ROI Feed

A Story: How a Marketing Manager Learned to Build a Demand Creation Plan Based on Sales Quotas

IStock_000018180137Small“How do you know,” I asked the marketing manager, “how much money to spend on marketing, and how many inquiries and leads to produce?”

“I do what we generally did last year, and create as much demand as I can,”   was her reply.

“We have a marketing plan,” she continued with some obvious pride. “And we list what we have to do for the year and stick with it.”

“When do you consult with the sales manager about quotas?” I asked.

“We don’t really…well kind of, because we know the forecast he has to hit,” she said with some doubt in her voice.  “Why do you ask?”

“The issue is if you know the sales forecast for the whole year, you also have access to quarterly and monthly forecasts, as well as the salespeople’s individual forecasts.  Armed with this information, you’ll know how many inquiries and leads you have to create per salesperson based on the average closing rate per product.”

“Umm, so what you’re implying is that I should create the number of inquiries each rep will need to make quota based on their closing ratio?”

Why its important?

“Umm, so what you’re implying is that I should create the number of inquiries each rep will need to make quota based on their closing ratio?”

Sales Lead Management Association


“Yes, but you needn’t go all the way to the rep level on their closing ratio,” I said.  “You can take the average closing rate of the

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Listen While You Work: Mike Hollison - uncensored - How to Increase Sales 30% in 90 Days

This program is an authentic, unscripted, exchange of ideas which broadcast live on October 8th, 2015.  

Increasing sales by 30% in 90 days is a bold statement and we asked Mike Hollison, CMO of how it can be done.  Of course following up all leads increases sales, but Inside Sales claims its self-learning engine drives predicative sales communications and engagement usinNeuralytics®.

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SLMWeek: Ruth Stevens uncensored - Why there's lip service and so little action in Marketing ROI Reporting?

2011-stevensIs there really a marketing ROI?  Ruth P. Steven's tells the uncensored truth!" This is a replay of a show that is evergreen. How do you weigh in on it?

 SLMA Radio host Jim Obermayer interviews Ruth P. Stevens about the reality of the holy grail of proving marketing's return investment. 


Is it as easy as some say or as difficult as some others say;

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How to Measure Revenue with your CRM (Especially Salesforce)


Bonnie Crater Headshot
Of all the reasons to install and use Salesforce as a CRM system, measuring marketing performance is one of the biggies.   In this interview with industry veteran Bonnie Crater, CEO of Full Circle CRM, we explore how can you get intelligence to make decisions and not hum and haw when the CEO says, “What does Salesforce report on our marketing spend?  Bonnie talks about marketing artists and scientists and who is most likely to want to be measured.   Within the 25 minute interview she covers the five steps that marketing and sales must take to measure revenue from marketing. 


About Bonnie Crater
Prior to joining Full Circle CRM, Bonnie Crater was Vice President of Marketing for VoiceObjects

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Winners never “try.” Winners only win. Trying is for Losers.

Gerry Spence
* said, “I warn you: a winning stance is never achieved by trying.  I hear some say, ‘I will try as hard as I can.’ Trying is for losers.  Trying implies the possibility of losing.  ‘I will try to win.  I will try not to lose.’ If after trying they have lost, well they tried, did they not?  Losers always try.  Winners never try.  Winners only win.” 

There are many memorable things that Gerry Spence says in his book “How to Argue and Win Every Time,”* * and my paraphrase in this blog post title is one of them.  My dog- eared copy of

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Tired of Trying to Answer the ROI Question?

Yogi Berra said it best when he commented “I wish I had an answer to that, because I'm tired of answering that question.”    His statement reminds me that marketing managers seldom give a good answer to the ROI question.  I guess they wish people would stop asking and maybe things will just get better by themselves.  Not gonna happen.

IStock_000018180137SmallSooner or later Marketing will have to stand up and tell management what the ROI is for the demand generation budget.  Are you sure you want to hear something similar to what Casey Stengel said when counseling a young ball player?  "Son, we'd like to keep you around this season, but we're going to try and win a pennant."

