In a recent meeting with a client, the head of marketing said something very profound, but no one heard it. She said, “I think it is working”. The rest of the crew at the table forged on with the assumption that the branding campaign was working. They all loved it, were fully vested in the concept and ready to invest more money. Who would be silly enough to question?
We wanted to know more. Sure, we were invested in the concept (we came up with it), but in 6 months if nothing has changed who’s going to be out on the street – the head of marketing or the consulting firm that came up with the idea? So, we stopped the conversation and asked, “what are the signs it’s working?” With this prompt the head of marketing proceeded to share all the reasons she thought it was working with the one notable hesitation that she could not tell if the leads generated were the right leads.
We dug deeper.
The pipeline was full, sales was happy, and the numbers looked good. We kept digging because we just can’t help ourselves. Upon further review we found that the close ratio was increasing but the time it took to close a deal was getting longer. Her hesitation came from the gap between lead and close. Her instincts were good. The issue was not the campaign, but rather the process to close a deal. As we started to pick apart just where leads were getting hung up, we realized the review process was not able to keep up with the increase in deal flow.
The solution was easy: add more staff, meet more often and adhere to the review standards.
It is important to look at the whole system not just the “top of the funnel”. Marketing can have the right formula and sales can be ready to catch each lead, but if the organization is not ready the marketing investment is not actualized.
Listen, learn and refine. It is a perfect formula.