Why Marketers are Pivoting to Sales-Focused Metrics (& How You Can Too)

July 16, 2019 | Kirsten Lyons


The formula for marketing success used to be simple:

1. Create great content

2. Become industry thought leader

3. Wait for qualified traffic to roll in

But the explosive growth of content marketing over the past 10 years means that “if you build it they will come” is no longer a viable strategy. Savvy marketers know there’s too much passive content demanding prospects’ attention. The content overwhelm our prospects are experiencing means we need to take a different approach to engage our prospects today.

We set out to understand how an evolving environment is shifting marketers’ goals, and our survey of over 800 demand gen marketers shows the change is significant: 68% of marketers plan to prioritize goals directly tied to sales and revenue in the next six months.

This shift away from goals like content creation and MQL generation in favor of sales-focused KPIs that prioritize lead quality makes sense — we know that companies with tightly aligned marketing and sales teams see 38% higher win-rates, and drive 209% more revenue from marketing.

But setting up your marketing activities to support the sales-focused goals that are becoming the new standard can be more complex than simply deciding to reprioritize the KPIs you report on monthly.

In fact, most marketers aren’t seeing enough of the picture to accurately report on the kind of sales-focused goals they want to prioritize: 66% of marketers either can’t see or don’t care what happens to MQLs after they’re sent to sales.

But by rethinking processes, leveraging martech more effectively, and working to get on the same page as your sales team, marketers can optimize their lead flow processes to deliver on their sales and revenue goals. Let’s take a look at the “how” behind each of the sales-focused goals marketers identified as top priorities…

Generate More Pipeline

By looking at a percentage of pipeline contributed by marketing leads, marketers can build a reliable measure of how many opportunities became SQLs. This metric is useful because, when broken down over time, marketers can easily correlate specific campaigns to the percentage of the company’s pipeline they contributed during a given month.

Getting Started: 

To leverage this metric, you’ll need marketing automation capable of tracking the amount of MQLs generated over a specific timeframe, as well as access to reporting within your CRM.

By working with your sales team to combine historical pipeline data from your CRM with reports from your marketing automation, you can build out a baseline to start reporting this important KPI.

Drive More Revenue

Marketers can own a specific portion of revenue by tracking closed deals over a period of time. Being able to point to direct revenue contribution is critical for marketers, as they’re 1.6X more likely to receive a larger budget than teams that can’t prove direct ROI.

Getting Started:

Increasing marketing’s contribution to your business’ revenue is all about optimizing and scaling the marketing activities that drive the highest quality leads. And tracking those high quality leads requires a marketing attribution model that places value on each lead gen channel, so you can double down on what’s working and abandon what isn’t.

Work with your sales team to benchmark marketing activities against their normal lead-to-conversion rate and scale what works.

Increase MQL Acceptance Rate

Increasing your MQL acceptance rate is fundamentally about focusing in your lead quality, not quantity. Rather than leaning on an old-school lead scoring model that relies on prospect activity as a proxy for buying intent, refocus your efforts on sending only your best leads to sales.

Getting Started:

Delivering the leads sales wants first requires being able to mutually define what a great lead looks like for your business. Sit down with your sales team and work together to build a list of key qualifying criteria that indicate whether a prospect will be a good fit for your solution. Relying on these meaningful qualifiers rather than sending over everyone who attended your webinar will help you prioritize your best leads that will actually convert.

Make the Shift

Knowing what metrics and activities to prioritize today is only half the battle for modern marketers. Operationalizing these new goals brings with it a unique set of challenges that require marketers to laser focus on the quality of their leads, and get on the same page as their sales team, from the top of the funnel, to the bottom, and beyond.

Find out more about how goals are changing and marketers are responding in our new research.


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