How to Link Marketing to Revenue – not Leads

The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.

Peter might have been overstating things with the word ‘superfluous’ – of course selling is still a necessary component. The point Peter tries to make with his provocative statement is that marketing should be so good – with such a great marriage of product fit and customer pain – that once marketing knowledge has been imparted, the product should practically sell itself.

So how do we get to that point? By linking marketing to revenue, rather than leads. In this modern age of selling, the right marketing metrics should focus on revenue contribution, not lead generation. That paradigm shift in the minds of both Sales and Marketing VPs will set marketing on the right path toward making selling superfluous.

Who cares about leads?

Well, Marketing VPs traditionally have. Many of their goals and key performance indicators centered around their lead generation efforts, with monthly goals of X number of leads they’re expected to provide to sales.

But why is this the focus? Does the VP of Marketing deserve a hearty pat on the back if his team generates 10,000 MQLs this quarter…none of which resulted in an actual deal for the company? Is this one of the marketing metrics that will make a CEO stand up and take notice?

No, CEOs don’t care about leads. They’re more apt to ask questions like:

  • Which lead sources generated the most value and provided the most ROI?

  • How much did marketing directly contribute to the pipeline?

  • How much did marketing move the needle on revenue?

Linking marketing to revenue

In order to change marketing’s mindset and shift their priorities away from lead generation, CEOs need to do two things:

1) Empower Marketing VPs to keep an eye on larger company revenue goals, rather than just narrowing their focus on their own team’s lead goals

2) Give them the marketing metrics they need to link their work to revenue.

First, look at how much marketing contributed to the pipeline. Generating a wealth of leads that don’t progress down the funnel and convert into opportunities is a waste. According to this company’s example, the marketing team has really stepped up its effort through the end of 2013 and the start of the new year. Their upward trend on the blue bars – pipeline value from leads – has grown substantially in recent months.

Taking it one step further, CEOs should then track to see if marketing-generated opportunities are moving the needle on the company’s revenue. But instead of just looking to see which winning deals were sourced by marketing, all parties will benefit from a deeper drill-down into which winning deals were sourced by which specific lead sources.

The key to building a repeatable, scalable sales process lies in marketing metrics such as these. With the knowledge that their “Better Analytics” email blast campaign generated the most number of deals, as well as the most value, will embolden the Marketing VP to dip back into this well repeatedly. After all, this is one of their campaigns that is actively contributing to revenue.

With these marketing metrics available – and a changing paradigm shift taking place – Marketing VPs will be better placed to link marketing to revenue, not leads.

Is your Marketing VP’s efforts still linked to leads, rather than revenue? Share with us why, below!