5 Reasons Why B2B Lead Based Marketing is Bull

I’m going to go ahead and say it, the way B2B marketers look at metrics is total bull. You may disagree with me (and that’s fine if you do), but as the field of #MarTech continues to grow, we can no longer look at B2B lead-based marketing as the be-all-end-all for driving revenue.

Sure, an increase in leads at the top of the funnel might increase your engagement numbers, but it doesn’t always lead to increased revenue for sales.

Ask yourself this question “If Michael Jordan takes 1,000 shots and misses the basket every time, will anyone care how many shots he made?” Your answer is likely no and the same thinking applies to lead-based marketing programs that do not result in revenue.

There are 5 lead-based marketing metrics in particular that I think are total crap.

  1. Clicks

If someone clicks on your banner ad, you pat yourself on the back and think it’s awesome. You’ve written great copy, and maybe even had your designer make a badass creative to get someone to click on that link, but it doesn’t really matter if you’re reaching the wrong people.

Looking at total clicks is an insane way to determine if your campaign was successful. What really matters is that the right person (who will actually buy your products or services) clicked on the link. And even then…there is more to the story!

  1. Conversions

The definition of a conversion varies so much from company to company. In lead-based marketing, a conversion is defined by a lead performing a desired action, such as clicking on your call-to-action (CTA) to download a piece of content.

I’m always happy when I see my email campaigns have a great open rate, and I’m even more excited when I see a ton of people clicked on the link that was included. But just because they clicked a CTA doesn’t mean they’re going to sign on the dotted line. Can I get an amen here people?!

It’s crazy to think we’re celebrating “net-new” conversions even if these folks aren’t people who will actually make us money.

  1. Page Views

Another BS metric is how many times a person viewed a page. You can have a badass page packed with great content and optimized for SEO that is driving a ton of organic traffic to your website.

On the flip side, that traffic can also be from your department’s marketing intern who is sitting there clicking over-and-over again because she thinks it’s important to increase page views. Oh, poor intern. The sad thing is, there are lots of B2B marketing executives who have spent years in the game and still believe this metric matters.

Either way — it’s crap to think that if you increase page views then you’ll generate more revenue.

  1. Form fills

Does your company’s revenue increase every time someone fills out a form? Mine certainly doesn’t. While some form fills might result in a demo that leads to closed business, I’d bet there are other factors that contributed to the sale beyond a simple name and email address.

One example here is how we get excited when someone completes a form even if that person only filled in two fields.  And even when a form fill does result in revenue, it is more often the exception than the rule.

Marketers spend a whole lot of time looking at how many people converted after a form fill. Is it the same person in your database who completed a different form? You already have that person in your database so it shouldn’t matter if they filled in a form again.

  1. Leads

All of these B.S. marketing metrics add up to counting the number of leads. Leads are ridiculously easy to get these days. Everyone already has a ton of contacts in their database. You can buy a list of leads, go to LinkedIn, or use tons of tools giving you the leads you want. Forget the leads – because if they don’t lead to revenue, it doesn’t matter how many leads you get.

This is why account-based marketing is catching fire because leads from accounts that you care about are the ones that you want. Any other lead that does not fit your ideal customer profile (ICP) doesn’t really matter, does it?

Now what marketing metric will help you drive revenue? Accounts.

I’ve said it before that you don’t ask your sales team, “How many leads did you close this month?” You ask them, “How many new accounts did you close?”

We’ve talked about the ways lead marketing is B.S., so now let’s focus about the good stuff. Most of you reading this post know I’m advocating this radical idea of flipping the sales funnel where we no longer focus on pouring leads in but instead focus on account-based marketing.

The beautiful thing about this new funnel is that we’re focused on one metric: revenue from accounts. This allows us to accomplish three big things:

  1. A laser-focused sales and marketing strategy
  2. Providing a better customer experience,
  3. An improved sales-marketing relationship, and, of course, more revenue.

To be successful with account-based marketing, sales and marketing teams need to take a collaborative approach. Not only will input from sales increase the effectiveness of your ABM campaigns, but marketing can provide air cover for sales by running targeted ads with relevant messaging that helps sales to create a more powerful dialogue with their buyers.

So do you think I’m B.S.-ing you here? Well, let’s think about this scenario. If your CEO or CMO gave you the task to increase revenue at your company, would you take a lead-based marketing approach, or account-based?

Before, you might have thought that it’s time to crank up that demand generation engine to pour lots of leads in the top of the funnel.

Now, do you think it’s time to start over and challenge that good old status quo of the B2B sales and marketing process? And finally, is it time to do account-based marketing and do it at scale? I think you know the answer.

I’d like to know your thoughts on doing away with traditional lead-based marketing metrics. Leave me a note in the comments section below.