Forget about Millenials, Generation Y, or even Generation X. There is a whole generation of B2B marketers out there that have had “Lead Generation” drummed into them for the last ten years. “Generation LeadGen”. And quite rightly so. Lead generation, driven by content and inbound marketing, is the key objective for any B2B marketing team. It aims to capture prospects during their time of research and make them visible to the organisation so they can be approached and nurtured. But its execution and success are hampered by the commoditisation of the term “lead generation”. What do we mean? Read on.
Traditional marketing techniques fail to deliver the right results in a modern, globalised and technology driven world, as we discuss in our whitepaper “Who Is Responsible For Marketing-Driven Revenue?” When I talk about “traditional”, I mean traditional online and offline. They fail to deliver, because in the past they (have had to) focus on non-scientific and non-digital approaches of reaching audiences and attracting them. Remember the unsophisticated advertising of the post-dotcom-bust era? A lot of money was spent (and made) on online ads that had no guarantee of success and extremely little means to attribute success to spend. ROI was invisible to most efforts. Digital lead generation changed that because it was smarter at making prospects part with their personal details through desirable and gated content.
Is Lead Generation Enough?
So, as a profession and enabled by the growth of marketing technology, we have hungrily taken on this marketing discipline and it has been a buzzword ever since. It has become a commodity and a skill that can’t be missed off any CV. But let’s face it: if your efforts stop at the form submission for a piece of content then you’re not really generating leads, you’re collecting people’s contact data. Of course, your marketing team is also passing those contact details to the sales team, but that’s really not lead generation either. It’s missing the qualification part. But whether we like it or not, this is exactly what happens in many organisations.
What we’re seeing, and you might see this too, is marketing and sales teams at war over leads. There are either not enough, or they aren’t good enough. Sales are either burning them too quickly or sitting on them because the leads lack in accuracy. This issue occurs on a departmental level, but often is also accepted and sometimes fostered by the management level. But even if all parts of good lead generation have been applied: generating relevant contact data, qualifying and nurting leads over time, passing over ownership to sales at the right point in the lead’s buyer journey – is this really good enough for the organisation? Of course it’s better than no lead generation at all, but can it be improved?
The Rise Of “Generation Growth”
Can the marketing function stop there and be happy with its lead generation efforts? It is notoriously difficult to create a good lead scoring model. Lead scoring often serves the purpose of irreversably handing over a lead from marketing to sales. Is asking the question “When is the lead good enough to drop into a different bucket?” how potential customers should, or want to be, treated? Unfortunatley it is not that linear. And it is not how growth or ROI is built.
This transactional approach mimics the sales process of “qualify, negotiate, sign up”. Marketing efforts need to go further than that. The generation of lead generation marketers (“Generation LeadGen”) needs to go further than that. Evidenced by the success of sites like GrowthHackers.com we can see that “Generation Growth” is on its way. This new generation of marketers is empowered by a highly analytical mindset and process driven marketing technology. They understand that showing ROI – and ultimately attributable revenue growth – is the only way to stay (and advance) in a job when there are 1000s of others who are willing and able to take your job at any point.
How do you create the environment where you can attract and keep members of Generation Growth? Here are some steps you may want to take:
- Create a corporate environment with a mindset on ROI and growth – not just in one department, but across the organisation. Before you go on to newer trends, have you mastered those that drive growth?
- Lay the foundations with a marketing technology stack that facilitates not only the generation of accurately qualified leads, but also visibility of leads throughout their customer lifecycle. Marketing is going to have to be involved in nurturing them to avoid churn
- Create a focus on Growth Marketing, i.e. the ability to drive and measure growth through better lead generation processes, lead flow optimisation and sales & marketing alignment. Better targeting and transparency at the start translate into more growth and less churn over time
- Upskill Generation LeadGen and interview new candidates on their growth marketing focus and the respective skillset needed to generate ROI and growth as standard
- Don’t be afraid of changing the formula. It is not a static process.
To remain competitive we need to know what drives revenue for our organisation. It’s a simple premise, but not something that is easily done. When we know exactly which marketing efforts are working, we need to understand why they work and how we can sustainably exapand these efforts. Visibility, access and control of data is a core aspect. Knowing what to do with it is another. So before you create noise and spend from other aspects, you should focus on – and master – the aspects that drive growth for your organisation. Starting with marketing.
INBND Growth Marketing Consultancy helps companies grow their revenue through improved lead generation strategies, marketing and lead flow process optimisation, and sales & marketing alignment. Get in touch today to find out more on 0207 097 8912.