Both lead nurture and pipeline acceleration efforts are designed to make the lead management process, from cold to close, more efficient and effective. Improving the quality of buyer engagement and the time to close, these two areas receive and deserve a lot of marketing investment and consideration. However, understandable confusion may exist as to the precise nature and definition of both types of activities as both, at times, address both leads and sales opportunities.
Pipeline acceleration, on the other hand, demands full joint sales and marketing involvement, commitment, alignment and participation from beginning to end. When it comes to pipeline acceleration, we at SiriusDecisions talk of three core areas, or pipeline zone-focused programs. These are:
Rapid entry targets accounts with perceived interest before an official sales opportunity is created. This action may be supported by leveraging predictive analytics for opportunity scoring, which augments estimates of how likely a prospect is to buy, along with purchase timing and deal value. Ultimately, both marketing and sales agree on potential account lists and prospects that show a high propensity to generate high quality opportunities in the near future. This work takes place outside the official sales pipeline but requires the full and active engagement of sales and marketing. Intra- and last-mile pipeline activity applies directly to opportunities that are currently within the sales pipeline and therefore demand joint sales and marketing alignment.
Thus, the critical dynamic that separates lead nurture and pipeline acceleration is the presence or absence of involvement from an active and interested the sales team.
Julian Archer is a Research Director at SiriusDecisions. He has more than 25 years of international b-to-b demand creation experience within corporate and pan-European field functions. Follow Julian on Twitter @julianarcher