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Every team has opportunities stumbling through the pipeline. Some deals makes so much sense, but for some reason, they just won’t close.

Should you cut these opportunities from the pipeline?

Wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s important that your team continues to build relationships with these lost opportunities through a marketing driven and scalable nurturing campaign.

Sales managers should follow these 3 steps to recycle opportunities.

Step 1. Set up Salesforce.com for Opportunity Nurturing Success

Complete the following two steps to help your team track opportunities turned over to marketing.

  1. Add “Assigned to Marketing” as a custom drop-down option under the field “Stage”
  2. Create a list in Salesforce.com called “Assigned to Marketing” to capture nurtured opportunities

Your Salesforce interface should be ready to go.

Step 2. And now for the Automation

There are many different approaches to building an opportunity nurturing campaign, but no single e-mail is objectively correct – that is, before you test the results. These measures give you an idea of which campaigns convert the best, and why.

Two things to remind your marketing team. First, opportunities “Assigned to Marketing” have already touched a sales rep so content should cater to where they left the sales cycle. Second, the nurturing campaign should provide opportunities with a way to reconnect with the account executive they talked to previously.

Step 3. Educate Your Sales Team

Although your team may balk at handing qualified opportunities back over to marketing, this is beneficial to them for two reasons. First, these potential customers will learn more about the product in a low touch environment. Marketing will encourage engagement, so the lost opportunities choose your service on their own time. It follows then that since they have chosen your product, when they are ready to buy, the sell will be more of an on-boarding call than the traditional sales call.

It’s important that your team understands that this marketing effort enhances their previous work. Any future contact over the phone should come exclusively from the account rep that first contacted the opportunity.

How to Qualify Opportunities as “Assigned to Marketing”

As strange as it sounds, you will need to start qualifying when an opportunity should be turned over to marketing. But how do you determine the right time to cut your losses? This is a challenging question because every sale is unique. And while it may be easy to rely on intuition, historical measures from your Salesforce.com data gives you a foundation on which to base your actions.

The best way to infuse your decision with hard data is to compare the current opportunity’s behavior through the sales pipeline against the sales cycle broken down by wins and losses of all former opportunities. Assuming you have a significant number of opportunities in the past, you can estimate how many days your wins and losses took to move through the pipeline.

If an opportunity is spending more time in the sales pipeline than a lost opportunity on average, this indicates that you should consider the “Assigned to Marketing” option.

Cleaning out deadwood from the sales pipeline is critical for an agile sales team. Lingering on an opportunity slows your progression towards the monthly quota. Let marketing handle nurturing so your team recycles opportunities, moves through them quicker, and closes more deals with less effort.

Want an easier way to pull these metrics? Request a free InsightSquared demo. 

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