Preparing your B2B marketing pipeline for new strategies

Abi Abrahams, Tuesday 22 January 2019
6 min read time
 

 

preparing b2b marketing pipeline-1

Every B2B marketing team aims to continuously evolve strategies and tactics to better improve team skill and gain increased results. The leads produced by marketing go on to fuel sales activity, drive revenue and promote business success; creating a master marketing strategy. is essential. Whilst you want to move marketing processes forward, your pipeline may groan and grumble as you make new strategy additions and your team re-evaluate everyday processes. When looking to revolutionize B2B marketing, here’s how to best prepare your current pipeline, and your team for impactful strategic changes, ensuring immediate adoption and extraordinary results. 

 

1) Give your pipeline the SWOT treatment

 

Many teams use SWOT to analyze their individual, team or channel performance, but this process is rarely used for the entire marketing pipeline, assessing the full journey your marketing channels use to discover prospects, introduce them to your brand and convert them into sales opportunities. SWOT works through four key stages:


S- Strengths- In what areas does your marketing pipeline excel?


W- Weaknesses- Where does your pipeline fall short?


O- Opportunities- What could an improved pipeline mean for your business?


T- Threats- What could stop your pipeline properly functioning?

 

Outlining 3-5 answers for each stage helps your team understand what makes your current pipeline effective, and what areas need to be improved. You may already have a pipeline that easily bends to embrace new strategies, or you may realize how vital the below steps are to ensure a flexible pipeline.
The most important part of this process is to recognize opportunities, understanding how influential your marketing pipeline is to each and every channel, and how your teams can use pipeline insight to boost their individual strategies, improving overall marketing results.

 

2) Identify your key pipeline stages 

 

Every pipeline is different, so it’s key to understand the stages that build your brand journey, ensuring you can properly prepare your pipeline for future additions and evolution. For example, your pipeline may reflect the buyer journey through AIDA- Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Many marketing departments aim to guide prospects through these four key stages, seeing “action” as the act of conversion, when a prospect becomes a lead and is passed over to sales. Other businesses see “action” as the actual sale, and marketing pipelines focus on the earlier stages of grabbing attention and promoting interest. There is no right or wrong answer- your pipeline will be individual to your business, and the sooner it's properly outlined, the better your marketing will be. 

 

It’s likely your pipeline will go through an initial process of audience identification or data collection, outlining the specific audiences your marketing channels will target. Working then through various outreach and channel processes, pipelines then usually finish with the conversion. Understanding the key stages your pipeline moves through is an essential starting point, gathering the insight needed to manage a pipeline with longevity.

 

3) Plan essential targets and ideal targets

 

To properly prepare your pipeline for new strategies, it’s important to outline exactly what that pipeline is expected to deliver. What does your pipeline need to produce to keep your business functions running as they should? Start by asking what your pipeline has previously delivered, and how these results worked through your entire business pipeline into sales. From here, you can understand how many new business opportunities marketing needs to generate to continue with planned growth and expansion, offering you a baseline target

 

But the best teams go above and beyond, so spend time outlining your ideal targets. In a dream world, what could your pipeline produce? With both a baseline target and an ideal target outlined, your team can produce department goals that meet business needs whilst pushing daily processes to consistently improve and grow. With pipeline targets properly planned, you’re ready to start splitting these numbers into specific channels targets, so each team member understands precisely what they need to deliver to the overall pipeline.

 

4) Discuss your team’s dream processes

 

When looking to embrace new strategies, it’s important to understand what your team want and need. Ask each channel to outline their ideal processes, understanding how their perfect day would run, what tasks would be automated, and what areas they would give more time to. Ask also how these dream processes feed into your overall marketing pipeline; do they require consideration of additional stages or a re-evaluation of targets? 

 

This information is important, as it instantly highlight areas not yet ready to accept new strategies due to a myriad of factors including team bandwidth and current technical capabilities. Your team is paramount your pipeline; they keep it successfully moving and work hard to ensure it produces the results you need. Without building your marketing pipeline around your team, you’ll struggle to gain new business opportunities, no matter how many new strategies you implement.

 

5) Plan new strategies and assess future implications 

 

The best way to prepare your pipeline for new strategies, is to properly outline the implications these changes can have, and plan accordingly. With a broad understanding of target results and what your team needs to get there, it’s time to ask how. How will each channel evolve their processes to improve what they do, increase their activity and fuel your business with more opportunity?

 

Digging into the detail of what strategies you aim to implement offers much-needed insight into how these new strategies align with that all-important marketing pipeline. Can these strategies fit comfortably into your pipeline as new additions, or will you need to make changes? If your email marketing team are keen to change their email strategy by embracing audience segmentation for focused communications, ask what processes this change effects. It may take longer for your team to design and execute a campaign, lengthening early pipeline processes, but may save your team time later as prospects move quickly through the AIDA journey thanks to a highly targeted approach. Think long term- what will your pipeline look like in six months, or a year? How much do you need to change?

 

6) Discover powerful software solutions

 

We live in a digital age, and modern technologies can certainly help your pipeline embrace new strategies with ease. Identify software solutions that boost your team’s ideal strategies and ask how these tools can be implemented into your current pipeline for seamless adoption. Investing in a new software can hugely benefit your pipeline, but investing in too many can hinder success, as your current processes struggle to embrace multiple additions. The best marketing solutions are holistic in their offering, and benefit all areas of your pipeline, from gathering and organizing new data sets to advanced campaign execution and results analysis. These tools offer your team everything they need without the struggle of re-evaluating your pipeline to embrace a myriad of new technologies.

 

Lead Forensics, for example, identifies the businesses visiting your website, offering contact details for their key decision makers alongside an extensive collection of website analytics. With our software, your team gains an advanced lead generation process, fuelling your sales funnel with high-quality, new business opportunities whilst providing detailed insight into your most valuable online marketing channels. With advanced CRM integrations, trigger reporting functions, and lead management capabilities, Lead Forensics is the perfect pipeline addition. Find out more- book your free demo today!

 

Free guide - It's time to revolutionize your B2B sales with the best tools and tactics for success. Download "Ultimate sales tools and tactics specific to B2B sales" for free now! 

 

Ultimate sales tools and tactics specific to B2B sales

 

Topics: B2B marketing, Marketing trends, Lead Forensics, Lead nurturing

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