The Great B2B Lead Gen Scam – Don’t Fall For It



In today’s podcast I expose a common practice that is a major cause of marketing failure among B2B companies.


This practice is used by marketing firms, advertising and digital agencies, in-house teams to make it look like marketing is performing well when in reality, other activities or just small parts of the marketing program is delivering higher quality leads.


These so called “vanity metrics” are often used to mislead, however, in most cases it’s not nefarious – it’s ignorance. In most mid-sized B2B companies, management sets the definition of “lead” and may not fully understand that some dude who just downloaded your lead magnet is not a “lead”.


Most are familiar with lead funnels (in this episode we’ll take a look at a few) where a “lead” comes in at the top and passes through various stages:

• Marketing Qualified Lead   

• Sales Accepted Lead   

• Sales Qualified Lead   

• Sales Qualified Opportunity   

• Closed/Won Deal


The issue here isn’t which funnel you use – it is that everyone in the organization uses the same definitions not just for what stage a lead might be in, but also agree on the definition of a lead and the criteria for lead quality. 


The reason mid-sized companies don’t think about this stuff is because their incentives to the marketing team are wrong. “Just give us high quality leads, yesterday! How hard can it be?” The boss exclaims with a resolute pound of the fist. 


The honest answer is “Sir, it’s hard as hell because we have never agreed upon a definition of a lead, what “high quality’ means and your total lack of understanding of any of this shit works…I’m fired, right?” 


It’s much easier for the marketer to say “Absolutely, sir! We’ll get right on it.” They scurry to their office football table and brainstorm all the ways they will get people to fill out a form or make a call or whatever metric looks good to The Boss. It’s much easier for the agency to answer “Positively sir!” instead of educating the client about what it will really take to deliver high quality actual leads and close them. That would certainly imperil the sale. 


Thus clients get all sorts of metrics and reports from marketing showing impressive numbers for anything that looks good but in reality matter least to the outcome The Boss really wants: Leads that close. 


There is much more to this topic which I do my best to elucidate in today’s podcast.