Pipeline marketing is a term that many in the marketing industry, even those heavily engaged in digital marketing, are not entirely familiar with. It may go by other names; math marketing or revenue marketing, for instance, but the idea is the same: using data strategically to critically evaluate the effectiveness of online marketing efforts.
Marketers have been using “lead generation” (the process of creating new contacts for the sales team) as a marketing metric for decades. However, even as marketing has shifted to digital and analytics systems have been able to capture more complex data and insights, far too many companies are using legacy ways to measure their performance.
The problem with lead goals is that it focuses too heavily on the top of the funnel, weighing too much towards quantity. This causes misaligned goals with sales, marketing being seen as a cost center, and media teams optimizing for cost per lead rather than true business growth. Once you consider this, it’s not surprising that 99% of leads never convert into customers, according to Forrester.
The solution is pipeline marketing. Pipeline marketing is the next evolution of lead generation that focuses on connecting marketing and sales data to enable decision making and goals based on revenue.
Pipeline marketing is a powerful tool to help businesses better understand their customers, how to segment customers into more high-performing groups, and how to identify the sales approaches that achieve the best results. Customer better, how to segment, and how to attribute successful sales approaches.
Pipeline marketing is inclusive of all channels and campaigns. Pipeline marketing is what you’re doing while content marketing, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and growth hacking are how you do it.
Once a company has fully adopted the pipeline marketing mentality, it opens up new opportunities. The principle of Pipeline Marketing suggest to measure marketing success by closed revenue, therefore making decisions based on what will bring the most money, even if it generates lower amount of leads or opportunities.
The process of pipeline marketing is unique and innovative. It provides the ability to track leads from the point they were created, to closure. It also allows marketers to analyze the paths that resulted in the new business wins, to compare paths and to identify best practices to leverage in the future.
The Power of Pipeline Marketing
The result was the new approach of “pipeline marketing,” which lets businesses focus less on lead gen and more on what they really care about, results. From Bizible’s website: “If your intention is to grow your business, shouldn’t you want to focus on generating customers and revenue, not leads?”
Lead gen, developing new contacts in hopes of increasing sales, has been an important marketing metric for decades. However, as Bizible states, “even as marketing has shifted to digital and analytics systems have been able to capture more complex data and insights, far too many companies are using legacy ways to measure their performance.”
Gone are the days when a marketer pours a bucketful of ‘leads’ into a funnel, expecting a consistent percentage of deals stream out the other end. Instead, we should start with the right leads and weed out any and all channels, keywords, ads, and content that don’t do a fantastic job generating revenue. That’s Pipeline Marketing.
The only way to define which channels bring in the qualified leads for your B2B company is to track all funnel activities. From the first click of an ad, to the signature on the contract, the marketer should be dying to look into every step of that lead’s journey. A lead generation approach will never provide that kind of visibility, but Pipeline Marketing sure can.