What Is A Marketing Pipeline?

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Your marketing and sales pipeline refers to your sales rep’s stages to convert a lead into a customer.

Market research company, Forrester found that 99% of leads never get converted into customers.

If you observe this in your sales pipeline, it’s time to take a closer look and tweak it where necessary.

What Is Pipeline Marketing?

You likely already know how to generate leads. Now you need to figure out how to maximize sales.

Pipeline marketing works on converting leads by nurturing, educating, and providing valuable offers.

Rather than aiming for volume, pipeline marketing aims for quality and readiness-to-buy.

Pipeline marketing combines sales and marketing efforts to qualify leads better and improve prospect engagement along the entire sales journey.

Pipeline marketing employs inbound marketing, content marketing, lead nurturing, and growth hacking strategies.

Marketing attribution software connects sales data from your website, CRM, and marketing tools.

So you’ll get one clear view (in real-time) of which marketing channels are influencing new leads, and new sales.

The goal is to increase conversions and generate more revenue.

It promotes teamwork with sales, aligns common goals between sales and marketing, and enables marketers to demonstrate their role in revenue generation.

While once a linear process, the buyer’s journey is now seen as a never-ending cycle that places equal emphasis on your prospects and customers.

Just because the opportunities in your pipeline are sales-focused, doesn’t mean you have to ditch your marketing efforts — they can still be effective in this portion of the buying process.

By leveraging these efforts through the funnel, marketing and sales teams can be even better aligned in their messaging and tactics. Pipeline marketing is a win-win situation.

Essentially, pipeline marketing allows teams to focus on nurturing qualified leads instead of constantly outreaching for mass, and potentially low-quality leads.

What Determines If A Sales Pipeline Is Healthy Or Not?

There are four key metrics that determine a healthy pipeline:

  • Number of deals in the pipelines

  • The average size of deals

  • The average percentage of closed deals

  • Average time for closing deals

Assess these metrics against your current production capacity, competitor metrics, and goals.

Define Your Goals To Get The Most Out Of Sales and Marketing Efforts

What do you want to achieve with your marketing? “Making more money” isn’t a goal. Create measurable and actionable goals that are ambitious but still achievable.

If you’re not sure where to start, then look backward.

  • How many sales have you generated in the last six months?

  • How many new leads were created within that time frame?

You might see you’ve only converted 15% of your new leads, which leaves a huge opportunity to convert later down the funnel. That’s precisely how pipeline marketing can help.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Pipeline Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

You’re likely encountering issues using a typical marketing funnel.

Unlike a traditional marketing strategy, pipeline marketing requires a more individualized approach.

When prospects are at the top of the marketing funnel, the goal is to help them become aware of a problem and educate them on how you can help them solve it.

There are also a lot more contacts at the top of the funnel, so traditional marketers tend to work more at scale and may rely on marketing automation to help them educate those prospects.

Slower Sales vs. Faster Sales

When you focus on fewer leads, you can faster move leads through the funnel. That naturally results in faster sales. Think about the possibilities.

Let’s say that you have 10 leads that have turned into opportunities. They’re in the pipeline, ready for you to nurture them through the rest of the process.

Contrast that with a situation in which you have 50 leads.

Why Is Pipeline Marketing Important?

Almost 80% of marketers don’t think the lead generation strategy is effective, and 25% of marketers don’t know whether their lead generation activities have contributed to closed sales.

Pipeline marketing is more effective than simple lead generation.

It focuses not on gathering as many new email addresses as possible for future marketing campaigns but puts efforts to make the most out of your existing customers.

It implies nurturing them to craft personalized and targeted offers.

Until recently, when the power of CRM and data put a lot of guesswork by the wayside, lead generation was the metric that determined your sales pipeline’s success.

If you have many leads, you can potentially close a lot of deals.

Once a pipeline marketing mentality is adopted, new opportunities will emerge.

This strategy can help you leverage current marketing efforts for future revenue when well implemented.

Rather than spend most of your resources on identifying leads, this strategy emphasizes qualifying and engaging promising leads and current customers so you can quickly move them to the buying stage.

