4 Key Metrics for Your B2B Sales Pipeline

There’s a lot for marketers today to consider when it comes to tactics for bringing in new business, but your sales pipeline is what ultimately defines the success of all your funnels, marketing campaigns, and other efforts to add new clients and revenue consistently. But considering the huge array of software tools and data available to modern B2B marketers, it can feel overwhelming to measure all the metrics in a pipeline.

We’ve identified four of the most important metrics for B2B marketers looking to understand their pipeline better. Every company is different, but in our experience, an organization can get a great sense of the overall health of its pipeline by paying attention to the four metrics below.

Velocity

Sales velocity is defined by HubSpot as the measurement of how quickly a deal moves through a pipeline and turns into actual revenue. Velocity is an important metric because it helps you understand and identify obstacles or bottlenecks in your sales process. It doesn’t matter how great your landing pages or nurture sequences are – if there’s an issue with your pipeline velocity, it’ll constrain your sales.

It doesn’t matter how great your landing pages or nurture sequences are – if there’s an issue with your pipeline velocity, it’ll constrain your sales. Click To Tweet

The widely-accepted formula for calculating pipeline velocity is to multiply the number of opportunities by the average deal value, then times your team’s average close rate, and divide that number by the length of your sales cycle. This formula is a great starting place to closely analyze each part of your pipeline to determine any obstacles. 

For example, perhaps when evaluating the sales cycle length, you realize that your sales team is taking too long to follow up after the initial appointment with a prospect. Armed with this knowledge, you can adjust your sales process and inform your reps to follow up immediately after an appointment to keep the prospect moving through the sales journey.

Deal Size

The size of your deals doesn’t require any kind of complex formula to calculate, but it can still be difficult to identify issues in this area without some intentional analysis. For example, if your company has the same number of opportunities with the same sales cycle length as last year, but your revenue is down, it’s a sign that you may not be pursuing large enough deals.

Addressing a deal size issue is solely a matter of prospecting. Here are a few tips for finding higher-value prospects:

  • Use account-based marketing (or ABM). ABM defines a process by which you identify a handful of high-value accounts and create customized sales and marketing collateral explicitly designed for those accounts. According to Gartner, by the end of 2020, over 70% of marketers at midsize and large B2B organizations will be using or testing ABM.
  • Invest in thought leadership or content that brands give for free to gain trust and credibility by helping its intended audience. In a study published by LinkedIn and Edelman last year, 60% of B2B buyers said thought leadership builds credibility when a brand enters a new category, and 54% said they purchased a new product or service they had not previously considered. Thought leadership can help attract a more discerning type of buyer.
  • Get social. Participate in events, post on social media, and engage with your prospects in their communities. Remember to be genuine – it’s easy for people to identify someone who’s only interacting with them for the sake of a sale. Let your natural sense of curiosity and desire to help people guide your interactions.

Close Rate

Another straightforward yet critical metric for your sales funnel, a close rate identifies the number of prospects that become paying clients relative to the overall number of leads generated by your marketing efforts. Every company will have a slightly different close rate depending on the nature of their business. A more specialized company with a niche audience might be fine with a close rate between 5% and 7%, while others might be aiming closer to double digits or beyond.

While it’s possible to find general data online about close rates, a better approach is to track your own company’s close rate and assess where it needs to be for sufficient revenue growth. If there are problems with your close rate, it’s generally a sign to evaluate your sales team, the specifics of your client offer, or both. Solicit feedback from prospects whenever possible to better understand which elements are slowing down your close rate.

Sales to Support Ratio

This ratio may not be specifically related to the performance of your sales or marketing, but it’s still vital to understand how your sales pipeline affects the rest of your operations. It’s sometimes expressed as “sales staff to support staff,” but it isn’t necessarily just the number of people working at the organization in each department. For smaller companies with employees or contractors who handle multiple organizational tasks, it isn’t a simple “this to that” ratio. 

However you quantify it, this metric is vital to understanding how much of your capacity the company uses for each client. You can also track this number based on deal size, client longevity, and other measures to get a sense of which types of clients require the most attention from your support team. You can use this data in your sales and marketing efforts going forward, helping you focus on the best types of buyers for your offering.

