Thursday, January 6, 2011

Light at the end of the funnel

If you're involved in the demand generation side of marketing, your life must be revolving around the funnel. At Zend, funnel is the center of our (marketing) universe. It guides our marketing strategy, and we spend a tremendous amount of time analyzing and optimizing it.

Once you understand 'funnelonomics' you can easily
  • Gain visibility into the health of your lead generation efforts and sales processes
  • Find what the cost per qualified lead is
  • Compare your conversion rates across products/geos and to other companies in your market
  • Test and optimize your lead generation and lead nurturing programs
  • Prioritize marketing projects and tools

How do you measure conversion rates across the funnel?

The answer greatly depends on your marketing tactics and sales process as well as on the tools you use. At Zend, we're using Eloqua for marketing automation and for sales force automation and technical support. We track visits to our website, email opens, paid ad click throughs, downloads, registrations, opportunities and transactions. Since every sales cycle involves numerous online touches, we have ample data and can track conversions automatically.

At BMC, where we had an enterprise sales team selling large enterprise deals, we had to rely on sales people entering the correct lead source in order to close the loop between our lead generation programs and sales opportunities. It was hard, often frustrating, but with the help of our VP Sales we managed to get pretty accurate results.

Bottom line: whatever your sales model is, you should be able to measure the funnel. Mastering funnelonomics can make the difference between darkness and light.