Leads, Leads, Leads

This is the second post in my Balancing Act series.

“Andy, Andy. I hear what you’re saying about awareness, but we need leads. Leads, leads, leads. Leads are what we need. Leads are what I want. Now, get me some leads!”

Sound familiar? Can you guess who’s doing the talking? And who’s on the receiving end?
This interplay between the CMO of a $100 million technology company and his CEO is one that happens far too often. If you haven’t witnessed or been a part of this kind of exchange, you probably will be. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the CMO or the CEO or even the Chief Revenue Officer. This happens every day in every industry. But it’s especially prevalent in the technology space, where five, six or seven figure enterprise deals are the Holy Grail.
What do you make of this mandate? Should leads be the ultimate measure? Should lead generation be the focus of marketing activity? Is the CEO right? What should the CMO do – salute, push back, or something else? Where would the sales force net out in this decision?
This conversation is real life at many companies I have worked with. It is the story of how short-term needs dominate longer-term value creation. And it is the very place where the Balancing Act challenge is at play.
The tension between short-term and long-term is natural and healthy. They both need to exist for your company to be fully evolved. They both need to be at work to achieve market leadership and continuous quarterly growth. They both need to be seen as strategic and necessary to the well-being of the organization.
How?
The secret is having absolute clarity about two things: 1) your end-state, and 2) the critical markers along the way. Without this kind of clarity, tensions become arguments. One side dominates. And the sustainable value of your enterprise is compromised.
Board and executive team alignment is necessary to achieve the optimum balance between activities that will drive results today and positioning your company to win for the long haul.
Sure, leads are critical. But the only way to get new leads is to create interest from new, qualified prospects. And the only way to create that interest is to make prospects aware of who you are, how you can help them, and why they should entertain a discussion with you. A pipeline of good, solid leads will not happen without smart, compelling awareness programs.
It’s a matter of balance. Thought leadership needs a place alongside webinars. Point-of-view pieces need to complement direct marketing. Brand promotion needs to support trade show events.
How balanced is your sales and marketing act? Add in a comment to let us know.

3 Comments

  1. James says:

    Ah yes. Balancing acts. It's the hardest thing in the world … for tech companies in particular.

  2. Tom Butta says:

    Anyone else? How balanced is your sales and marketing act? How do you balance lead generation with awareness-building work? How balanced is the balancing act at your company?

  3. Jim Mancuso says:

    Awareness and lead generation programs are one in the same. If you don’t plan and spend on awareness, leads will never come. But with that said, marketing is responsible for leads and in large part the sales pipeline. Lead generation with specific number of leads required, needs to be a goal and there must be accountability.

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