Sales teams depend on marketing teams to provide high-quality qualified leads that are likely to convert into opportunities and, eventually, deals. A team’s marketing cycle – the amount of time from when a lead is created to when that lead is converted into an opportunity – is a good measure of how effective that lead was in the first place.
If the marketing team is dumping a whole mass of low-quality leads on the sales team, that will result in a lot of unnecessary work for sales reps, not to mention poor conversion efficiency rates and splintered relationships between marketing and sales. Conversely, high-quality Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) that convert into opportunities well will lead to higher closed-won rates while improving marketing and sales alignment. Carefully studying a Marketing Cycle Report is a good way to measure how quickly leads convert into opportunities and therefore, acts as an indicator of the quality of the marketing-supplied leads. This report is also a good indicator of the quality of your marketing execution. Additionally, such a report has a healthy element of sales and marketing alignment value, which is an increasingly important consideration in sales management today.
The Marketing Cycle Report below looks at how long it takes leads to convert to opportunities, broken down by month. The report, which includes only leads that have converted to opportunities, also provides an average for the previous 12 months. Sales and marketing managers looking at this report can determine if the quality of leads they’re being provided with is increasing or not. For example, in the report below, this company appears to have demonstrated substantial improvement in how quickly their leads are converting over the past six months. In December of 2012, the average lead lifespan was 85.7 days – half a year later in June, that average number had been whittled down to a mere 16.7 days. Clearly, this marketing team has improved its lead qualification and generation process over the course of the year.
In this report, leads are grouped by their creation date. Creation date is a good way for managers to compare different behaviors of leads created at different times, since leads created around the same time are typically subject to the same campaigns and tactics. By grouping leads by month, managers will be able to drill down into specific months or campaign types to determine if they were more or less successful than average.
It’s important to dig in and check the marketing cycle for different segments of your business. The best sales and marketing managers drill down deeper and apply specific filters to gain even more meaningful insights from their Marketing Cycle Reports. Lead sources and value ranges are just two examples of custom filters that can be segmented in such a report. For instance, managers might find that larger leads that are worth substantially more tend to feature longer marketing cycles, while leads that originate from Google searches might have shorter marketing cycles. Armed with this information, managers will now have actionable insights to work with, filtering out larger deals or finding more ways to drive increased Google searches. Knowing how quickly leads convert can really impact the way sales and marketing managers run their teams.