The result is that your team may generate fewer leads but can convert prospects faster at less cost.

If you can generate revenue faster, you can grow in less time and invest more resources into converting more leads into paying customers while engaging existing clients actively to ensure they remain committed to your business.

Sales are vastly accelerated in a Pipeline Marketing model. Because marketers focus on the entire buyer’s journey, they can capitalize on qualified channels and better nurture their leads.

Only the qualified leads ready to be contacted are sent to sales.

Lead Generation Strategies

This stage of the sales funnel is identical to the entirety of traditional lead generation marketing.

Here your focus is on reaching out to as many people as possible and capturing their information. Thus, turning them into leads.

You can do a few things to capture leads, including setting up lead magnets on your website, asking visitors to subscribe after visiting your blog, cold calling, and reaching out to social media followers.

Your goal should be to capture as much information as possible to later tailor your messages based on your lead’s profile.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Contacts Creation vs. Customer Creation

This concept comes down to the classic difference between aiming for quantity vs. quality. It’s not about having lots of leads in the CRM; it’s about having the right leads in the CRM.

Lead generation creates many contacts, but pipeline marketing creates the right ones.

While sales pipelines typically focus on collecting the contacts of leads for future exploitation, marketing pipelines emphasize customer creation.

By focusing on the customer throughout the pipeline, marketing pipelines can help businesses build a large and loyal customer base that can boost revenue generation.

Marketing Automation

You shouldn’t be relying on marketing automation in pipeline marketing.

When marketing to your contacts in the pipeline, the content they engage with should be tailored to their specific company, which renders your automated workflows useless.

In traditional marketing, you’re selling to multiple people at once.

Flywheel Marketing

Marketers quickly realize that referrals and word of mouth influence purchases more than any other type of marketing.

Whereas pipeline marketing focuses on sales, flywheel marketing focuses on customers.

Typically, based on pipeline marketing theory, customers become an afterthought once a sale is made.

With flywheel marketing, businesses aim to generate referrals- and repeat purchases from customers.

Conversion Marketing

Conversion marketing refers to the nurturing process, where unqualified leads are warmed up to be sales-ready.

This can be done by serving up different types of content to the lead via email marketing, remarketing ads, blog content, and other offers.

As the lead engages with these offers, their lead score is recorded, so the sales team knows which leads are ready to contact.

Social Media Marketing

Posting targeted ads and promoting events via social media can be an incredibly effective source for driving more qualified leads.

Vanity Metrics vs. Revenue Metrics

Every marketing and sales strategy depends on metrics, but pipeline marketing might be the most dependent on Big Data if you want to generate results.

Lead generation focuses on top-of-funnel metrics such as page views, time spent on site, unique visits, bounce rates, social shares, etc.

While these metrics can be valuable, they don’t inform the lead-qualification process or prove the value of the marketing spend.

Our marketing should no longer focus on lead volume. It should concentrate on tracking our efforts, judging them based on revenue impact.

We should be asking, “Which leads are the right leads to pour into our pipeline, and how do we pare down the volume while keeping lead quality high?”

Vanity metrics make us feel good. For instance, if a blog post goes viral and brings 100,000 people to your website in one day, you’re likely to break open the nearest bottle of champagne.

You’re excited about the exposure and the potential for success.

On the other hand, revenue metrics are metrics tied directly to revenue.

If a prospect downloads a freebie, then immediately buys your course, you can track those metrics as part of the revenue-generation process.

However, most of these metrics are based on the bottom of the sales funnel. They’re directed at prospects who become opportunities and enter the sales pipeline.

Revenue growth, for instance, tells you how much your revenue has grown over some time.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Content Marketing

Content has the opportunity to continue providing value for months and years past its cost to create.

Gain a deep understanding of personas, content development, and basic best practices for maximum influence and impact.

Lead Qualification Process

Lead qualification involves classifying qualified marketing or sales leads based on their readiness or willingness to buy.