In a well-balanced organization, sales and support can handle a sufficient volume of responsibility that allows the company to stay on track with its goals. In assessing this metric at your own company, you may need to either increase your sales activity or add additional capacity for support, depending on how much your company’s product requires.

Final Word on Key Metrics for Your Pipeline

It’s essential to customize your pipeline metrics like any sales or marketing data. Every company has its own needs, meaning it might not make sense to track the same metrics as an organization in a different industry.

For best results with these pipeline metrics, track them for as long as possible and establish a performance baseline in each area. Note where the numbers are when things at the company are going well and vice versa when you hit a slow period. Doing this allows you to gain insight into where each of your metrics should be, giving you better context when you analyze your pipeline going forward.

If you’re unsure about what steps you need to take or which metrics to track to help improve the performance of your organization’s sales and marketing performance, our team is ready to help. FunnelEnvy has several years of combined experience working with B2B clients to identify gaps in their funnels, tweak critical elements like forms and landing pages, and optimize other aspects of the lead nurturing process to maximize your conversion rate.

Click here to take a short quiz and learn more about our pricing structure.

By |2022-10-20T04:37:11-07:00October 31st, 2022|Analytics, A/B Testing|0 Comments

Finding the Right Analytics Operator for Your Marketing

Software is essential for successful B2B marketing campaigns, but it’s only half the battle. You can have the most sophisticated software deployed on top-of-the-line hardware – but if you don’t have the right people running it, you won’t maximize your (likely significant) investment into these resources. It’s like racing with a souped-up car driven by someone who’s never been behind the wheel.

You need your marketing tools and the people using them to be well-aligned so that your organization can take full advantage of today’s technology. Whether you’re running complicated data analytics platforms driven by AI and machine learning or a simple email marketing automation platform doesn’t matter. The people responsible for them need to be well-suited for the role and equipped with everything they need to be successful.

In this article, we’ll go over a few different ways you can find the right operator for your analytics, including information about the pros and cons of each method. Finally, we’ll offer some general tips on how to set up whoever you choose to operate your marketing analytics to do the best job possible.

Internal Assignment

The quickest way to find an operator for your marketing analytics platforms is to choose someone on your existing team to take the role. Even if your organization already has a well-defined marketing department that manages its own tools, this step can come with some challenges. What if it’s a new system with which no one has training? If they have the expertise, does your internal marketing team have the bandwidth to take on the responsibility of another platform?

This path gets even trickier for early-stage companies that don’t have someone designated to oversee these types of tools. These super-lean organizations typically have to assign the role to someone who already has a lot on their plate, which brings up the potential for errors or incomplete data.

If you plan to go this route, ensure the internal team member has the necessary availability and knowledge. Otherwise, this option should be a short-term choice that you transition out of immediately – for example, having a marketing manager run an analytics platform until you can transition the responsibilities into a more-fitting candidate.

Hiring a New Team Member

This is ideal if all circumstances allow it. Adding someone to your team specifically to manage one or more analytics platforms is an excellent way to have a dedicated resource on this task, ensuring that it never slips to the bottom of the list of an employee with more generalized skills.

Of course, the challenge with this method is it requires the largest investment of time and money. Giving a task to an existing team member can be done instantly, and you can quickly start most external marketing resources if there’s an urgent need. Hiring a new person, though will take weeks, if not months, from start to finish. Even when you’ve completed the hiring process, there’s still a ramp-up time while the employee gets comfortable and fully acclimates to the new responsibilities.

On the other hand, if you don’t need someone immediately and have the capital available to support a dedicated team member, this might be the best choice. This is especially true if you’re looking for someone to manage a marketing system you use frequently. Choosing this option also gives you the most control over how you operate your marketing analytics.

Even when you’ve completed the hiring process, there’s still a ramp-up time while the employee gets comfortable and fully acclimates to the new responsibilities. Click To Tweet

Using an External Resource

This choice typically involves initiating a working relationship with an agency or contractor (or both, depending on the complexity of your needs). In the best cases, an external resource should be a middle ground between assigning marketing management roles to poorly-qualified or overworked existing team members and hiring someone new.

