Overheard at the weekly 10 AM Marketing meeting at Acme Software Solutions:
Demand Gen VP Jim Bishop: “All right everyone, we all know it was a challenging week. Early on it looked like we weren’t gonna hit the lead numbers, but we rolled up our sleeves and rallied towards the end. A big shout out to Stan for cutting that deal with Leads R’Us at the last minute, that helped a lot. Between you, me and the walls, I was not looking forward to hearing those Sales guys holler about a low lead count one more time. Bottom line, we delivered 106% of the target lead count, and nearly all were a 65% or better match to our ICP… so I’d say, all in all, a pretty darn good week.”
Okay, let’s talk about how the above conversation sounds from a sales perspective.
First off, we completely discount the triumphant delivery of 106% of the lead target. In B2B sales, leads are about quality, not quantity. That becomes more and more critical as your price point rises. If you’re selling SaaS in the five or six-figure range, lead quality is everything. You simply can’t afford to spend time with unqualified leads. In marketing, lead count may be a bottom line; in sales, it’s lead conversion.
With that in mind, we’re also not thrilled with the “65% match” to the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), for two reasons. First, a 65% match isn’t good enough; and two, we may have had no say in creating the Ideal Customer Profile. All that said, it’s understood that Marketing has a job to do. They’ve got a lead target, and they worked hard to hit it—even cutting a last-minute deal with a list provider so they wouldn’t fall short. They work hard and do their best to deliver.
Which cuts to the heart of the problem. Goals that are not in alignment. Measurements of “success” that aren’t symbiotic. Two teams working hard, but not achieving optimal results. There is a solution. Bring the teams together, and create an Ideal Customer Profile by consensus. Seems simple. And yet, at too many organizations, one department or the other formulates the profile, and hopes they’ve got it right. Often they’ll make the mistake of using a “black box” solution, where analytic software builds an ICP based on the current customer base and not via real-time, social data.
Why is that a mistake? Because it’s only a start. Real insights into the Ideal Customer come from coordinated input from both the Marketing and Sales teams, combined with sophisticated predictive analytics. Objective data analysis plus subjective insights. Once you’ve built an Ideal Customer Profile that both teams agree on, you can start measuring quality, not quantity when it comes to lead generation. You can measure your success not by the amount of names you bring in, but by the percentage who become customers. You then need to be able to tweak this as well – it cannot be a difficult or time-consuming process to make small changes or edits to the ICP. Things have to be done quickly and by sales and marketing, otherwise, you run the chance of missing the right prospect or connecting with the wrong prospect – who will never buy. This drags down both productivity and confidence.
Sales teams don’t want more leads. They want leads with a high potential for conversion. Leads that fit a well-crafted Ideal Customer Profile.
To find out how you can create an effective Ideal Customer Profile for your company, contact us for a free personal demo.
Image by Domenic Blair on Pixabay | CC0 Public Domain