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What are Lead Generation Experts Saying Behind the Scenes?

Posted by Dale Berkebile on 3/5/12 10:30 AM

Dale Berkebile, CEO of Brandwise, is the Yin to my Yang (or vice-versa?). More importantly, he is also one of the Smarketing Partner Companies that is a sponsor of the 2012 sales and marketing integration course.

The following post is actually Dale's response to Rick Roberge, the Smarketing RainMaker who is also a sponsor of #smarketing2012, after he drew a line in the sand and asked other inbound marketing agencies:

Two posts - who's right? This one? or this one?

What Rick was really asking is which is more important? Hire a sales person or marketing agency? 

***DISCLAIMER*** the first post is mine. The second post is another agency. Rick posted this of his own free will- I saw it at the same time as everyone else. He tends to do that. The point is, this isn't some planned campaign aimed to manipulate or humilate anyone. It is simply a warning shout to sales, marketing and business owners.

I'm more interested in what you, the reader thinks. Place your vote here. 

Leads are useless without a sales person working them.

A top notch sales person should be able to prospect and fill their pipeline with or without the inbound leads. If you are relying 100% on inbound leads maybe your sales person needs to be replaced. Having a system that creates inbound leads is awesome if they are generating qualified leads.

Five experts for the price of one is questionable. Most inbound agencies charge $30-$90K annually. According to a sales rep may make $30-$120K. Similar expense, but doing inbound with weak sales closes very little business. Doing sales with weak inbound should still close decent number of deals.

Qualified leads, every time will depend on how a "qualified" is defined.  Does qualified mean someone raised their hand by filling out a form? Or does qualified mean a perfect fit for your organization's buyer persona that is going to not only be easy to close, but also turn into an evangelist that continues to work with you and brings you new business for years by spreading the word? If the second is what you classified as "qualified" then there is no way that every lead is qualified, heck most companies doing inbound would be lucky if 10% of their leads were "qualified".

No lead left behind. Yes, it is true Hubspot's lead nurturing campaign's are pretty cool and effective when used properly. They are not going to close deals though. This is why the lead nurturing and sales team need to work in tandem. By nurturing your leads the sales team will have more time to work the A leads first and then move on to the B and C leads later.

Reduced cost per lead. There is a ton of data on this, just ask Hubspot. I will tell you this though; a team of good sales people will make more money then a team of good inbound marketers. I know many Hubspot partners that do not come close to what a sales company like Kurlan, RainGroup, The Sales Board or other sales companies make. So cost of lead is one thing, but what is the difference in annual revenue? If it cost $373 per lead for outbound dominated (no mention of sales in this one, hmmm interesting) but the outbound generates $500K to $5 mill per client and the inbound cost per lead is $143 but only generates $30K to $90K… which is a better solution?

Perspective from an experienced inbound marketer.

I have been in the marketing world for the last 18+ years, running my own firm for the last 13 and a certified hubspot partner for nearly 3 years. The point is this when we did inbound alone and we had ok results. When we got serious with sales we tripled our business. We needed the sale portion to make things work. I see so many Hubspot people struggling and/or doing just ok. If they had a powerful sales background to match the powerful inbound background, then things would start kicking into overdrive. Aligning sales with marketing is the real solution. If you are not familiar with Smarketing yet, I would start looking into it.

This is where Carole's article is heading. Hubspot knows the power of customer loyalty, this is why they created CHI. They don't want customers to churn because they know it is a lot more expensive to 'purchase' a new customer then keeping a current customer happy. Ask any company why they have the size sales force they have. How soon did they start hiring sales people? Was it early in the game or several years in? By no means am I knocking inbound or Hubspot, but I am just sharing the facts as I see them. Please share some thoughts if you agree or disagree.

And that is all he wrote. ~E


Topics: sales and marketing strategy, lead generation, sales and marketing integration, conversion optimization