Dear CEO: The Era of Accountability Starts in 2017

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Nov 29, 2016 7:50:00 AM

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Era of Accountability in B2B Sales Leads

(Photo Courtesy of Kenny Madden)

This cartoon was sent to me in response to a blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I just love the simplicity of it; not to mention that it absolutely captures what is wrong with marketing in many if not most companies today.

While marketing technology and marketing automation software are not totally to blame, they have made it easier to get more poor quality leads to sales faster than ever before. And, somehow, the cycle appears to be the following: CEO’s demand revenue; CMO’s crank up the lead generation machine; sales reps getting poor quality leads dumped on them; more leads are demanded at a lower cost per lead; the leads end up in a black hole sometimes called CRM.

At some point it has to stop, doesn’t it? You would think so, but there are few signs of it stopping in the real world today.

The current reality (according to CSO Insights):

  • Less than 60% of B2B sales reps are hitting quota
  • Just 42% of marketing qualified leads are accepted and worked by sales
  • The #1 sales execution challenge is the lack of qualified leads

One of the reasons that we are in the pickle we are in is because, in my opinion, CEO’s are not doing the best job they can leading their companies. Basic, building block decisions are ceded to those in organizations (such as marketing and sales) that cannot or will not work together to align. Dollars are squandered. Sales is mad. Revenue targets are missed.   

I am a big fan of Mike Weinberg and his book “New Sales. Simplified.” In that book Mike does a great job of providing exactly what CEO’s owe their sales (and marketing) teams:

  1. Our reason for existence.
  2. The direction the company is headed and why it is the correct course.
  3. What we sell and why we sell it.
  4. Which markets to pursue and where we are positioned in those markets.
  5. The competitive landscape and how we stack up against competitive offers, and why we are better or different.
  6. Why our pricing model is appropriate for the value we create in the markets we are pursuing and against the competition we are facing.

We had a client a number of years ago that blew through over $100,000,000 in venture capital because the marketing department was marketing $10,000 point solutions and the sales department only wanted to sell $1,000,000 enterprise solutions. It does not really matter who was right and who was wrong. The result was the company wasted a spectacular opportunity and was sold for pennies on the dollar in a fire sale to a competitor (that, by the way, sold $10,000 point solutions and at that time had a $10,000,000,000 market cap.)  The CEO was, apparently, powerless or paralyzed and presided over the death of a potentially great company. Don't let this happen to you.

Accountability starts and stops with the CEO. How can you make 2017 the beginning of the era of accountability for your company? Call me at 678-533-2722 if you want to explore your current situation and what can be done about it.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Sales Leads

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