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The shifting world of business development from sales to marketing

Marketing’s job used to be to just generate leads and pass them to sales, but the digital world has brought many changes. The sheer volume of data now available from campaign and online analysis means the onus has shifted to marketing to not just create leads but to sort them, score them and only pass on the hottest ones to sales. The rest get nurtured until their score moves them up to the revered state of being Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

It’s all about the nurturing

Lead nurturing with content and using inbound marketing to keep prospects engaged until this stage is essential for marketers to deliver MQLs, especially when you consider that 66% of buyers indicate that ‘consistent and relevant communication’ is a key influence in choosing a provider. Not only that, but nurtured leads have a 23% shorter sales cycle and a 9% higher average deal size.

Businesses are waking up to the fact that marketing can now be a direct revenue driver if given the tools to manage leads more effectively. It’s no longer a nice-to-have; it’s an essential strategic function for success in the modern world. With that mind-shift comes greater accountability, which explains whythe2012 Marketing Sherpa Lead Generation Benchmark Report revealed that the top three objectives for CMOs are:

  • Achieving or increasing measurable ROI (52%)

  • Optimising the sales/marketing funnel (51%)

  • Gaining greater audience insight (51%).

The Marketing Mecca

Although business development is shifting away from sales to marketing, many believe they are not up to the job. A 2011 report by the Fournaise Marketing Group (FMG) revealed that 73% of the CEOs surveyed thought that their marketers lack credibility and are not the revenue generators that they should be.

They can’t do it alone, though. To deliver on their new revenue targets, marketers have to work more closely with the sales team to identify the content needed at each stage of the nurturing process in order to move that lead up to MQL status. In the old world, sales teams were spending hours every week creating their own collateral as the content created by marketing was either not accessible to them or didn’t do the job they needed it to.

In the new world, sales and marketing are aligned, developing content together and sharing lead info to improve business development outcomes. This approach is delivering, too; in the businesses that get it right, marketing teams are generating up to 40% of the sales pipeline.

To find out more about content marketing’s new elevated status in the B2B world, download our eGuide CMO’s guide: Building credibility at board level now!