Some actually advocate for a HubSpot program to drive them leads. I actually did this for a data marketing agency startup (not as solid a company as the one mentioned above). The guys running it were incompetent business owners, but they did know enough to tell me “no” if I didn’t have a strategy for using the technology.
Basically sales blames everyone else for their failure. The truth is that it’s the CEO’s fault, not marketing and sales, as the head of the business is responsible for setting the direction and getting what’s needed in place. (Try telling that to your CEO in a tense sales pipeline review.)
At some point, waiting around and blaming someone else for your failure isn’t going to help you keep your job or make money. Rather than complain, I built my own lists, marketing messages, email outreach program, made cold calls and wrote custom content for my prospect list. That was basic job security.
The CEO and head of marketing talked quite a bit about what was coming for sales. We waited and waited. When the final items were delivered, none of it was particularly helpful for me.
Inside sales was going to follow a new program. We held meetings talking about process issues like the merits between sending a warm-up email and then a cold call or calling first and then sending an email. I weathered interminable discussions between the CEO and marketing about how many emails to send and the percentage targets for conversion.
Marketing was going to drive leads from the website. Metrics were made up and a marketing automation process and the relevant technology was under review. This was going to take at least six months to finish and wasn’t very helpful anyway. Clients working in big retail and financial services don’t find the sort of software tool we sold from a Google search or on a LinkedIn advertising or content marketing piece. (Update: Since writing we hired a CMO who knows how to pull it together with our sales campaigns. Good agencies know how to do this too but then what happens to the leads when they come?)
The company had bought a list from an outside party and was going to put these “leads” into a CRM system for marketing to nurture and sales to cold call. Frankly, a name on a list is not a lead. It’s a name on a list of someone that may or may not even be working in the company. Inside sales performance was measured by number of demos completed (another misleading metric).
Marketing had signed up for a trade show and was going to run a contest for prospects who participated in a game and provided their business card. A free promotional item would be awarded to those who attended a product demo. These were heavily product-featured and run by sales engineers working for the CTO. In my attempt to shift the approach to only provide a highly customized demo after a business conversation to probe for business value, I made an enemy of the sales engineer who couldn’t understand why I was making his life so difficult.
The problem is that the CEO, CTO and marketing people had never worked in sales. They had never made a cold call or run a cold prospect call from scratch.
It never occurred to the CEO that his head of sales struggled not because of the team, but because the company had fallen into Trap #3, which was to rely on marketing best practices and technology and process rather than build a fully functioning sales department that started with business strategy and ended with outbound prospecting tactics.