Prevent Defense or Permit Offense? What a Football Argument Has to Do with B2B Sales Lead Generation


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According to Wikipedia, the Prevent Defense is a defensive alignment in American football that seeks to prevent the offense from completing a long pass or scoring a touchdown in a single play and seeks to run out the clock.

Super Bowl winning coach John Madden doesn’t quite agree with this definition. He has this to say about the prevent defense: “All a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.”

As we all know, disagreement is a fact of life. I can’t mediate those in the world of football, but I can weigh in on three areas of argument in our industry that are dramatically impacting sales and marketing spending and results that I feel are important to understand:

  1. There are some who say that Inbound/Content marketing is king and Outbound is dead. I don’t agree with those folks, but I do agree with contrarian Marketo’s response:

“Inbound, Outbound? They both sound pretty good, right? So, which is the ultimate approach? You’ve got it—it’s a healthy combination of both.

“Why? Inbound drives organic engagement and attracts leads, while outbound helps you target specific prospects more accurately. These approaches work well in both B2B and consumer marketing, covering the entire length of the lead funnel and the customer journey, respectively.”

  1. Others in our industry content that 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before sales needs to get involved. I concur with Julie Schwartz’s (ITSMA) opinion on that:

“It’s widely believed that 60% to 70% of the buying process is over before prospects want to engage with a salesperson. The premise is there’s so much information available online that salespeople are unnecessary in early stages.

“ITSMA’s data says that for high consideration technology solutions, this is a myth. We believe the opposite: 70% of B2B technology solution buyers want to engage with sales reps before they identify their short list.

“In fact, buyers perceive value in interacting with sales at every stage of the buying process.”

  1. A lot of people will tell you that sales and marketing are aligned. Ardath Albee (Marketing Interactions) disagrees (and I do too):

“A form completion is a lead. Hogwash! A form completion is an expression of potential interest in what your copy describes that the person will get in exchange for their information. Period.

“The only intent a person has when completing the form is to gain access to what you’ve promised. It’s time marketers acknowledge that this is a reason salespeople continue to ignore leads sent to them by marketing.”

When one of the most aggressive inbound marketers (Marketo) states that “inbound drives organic engagement and attracts leads, while outbound helps you target specific prospects more accurately,” if I were a leading a sales or marketing organization for a company, I would listen. Are you listening?

When the ITSMA states unequivocally that you should not wait for the buyer’s journey to advance so far into the process that you are going to be column fodder in an evaluation already won by a more agile competitor because THEY GOT IN EARLY, I would think that would ring true to those charged with sales lead generation, sales lead qualification and sales lead nurturing, I’d pay attention.

Sending sales leads that suck is a lose-lose plan. Read “How Much Do Your Leads Cost” to understand why.

In 30 minutes or less I can help you estimate what your lead cost should be. Just ask.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan McDade
Dan McDade founded PointClear in 1997 with the mission to be the first and best company providing prospect development services to business-to-business companies with complex sales processes. He has been instrumental in developing the innovative strategies that drive revenue for PointClear clients nationwide.


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