Marketing professionals: when you think about your role at your company, how do you see yourself fitting into the bigger picture? Do you see yourself as the first line of attack for your pipeline? Or simply a lead generator for the sales reps?
However you answer, you aren’t alone. Most organizations think of marketing this way. Unfortunately, it’s no coincidence that these same companies could stand to improve their profitability dramatically.
Enter: full-funnel marketing.
As the name suggests, full-funnel marketers base their work on the understanding that they are responsible for the top, middle, and bottom of the pipeline. They understand that their work is intrinsically tied to sales, and that both teams are critical parts of the same machine, enabling each other to keep things running smoothly. And it works! Full-funnel marketing helps teams engage, nurture, and close more prospects.
If you want to drive revenue and boost your company’s bottom line, adopt these seven traits of outstanding full-funnel marketers today.
1. Revenue Responsibility
To be a truly outstanding marketer you have to be accountable for the entire pipeline by thinking of your team like a profit center. You have to embrace revenue responsibility, supporting the sales team and each other in every stage of the buying journey. You will need tools, systems, processes, and content that is likely to boost sales.
To really understand your role in the entire revenue process, you need to distinguish what makes up a valuable sale. Do you know the cost of a quick sale versus a lifetime customer? Revenue responsibility means you stop thinking in terms of generated leads or cost per lead, and dig deeper. Are you willing to spend four times as much per lead for certain prospects? Because even if they take some time to acquire, they stay with you significantly longer. Full-funnel marketers figure out the most valuable customer segments and help sales close deals that will create lasting and profitable relationships.
We’ve all been there: after a long day, you shut off your computer or leave the office and you wonder, “What did I even do today?” Maybe you answered a bunch of emails that kept piling up, and then one of your coworkers popped into your office for help and stuck around for 45 minutes, you had a client call that could have been handled with a quick email… You worked, sure! But did you get anything done?
In a world where we increasingly have alerts flying at us from every direction, not to mention clients and colleagues we’re accountable to, it’s easy to have an entire day go by without tackling your big projects. And those are usually the ones that most closely affect the bottom line!
Consider what you need to get done today. How can you minimize distractions (incoming phone calls, a flooded inbox, Facebook…) in order to take on your most important work? The best marketers inherently understand how to focus and use their time wisely to meet their goals.
3. Customer Centric
Remember, a building can’t write you a check. Your accounts aren’t comprised of companies; they are comprised of people (who, yes, work at your target companies). You can’t develop a relationship with a company. You can only develop relationships with the people who make decisions at a certain company. Because of this, full-funnel marketers keep the individual needs of their customers at the center of their sales and marketing efforts.
Customer centricity isn’t just about doing what’s right for your customer. It’s about truly knowing them: their needs, desires, and pain points—and adjusting your strategy to deal with those motivations.
4. Personal Accountability
A lot of marketers get into the habit of passing off a set of leads to the sales team and then washing their hands of the responsibility for a sale. They say, “I’m not in charge of whether or not a deal closes! That’s them!” But truly, the only person who is 100 percent accountable for a sale is the customer. And they’re buying with other people, priorities, and factors in mind that are beyond marketing and sales’ control.
Personal accountability means accepting this lack of control and reacting accordingly. The best full-funnel marketers are transparent about which of their efforts are successful and which aren’t. Do you have the systems in place to check the math? Can you communicate and pivot when things don’t go the way you planned? A strong marketer is comfortable having these potentially difficult conversations with their team, their managers, and their board. They are flexible enough to adjust their strategies accordingly.
5. Technological Competence
You need to understand the role technology plays in your business. You don’t need to be an expert; you don’t need to know how to code. But you do need to be competent.
What are the biggest bottlenecks and holes in your company? Evaluate what tools and technology can best serve those needs. Too often with technology, marketers reach for the shiniest new toy and expect it to think for them. But the tool that boosts your team’s productivity might not be the one with ads on TV or the one all your competitors are using. The right tech for you is the one you seamlessly integrate into your current system and use to effectively train your team.
Bad tech overlaps with other tools you already have in place, wastes time, wastes money, and wastes valuable resources. Seek to be competent and make the most of your team’s technology. You’ll find it has the power to boost a lot of the other strengths on this list.
6. Agile Mentality
Similarly to holding yourself and your team accountable, the best marketing pros know how to be consistently flexible in the chaos of the digital landscape. Be ready to adapt. An agile mindset will help you recalibrate your strategy based on what is working, and what’s not.
One of the trickiest parts of marketing today is how quickly the environment around us keeps evolving. A plan you create today might be obsolete six months from now. Agility helps you embrace the unknown and fly by the seat of your pants when necessary. It helps you work with, not against, the fact that you might fail. When your plans are moving and changing fast and you’re trying a lot of new things, some of them simply aren’t going to work. In order to be successful, you have to be able to understand the pieces and parts of your strategy that need cut, and then you need to do so quickly.
Finally, it’s important to have empathy towards the other team members who are responsible for the pipeline, especially if you don’t understand what it takes for them to get things done. As much as marketers everywhere stress the importance of making sense of your customers, the same can be said of your marketing and sales teams. What are their needs? What are their pain points?
If you look around the room and think your team isn’t working hard enough or that sales aren’t closing enough deals, it’s possible you need more empathy for their situation. When you understand what the missing piece is in their puzzle, you can help fill that hole and improve productivity all around. Treat your team as well as you’d treat your customer.
The very best marketers are the professionals who take responsibility for their organization’s success. In this way, they become full-funnel marketers who generate leads, build strong relationships, and ultimately, make more sales.
Picture credit: iStock