Ready or not, 2012 is knocking on our doorstep. Most sales organizations have locked down sales headcount and quotas for next year and everyone's team quotas have likely increased from 2011 levels. The sales reps that received increases undoubtedly lamented and complained about the bump, but grudgingly accepted them, what choice did they have? They will get out their 'A" game and start 2012 moving quickly.
If you are the CMO in this situation are you as committed to making the revenue number as the sales team? The role of marketing in helping companies achieve sales success has changed dramatically over recent years. Yes many of the traditional marketing functions such as branding, marcom, collateral, email marketing, and trade show management, are still important functions. But if today's marketing department does not play an instrumental role in the lead generation process the likelihood that sales will make their plan next year is much lower.
How Chief Marketing Officer's Can Get Their Team Fired Up for Lead Generation
CMO's, step back for a moment and evaluate the true cost of using the company's sales team to do the majority of the lead generation activities.
- First, sales people are often the most expensive headcount within an organization excluding the executive team.
- Second, with a few exceptions sales people are generally not the best at qualifying prospects. Pursuing poorly qualified prospects results in wasted internal resources chasing bad deals and low closing rates.
- Third, when a sales person does find a truly qualified prospect all current prospecting stops while they try to close a piece of business. While the rep is consumed pursuing those one or two deals, several other prospects in their territory likely became sales ready and did business with one of your competitors. An opportunity lost because of a poor process!
Lead Gen is Hard Work and Worth Every Ounce of It
A lead creation program developed in conjunction with the sales team and managed by your marketing resources is the best way to provide sales people with a steady stream of qualified prospects. Consider investing in marketing automation tools that can supercharge your prospecting efforts. There are many products available to choose from depending on your firm's size and requirements. They all claim to be plug and play but the key is to take the time to truly understand the hard and soft cost of implementing these types of programs. There can also be a significant learning curve to master the software and formalize your process, and you will need to invest in information content to be really effective. You will also likely need to do a website review from an SEO perspective as it's import for prospects to be able to find you when they are in research mode. Despite these perceived hurdles though a well run marketing automation investment pays for itself many times over.
Ask yourself this question: If 100% of you and your marketing team's incentive compensation was tied to the sales team's selling success would you do anything differently"? If the answer is yes, build a fire in your team's belly!
Helpful Resources for Launching Your Lead Gen Program
If you have questions about best practices in marketing automation programs think about scheduling a complimentary Lead Optimization Review.