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B2B Sales Cycle Longer, More Touches Between Lead and Sale

Ad agencies assisting companies in the business-to-business category may be aware that their clients are fighting to close sales. New data suggests that the purchase journey for B2B now mirrors the business-to-consumer (B2C) journey. It is fraught with detours, pauses, outside influencers, interruptions and distractions. That altered journey to a buying decision now involves many more “touches” before, and within the sales cycle.

Brightfunnel, a revenue attribution and forecasting platform aimed at helping companies improve marketing campaigns and increase profits, released data on the changing B2B purchase journey.

  • It takes 52% more marketing touches to close a deal.
  • Those touches are evenly split between pre-sales (53%) and the sales cycle (47%).
  • There are 4-5 influencers per buying cycle, but a single contact may hold purchase decision power.
  • The nurture cycle now averages out at 12 months.
  • Increased competition in content—and marketing tools—makes marketers’ jobs more difficult.
     

Current B2B marketing practices are designed for a shorter nurture cycle, and most are “blind to 80% of the funnel,” says BrightFunnel. Many marketers can identify the first point of contact, and the last, but track very few touches that happen between the two. No wonder the sales cycle has extended. Smarter use of customer data and a rethinking of current practices can help companies compress the cycle and get to a sale faster.

Agencies can help B2B clients with the following changes to marketing planning and execution:

  • Measure campaign performance against past campaign data (benchmarking). [link On Your (Benchmark)]
  • More closely track leads and contacts, campaign costs, channel efficiency and measures for success.
  • Incorporate single touch and multi-touch attribution models to see more of the customer purchase journey.
  • Improve forecasting by supplying the sales team with historical conversion data and revenue targets.
  • Plan for and map content rollout for a longer sales cycle.
  • Develop thought leadership and persuasive content designed to move prospects along the purchase journey.
  • Improve marketing automation as you learn about purchase journey and customer information needs.
     

Increased competition, and the crush of competing marketing content, is compromising the impact of B2B marketing efforts. Be alert for opportunities to help clients modify marketing and improve data collection and analysis toward smarter, more efficient messaging. If you can help clients compress their nurture-to-sales cycle, you will be better positioned to win a regular seat at clients’ planning tables.

See also: Who’s Finding Whom? The 3-D Path to B2B Purchasing

B2B Customers Are Going Mobile; Are Your Clients?

What Exactly Do Account Planners Do?

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