The sales pipeline is arguably one of the most important aspects to the health of a business. What’s the best marketing approach to ensure your pipeline stays full?
Owners, sales leaders, and marketers are all familiar with the concept of the sales pipeline or the sales funnel. However you refer to them, keeping them full ultimately leads to more sales and more sales grow a business. Marketing is usually tasked with ensuring lead generation efforts are on point to keep the sales pipeline full of leads.
Many marketers take one side or the other in the best approach as to how new business leads are generated: Casting a wide net or targeting efforts. Unfortunately, if you were looking for answers in this blog, there’s actually no right or wrong choice between the two. It boils down to a few business-specific factors on what the sales team needs to keep closing deals.
We’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of casting a wide net versus targeting and go over the basics of how you can make the right choice for your business at the right time.
Casting A Wide Net
Casting a wide net is exactly what it sounds like if you think about it in terms of fishing. The larger net you throw into the water, the larger the number of fish you’ll catch. In terms of generating leads, if a company uses a medium like a TV ad or social media to get their messaging out into the world, they will be more likely to gain a large number of people interested in their product or service because it simply has the potential to reach more people. Brand recognition is an important step in getting buyers to make their way down the sales pipeline to convert to a customer.
Do you know about the Rule of 7?
On average, it can take 7 interactions with a brand before they will convert to a sale. Many times before even speaking to a sales rep, B2B buyers are 57% of the way through the sales cycle.
Aside from gaining brand recognition, casting a wide net can introduce companies to new sources of revenue. There might be a new demand in the market that can help sales teams acquire new leads and customers. This might also create a new vertical for the product or service that the sales or marketing team has not thought of before. It’s a great way for a new company or one with a new product or service to begin gaining customers.
While brand recognition, getting some initial touchpoints with buyers, and a potential to gain new verticals and revenue sources sound great, casting a wide net does have its downfalls. Sure, you’re very likely to get leads, but are they ones that are most likely to convert? The wide net might can bring in too many different types of leads with different pain points or people just interested in whatever is new. From a sales perspective, there’s a big difference in a full sales pipeline and one blocked with unqualified leads.
Targeting marketing efforts to those companies or people that are most likely to convert is the other approach to bring in new leads. It all starts with a well-defined audience – many refer to this their buyer personas. If you’re not sure who your target customer is or don’t have them clearly defined, a good place to start is to evaluate your best current customers. Some main traits that can be outlined in a B2B persona include:
Some main traits that can be outlined in a B2B persona include:
- Company size
- Title of main contact
- Geographic location
- Pain points
- Business philosophy
Targeting marketing efforts also allows salespeople to provide a more personalized experience. They will be familiar with the industry, pain points, industry-specific lingo, and how their product or service will benefit the buyer’s company. Being able to connect with the buyer and build a relationship that feels genuine and like they are understood can be very beneficial to the sales process.
While targeting is likely to bring in highly qualified leads, it can also bring in a lack of new customer options that allow for business growth. If we go back to the fishing analogy, you can reach a point to where you’re trying to fish where there are no more fish to be caught.
Which Marketing Strategy is Better?
Like we mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. A successful business should strike a balance between the two approaches. To decide where to start, you need to ask a few questions:
- What are my current business goals?
- What “life” stage is my business in?
- What are my current sales goals?
- What do my salespeople need?
- Do I have a niche product or service?
- What is my competition doing?
- What do my customers need?
- What are my current sales staffing levels and capabilities?
Casting a wide net is often viewed as the step in the big picture to see “what might stick.” It builds the foundation for your brand. Once it’s evident the best personas and direction for a company to take, focused marketing campaigns can help convert leads into buyers by addressing specific needs. In other words, while both approaches generate leads, it’s a shift from building brand awareness to gaining qualified leads.
While there is no cut-and-dry approach to marketing, knowing the differences in results between casting a wide net and targeting is a big deal. It takes evaluation of the company and sales team to know what marketing strategy should be used to keep the sales pipeline full.
Need help figuring out the best approach to generating leads for your company? We can help – Let’s Chat.