Fueling the Sales Funnel: How to Keep the Leads Coming

Brian TervoBy Brian Tervo

It’s simple: Without fuel, systems don’t work. This is true for everything from cars to furnaces to boats — even to humans. This rule also extends to the sales funnel; without viable leads, the funnel has no fuel to run on and revenue will grind to a halt. CRM systems and marketing automation tools have become go-to solutions for covering the bottom of the sales funnel, keeping customers happy and closing deals, but they leave a critical gap. Without a system in place to bring in leads at the top, you’re not going to have much luck closing deals at the bottom. 

New Approaches, New Challenges

So what can sales teams do to ensure a steady flow of leads to fuel their sales funnels? Keeping the stream of prospects full is certainly no easy task, but it should be a top priority for companies looking to stay competitive and grow their revenue streams. The entire sales process and structure has changed in recent years. Previously, the path to purchase often began with a proactive sales call and a conversation with the prospect. Today, the start of the sales process is largely in the hands of the prospects themselves. The Internet age has put information at our fingertips, and this accessibility has changed how people buy, making them far more inclined to do independent research and amass a certain level of knowledge before even contacting a sales representative. For the rep, this often means less work and an easier sale — a prospect wouldn’t get in touch if there wasn’t already interest in a product or service. However, this also means that a company’s website and marketing collateral must always be in an impeccable state — consistent, up-to-date, engaging and easy to access and share, across all touch points. This issue — the creation and dissemination of high-level content — is the crux of today’s lead generation challenge. And without means to address it, sales teams will be faced with a dried-up funnel and no leads to convert.

The key to creating leads today is making sure that your high-quality marketing collateral gets in front of as many eyes as possible, across regions — and that it doesn’t get corrupted during the journey. Content corruption can come in many forms: poor language translation, incorrect currency conversions, inaccurate content for a given region or even simply outdated content. Addressing these issues across an indirect channel is even more challenging, both from a provider and a partner perspective. Most vendors work with numerous resellers, many of which are geographically and culturally dispersed, making the manual adaptation and distribution of content difficult. At the same time, resellers also work with numerous companies, and receiving sales and marketing collateral that requires changes is not a viable option for them either — there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for channel sales teams to become experts on each provider’s offerings.

Everybody Wins

Ultimately, success among channel sales teams relates directly to how vendors are able to generate and distribute content throughout the channel, so ensuring that content is accurate, timely and ready to go by the time it reaches partners’ Web properties should be top of mind. Effective content distribution should be something resellers look for in a vendor and something vendors should always strive to deliver for their partners. It is extremely powerful when changes are automatically delivered to all of the possible Internet shelf spaces in a vendor’s digital channel. Imagine changing out branded content “on the fly” without any third-party party Web, mobile or social interventions required. If your current method of content distribution is largely manual, this process only gives greater opportunity for human error, corruption and poor adoption leading to dismal performance and lead conversion. An automated content syndication system takes these challenges out of play, assuring that all marketing collateral is disseminated accurately throughout the channel, and individually customized to reflect each site or partner’s brand. This creates peace of mind for vendors who know their messaging is delivered accurately in a timely manner, and ease of use for partners, who have quality content at their fingertips, ready to go. Both parties win, and ultimately both prosper from improved lead generation that fuels the top of the sales funnel.

In today’s connected world, lead generation tactics may have changed, but the importance of building leads to fuel the sales funnel remains the same. To meet that need, companies must ensure that content is accurate, current and effectively shared across the entire partner channel. Effective distribution of content is today’s must-have for marketing and sales teams, and it is an important key to keeping the sales funnel fueled and revenue streams flowing.   

Brian Tervo is president and CEO of Chief North America operations for TIE Kinetix, a provider of SaaS-based e-commerce and channel marketing solutions.

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