Four B2B marketing strategies could boost sales conversion rates by up to 25 percentage points—but a vast majority of companies fail to fully use all of them, according to a new study on business-to-business marketing from strategy consulting firm Altman Vilandrie & Company.
Despite the proven sales benefits of these strategies, the study shows that only about 15 percent of companies fully used all four strategies—detailed customer journey mapping, advanced lead scoring, standardized lead handoffs, and collaborative sales and marketing efforts post-sale. Even when companies use these techniques, they often fall short of maximizing sales conversions because of a lack of coordination and integration.
“While many companies are following some of these strategies, very few employ all of them in an optimal way,” said Altman Vilandrie & Company director Stefan Bewley, in a news release. “Through the survey data and in our conversations with B2B marketers, we found an impressive increase in sales conversion for companies that were able fully implement these strategies.”
The study, released in a series of white papers, includes a survey of 190 B2B marketing decision-makers from major U.S. companies (with annual revenues of at least $100 million) and interviews with B2B marketers as well as industry experience from the firm’s consultants.
The study reveals how proper coordination of these practices can lead to improved sales conversions:
Detailed customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping, a common B2B marketing practice, involves documenting a sales prospect’s lifecycle throughout the entire process. Although 70 percent of B2B marketers map the customer journey, less than 15 percent of B2B marketers reevaluate their journey maps on a frequent basis. The survey shows that this stagnant approach hurts businesses—companies with more thorough customer journey mapping can increase conversion rates of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to sales by 3 to 5 percentage points.
Sophisticated lead scoring
Lead scoring is the practice of defining the stage of a lead within the marketing and sales process, such as MQL and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL), as well as prioritizing prospects within those stages. While 80 percent of B2B marketers use lead scoring, there is a wide range in both discipline and sophistication. The survey shows that “companies using lead scoring have 6 to 10 percentage point higher conversion rate of MQLs to sales—with more sophisticated companies on the high end of that range.”
Standardized lead handoff
The survey found that only 35 percent of B2B marketers classify their lead handoff process as highly standardized. Companies with highly standardized handoffs have 13-17 percentage point higher conversion of MQLs to sales versus companies with a non-standardized handoff.
Coordinated sales & marketing efforts after the initial sale
Marketing and sales are not always coordinated and working together. “Only 55 percent of B2B companies today employ both sales and marketing teams collaboratively to expand the customer base” according to the survey. However, companies using sales and marketing together “have a 6-7 percentage point higher conversion rates of MQLs to sales.”
“One common theme we heard from marketing executives is that they didn’t always have the ability or resources to continually update these practices throughout the year,” said Altman Vilandrie & Company principal Kate Rodriguez, in the release. “However, with the rise of more advanced, real-time analytics and increased marketing automation, the hurdles to implementing these practices are lessened—and those that do are at significant competitive advantage.”
To read the four sections of the full study, click on the links below: