Many marketers will hear the call from Sales that they need more leads, and better quality leads. But what if your company is selling into a well-defined market, with a small number of high-value customers? You should push back on Sales and help them exploit their existing relationships rather than investing in wasteful lead generation.
Let me explain why…
Take an example where a company is selling high-value mobile workforce management solutions. Hopefully they have carefully analysed the market and targeted sectors such as utilities and telecoms infrastructure providers. So the sales team selling into utilities is covering a very small number of large customers in the territory (the situation varies across countries; let’s focus on one). If they don’t know the companies on the target list, you probably need to change out the sales team. Of course, they may not know all the decision makers and influencers in their prospective customers, but they should be working round the organisations. Lead generation activities may attract responses from some existing contacts, and lower level contacts, but they are unlikely to attract the interest of key people involved in a multi-million pound deal.
So what should marketing be doing? Sales need activities that will help them progress sales through the sales cycle. Marketing should be leading the activities that:
- Create a greater awareness of the problem and your solution deeper in each prospect’s organisation
- Arm salespeople with the information to position your company as experts in the solution area, and domain experts in your prospect’s business operations
- Engage the top level decision makers in a business level dialogue
It’s not just semantics; these activities are different and, as importantly, measured differently from lead generation. Marketing needs to be measured on and deliver a ROI. Lead generation is readily measureable but there is no point in measuring the wrong thing.
So work more closely with you sales teams, help them get to know their customers better, change your metrics, and stop doing unnecessary lead generation.