A couple of articles have appeared on blogs this week looking at what you should be measuring in your B2B marketing. The first, which appeared on the Top Sales World blog, suggests that Attention (not leads) should be B2B marketing’s primary measure The article advocated that we should be focusing on ‘Attention’ rather than leads. This was then followed by an article on the on Econsultancy blog stating the opposite (“No, it’s leads that are important!“) My view is that in reality, both are important. I commented on the Econsultancy post:
"I agree (that leads are important) - up to a point. However, I think that focusing on the 'A links to B links to C leads to a sale' sales funnel can be a very blinkered view. Most definitely, generating leads (and ultimately securing profitable business) is vital, but in my experience, focusing purely on leads generated by a campaign is short sighted. Take the CEO cited in the article; In the real world of SME marketing (my field) you will probably not know who he/she is, so when they call up 6 months later with an enquiry you may struggle to connect their call directly to the campaigns that have grabbed her attention, but without those campaigns, she would probably not have called! Marketing needs to be strategic and broad based, and whilst detailed measurement of individual campaigns against agreed goals is vital (and the on-line world makes this possible at modest or no cost)the stats need to be viewed in the context of the wider marketing mix. Sure, leads and ultimately sales are vital elements of this mix, but attention comes first."
Leads are vital to any business. Without leads, you would never sign up new business. However in my experience, enquiries can arrive by a rather indirect route! If I have learned any thing from my 20+ years in marketing it is that:
"If you do stuff, stuff happens!"
To be effective, the “stuff” we do needs to be carefully considered as part of a strategic plan, and measured against agreed goals, one of which will be “how many leads are we generating”, and a second will probably, how much attention/engagement is our marketing communication generating? My philosophy is simple. If you have a good offering, that is valued by your market, and you effectively communicate your proposition to that market (measured by attention/engagement). People will want to buy from you (when they are good and ready!), and the leads will follow. The issue arises when:
- Businesses focus solely on leads, undertake a campaign to generate them, and when after a couple of months they are not flooding in, they give up and go on to the next big thing in an attempt to find those illusive leads.
- They are “just too busy” to do anything; until they are not, at which point option 1 above kicks in
The alternative is to undertake a strategic approach to your marketing, set realistic (SMART) objectives, and implement sustainable, measured activity to achieve these goals. The internet opens the door to SMEs to do all this on a realistic budget, to measure their activities, and assess what is effective and what is not. Leads are vital, but without first grabbing the attention of your market, they will probably not happen!