It's time for marketers to move beyond leads and shift to maximizing revenue and profit. This post will examine why lead generation is outdated and introduce a new way of thinking.
Problem with lead generation
Marketers have been using "lead generation" as a metric for well over a decade. However, even as marketing analytics systems have been able to get more complex and track new insights, far too many companies haven't changed their goals or efforts.
There are a couple of problems with this approach, which all stem from marketing and sales data being disconnected:
1) Marketing is seen as a cost center since reporting is tied to leads instead of revenue
2) Strain with sales since goals are misaligned (marketing = leads, sales = revenue)
3) Media team optimizes for leads and cost per lead rather than what would drive the most new revenue
Introducing pipeline marketing
This solves the big problems with lead generation: 1) Marketing is now seen as a revenue generator; 2) Ensures complete alignment with sales on a metric basis; 3) Media is being optimized for what brings in the most money.
As you might have guessed, pipeline marketing is only made possible by connecting marketing and sales data together. There are a number of ways to do this, including hidden fields via marketing automation systems, out of the box solutions such as Bizible, or something more custom.
Pipeline marketing is inclusive of all channels and campaigns. It's the what where content marketing, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and growth hacking are the how.
Join the community
My goal is for every company to switch from lead generation to pipeline marketing. In order to do this, a lot of education needs to happen. We created PipelineMarketing.com to be a community for pipeline marketers to learn and share from each other. It's a hub for Pipeline Marketing Playbooks (local meetups) and curated pipeline marketing content. Check it out and learn how to go from lead to revenue generation.
Once a company has fully adopted the pipeline marketing mentality, it opens up new opportunities. For example, the Bizible marketing team does not carry a lead goal. We only measure marketing success by closed revenue, therefore making decisions based on what will bring the most money, even if it generates lower amount of leads or opportunities.
Aaron Bird is the CEO of Bizible, a marketing analytics startup that helps companies make profitable marketing decisions by connecting sales and marketing data inside Salesforce. He is also the founder of pipelinemarketer.com. He holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a B.S. in Computer Science from UCSB.