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When a lead isn’t a lead (and when it’s more)

Meredith Bell, CMO, Jabmo

It’s taken years, most B2B companies understand that buying and selling have changed dramatically. With purchasing committees approaching an average of 15 members, buying cycles extending beyond 18 months, and digital marketing becoming the most effective way to reach buyers, companies who want to stay ahead are reacting. But overlearning is a slippery slope to mindlessness, causing companies to scramble for and waste time on acquiring an ever higher number of increasingly ineffective leads.

The ability to acquire these leads has become the primary marketing performance indicator in many companies, but it’s a reductive grading rubric. It’s like measuring nutrition only by calories consumed. 2,000 calories in donuts means something far different from 2,000 calories in steamed vegetables.

When it comes to leads, the data don’t support going all in. Research tells us fewer than 1% of leads actually lead to a sale. So a lead-centric approach makes no distinction between ultra-valuable leads from big, important companies and worthless leads from tiny companies that cost more to serve than the revenue they generate.

A company focusing purely on lead generation often neglects to distinguish leads coming from prospects that have been nurtured with its content for months (or years) from those that have been nurtured by competitors. This blind spot leaves marketing and sales departments at risk of serving redundant or irrelevant messaging to their prospects, or worse, blanketing a large swath of prospects with generic content while their competitors pick up the slack.

A healthy marketing department needs leads to thrive, but not all leads are created equal. Expanding interest and awareness within key accounts, while simultaneously nurturing large, existing customers moves the pipeline forward, even when anonymous buyers have yet to engage with sales. Along with accelerating pipeline velocity, targeting and retargeting the most important leads with educational value-based messaging creates bigger revenue opportunities as contacts at target accounts gradually learn enough about a particular solution, building stronger consensus and confidence in its potential impact in their specific use cases.

Ultimately, when a marketing department serves personalized content to systematically prioritized audience segments, accounts that reach the sales team do so with an education and real interest in the product, resulting in higher win rates and bigger deals.

Too many marketing organizations are still spending time and effort gathering useless leads instead of focusing on the accounts they truly matter. Those easy leads may be satisfying, but they’re nothing but empty calories.

 

Interested in learning about the power of personal and relevant marketing communications? Check out the recordings from our latest webinar.