Marketers have been doing lead generation for decades.
Google Ngram, which charts the frequency of any word or phrase found in printed sources, shows lead generation has been in use for at least 50 years.
That’s before the internet. Before content marketing and growth hacking. Before SaaS, AdWords, and attribution. While the work might have changed, the lead generation mindset hasn’t.
And for many marketing teams, generating leads is their goal. That’s unfortunate. When that's the case, CEOs see B2B marketers as second class citizens and sales as the heros because marketing teams aren't driving revenue. This needs to change.
Frequency Of "Lead Generation" In Print Sources
Leads Fall Woefully Short
Something designed in the '50s isn’t going to cut it today. So where does lead generation fall short?
Simply, focusing just on leads doesn't build long term value.
If you aren't building a following and establishing your brand as an expert resource, you aren't building long-term value.
It requires educating your prospects via a nurturing flow and producing quality content that convinces qualified leads to engage with your sales team.
Focusing just on leads causes misaligned goals with sales (leads vs. revenue) and media teams optimizing for cost per lead rather than true business growth.
Once you consider all this, it’s not a bit surprising that 99% of leads never convert into customers, according to Forrester.
That’s right, only 1% of generated leads actually turn into revenue.
If your intention is to grow your business, shouldn’t you focus on generating customers and revenue, not leads?
Generating leads isn't dead, but leads as a goal is dead. All marketers might not know it yet, but it is. Only when we acknowledge (and accept) its death can we then move on to something better.
Pipeline Marketing Is The Answer
Pipeline marketing is the evolution of lead generation that focuses on the entire funnel, making decisions based on revenue instead of leads. It’s about optimizing all aspects of marketing to widen every stage of the funnel.
Marketers need to be able to generate more MQL’s, more SQL’s, more sales opportunities, and more deals. Marketers have to use the entire pipeline to achieve this mission.
Pipeline marketing is inclusive of all channels, campaigns, and activities. Content marketing, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, social media, paid search, and growth hacking are how you do it. But pipeline marketing is what you're doing across these disciplines, i.e. using data or insights from your pipeline to grow your business.
Once a company has fully adopted the pipeline marketing mentality, it will open up new marketing initiatives. For example, at Bizible the marketing team does not carry a lead goal. In fact, we don’t even carry an opportunity goal. We only measure marketing success by closed revenue and make decisions based on this metric. Even if we generate a lower amount of leads or opportunities, it doesn’t matter. Our revenue is all that matters.
As you might have guessed, pipeline marketing can only be accomplished through marketing attribution. In other words, tying the marketing source of a lead to the amount of revenue you actualize with the close of the deal. Marketers are so focused on leads because they have trouble “seeing” further down the funnel.
Learn Pipeline Marketing At PipelineMarketing.com
Want to move beyond lead generation? Join me and thousands of your peers at PipelineMarketing.com -- a community site that includes information about Pipeline Marketing Playbooks (local meetups) and a curated selection of the best revenue-driven marketing content from across the web.
We can all contribute to the cause and build on our collective ideas. It takes a village to do something amazing and together small impacts can create a movement. Adopt pipeline marketing today and starting having an impact on your business growth.