B2B sellers agree the lead is not dead—it’s just not enough

by | Apr 27, 2023 | Marketing, Public Relations

The sales lead has long been a cornerstone of business success, but has it lost its power in the modern age of data-driven lead generation? New research from account-based marketing platform RollWorks reveals what’s really needed when it comes to B2B revenue generation, including the importance of the lead as part of a broader fit-focused, multi-signal approach.

“We’ll believe the lead is dead when sales does,” said Jodi Cerretani, VP of marketing at RollWorks, in a news release. “Despite marketing slogans from those seeking to bury the lead, the industry has yet to see a seismic shift where leads aren’t still at the core of most marketing and sales strategies. That said, as validated by our findings, focusing on form-fills alone ignores too many potential buyers.”

B2B sellers agree the lead Is not dead—it’s just not enough

Redefining the lead: Only bad leads are dead—leads are no longer synonymous with form-fills

Revenue teams responding to the survey unanimously believe the lead isn’t dead—and never will be: 63 percent of sellers and 56 percent of marketers say the only dead leads are low quality (poor fit), and 62 percent of sellers say leads will never become obsolete. 

But having said that, B2B sellers and marketers indicate that today’s lead-related challenges demonstrate the need for a more expansive definition of top-of-funnel: 89 percent of marketers and sellers say that quality leads are now harder to come by. It’s also clear that not all buyers engage equally—83 percent of marketers and sellers find it difficult to engage the entire buying committee, and 64 percent don’t expect C-suite buyers to fill out forms.

B2B sellers agree the lead Is not dead—it’s just not enough

A new top-of-funnel: Fit focused—and the more signals, the merrier

While high-fit leads remain important, given the limitations of focusing on form-filling MQLs alone, revenue teams are broadening their definition of top-of-funnel and using multiple signals to create leads. Marketers and sellers have decreased their dependency on form-fills, as other signals like ad clicks and first- and third-party account information have increased in importance.

In fact, 87 percent of marketers are confident they can hit their marketing goals without traditional form-fills, 85 percent would pass a high-fit site visitor/ad clicker to sales without a traditional form-fill if they had it, and 81 percent of sellers would rather be sent a high-fit lead with a few site visits than a low-fit lead with a content form-fill from marketing.

B2B sellers agree the lead Is not dead—it’s just not enough

As B2B marketers continue to grapple with resource efficiency, no business can afford to focus exclusively on form-fillers and ignore other signals that identify in-market buyers,” said Cerretani. “The key to modern marketers’ success is implementing programs and plays to create and respond to as many categories of signals as possible. Instead of limiting themselves to just driving leads or MQLs that require a form fill, marketers are maximizing the at-bats of their sales organization by driving growth in multiple categories of top-of-funnel signals.”

Read the full report here.

The survey, conducted March through April 2023, consulted 850 B2B sales and marketing professionals. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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