This option still has a process that requires screening, and you may interview contractors or agencies the same way you might interview a full-time team member. The big difference here is cost – except for the most high-end, premier operators in the field, you can usually bring on an external resource for a fraction of the cost of hiring a new team member.

It’s also a quicker process to get them started, and there’s no long-term commitment required when hiring a dedicated team. Additionally, it’s much easier to scale workloads up and down when you use an external resource. This is great for seasonal businesses that may need a lot of work for a few months of the year but don’t have the demand for marketing analytics management to sustain a full-time team member year-round.

The drawback of using an external resource is that you’ll still need to devote time to managing and directing them, especially at the beginning stages. You’ll also have less control over how they work – in fact, legal standards dictate that you cannot provide specific requirements for when, where, and how work gets done when you hire a contractor. Some agencies or contractors spread particularly thin may not communicate the way you’d prefer.

Setting Up Any Type of Marketing Analytics Operator for Success

None of these three options is the right or wrong answer. Many companies have used all three approaches for marketing operators – some larger companies may even need to apply all three simultaneously.

Whichever source you decide on for your marketing analytics operator, you can do a few things to help them do the best possible job they can:

  • Be descriptive. This applies to everything from the initial job description you use to hire to the ongoing instructions you provide on new projects. Use quantitative, specific language when discussing skills, responsibilities, project timelines, and everything else you discuss with your analytics operator.
  • Communicate. In the era of remote work, it’s imperative to ensure the lines of communication between you and your team members stay open. You should be proactive about getting in touch and asking if they have any questions or obstacles – particularly when they’re new in the role and still getting settled.
  • Allow them to have input. Very few people want to be in a position with completely rigid instructions and no room for personalization. Autonomy is particularly important for employees of your company, who will want to incorporate their own unique skills and interests into their day-to-day role

The Last Word on Finding a Skilled Marketing Analytics Operator

It doesn’t matter how many resources you invest in the right tools for marketing analytics. If you don’t have the right person or people at the helm of the operation, you will eventually be disappointed in your ROI. On the other hand, bringing on the right talent – even if it’s a freelancer or someone you already have on the team – can help you maximize your return on investment in marketing analytics, even if your tools are limited.

Interested in working with our team of B2B marketing funnel specialists? Just fill out this short quiz to see if you’d be a good fit for FunnelEnvy. We can help you optimize how you approach marketing analytics so that it’s much easier for anyone – individual or agency – to achieve the desired results.

By |2022-09-05T04:58:29-07:00September 19th, 2022|Analytics, A/B Testing|0 Comments

The Top 4 A/B Tests That Will Drive Revenue

Experimentation is at the heart of digital marketing success in almost any area, from paid advertising to content production. Marketers are constantly pushing the envelope to innovate in a way that brings measurable results to their organizations.

Modern marketing technology allows us to run experiments on many areas, from buying behaviors and customer preferences to information delivery techniques and specific advertising messages. A/B testing, or split testing, has been used for decades to improve customer satisfaction in B2C businesses. In the last few decades, technology has allowed B2B marketers to run powerful, sophisticated experiments leveraging analytics and machine learning. By some measures, more than half of all B2B marketers today use A/B testing as their primary conversion rate optimization (CRO) method.

On a basic level, many organizations could improve their websites and drive more customers to their products and services by using A/B testing to identify what works and doesn’t. However, with so many tests available to run, knowing which ones will give you the best return on investment (ROI) can be difficult.

We’ve compiled a list of the top four A/B tests for B2B marketers that can directly impact ROI through increased conversion rates.

Form Names and Text

You’ll likely use forms in conversion elements at every point in a funnel. The names of your forms and the text within them can impact conversions more than you may think. A/B testing can help you determine which form of words and text are most effective in getting people to convert. Try testing different fonts and header placements to see if any are more effective than others. You could also switch up the order of fields to see if visitors prefer to fill out one before the other.

