Yeah, We Know That


By Robert Pease, Practice Lead, Pipeline Performance for Heinz Marketing

I hear this often when talking to executives at companies about how they can generate more leads and build their sales pipeline.  It usually goes something like this:

Executive: “So, how do we get more customers”

Me: “You need to take an integrated approach to building the funnel and align what marketing is doing to generate awareness and drive qualified leads to how sales is engaging with and converting those leads to customers.”

Executive: “Yeah, we know that. But how do you do that?”

Me: “Well, do you know what your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) looks like? Have you detailed and verified the target personas within those ideal customers? Do you have a detailed list of your target accounts…all of them? Do you know who, exactly by name and title, who those people are in your target accounts?

Executive: “Yeah, we know most of that. The marketing team has been working on personas and we’ve bought some lists. What’s an ideal customer profile?”

Me: “Have you detailed the qualification criteria that determines a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), and Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) and, more importantly, have sales and marketing leadership agreed to these criteria and definitions?”

Executive: “It comes up all the time in our executive and board meetings because we seem to be generating a lot of leads but aren’t able to convert as many of those as we’d like.  I’m not sure where the problem is there but I am looking into it.”

Me: “Have you built your own lists of target accounts and contacts treating that as an on-going and core part of your go-to-market? Are you programmatically engaging with those people in those target accounts with value-added information that is about their problem/need or are you leading with features and trying to close in the first call?”

Executive: “I don’t know. Not sure what the marketing or sales teams are sending out and to who.  We sent an email campaign last week to a new list.  It didn’t work though. Not a single click.”

Me: “Well, what we do is align all of these pieces around an integrated approach to building the funnel and driving more sales opportunities.  We focus on building the process and tactics supported by an overall strategy and your revenue goals. A single email campaign to a list of cold contacts usually won’t work but a thoughtful and intentional multi-touch approach to generate conversations will.”

Executive: “That is what I need. Can you help me with that?”

Me: “Yes”