Applying sales methodology to the marketing cycle
Developing an online revenue cycle requires a structured approach in which marketing and sales work together. Marketo, in their Marketing Metrics & Analytic Guide, describes their revenue cycle and offers a pictorial example of their sales funnel. Below is my interpretation of their revenue cycle for small to mid-sized B-to-B brands that would like to apply ROI metrics to their inbound marketing efforts.
Balancing soft marketing metrics with revenue analytics
The brunt of marketing has been primarily focused on the top of the sales funnel – building brand awareness for the product or service with the intended target audience. While this is a worthy and traditional task of marketing, it is too easy for the financial side of the house to zero in on marketing expenses that were justified by soft marketing metrics.
As B-to-B brands started to adopt digital channels into their marketing mix, a new metric for measurement became available – the revenue cycle. The revenue cycle is a hybrid of the sales cycle where each encounter with the prospect is measured by actions that gain a commitment or advance the sale.
Using the revenue cycle methodology, inbound marketing efforts become transactional. Tactics such as blogs, newsletters, trade show promotions, and social media interaction move from soft attitudinal measurement to metrics that measure behavior of the prospect in the sales funnel.
This methodology defines the stages of the revenue cycle, from database records to handing off the lead to the sales team. It also identifies clear delineation of responsibility between marketing and sales, and provides metrics that demonstrate marketing’s contribution and impact to revenue generation.
Below is a suggested approach for B-to-B brands for tracking the contribution marketing makes based from an inbound newsletter.
As illustrated, marketing is responsible for developing feature, advancement, and benefits content, engaging the prospect, and identifying specific behavioral traits that align with interests in the product or service offering.
The hand off
In this step, marketing and sales have agreed on what constitutes sufficient behavioral engagement and the lead is handed over to the sales team for continued development. The revenue cycle charges marketing with responsibility for identifying, developing, and qualifying leads through the most efficient means available, saving the closing of the deal to the more expensive task of one-to-one selling and realizing a new customer.