Qualified leads are farther down the sales process and can be converted into paying customers with further engagement by the marketing and sales teams.

During the lead qualification process, assess the lead to ensure that they fit your ideal customer profile.

Lead qualification can help boost conversion by enhancing the ability of the marketing and sales teams to target people most likely to become customers, increase sales and revenue and reduce cost.

Offer Discounts

The bottom of the sales pipeline is not just about making sales. It’s also an opportunity to gain customer loyalty.

You can offer discounts on future purchases or any other appropriate incentive to encourage repeat purchases.

Lead Generation vs. Pipeline Marketing

Marketing lead generation and pipeline marketing are two different approaches to the same goal.

Pipeline marketing lead generation does not forgo lead generation. It stems from it.

It’ll track which sources generate the best leads, how many opportunities were generated from a specific paid campaign, or how a particular marketing channel generated much revenue.

There would be no potential customers for your sales team to nurture without lead generation through the funnel.

Moving away from lead generation can create more cohesion between your sales and marketing teams and drive more revenue.

Nevertheless, in theory, here is how lead generation and pipeline marketing stack up.

Top-of-Funnel Focus vs. Full-Funnel Focus

Lead generation focuses on pouring as many leads as possible into the top of the funnel.

It generates interest, brings visitors, increases web traffic, and prompts these viewers to fill out contact forms or call a phone number. But that’s as far as it goes.

Middle of Funnel

Your marketing pipeline strategy should not rely on automation, whether you’re nurturing leads through content marketing such as email drip campaigns or targeted social media ads.

All messages should be tailored to each lead. During this funnel stage, leads become marketing and then sales qualified.

Bottom of Funnel

This is where all the revenue generation happens, where leads hand over their hard-earned cash and become customers.

Unfortunately, this is where many online businesses fall short, deciding to focus on generating leads instead of generating revenue.

The bottom of the sales pipeline is not just about making sales; it’s also an opportunity to gain customer loyalty.

You can offer discounts on future purchases or any other appropriate incentive to encourage repeat purchases.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Adjust And Improve

As with any marketing initiative, you want to work smarter, not harder. Regularly review your campaign to understand how pipeline marketing impacts your revenue generation.

By concentrating your efforts on the middle and bottom of the funnel, you should be able to focus on converting customers.

When building your B2B sales and marketing pipeline, remember that every marketing campaign and content asset, and every contact a potential customer has with sales, should impact a pipeline metric.

At the same time, stay adaptable and open to finding new or better ways to engage potential customers and increase the probability of closing a sale.

It’s critical to remember that your pipeline marketing campaign should be perfect. Not good, not great, perfect.

Your campaign targets a much smaller group of prospects who are already familiar with your business and brand.

They’ve invested a lot of time in you, and you’ve invested a lot of time into them if they’ve become an opportunity.

What Should Be The Result of Your Marketing Efforts?

When setting the goals for your campaign, make sure they are:

  • S – specific

  • M – measurable

  • A– achievable

  • R – realistic

  • T – timely

You can analyze the record of sales. It might give you a clue about where to move in the future.

Cloud Kennect

Ultimately, pipeline marketing can boost marketing investment (MROI) and help marketers justify future spending and budget allocation.

As you understand its potential and importance, you can feel free to elaborate on your pipeline marketing strategy and benefit from professional services to achieve tangible results.

For example, marketing and sales data indicate an issue with a lead qualification in the sales pipeline.

Instead of spending time and money on generating more leads, a pipeline marketing approach uses those resources to create ways to help qualify leads and move potential customers to the next stage of the sales pipeline.

To drive sales as efficiently as possible, you need to employ a data-driven approach.

Tools such as Google Analytics and CRMs such as Salesforce provide powerful insights about the entire customer journey on your website.

On a higher level, you can integrate these two tools to see which of your marketing efforts produce the highest ROI. To do this, you can use a tool we built called Cloud Kennect.

Cloud Kennect guarantees lead generation results. Kennected has helped over 17,000 customers grow their networks and produce vast amounts of leads.

Check us out today!

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