Unclog the Middle of the Marketing Funnel with Data

Blog Post by Jonathan Gray

Today’s customer journey is complex. It’s a mash-up of channels and activities, with individual customers taking their own individual paths to purchase. It makes the marketer’s job that much more complicated.

In 2010, the average buyer checked five sources before making a purchase. By 2013, that number had grown to 12. Consumers are taking in more information than ever to make smarter buying choices. How can companies bridge the gap between marketing and sales in this ever-growing environment?

Often what’s missing is attention to the middle of the marketing funnel. There is plenty of effort put on capturing a lead at the beginning, as well as closing a sale at the end. But, it’s also important to optimize what happens in the middle of the funnel to be sure that the path is seamless.

One obstacle is that the data collected during the customer journey is often scattered and not actionable. Many disparate technologies and even more data repositories capture bits and pieces of information that aren’t cohesive. The data is hard to access, harder to transfer, and rarely in real time. This lack of insight prevents marketers from gaining actionable insights to create rich customer engagement.

Data is the key to unlocking the insights needed for a smooth experience through the funnel. Marketing needs sales data, and sales needs marketing data. There needs to be a clearer sharing of this information. For example:

Sales data that Marketing needs:

  • Sales details — order value, lifetime value, contract term, products
  • If no sale, why not?
  • Objections encountered
  • Content to improve lead quality
  • Length of sales cycle
  • Additional decision-makers required
  • Buyer not ready now, but plans to buy within 90 days?

Marketing data that Sales needs:

  • Time of day converted into a lead
  • Geography
  • Keywords/queries searched
  • Segments and behaviors targeted
  • Content consumed
  • Number of touchpoints before lead
  • Number of visits to page prior to conversion
  • Device used  — mobile, tablet, desktop
  • Predicted conversion rate from channel

Organizations that learn how to not just harness data, but share it and make it accessible in real time, will create an environment that wins more deals and finds more incremental revenue from loyal customers and prospects.

We recommend three steps to unclog the middle of the marketing funnel:

1.Set a goal. Optimize performance at every step through seamless data that is actionable and continuously analyzed in real time. This may require data and customer journey audits to identify what’s being collected, who’s using it, and what data and usage gaps exist between Sales and Marketing.

2.Close the loop. Let data flow between Sales and Marketing. Data mining and marketing analytics tools and processes may be needed here.

3. Create an integrated platform that provides actionable insights in real time to both Sales and Marketing decision-makers. Continually monitor what actions are being taken based on data, and adjust accordingly.

Written by

Jonathan Gray

Senior Vice President
Business Development & Marketing Services