yet seem to experience a frustration and disconnect from their sales and commercial friends.

Most organisations are used to seeing (and interested in seeing) sales pipelines. Perhaps there’s even more reasons to borrow from this wavelength when organising and presenting our marketing plans.

If this resonates with you and you’re interested in reading more, then try this one:

Ideas to help you create influence and get buy in for your marketing plans

Dave Battson
Data HQ Operations Director
You can email me if you need some help
Connect with me on LinkedIN for more #DataHQideas

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