Customer Acquisition is a Myth

The economy is working on rebounding and companies are gearing up.  Pipelines and revenues are heading north and hiring along with it.  But something in this rebound is different. For new sales hires, the expectation is that they join with a solid book of business and a pipeline already in hand; even for companies where the ramp time for sales people to achieve repeatable revenue productivity is six to nine months.  Same goes for marketers. Regardless of the market’s or company’s maturity or readiness the expectation of newly hired marketing leaders is that they produce a significant uptick in pipelines in 60 to 90 days, regardless of the capabilities or competence of marketing or sales. For many new hires, these are unrealistic and unachievable expectations.  Nevertheless, the message is loud and clear – growth comes only from net new customer acquisition.  

Defining Sales & Marketing Optimization

The need to do more with less, faster has brought sales and marketing to figure out how to work better together.   There is antidotal evidence that over one-third of all B2B companies starting talking about improving their sales and marketing alignment in the middle of last year.  Most of the talk is around lead management - how to get more leads and sales to follow them up.  And there are the inevitable side conversations about marketing or sales leadership and if it is time for a change. These are all good conversations as it means people are open-minded to change on some level.  

Musing with Marketo

Over the past months I've gotten to know the folks at Marketo and their concept of revenue cycle optimization.  At a high level, it's about tightening the processes and feedback loops in attracting, acquiring, collecting and expanding sales opportunities.  Marketo delivers automation technology for the attracting and acquiring part of the process or more commonly known as "the funnel and pipeline".   Higher quality leads from marketing, and more of them, translates into more sales to 'ideal' target customers.  Lead generation and lead management is largely the result of an engine. The more finely-tuned an engine is, and fed with high quality fuel, the better the engine will perform.