Everyone in Europe is challenged with today’s economic climate. Companies that have looked to reduce costs over the past few years need to focus more on the top line. But how can you grow revenue without spending more? It’s a paradox.

The answer lies in what you are doing already and also in what you are not doing. The vast majority of marketing departments are finding success with lead generation (Good!) but they pass them to sales at the wrong time (Bad!). Put simply, for marketing the key is to adopt the “Less is More” approach.

Most marketing teams are running a variety of great demand generation programs, generating lots of leads that unfortunately aren’t closing. The majority of those marketing leads never close because they really aren’t given a chance to — by marketing or sales. The main reason is that the leads are either passed too early or too late. They get rejected or sent back to marketing, who become dismayed that all their hard work has yielded very little return.

So what should marketing do?

  • Determine and agree with your sales team what a Sales Lead actually is.
  • Build a funnel that shows the complete flow from Name to Prospect to Lead to Opportunity
  • Agree on the ownership and responsibility for each part of the funnel
  • Implement a scoring system that will allow you to align the behaviour of the potential lead with your agreed goal of passing only qualified leads to sales
  • Develop nurturing strategies and content to nurture Suspects to become Prospects to become Leads etc. This doesn’t have to cost lots of money, often more brain power than budget
  • Only pass those leads that meet the agreed criteria from marketing to sales
  • In return for only passing those sales-ready leads, get assurances from sales that those leads will be followed-up promptly and agree on acceptable timeframes (e.g. Service Level Agreements, or SLAs)

Now you will be passing fewer ‘leads’ to sales (but you weren’t passing real leads before). Using this lead generation strategy will convert opportunities at a much higher rate (Marketo experiences a threefold improvement on conversion of leads that are nurtured over those that are not). Even if your sales team maintain their historical close rates, you will have more deals closed from fewer ‘leads’. Less is more.