Whenever I hear a marketer complaining about a lack of thought-leadership content or bemoaning no action on the “thousands of leads” he’s sending to Sales my alarm bells start ringing. My worst fears are usually confirmed when I discover the Sales team’s frustration with a Marketing department that isn’t generating actionable leads. Are these people working for the same company?
The career-limiting disconnect is that they are talking about different ends of the funnel! The biggest trap that marketers fall into, and the reason they sometimes lack credibility within their organization (and ultimately get fired) is that they put too much effort into top-of-funnel demand generation before ensuring that bottom-of-funnel lead generation and customer acquisition processes are in place.
The money-end of the funnel is at the bottom where conversion happens. The top of the funnel is the money sink with hard to quantify ROI. This doesn’t mean top of funnel demand generation spending isn’t essential – it’s just that pouring money into the top of the funnel is nearly impossible to justify until you have some confidence that some of it will come out the bottom.
In my experience, growing marketing departments need to walk before they run. Implement basic, effective, bottom of funnel lead generation campaigns and lead management processes before you work your way to longer term awareness and demand gen strategies that enlarge your audience, create long term relationships and build your contact list. This means starting with website calls to action, SEO, landing pages, outbound campaigns, list segmentation, marketing automation, lead scoring, etc. By demonstrating that leads can be reliably converted into revenue a marketer earns the right to invest dollars and subject matter expert effort in top of funnel demand generation.
I’m sure any marketer would agree that it’s much better to be tuning up your lead generation strategy than tuning up your resume!