CEO’s, as quickly as your schedule allows plan a lunch meeting for you and your heads of sales and marketing; the subject: Sales Ready Leads. (Why the urgency? If you have any issues filling your sales pipeline with leads you want to know that in your first quarter, not the fourth!)
When the three of you are at the table ask them each this question, “How our we doing on creating new leads for the sales force?” But allow them to each to answer separately.
Expect answers like these if your marketing team is playing by the old rules.
“As you know, our brand evaluation is done and we are incorporating the recommendations into our new corporate look and feel. We are almost done with our website SEO enhancements so we can boost our Google rankings. We have a new overview brochure ready – it does an excellent job telling the ‘Why Our Company’ story. Our booth concept for this year’s expo is spectacular. Oh, almost forgot! We finished updating PowerPoints for all our offerings, the new graphics really pop!”
Unless the real answer from your chief marketing officer was much different, (we’ll get to that in an upcoming post), then expect your sales leader’s response to go like this.
“It’s just like I told you. If we want leads then Sales has to find them ourselves, develop them on our own and hope we can keep them interested while we are working the other deals in our pipeline. It’s not what we’re best at, but it’s our only choice.”
If your actual conversation with your marketing and sales leaders went anything like this fictional one did, then your challenge is now clear. Furthermore, if you expect revenue growth from new logos then solving it needs to be one of your top priorities. The reason is that the B2B buying/selling world has changed significantly and companies still trying to engage their prospects like these two leaders are falling farther and farther behind their competitors.
Your immediate next steps depend on how strongly you believe in your current marketing and sales leaders. At a minimum they both need major skills upgrades. It’s also possible they are not the right ones to lead these critical functions out of 1.0 status and into an integrated B2B sales and marketing process built on today’s best practices.