Marketers have been doing lead generation for decades. But they should have killed it a long time ago.

Google Ngram, which charts the frequency of any word or phrase found in printed sources, shows lead generation has been in use for at least 50 years.

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That’s before the internet. Before content marketing and growth hacking. Before SaaS, AdWords, and attribution. While the work might have changed, the lead generation mindset hasn’t. That’s unfortunate.

Lead generation falls Woefully short

Something designed in the 50’s isn’t going to cut it today. So where does lead generation fall short? Simply, lead generation doesn’t build long term value.

If you aren’t building a following and establishing your brand as an expert resource, you aren’t building a long term value machine.

It requires educating your prospects via a nurturing flow, and producing quality content that convinces qualified leads to engage with your sales team.

Focusing just on leads causes misaligned goals with sales (leads vs revenue) and media teams optimizing for cost per lead rather than true business growth.

Once you consider all this, it’s not a bit surprising that 99% of leads never convert into customers, according to Forrester.

That’s right, only 1% of generated leads actually turn into real business revenue. If your intention is to grow your business, shouldn’t you want to focus on generating customers and revenue, not leads?

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Lead generation is dead There, I said it. And you should too. All marketers might not know it yet, but it is. Only when we acknowledge (and accept) it’s death can we then move on to something better.

Pipeline marketing is the answer

Pipeline marketing is the evolution of lead generation that focuses on the entire funnel, making decision based on the final stage — revenue. It’s about optimizing all aspects of marketing to widen every stage of the funnel.


Marketers need to be able to generate more MQL’s, more SQL’s, more sales opportunities, and more deals. Marketers have to use the entire pipeline to achieve this mission.

Pipeline marketing is inclusive of all channels, campaigns, and activities. content marketing, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, social media, paid search, and growth hacking are how you do it. But pipeline marketing is what you’re doing across these disciplines, i.e. using data or insights from your pipeline to grow your business.

Once a company has fully adopted the pipeline marketing mentality, it will open up new marketing initiatives. For example, the Bizible the marketing team does not carry a lead goal. In fact, we don’t even carry an opportunity goal. We only measure marketing success by closed revenue and make decisions based on what will bring the most money. Even if we generate a lower amount of leads or opportunities, it doesn’t matter. Our revenue is all that matters.

This is more than a marketing initiative. It’s important to get everyone on board, including the CEO and partner teams such as sales.

It’s going to take time to change the industry, hundreds of companies have already adopted pipeline marketing, so we’re off to a great start.