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What to Ask When Your Boss Demands "More Leads"

The demand for more leads is the one constant in a marketers life. In every marketing role I’ve held, “More leads!” was the battle cry from the leadership team and the sales reps. As I’ve supported clients, the demand has remained consistent.  

When the demand for more leads comes up, my first question is “Why?” 

I’m not trying to be a pain. I use this question as a prompt to explore and answer the question “What do we really need?” The answer most often comes down to revenue. However, revenue comes from many sources, not just new leads. And, your chosen approach depends on how quickly you need that revenue and for what purpose.

In my experience, “new leads” is the default demand. If we have more people who know about us, then we will get more business. New leads are easy to measure. And, having a strong inbound-funnel is important for a successful business. All of these things are true. 

However, new leads might not be what your business needs most right now. 

In a B2B scenario, where the purchase isn’t transactional, a focus on driving new leads are not going to help your cause in the near-term. Finding and building trust with qualified, unknown contacts takes time and effort. Closing those leads takes even more time.

Instead, I encourage businesses to think about three additional segments where revenue might be more accessible.

Known Leads 

These are the people that you currently have in your database. They might be leads from an event, closed-lost opportunities, contacts who requested a demo, but the timing wasn’t right…what matters is that this group of people knows that you exist and probably has a sense for how your product or service could help them.

Opportunities

Current opportunities is frequently an overlooked area by marketers. This is usually because once the sales team has taken ownership over the contact, marketing has a tendency to recede into the background and let the sales team work the opportunity. 

Customers

This is an obvious one :) These are your current customers.

As an alternative to just focusing on getting new leads, I encourage my team and clients to consider these three segments, plus new leads. Whenever I do an assessment of these groups I find that there’s lots of untapped opportunity. 

I assess the opportunity of these groups through the lens of these two questions:

  1. How much effort and time is it going to take to get a member of one of these groups to the point where they are paying us money?

  2. How much impact will a member of one of these groups have on the business?

The order of priority usually shakes out, from most opportunity to least, as:

ImpactvEffort-Leads
  1. Customers

  2. Opportunities

  3. Known Leads

  4. New Leads

New leads usually ends up at the bottom of this list. There are a few reasons for that. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some characteristics of your business to consider when assessing which group to prioritize to create more revenue and how you can market to those segments to create more value for your business through strategic marketing.

Subscribe to receive a notification when the next article is published where I’ll discuss when you should prioritize Known Leads and how to build a marketing approach to move those leads into a sales opportunity.

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Andrea Steffes-Tuttle