Qualify the Sale

Qualify the Sale with A-Class Digital Marketing and Marketing Automation

In July 2015 I wrote an article entitled Marketing Needs Full Funnel Vision. At the time roughly 67% of B2B marketers stated not meeting or not knowing if they were meeting the demands of the sales pipeline according to B2B Magazine.

Fast forward to July 2017 and the digital marketing situation isn’t much better

In fact, the complexities now are such that 63% of businsses are still reporting their top challenge as being generating traffic and leads. Two years later businesses still can’t meet the demands of their sales pipeline. The needle has only moved a measly 4%.

Crisis of Confidence

According to research recently released by Adobe there is a crisis of confidence in marketing proficiency and effectiveness. The findings revealed a striking lack of confidence in digital ability. Less than half (48%) of professionals who consider themselves primarily digital marketers feel highly proficient at digital marketing. Moreover, 82% of them report learning on the job and received no formal training. What’s even more concerning is that a mere 9% agreed that they know their digital marketing is working.

According to Adobe, marketers are facing a dilemma: they aren’t sure what’s working, they are feeling underequipped to meet the challenges of digital, and they’re having a tough time keeping up with the pace of change in the industry.

According to Ann Lewnes, CMO, the opportunity of digital for marketers is too great to let uncertainty slow them down. Marketers who are bold in their digital marketing efforts and investments, who are taking smart risks, and who are training their teams to be more “digital ready” will be in a great position to capitalize on digital’s full promise.

There is also a very compelling correlation between strong overall business performance and digital marketing proficiency in the same study. High performing companies are 50% more likely to rate their companies as highly proficient in digital marketing.

Marketing has changed more in the past 2 years than in the previous 50

It’s no wonder internal teams can’t keep up. The best way to do digital in my opinion is to have internal teams establigh the stategy, KPIs and goals for their digital marketing programs and work with digital marketing experts on the delivery, tracking and measurement of those programs. As consultants, we do this all day, every dy for 30 thousand clients worldwide and even we have to set aside 20% of our time and budgets to ongoing learning. It’s quite near impossible for internal teams to keep up with the pace of change.

Marketers tend to focus on bottom of the funnel activities, however, the bottom of the funnel might be too late. The buyer is in control and the buyer journey begins at the top of the funnel. Forrester research said two years ago that the buyer journey was as much as 90% completed before they’ll ever reach out to a business. So imagine, if you’re fishing in the bottom of the funnel, you’re just too late.

In addition to feeding the full funnel, marketers now need to contend with an ever widening array of channels. With the arrival of artificial intelligence on the scene, the changes are only going to keep accelerating.

Here’s how you can deal with some of that acceleration

4 Pillars with Multiple Marketing Channels and Tactics

Here is a list of the areas marketers need to contend with in 2017 broken out into our four main pillars; site, search, social and mobile:


  • Blogging
  • Content strategy
  • Podcasts
  • Demand generation
  • Marketing automation
  • Marketing analytics
  • Messaging apps
  • Mobile web
  • Artificial intelligence


  • Organic search
  • Local SEO for each of the geographies served
  • Mobile search
  • Voice search
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • and if you’re an online store eCommerce


  • Social Media Marketing
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Social media management
  • Video marketing
  • Social media monitoring
  • Reputation management
  • Video analytics
  • Enterprise social collaboration
  • Advocate marketing
  • Chatbots


  • Mobile Search
  • AMP
  • Mobile campaigns
  • Multi-device
  • SMS
  • Mobile organic reach
  • Mobile content
  • Mobile app stores
  • Mobile marketing automation
  • mCommerce

Compelling Stats

As you can see from the 4 pillars above and all the sub-activities related to each pillar, it’d take a pretty large internal team to get all this right. As my colleague Chuck Bankoff recently put it; Online marketing is no longer about picking services like an entrée from a Chinese menu. Everything is now so codependent and interrelated, that with few exceptions, individual strategies won’t stand on their own. Search rankings affect traffic. Visitor engagement influence search rankings. Social media traffic signals search engines. Content influences search and visitor engagement. Reviews affect conversions. Your website architecture affects your sites’ “stickiness”. And your calls-to-action affect your enrollment pipeline. It takes a deep bench of specialists to run digital effectively, and the total cost of ownership of all those resources is massively prohibitive. Leave the strategy to your in-house people and the delivery and measurement to your digital agency [but select carefully].

  1. For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. (Econsultancy)
  2. 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot)
  3. 40% of marketers say the most challenging obstacle to search engine optimization success is changing search algorithms. (Ascend2)
  4. 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream)
  5. 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. (Smart Insights)
  6. 26% of consumers start mobile research with a branded app. (Smart Insights)
  7. 64% of podcasts are listened to on a smartphone or tablet. (Edison Research)
  8. 11% of marketers plan to add podcasting to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months. (HubSpot)
  9. LinkedIn has 450 million members, but only 25% actively visit the professional social network each month. (VentureBeat)
  10. 74% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes (HubSpot)
  11. 88% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities. (Social Media Examiner)
  12. 83% of all marketers actively pursue social media marketing initiatives. (Aberdeen)

To learn more visit our Qualify the Sale website, email [email protected] or call 1.888.996.1595. We’ll be happy to offer you some consulting time free of charge.


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