Why It Matters

                                 If you don’t solve the revenue ROI question for demand generation, management will find someone who can!

How can management keep a marketing team on board if they can’t create demand in a predictable way?  A way that creates revenue in a predictable fashion so that they can be number one in their marketplace?

Marketing managers used to say they couldn’t prove the ROI on marketing because:

  1. They didn’t have a CRM system. - This doesn’t pertain any more.  90% of all companies have a CRM system; the ones that don’t can’t use cost as an excuse.  It’s cheap; pocket change.   This excuse no longer applies.
  2. Salespeople don’t report on the disposition of leads. - This is a matter of sales management policy.  Make reporting on lead disposition a matter of policy.  It’s a must-have rule; one not to be broken.  (Those who don’t report are usually the top salesperson in the organization, or those not making quota.) 
  3. Salespeople don’t follow-up leads. - Gee, this is similar to number two.  It’s a matter of sales management policy.  Make lead follow-up a matter of policy; a rule.  Rules are not to be broken. 
  4. Marketing has no control over follow-up. - Marketing is now equipped with CRM and marketing automation tools, making follow-up a part of their job and an easily automated chore.  No excuses any more. 
  5. They don’t work for me! - It doesn’t make any difference if the salespeople work for you or not.   As the marketing manager, create a lead nurturing follow-up system.  Create reports that show who is following up and who isn’t.  If nothing else works, embarrass them. 
  6. They do work for me but they won’t follow-up! - If the salespeople work for you and you can’t get them to follow up leads, time to fire yourself for being a poor leader.

 If your company wants to ‘win the pennant,’ make sure you have the right people and processes in place. Sales managers - do your part and enforce the follow-up rules.  Marketing managers - do your part and perform follow-up of your own using one of the cheap and ready marketing automation tools.  


Ok, so maybe this is the formula for fiction.  Women’s fiction.  Romantic fiction.  But when I think about it, this is not unlike most redemptive stories from successful people. 

They sinned: did things wrong, caused issues and problems for those around them and in their businesses.  

Why it matters

Marketing is a learned skill that comes from trial and error, and learning from others. Longevity in the discipline helps. Be a “learner."

In this process they suffered.  Of course, there may have been some success, but not total success.  No matter how they managed their lives and their businesses, they had suffering which they didn’t take the time to tie back to the wrong doing, the failures. 

Eventually they learned, matured and repented.  They changed and found salvation.  Through their repentance, they learned how to be successful. 

This formula isn’t a far stretch to those of us in marketing.  Take me for instance.  I have a degree in English literature.  After a short stint as a technical writer (interesting but not overly successful, although I did write the testing specs for the Wankle engine), I moved into marketing.   As a marketing specialist without training I sinned again and again:

  • I created inquiries for sales, but not qualified leads.
  • I launched marketing programs without telling the salespeople before they were launched.
  • I didn’t understand the principles of direct marketing until much later, so I created direct mail without a complete offer, with too much copy, and using bad lists.
  • I used lists for mailers that were old and had never been cleaned up.
  • I managed trade shows without understanding the reason for the show: leads.
  • I ran advertising without a call to action.
  • CRM systems?  I used a spreadsheet.


Proud of my daughter's success in her current career.

As parents we watch our children grow, go to college, start careers. They start learning from us and our examples. They learn from their peers, professors, internships. Sometimes they don't realize what has soaked in from our teachings and examples.

Sales Management:

She only has a seaonal business. Each year she adds another 25% to her customer base. She reconnects with her clients and shows them new product, talks about any pricing changes, profitability and the company's mission. She's passionate and truly listens to her customers. They feel valued and are loyal to her efforts.

Qualified Leads:

As most are from her local farm, or referrals, 90% of her leads are qualified. There are unforeseen wrenches that she can't always combat, but she shakes them off and makes room for the next sale.

