The Role of B2B Marketing is Shifting from Lead Generation to Revenue Generation


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For as long as I can remember, B2B marketers have considered lead generation as their primary focus. Organizations are spending considerable amounts of time and money on tracking and measuring lead generation metrics.

However, the role of B2B marketers is changing and evolving more into revenue generation. The recently released B2B Marketing Skills Survey jointly done by Genius and BtoB Magazine reveals some new trends and contradicts certain popular beliefs.

Here are some of the key findings from the study:

Emerging Trends:

  • 61% of the respondents (500 total) cited Driving Revenue as the most important success metric as compared to Sales Accepted Opportunities (40%), Qualified Leads (39%) with website visits and click-through rates trailing way at the back at 12% each.
  • In order to meet new revenue and ROI goals, marketers need to improve their strategic skills (50%) and sales skills (40%).
  • 58% of respondents said their role, as marketers did not end even after they handed off qualified leads to sales. This one has a puzzling contradiction (see #3).
  • It not just driving revenues for the company, 44% of marketers said their own compensation was tied to sales. (See contradiction #4)

Contradictions and Myth Busters:

  1. Only 17% of the marketers felt they were “sales driven.”
  2. Despite all the hype surrounding social media in B2B marketing, 50% of the marketers said they didn’t blog, 49% don’t use Twitter and 25% don’t use LinkedIn.
  3. Even though more than half of the marketers saw their roles expanded well into the sales process, 58 percent of those surveyed met with sales just once a month or less and 8% or nearly 1 out of 10, admitted to never meeting with their sales counterparts. Huh?
  4. One would think lead nurturing would be very important if marketing is to be held more responsible for revenues but that was not the case, it was seen as the least important role by 14 percent of the respondents ? the highest level reported on the question. This is another one of those “scratching my head” contradictions.

Stay tuned as the role of B2B marketer continues to evolve. How has your role changed? Leave your comments below.


  1. My view of this issues is from the sales side. It is my firm opinion that EVERY rep must have an electronic alter-ego, an “E-Rep.” Seems to me that marketers have the exact right set of skills to work closely with sales to build E-Reps. Might be the best vehicle to close the marketing/sales divide that’s come along.


  2. Hi tyoungbl,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment,especially from a sales perspective. “E-Rep” is a great concept! You may want to patent it. 😉

    I think both sales and marketing are beginning to cooperate a lot more now that they both realize they need each other.


  3. Nice article and the results are not surprising from a longer term perspective. Firstly, there are a lot of seasoned veterans leaving marketing (and most other responsible positions in management). Thus the newcomers have not yet faced the awful realities of making a sales quota and forecast happen. Typically, many marketers are focused on “getting the job done” on budget and on time.

    Now in many organizations the sales and marketing teams answer to the same VP, but have different goals, expectations and compensation plans. Today, marketing is often as close or closer to knowledge of customers than the sales staff. A good sales manager could prevent that from happening, but with all the mergers and acquisitions that’s not always possible.

    Software solutions like “” and “Goldmine” are good tools so all team members can access the data and reports simultaneously. However, they can get expensive and time consuming to implement. This makes it difficult for the small to mid-size company to participate in building a viable data base that can be shared easily.

    So now it’s a question of teaming multiple groups of sales and marketing together with a common goal. Some of the best teams in my experience are made between inside sales and outside sales, and field service and factory support groups. Marketing is often viewed as an “outsider” to their structure and may not have the clout to fit in easily. Also, sales groups often meet at remote field locations which mean that marketing team would have to spend scarce budget dollars to participate, which is difficult today.

    Therefore, there are many barriers to having effective sales and marketing teams focused on revenue and sales. One solution is better coordination and planning at the senior levels to push the teamwork banner forward. Another is to have marketing tasked and directed with sales “Return On Investment” measures (but I can hear the arguments against that being very loud). So, we are left with “best efforts” on the parts of both groups.

    My recommendation is to put the groups in close proximity; have them participate in meetings, conferences and conference calls; and give visibility to both sales and marketing programs to drive revenue. This is particularly important when one considers sales forecasts by product or territory and the sales force can perceive the benefits of having solid marketing programs that generate revenue.

  4. Jim,

    Thanks for leaving your very well thought out comment. Your recommendations are right on the money. My key takeaway, “give visibility to both sales and marketing programs to drive revenue.”

  5. @Jim, I have to agree about what’s happening, in regards to the combining of companies. I believe that the old myth of Sales and Marketing being not only different, but at odds. I think the actual problem at heart, is the dreaded MBA. The baby MBA’s come out so full of theoretical (and often inaccurate info) that they make things worse.
    I’m sure that there are many stories of short-sighted thinking, but long-term stupidity that could be told. Which is part of the problem. The actual progression is Advertising leads the Marketing, which ties into the Sales. The actuality is. Advertising is a general solution to a general set of problems. Marketing is a somewhat specific solution to general problems. Sales is a specific answer to a specific problem.
    That looks like Company A sells transportation solutions (Advertising). Company B sells Trucks, Cars and Vans (Marketing). Sales is Dealer C, sells Chevrolet cars and trucks. {Preceding copyright Walter Daniels and FBN Group, 1999, 2008, 2009, in an as yet unpublished book).
    Because the MBA’s don’t understand the progression, they starve parts of the process, because the connection isn’t clear to them. They see the company as discrete parts, not as a working _system_. Which is their whole problem. It’s as dumb as not seeing the body as a whole, and thinking the hands don’t need the feet, etc. If all parts are fighting each other, the whole is destroyed. In this case, the company goes bankrupt (GM, Chrysler), due to infighting.
    It’s all right to optimize the system, but it has to be seen as a system, not separate parts in association. If all departments see themselves as part of the whole (Zappos is a good example), everyone works together, and benefits.


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