Is Marketing a Numbers Game?


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I get very frustrated when I hear salespeople talk about numbers in relation to sales. Like if you need $X in revenues, then you need to generate X number of leads because you’ll only close X% of them. That kind of thinking gives permission to lose deals because a rep is only expected to close a certain percentage.

Seems to me that’s setting most sales reps up to only ever make the X%. Research shows that only 50% of reps are making quota today.

What’s interesting is that marketing’s #1 challenge is generating high-quality leads. Likely because they’ve been tasked with front-loading the top of the funnel with as many “leads” as possible so that sales reps could make that convoluted formula work. Therefore, the focus on volume over quality has meant that they weren’t defining quality, but rather a type of contact that might have some interest in acquiring something your company sells. And, dare I say, sometimes not even that.

After all, I get tossed to sales teams at the download of a white paper I’m accessing for research. If most of those companies ever bothered to look at my website they’d realize that I’m not, nor will I ever, become their customer.

So does this fascination with formulas keep sales and marketing from alignment?

Marketing is being charged with generating more qualified leads as well as accountability for doing so.

Sales is charged with meeting a revenue quota which many of them thinks is defined by a formula.

Yet one of the outcomes of generating quality leads means less volume because you’ve removed the unlikely candidates and extended the dialogues with those who remained. But it also means those leads will have a higher propensity to convert into customers.

What do you suppose that does to the sales formula?

If we turn it on its head, what will happen?

What if your company said to sales: Here’s 10 high-quality leads. Close 6 of them. How would that change the sales process? What would it do to collaboration between marketing and sales?

What would it take to empower marketers to share a better story and for salespeople to have better conversations that provide more recognizable value to prospects?

What would it take for marketing to provide leads with quality high enough for sales reps to be able to close 6 out of 10?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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