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Exit Five Newsletter #77

Hello and welcome to the Exit Five Weekly Newsletter - read by 14,000 B2B marketing professionals around the world. Join the private community of ~3,500 marketing pros at exitfive.com if you're not already a member.


Four Tips For Making the Marketing Funnel Work 


As much as everything in marketing is "measurable" and as much as we try to make marketing "predictable," it's still surprisingly challenging to set up a funnel that works.


When done poorly, marketing teams spend a lot of money and energy driving leads that go nowhere. Or sales is upset. Or the team is stretched thin just to barely hit the number.


When executed correctly, small improvements to a conversion rate along the funnel can have an exponential impact later down the funnel (aka revenue). 


So the problem isn't the funnel itself - it's in the execution. 


Here are four tips to making the marketing funnel work for you: 


1) Define and agree 

You have to agree upon definitions internally (like lead, MQL, SQL, SQO, etc etc) or they're useless. We’ve all heard the classic dilemma of marketing hitting their number, and sales complaining about lead quality. If you don’t agree internally on what definitions mean, this can happen. (This also happens when marketing isn’t held to revenue, more on that later).


2) Make sure funnel stages reflect actual intent

Make sure your funnel doesn’t put weight on leads that have no buying intent. For example, if your definition of an MQL doesn’t include intent, you have to pay closer attention to something further down the funnel (like second stage opportunities) to confirm that the leads you’re passing to sales are moving in the right direction. 


Tracking the success rate as far down the funnel as you can (aka leads becoming customers) is hugely important in my opinion, and solves a lot of complaints about the funnel. If you pay attention to this, you'll be able to get rid of tactics that aren't resulting in revenue, and your GTM motion will be stronger for it.


3) Align tactics with the funnel 

If you set up all of your reporting on leads, opps, and revenue, but you don’t have actual people with accountability for different stages, you won’t succeed. 


Maybe an example is helpful here: 

Assume we agree that report downloads aren’t high intent. 


After they download the report, what happens? 

  • Does an SDR reach out to ask them to take a demo? 
  • Do they get put into an email nurture program that’s also pushing them to take a demo?
  • Do they go into a value-driven weekly email program and raise their hands themselves? 

If you set up a funnel, and you are converting leads that are low intent, you need to have content and tactics to support them down the funnel. Going straight from report download to a demo isn’t realistic in most cases - nurture won't work if the core CTA is demo, or pushing the product. 


In my experience, the offer is the secret ingredient. Whatever you do - it should helpful to prospects regardless of their stage between lead and opp. 


Your SDR team will get to know which people sign up for every webinar, but don't have buying power at their org. That's bound to happen, and it's fine. Because if you show up with high value stuff on a regular basis, good things happen. 

Capture the nuance of different channels and different paths

This is an oversimplification to make a point: 

In one month, you get 100 content downloads from LinkedIn Ads, and none of them become opportunities. In the same month, you get 50 demo requests from organic, and all of them become opportunities. 

If you don’t apply rigor to your funnel, and make sure you know how differently these channels are performing, it will look like 150 leads became 50 opportunities across the board…and you may use that information to continue investing in a channel that drives leads, but doesn’t contribute to your revenue. 


The same applies to channels which drive opps but not revenue. You might have some channels that move more quickly from opp created --> closed won, and you want to know which those are. 


(BTW this is not easy and you may not be able to automate these reports, but it is well worth the effort to dig in.)

Wrapping up


The problem isn’t the funnel itself - it’s how you define the funnel stages, and what you do at each stage.


It’s not perfect, but getting a strong funnel set up will get you very far.

Hope you're having a productive week,

Shauntle and Zula

PS. Are you reading? Reply back and let me know, I love getting replies... 

PPS. She's beauty, she's grace, she'll bite off your face

bite off your face

🎧 Podcast #107: Taking a New VP of Marketing Role, When to Optimize for Learning, and Personal LinkedIn Strategy (with Amrita Mathur, VP Marketing, ClickUp)


This week, Dave and Amrita Mathur catch up since their last podcast, and since Amrita started her new VP of Marketing job at ClickUp.


There are some great nuggets in here for how to start out as a VP of Marketing in a new role.


They also cover topics like:

  • Personal LinkedIn strategy
  • How proactivity is one of the keys to being successful
  • Optimizing for learning in your career, and staying in roles for a long time vs not
  • Figuring out product market fit

Listen To The Episode Now on Spotify

Or find it everywhere you listen by searching "Exit Five" podcast


Join the Exit Five Community

Please join us in the new home for Exit Five (and our dedicated iOS + Android app). We have officially moved our community to Circle - our own private community on the web, with a dedicated mobile app for iOS and Android. It's bumping over there already and we've been loving the feedback from members so far.

Here's a video overview from Dave breaking down the new Exit Five community. You can join the community right now for free with a 7 day free trial and then choose monthly or annual billing (or to not join) after your trial. Hope to see you in there.

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