Generate 25%+ of Sales Pipeline Opportunities from Marketing


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B2B Chief Marketing Officers are enthusiastic about sharing tangible results. There is a strong desire to connect marketing spend to revenue. Lead Generation is the surest way to drive tangible return on marketing investment.

Building a robust B2B Lead Generation program requires the adoption of best practices in two areas; Demand Generation and Lead Management.

Today’s Status Quo

Marketing managers enthusiastically produce PowerPoint decks to showcase their contribution to the sales pipeline. The decks show a healthy growth curve of leads being generated for Sales. But does the sales leader share this enthusiasm? Chances are the CMO cringes when he or she thinks of their peer’s reaction.

When the topic of lead generation comes up the focus is often on quality. Most sales leaders are concerned with lost selling time from bad leads. Sales leaders have such low expectation of marketing’s contribution that they focus on minimizing damage.

This article focuses on how to build a foundation of Lead Generation best practices. CMO’s already down the path of creating a world class capability can use this as a check list. Those wanting to recast the foundation of marketing can use this as a road map to success. Download the Roadmap Toolkit with six must-have tools.

Without a solid lead management program, leads advance too quickly to the sales force. This produces an awkward transition point. The prospect is interested, but isn’t ready to discuss anything with a sales rep.

Leads are acquired, sent to sales and leak out of the funnel. Worst of all, marketing pays to reacquire the leaked leads. Below is a depiction of the leaky funnel by Forrester.

Forrester Funnel resized 600

What’s in it for the Chief Marketing Officer?

World Class firms generate qualified leads with the following benefits directly attributed to marketing:

  • Marketing Contribution to Sales Funnel – Leads provided by marketing account for 25%+ of the total opportunity pipeline.
  • Increased Win Rate – It’s common for marketing nurtured leads to close at a higher than average rate.
  • Shorter, Accelerated Sales Cycles – On average, qualified leads passed to the sales force have significantly shorter sales cycles than the average sales cycle.

Imagine a report that shows marketing’s impact on pipeline, win rates and sales cycle length? It gets better. SBI clients in year 2+ of their program launch begin shifting the top lead generation metric. Clients begin transitioning pipeline contribution to a leading indicator of success. Closed revenue contribution becomes the primarily metric.

Getting Started

The Lead Generation formula will deliver results.

The Equation for Success: Lead Generation = Demand Generation + Lead Management

Lead Generation consists of two components; Demand Generation and Lead Management. Marketing department structure needs to reflect the right level of support for these functions as a primary role.

Demand Generation – Content marketing and lead sourcing early in the buying process focused on generating inquiries into the very top of the funnel.

  • Persona-driven Messaging – Develop messaging that points to the key “what’s in it for me?” of the audience. Provide fact-based evidence and proof points as reasons to believe the claim.
  • Buyer Process Maps (BPM) – The anatomy of the buying process segmented by micro-questions. These questions represent the expressed and unexpressed questions a buyer may ask at each stage of the journey. Content can then be written to address each question.
  • Content Marketing – Author and align content for each stage of the buying process.
  • Lead Sourcing – Plan and execute integrated media campaigns that leverage multiple modes (online, print, email, social, etc.) of contact to drive interaction. Includes sourcing inquires through the entire buying lifecycle of the customer, and sequencing for effective impressions and ideal frequency.
  • Closed-loop Metrics – Track click metrics all the way through from interaction to cost per lead and ROI. Utilize a Proforma to understand the full impact of the campaign.

Lead Management – As prospects early in the buying process begin to interact with your company, there are new Lead Management processes to transform cold inquiries to warm leads. This is done by nurturing through marketing automation and personal contact by Lead Development Representatives.

  • Lead Definition – Define what a “Lead” is for your company among both sales and marketing so the term is objective and not up for different interpretations.
  • Lead Management Process – Define ownership of prospects and contacts at points of inquiry, within the CRM, standard operating procedures to support lead nurturing, qualifying requirements, and points of hand off to sales.
  • Technology Infrastructure – Configure Marketing Automation to empower valuable insights, profile building, and nurturing tools.


This executive summary serves as a road map to B2B marketing success with lead generation. Building a Lead Generation program is a competitive advantage. Download the Roadmap to Success. Begin the process of building this capability for your company.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vince Koehler
Vince is a demand generation thought leader with more than 16 years of industry and professional services experience. He has been chartered with "filling the funnel" for organizations to keep sales resources productive in driving systematic growth. A sample list of Vince's engagements include: Colgate, CITGO Petroleum, GE, Yellow Freight, and Roadway Express.


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