Lead Generation Pitfalls: Are You Afraid of Commitment?


Your Lead Gen Program Can Unravel Without It

Earlier this week, I introduced you to the three things that I think cause lead generation programs to implode most frequently. If you missed that post, click here to check it out.

Without further ado, let’s get into each of those pitfalls, starting with one of the most common – and damaging – mistakes: A total lack of company-wide commitment.

Very few CEOs need to be convinced of a lead generation program’s benefits. They grasp the concept, see the value, and understand the purpose. And because they think they should be executing it, they just go ahead and do it.

They hire a new lead generation or lead qualification person, provide the basics to get them up and running, and expect everything else will fall into place from there.

Unfortunately, that’s not enough. Without commitment from all levels of the company, the program is bound to implode. Think of it like a football team: You can have Tom Brady as your quarterback, Bill Belichick as your coach, and the game’s three best receivers ready to catch passes. But if there’s no offensive line to block, good luck winning any games.

To succeed, a great lead generation program requires the marketing, sales, and executive teams to work together as one fluid unit. Together, they need to:

1. Communicate constantly about market trends, buyer characteristics, customer pain points, and the company’s value proposition.

There’s a significant amount of homework that everyone in an early stage company (including the CEO!) needs to do before a lead generation program is up-and-running. If there isn’t a shared understanding of things like competition, competitive advantage, product positioning, messaging, and the lead management process, it’s not going to work. Everyone within your company — from the top down — should share in that process.

2. Collaborate to define the characteristics of a “qualified lead.”

The goal of lead generation programs isn’t to produce a large volume of leads just for the sake of producing quantity. And if marketing’s definition of “quality” is different than sales’, the effort that the lead generation team spent cultivating those leads will be for naught.

To put it simply, great lead generation programs (or companies as a whole, for that matter) require complete synergy to work effectively. That’s why HubSpot executive Dan Tyre created the term “Smarketing” to improve the communication and alignment of the company’s marketing and sales organizations.

HubSpot wanted to tear down the walls between its sales and marketing staff and have them start to think as one cohesive unit. To do that, HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe says the company committed to these six tactics:

  • Frequent meetings with sales and marketing personnel and management
  • Develop relationships at all levels between sales and marketing (not just the VPs of sales and marketing)
  • Mix marketing and sales desks together
  • Agree on terminology and vocabulary to improve lead quality
  • Provide numerous forms of feedback to build trust between departments
  • Use data to provide tangible evidence to emotions and focus on real problems

That’s a fantastic approach to integrating sales and marketing, removing the stigma or rift that sometimes exists between them. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s up to the CEO to spearhead the commitment to lead generation and make sure that everyone is following through on their roles.

And if there are any issues or shortcomings, a company needs to work together to solve them. Lead generation is a company-wide initiative, not a task that’s simply handed off to the marketing department.