FOR OUR MARKETING MANAGER, THE PIPELINE REPORT IS A TASK, NOTHING MORE. HOW DO WE GET BUY-IN TO THE ROLE I WANT THIS TOOL TO PLAY? I WANT TO ENSURE WE HAVE ENOUGH OPPORTUNITIES COMING DOWN THE ROAD TO HIT OUR SALES GOALS, AND GET WARNINGS WHEN WE HAVE TO DO MORE MARKETING TO KEEP US ALL SAFE.
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: What you are seeking is a systematic way to measure and monitor the results of your marketing activities. Discuss the roles and responsibilities of the marketing position with your marketing manager. Set up metrics. Build a department that can deliver results critical to the company’s future success.
A pipeline report is a great tool to report on the potential of known sales opportunities. Monitoring velocity in the pipe will tell you if marketing is being successful, or not.
The top priority of a marketing manager is to prioritize incoming sales leads to help sales people with what to work on next. Other marketing duties include: reporting on the progress being made to create opportunities for future business; comparing the potential in the pipeline to upcoming sales goals; and knowing when to push down or let up on the gas pedal. Your marketing manager needs to pay attention to pipeline reporting as a regular discipline.
Make sure your marketing manager is clear that success and shortfall in any of these reporting areas falls squarely on the marketing desk. Explain that knowing and delivering correct answers on the priority of leads, as well as velocity of, and gaps in, the sales pipeline are all critical to the company’s future as well as to the personal success of anyone holding the marketing manager position.
To make things more clear, establish metrics for each of the major duties. When it comes to evaluating incoming leads, reward your marketing manager for accurately ranking leads in terms of quality of opportunity.
Set up criteria to rate incoming leads. Use a scale of 1-4 or 1-10 for each:
• Mirror your best customers (closely matches vs. never worked with that type of client).
• Size of company (closely parallels size of typical clients vs. very different size — bigger or smaller).
• Type of business (worked a lot with this type of business vs. never worked).
• Level of decision maker (position that always buys from you vs. position with no power to buy).
• Quality of inquiry (referral vs. general inquiry vs. RFP vs. request for information).
Add up the scores on each criterion. Leads with the highest overall score get top priority.
Agree on reports that should be sent out:
• Weekly (new leads, recent updates on pipeline results — leads closed, leads dead, leads in progress).
• Monthly (recap weekly reports).
• Quarterly (recent marketing activities and results produced by each one in terms of number and quality of leads).
• Annually (change in velocity of the pipeline, what worked, what didn’t, plan for the upcoming year).
Ask your marketing manager to predict the probable value of each lead in the pipeline depending on the size, quality and sales stage.
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Address any gaps between what exists for new business potential and what’s needed for the company to meet its quarterly and annual sales goals. Use management meetings to review results and brainstorm what to do next.
Having enough leads is one of the success drivers of any company. Insist that your marketing manager build a pipeline worth 5-10x what’s needed to meet upcoming sales goals. That way you’ll have enough opportunities to pick and choose the best.
LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK? Try “Combo Prospecting: The Powerful One-Two Punch That Fills Your Pipeline and Wins Sales” by Tony J. Hughes.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535, AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com.