I recently spoke to a senior marketer with a large Systems Integrator (SI). Last year they appointed a new Sales VP and one of his first moves was to insist that marketing focus on lead generation; ‘we need to fill the pipeline’. The SI sells very large managed services contracts to a small number of top-tier enterprises and government bodies.

A year later the pipeline of leads resulted in incremental revenue of less than 1%. Most of the business came from sales teams developing their relationship with existing accounts and targeting a few new accounts.

For businesses that target a relatively small number of large customers, lead generation is almost an irrelevance compared to all the other largely account- or sector-based marketing activities. These are the areas that marketers should focus on to add value.

For high-value transactions, business leaders (whether they be Sales SVPs BU MDs, Marketing VPs or Alliance Directors) can add value by investing in sales enablement, account based marketing and, if appropriate, partner enablement. This re-focussing may require dogged determination, as marketing has traditionally been in the ‘lead generation’ silo and getting out of it requires a wider business perspective.

Do you agree?