Almost all of our conversations with clients and prospective clients involves the need for leads. Whether it’s clearly articulated or not, ultimately what they are asking for, or think they need are more leads – as many as possible in the shortest possible timeframe.
A typical conversation goes something like this...
How is business? We need LEADS!
What is the business strategy that marketing can support? LEAD Generation!
What are your business goals and growth plans? More LEADS!
At this point, a marketing agency like ourselves has two choices – tell them the truth or tell them what they want to hear.
The (ugly) truth
Leads don’t grow on trees. There is no ‘magic bullet’. Quantity doesn’t outweigh quality. A short-term focus on lead generation won’t achieve long term growth for the business. Without awareness and credibility, lead generation and conversion will suffer. Lead generation and lead conversion are different – it’s important to establish which of these is the issue and therefore whether it is a marketing or sales challenge.
Sharing the truth either results in a trusting long-term partnership, based on a solid strategy and achievable growth goals, OR it means you part ways after the initial meeting.
A happy medium
Once the above is covered and understood, it’s worth noting that it’s not all doom and gloom – not only is there a much better chance of growth in the medium-term, there are also some quick wins that can be identified and carried out to deliver some short-term success (and keep other stakeholders happy at the same time).
These quick wins often come from the conversion process where leads aren’t being followed up enough times (it can take up to 6 touch points to generate interest); and/or from a few enhancements to the website, current content and forms to better align it to the buyers journey. Either way, there will be low hanging fruit which can be picked whilst the planning and strategy is underway.
It’s not just in the leads diagnosis process that the sales vs. marketing considerations take place, but also when businesses are looking at how to resource or structure for growth. It’s difficult to know what resource you need or who to give this responsibility to if you haven’t yet diagnosed the issues.
Business leaders often default to what they’ve done before or who they’ve leaned on in the past, but this can be a dangerous and expensive way to navigate a constantly evolving tech company through the pace of change that’s required to stay ahead, get ahead or catch up with their competitors.
7 mistakes we’ve witnessed:
Hiring sales staff (often for their black books) to grow the business through lead generation.
Investment in marketing resource (in-house or external) when the issue is lead conversion.
Investing in sales and marketing tools (e.g. CRM) and expecting them to solve the problem on their own.
A ‘build it and they will come’ approach to a website, resulting in disillusionment post go-live.
Marketing = Sales = Service not being given equal focus or not working together, to the detriment of the customer and the business.
A marketing and content plan based purely on product features and not customer insights/benefits.
Forgetting that B2B is actually B2H(uman) and underestimating the need to understand those humans, their pain points, purchase drivers and buyer journey.
There are many more of course, but the stand out reason for any of these mistakes happening at all is misdiagnosis of the problem. We recommend carrying out a discovery process that helps to diagnose the issues before trying to solve the problem.
If you’d like to avoid making these mistakes, or perhaps rectify those you may have already fallen prey to, check out our dedicated guide to generating leads or get in touch for a free inbound marketing review, with some top line recommendations for you to take away.