This small change can make a big difference in your conversion rate. Remember not to change any form fields for existing clients or customers so drastically that people who already have an account with you are redirected back to fill out their information again. Also, remember that less is more: asking too many questions might scare away potential customers. On the other hand, adding new elements to a form may show visitors that you really understand their particular issues, pushing them closer to converting.

Element Colors

Different hues can evoke different emotions in your website visitors, which impacts how users interact with your website or app. Try different combinations of colors and see which ones result in the most conversions. According to researchers, blue is often associated with calming safety and trustworthiness, while red is associated with urgency and excitement. Green is typically associated with nature and growth.

You want your funnel pages to be visually appealing to potential customers, but you don’t want to go overboard. You can turn them away with too many bright colors or combinations that clash. A/B testing can help you find the perfect balance of colors for your website. A few specific areas to test different color combinations include background, text, button, and form field colors.

Also, remember not to go overboard on changes in a single experiment. Try to test just one color against another (e.g., red vs. green) by changing just one element at a time to measure each change’s effect on your conversion rates.

CTA Language

Asking your visitors to take action correctly can differentiate between a successful conversion and a bounced visitor. But what words should you use in your call-to-action? That’s where A/B testing comes in. Marketers can try out different phrases and see which ones get the best results. 

Generally, you shouldn’t overuse generic terms like “Click here!” or “Go.” Visitors are more likely to convert when they know exactly what you’re asking them to do. Ensure your CTAs include clear directions about what will be on the other side to avoid confusion and frustration over unmet expectations.

Emphasizing the benefits of your product or service in your CTA can be another powerful way to increase conversions. People are always more likely to take action if they know what’s in it for them. For example, if you’re promoting a case study that shows how your accounting software streamlines a firm’s operations, instead of using “Download the case study,” try something like “See how [Client A] saved 30% on staffing costs.”

Images

Though it’s something of a cliche by now, when it comes to conversion rate optimization, a good picture really can be worth a thousand words. A/B testing can help to find the perfect image for your funnel. One way to A/B test images is to divide them into categories, then test pictures in each category against one another.

For example, you might choose categories like:

  • People
  • Faces
  • Landscapes
  • Abstract

After that decision, you can test images of the same category, then compare how images in different categories perform. This is just one option – the specific level of detail you want to A/B test with your images will depend on how many visuals you have and the nature of its placement in the funnel. In other words: you may not need to A/B test every image you send out in your weekly newsletter, but you might want to be more thorough when it comes to testing the one image you include on a critical landing page in your funnel.

One way to A/B test images is to divide them into categories, then test pictures in each category against one another. Click To Tweet

A Final Note on A/B Testing

Though A/B testing is undoubtedly popular and can be effective, it comes with its own drawbacks and dangers. As we’ve covered previously, you shouldn’t consider A/B testing as a panacea that will fix all the issues with your campaign. We’ve worked with many clients who gathered little to no valuable data from A/B tests, despite waiting many weeks or months to collect data. A/B testing can also be difficult for newer ventures that haven’t yet had enough time to build up a sufficient traffic baseline to be statistically significant.

That’s why we suggest using A/B testing strategically as a supplement to your CRO efforts. We believe that for modern B2B marketers to achieve the greatest success from A/B tests, it’s essential to move past “experimentation 1.0.” Marketers should consider their customer’s holistic journey and optimize each stage in concert with one another, using personalized insights and data about their preferences and habits whenever possible.

Are you looking for some assistance with integrating A/B testing into your funnel? Maybe you’ve already been running A/B tests for a while and haven’t seen the definitive data you were hoping for to direct your campaigns going forward. FunnelEnvy specializes in helping all types of B2B clients make A/B testing and other CRO experiments much more effective through the use of personalized solutions custom-built for a specific audience of sophisticated decision-makers.

Want to learn more about our services? Click here to fill out a short quiz that will help determine if we’d be a good fit to work together.

By |2022-08-10T18:04:29-07:00August 22nd, 2022|Analytics, A/B Testing|0 Comments
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