ROI Feed

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.

Continue reading "Proud of my daughter's success in her current career." »

"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.

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

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?

Sales Lead Leakage #1: You fail to sell to 100% of the sales leads you don’t follow-up.

IStock_000014596001Small Lack of follow-up by sales reps is the number one failure for lead generation campaigns.   If salespeople can’t do it, get a marketing automation program.  

Unless the potential customer is willing to over-look the lack of follow-up and buy without hearing from a salesperson (usually B2C sales leads) your company has a huge sales lead leakage issue and you're failing.

Industry stats, articles, research and pundits report a 75-90% failure in sales lead follow-up by most companies.   This isn't a minor leakage issue it is a massive problem because it says that the marketing failure is in direct portion to the lack of sales lead follow-up. 

The stats people keep quoting are 45% of the salespeople give up after the first phone call.  Here are a few things I teach sales reps:

-Nearly half of all sales leads turn into a sale for someone.

-75-90% of all inquiries and leads are not followed-up by anyone in sales.

Continue reading "Sales Lead Leakage #1: You fail to sell to 100% of the sales leads you don’t follow-up." »

Life is simpler when you plough around the stump!

IStock_000011340093Small The problem is the stump is still there.   Maybe you can avoid it for a while, but sooner or later you have to figure out how to take the stump out.  The biggest stump most marketing managers have is the lack of follow-up of the sales inquiries and leads by the salespeople.  In most organizations it is a pretty big obstacle.  Let me tell you a story.

It starts with a sales manager who isn’t a team player, except within his own team and a marketing manager who isn’t strong enough to do what’s right in the face of  institutional laziness or fear of upsetting the salespeople. 

Continue reading "Life is simpler when you plough around the stump!" »

Nothing will spoil a man’s life like too much truth!

Actually Will Rogers said, "Nothing will spoil a big man’s life like too much truth."  Big or small, man or woman, the truth can cause all kinds of issues, especially when it comes to sales lead management.  

To be fair, it’s only right to say that many people don’t know what the truth is when we speak of sales lead management.  I don’t think there is such a thing as too much truth in sales lead management, so  I guess it’s time we talked about it. 

It’s said the truth will set you free; maybe it will work with you or more precisely management.  

I believe there are 12 truths in B2B sales lead management (no doubt more, but I stopped at 12; you can add some):

1.  There is a difference between an inquiry and a lead.  Leads are qualified inquiries.

2.  45% of all inquiries turn into a sale for someone within one year.  This is known as the Rule of 45.

Continue reading "Nothing will spoil a man’s life like too much truth!" »