We wish to share our thoughts on this MarketingSherpa case study, because we believe they missed one very important take-away.

Arrows Missing Target

Centerbeam, a company that delivers technology infrastructure support for mid-sizedbusinesses, was the subject of a case study by MarketingSherpa recently. You can read the case study at Lead Generation: How ignoring 16,896 companies helped improve Sales-Marketing alignment.

We wish to share our thoughts on this case study with our fans.

Please note that Pointclear helped this company with this project. Want to know why reaching out to Pointclear was so critical to their success? Read our post  Doctor, Heal Thyself to learn why companies are unable to diagnose their own demand generation challenges.

Moving Lead Generation over to Sales. Does it work?

To save money, the VP of Sales decided to have his direct salespeople handle lead generation, rather than Marketing. This meant that sales handled all:

  • Sending outbound email
  • Conducting all telephone follow-ups
  • Securing all of their own appointments
  • Conducting lead nurturing
  • Engaging in database acquisition

It was a spectacular failure. The sales pipeline shrank and shrank quickly. They quickly moved those functions back to Marketing. (For more evidence that lead generation belongs in Marketing, read Four Steps to Convince CEOs that Demand Generation Should be a Marketing, Not a Sales, Function)

I believe the title MarketingSherpa used, while a great headline, misses a key point – the failure of Sales to generate quality leads.

The  two key take-aways are these:

  1. Lead Generation done by Sales is a mistake.
    In the case study, the funnel shrank quickly when Sales did it. The lesson: If your salespeople are smiling and dialing, you’re not prospering. Keep it in Marketing – but tightly align it with Sales. (Such as agreeing on lead definitions.) (For more evidence that lead generation belongs in Marketing, read Four Steps to Convince CEOs that Demand Generation Should be a Marketing, Not a Sales, Function)
  2. Careful targeting is one of the most important activities you can take.
    Centerbeam removed government and education from their target market. They decided to focus on lead quality rather than quantity. Hence the comment about ignoring almost 17,000 companies.

In my opinion, far too many companies are relying on Sales for B2B lead generation. Hey guys, it doesn’t work. And as the article showed, companies stink at diagnosing their own needs. This is why companies should reach out to experts like PointClear, Bluebird Strategies, NuSpark Marketing or even Find New Customers.

What do you think? We love comments and those who share.

Author: Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.