According to a recent study, the average length of a sales cycle has increased by 22% over the last five years. The reason for this is that more decision makers are getting involved in the sales process from start to finish to evaluate prospect quality; some have different ideas on what constitutes a good prospect. This can be costly to businesses who desperately need to speed up the process. One way of doing this is using Pardot to automate your marketing process – one of many links in the chain responsible for the slowdown. Pardot can help the pipeline in no small part.

Automatic Lead Qualification
Pardot works to “rank” your leads based on a number of criteria. This is called “Blended Lead Scoring”, a system that shows the best potential customers based on a variety of factors. It combines lead scoring (measuring the amount of interest a lead has shown) with lead grade (how good a fit they are based on demographic and other data). These two data sets allow marketers and sales team to work together to agree on the most likely prospects. Where there is agreement, decisions are quicker, boosting the pipeline.

Automated Lead Assignment
Another great feature of Pardot is the ability to automate the process of lead assignment. Once a prospect exceeds a threshold of a target Blended Lead Score, it will automatically push the details acquired in the marketing process to the sales team. Also, if integrated withSalesforce.com, you can also assign based on any lead assignment rules you have set up in Salesforce. This saves time in the process and drastically reduces the number of missed opportunities from marketing to sales. It also means the sales team won’t waste time on poor quality leads based on hunches or lack of data. Automatic Lead Assignment doesn’t just improve the quality of leads, it boosts the overall pipeline process.

Relationship Building
Your customers aren’t just a node or a number – they are human beings with all the complexity that requires. When you streamline your prospects, it means you are able to build one-to-one relationships with those high-prospect leads. Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate some of these processes in the sales cycle? With Pardot, you can. Specifically, it allows the marketing team to automate those masses of one-to-one communications and the follow-ups that some may feel slows the process down.

Nurture Future Prospects
In this regard, Pardot is a goose that lays the golden egg. Marketing teams are often stuck between not wanting to waste time on poor prospects and building relationships with potential future customers to pass to sales. Not every lead is going to want to buy; not every middle-to-low quality lead is a dead end. They may wish to buy, but not yet – it’s down to marketing to keep their interest. How and when you nurture these leads can mean the difference between a future sale and a lost customer. Pardot’s engagement Studios allows you to set up nature paths which enable you to send powerful content over a period of time and assess the prospect at each step in the process. Whether you’re looking to re-engage or remain at the forefront of their mind pardot’s engagement studios can take the pain out of qualifying those leads who need a little more engagement before they are ready to buy.

Pardot’s Funnel Reporting
The Sales Funnel Lifecycle reports in Pardot are a handy feature combining all marketing and sales reports. All of the automation in the world is for nothing if you cannot examine how successfully Pardot works for you. It provides detailed information on prospects and how quickly they’re moving through the funnel. Metrics include new prospects and opportunities, opportunities won and percentage change over a given period. Such detailed insights provide marketing and sales with vital information for managing their engagement, speeding up your overall pipeline.