A Pull Marketing Revenue Story

seacabolafiesta“Se acabo la fiesta.”

I must have heard that a thousand times as a kid. Literally translated, “party’s over”.  But my mother would use it more broadly whenever she’d had enough of whatever I was doing to piss her off.

If my mother were a technology company CEO, she might say the same to her marketing department.

In July of last year, Forrester released its State of Lead to Revenue Management report. They analyzed 80 inquiries received by analysts earlier that year, and combined it with their Q4 2011 report B2B Marketing Organization And Investments Survey. Forrester presents lots of good data about the evolving expectations of Marketing. But the key takeaway is that technology CEOs are demanding their Marketing departments create demonstrable impact to revenue-relevant metrics.

The party days of hiding behind awareness spend or market making are over. Everyone’s on the hook for the revenue number.

Which got me to thinking…as more and more marketing becomes pull-driven, how can we create a story that’s relevant in the face of this increasing pressure on provable revenue contribution? Let me give it a shot.

Pull Marketing contributes to revenue in three ways.

1. It influences every single lead, opportunity, and deal in the system.
There isn’t a single prospect we’re talking to that didn’t visit a company web page, execute a search online, or consult an online community at some point in the purchase process. But don’t take my word for it:

  • Technology buyers are two-thirds of the way through their buying process before they engage with tech vendors’ sales teams. – The Lead Nurturing Payoff for the Tech Industry, Forrester
  • 75% of respondents said they were likely to use social media in the future as part of their purchasing decision. – IBM Study, 2012
  • 81% of buyers will use search at some point in the buying cycle. – Gartner
  • 73% of sales people using social media out performed their peers not using social – Social Centered Selling, 201

2. It builds a database of prospects that can be nurtured into future business.
Not everyone interested in our content is ready to buy something. But we collect their contact information, and these are the prospects we invite to events, send marketing activities to, and continue to engage until they’re mature enough to be turned over to Sales.

3. It identifies people who are ready to buy right away.
Sometimes, we find a prospect just at the right point in purchase cycle, and can send them over to Sales immediately.

Underlying all of these is predictability and penetration of net new markets. In my organization we talk a lot about revenue linearity. Hitting the number is good, but achieving it according to a healthy distribution throughout the year is how to build a truly sustainable business. Pull Marketing drives an always-on, predictable stream of influence on the pipeline, prospects to be nurtured, and leads to be worked by a sales executive right away. And it has a disproportionately heavy role to play in opening up net new business where the organization hasn’t achieved a firm foothold yet.

This isn’t the entire pull marketing story, but it’s the one I like to use when telling it in the context of revenue contribution.

In my next post, I’ll cover the 5 key mistakes marketers make when telling this Pull Marketing story, taking lessons from 10 of the World’s Best Storytellers.

Meanwhile, don’t put away your dancing shoes just yet. I actually think the party’s just begun.

Follow the conversation @Adriel_S or #marketingpfft.

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2 thoughts on “A Pull Marketing Revenue Story

  1. Pingback: 3 Mistakes When Talking Pull Marketing | Marketing…pfft!

  2. Pingback: 3 Mistakes When Talking Pull Marketing

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