Lead Nurturing:

She follows up with last year's customers, asking them if they have an referrals for her in the area, then following up immediately mentioning the original customer as the one who sent her to them.

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"When all is said and done, more is said than done!”

Yes, Lou Holtz, the legendary football coach said this,* and how true it is in the sales lead management industry. In spite of all of the software tools available and the lip service given to proving the ROI for sales leads, I see few marketing managers step forward to actually prove lead gen ROI. It’s discussed and hammered on in webinars, seminars and workshops, and by keynote speakers and vendors. It’s included in most proposals by CRM and marketing automation companies. So why is it talked about more than it is done? IStock_000013867169Small

I have learned that there are basically two reasons people don’t do something: they don’t know how or they don’t want to. Often, these issues are interconnected. When it comes to lead management and marketing ROI, there are subsets of these two thoughts:

• They don’t know how to measure the ROI.

• Being held accountable is not their first choice.

• They don’t want to measure the ROI for lead generation.

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All know the way; few actually walk it. ~Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century CE. 250px-BodhidharmaYoshitoshi1887 (1)  His famous words echo today for marketing. 

After the bruising, battering, beating marketers and their companies have taken for the last three years, and with all the seminars, webinars, books, articles and blog posts on how to measure marketing ROI, everyone knows the way to prove the ROI for lead generation programs, right?  So if this is true, and everyone knows the way, why do so few take the walk?    

        (Bodhidharma, woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, 1887.)

I think there is a dose of fear or anxiety over reporting results that might be mixed, and fright that if each lead generation program doesn’t do well, the whole department will be held dreadfully accountable.

Get over it.  

Some programs will be stunning and some not so good; it is the average that counts.   Lead generation programs always work, it’s just a matter of how great a return each brings.   But you can’t take credit for what you refuse to measure.  Get over the fear.  Marketers are creators of wealth and it is time you took your rightful place in the company.  Measure what you manage. 

"You can’t take credit for what

you refuse to measure."

If you can’t walk the walk and be held accountable, you are slated to carry out the life of a mediocre marketing manager.  And please remember, "only the mediocre are always at their best." 2

Does someone have a story about a company that  went from mediocre to successful by measuring what they manage?  Please share (no company names please). 


(1) WikipediA

(2) Jean Giraudoux(1882-1944) Diplomat and Writer

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken a new action. If there's no action, you haven't truly decided” …Tony Robbins

At some point the marketing department and everyone in it has to make the decision to start measuring all lead generation activities.  


The trade show manager has the easiest task because all inquiries are in a neat little package from each show and can be tracked with precision.   Other inquiry/leads can come into the company via multiple entry points (web contact is more difficult but not impossible to track).   But a direct mail response can come in via a toll-free numbers, reply card, web contact form, etc.    Regardless, every inquiry is traceable, wth a little help from the prospect, a CRM system and marketing automation. 

The point is, to secure it’s own future,  the marketing department must make a decision and take action to track the source of all inquiries and prove the ROI by individual lead generation tactic.   The most difficult part is making the decision to be accountable.    

Jeff Pedowitz of the Pedowtiz Group said it well on a recent SLMA Radio program (2/16/2012), when he said, “Take a stand."

Take Tony Robbins' advice, take a new action.  Be accountable.  

Would anyone like to share their own success story about proving ROI and taking a stand? 

Research on the Biggest Problems Facing New Members of the SLMA

In the last few months each person who joined as a member of the SLMA was asked about their biggest problems. 117 new members answered the question; these are their answers. They could choose up to three issues (some choose more and we included them). The surprise to us is that Proving ROI was the least of their problems; Generating Qualified Inquiries ranked first with the most mentions.


Generating Qualified Leads 31%
Generating New Inquiries 24%
Managing Inquiries 17%
Working with Sales Management on Follow-up 15%
Proving ROI 13%

What are your biggest problems?