In order for marketing to be highly correlated to revenue, marketing has to be tightly integrated into the B2B sales process. To effectively integrate marketing into the B2B sales process requires delegating the front-end of the sales process to marketing and this can be successfully accomplished through a sales and marketing plan. To achieve a harmonic B2B sales process, sales and marketing must mutually create detailed demand generation and demand management plans that depict how qualified leads will be created and then the process to convert qualified leads to qualified opportunities.
In building these demand generation and management plans, a number of assumptions need to be documented and used to reverse engineer leads from closed won deals. Often times there is historical data that can be pulled from the sales force automation system, however, there are times when no historical data is available. If historical data about the sales process, and specifically conversion rates in the sales funnel, do not exist, it is prudent to leverage industry averages.
The Marketer’s Guide to B2B Sales – Headcount Composition
In B2B sales, the number of full-time sales and marketing personnel employed by size of company ran the complete spectrum.
- 42% of companies that are in B2B sales responded that there are 1-5 full-time marketing people.
- 32% of companies that are in B2B sales responded that there are more than 16 full-time sales people.
- 33% of companies that are in B2B sales responded that there are more than 16 full-time inside sales people.
The Marketer’s Guide to B2B Sales – Sales Force Automation System
When respondents were asked what sales force automation software they used to support their B2B sales process, the vast majority, 46%, stated that they used Salesforce.com. The next most often mentioned sales force automation system was Microsoft Dynamics with 23% of respondents citing this sales force automation software solution.
The Marketer’s Guide to B2B Sales – Average Selling Price
For B2B sales, the average selling price (first year) of the respondents looked very similar to a bell curve.
- 20% of B2B sales were reported in the $25K-50K range
- 18% of B2B sales were reported in the $50K-100K range
- 15% of B2B sales were reported over $250K
- 10% of B2B sales were reported under $5K
The Marketer’s Guide to B2B Sales – Number of Steps in the Sales Process
In the B2B sales process, most respondents (42%) stated that there are 1-5 steps in their B2B sales process. However, 5% of respondents noted that their B2B sales process included more than 16 identifiable steps.
The Marketer’s Guide to B2B Sales – What Constitutes a Qualified Lead
In most marketing sales plans, it is critical to identify what criteria is used to define a qualified lead in the B2B sales process. Typically, a demand creation plan will explicitly document the criteria that sales and marketing have mutually agreed upon. 36% of respondents stated that “Budget, authority, need and timeframe (BANT)” was the criteria documented in their marketing sales plan to identify a qualified lead.
- 16% of respondents communicated that a “Clear need stated for the product or service” was adequate to convert a B2B sales lead to a qualified lead in their lead management process.
- Only 4% of respondents stated that if the “Decision making time frame matches the average sales” then a lead would be converted to a qualified lead in their lead management process.
The Marketer’s Guide to B2B Sales – Conversion Ratios
The average conversion metrics that were reported by respondents for managing the sales funnel were as follows:
- 7% of responses or inquiries in the sales funnel converted to a marketing qualified lead
- 31% of marketing qualified leads in the sales funnel converted to sales qualified leads
- 46% of sales qualified leads in the sales funnel converted to forecasted deals
- 34% of forecasted deals in the sales funnel converted to closed won deals
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The online survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2012 for U.S. companies selling B2B. 247 completed surveys were complied across multiple industries and revenue ranges. Approximately, one-third of the companies included had revenue of less than $10M and one-quarter had revenues in excess of $500M. More than half the respondents identified themselves as marketing executives (director or above), just less than a quarter were marketing managers and almost 15% were categorized as sales managers. Approximately 55% of the companies represented were public companies.