B2B Lead Generation OutcomeEvery CMO today dreams of being a transformer—one who can evangelize sales and marketing within the organization and emerge as the hero. Easier said than done! Most often, the problem is because the focus is on strategy and execution but not enough on the outcome. Setting marketing objectives and sales targets is one thing, but knowing the outcome you want is entirely different. As they used to say in the days of traditional marketing, “Your customers don’t want to buy a drill, they want a hole in the wall.” That “hole in the wall” is what you want to sell. It’s the outcome your customers want. Whether you deliver that outcome with a nail, a screw or a drill really does not matter to them.

As marketers, we spend valuable time and resources devising innovative lead generation campaigns. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, and very often, they only deliver “satisfactory” results. What we view as successful or satisfactory is qualified by what we wanted to achieve in the first place. If it is numbers we are looking at, then it is not difficult to deem a lead generation campaign a success or a failure. A positive outcome, however, goes beyond that.

As a CMO or CEO of your B2B organization, you need to start asking the question, “What is the outcome we desire from our B2B lead generation campaign?” And you need to ask this question BEFORE you plan the strategy and work on the execution. When you do that, your focus shifts from managing the campaign to managing the outcome. Think about it, if you use tried and tested methods, throw in a good measure of innovative, out-of-the-box thinking and apply a defined process, then the campaign strategy and execution should not be your challenge. Your undivided attention can remain then on making sure the outcome is nailed. After all, what could be worse than implementing a top-notch campaign, getting high quality leads, even converting those leads and then failing to deliver the outcome that you sold? Because remember, you are not selling a product or a service; you are selling the outcome of that. You are selling the “hole in the wall” – the one that allows your customer to hang up the picture perfectly—placed at the right spot, pleasing to the eye, attention-grabbing and with no unsightly marks from failed drills!

In a recent interview with CNN Money, this quote from Maryam Banikarim, Senior VP and CMO of Gannett Corp Inc. caught my attention:

“The role a CMO plays today is arguably more critical than ever before, given that the rate of change in business is unprecedented and that consumer behavior is evolving real-time. CMOs need to be able to see “around corners,” anticipate consumer needs, and come up with new ideas, all with an eye towards generating growth and profitability. At the end of the day, if you’re not focused on revenue, you shouldn’t be CMO.”

I do agree, but I would like to add to that by saying that revenue and growth can only come from consistent, outstanding customer experiences. To get to that point where you can deliver a rich, memorable customer experience, you need to train your sights on the outcome. And you must get everyone on your team to focus on the outcome. Because if your sales people still think they are selling nails, they will never be able to deliver the hole in the wall. Your customers will never get what they are seeking. Your lead generation dollars will be spent in vain…

Think about recent B2B lead generation campaigns you have managed. Would the results have been different if you had thought about the outcome much more than you focused on the campaign strategy and delivery mechanisms? Share your comments below.

Image credit: Shutterstock