Conversion – now that’s where the action happens. By this stage in the customer lifecycle, you’ve gathered up your prospects and nurtured them along the journey. They’ve become better educated and informed about your products and/or services, and your sales team is having more relevant conversations with them. Everything is going smoothly, and the lead pipeline is pumping out sales qualified leads – the kind of prospects that are ready to buy. Isn’t that the only metric that matters? Not quite. In part four of this series on customer lifecycle metrics, we’ll focus on the metrics that measure how well you’re converting leads into customers and creating new revenue.
The conversion stage can be a precarious part of the marketing lifecycle. It’s usually during this stage that the lead is handed from marketing, where it has been nurtured, to sales, where the nurturing continues and the deal is closed. And that handoff is a challenge for many organizations.
In a 2013 survey, Forrester Research asked B2B marketing execs about the quality of collaboration between sales and marketing, and 57% reported weak or mixed collaboration with sales when “defining lead qualification criteria” and “administering leads and lead pipelines.”
It’s not surprising to discover that marketing and sales continue to struggle with alignment. According to the new report from Gleanster and Act-On, sales alignment remains an issue. In fact, the survey found that 90% of B2B marketers surveyed indicated that marketing alignment with sales was a top challenge – one that was causing them to struggle to achieve their marketing objectives. This lack of alignment creates inefficiency and results in fragmented communications with customers.
On the other hand, the benefits of alignment can be significant. SiriusDecisions found that B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three- year revenue growth, as well as 27% faster three-year profit growth.