Instead of looking for new prospects, marketers should make sure that they leverage the leads that they already have in their CRM.
“Tell me about the leads and buyers that I don’t know about. That’s the real B2B marketing unicorn.” This is what I heard at SiriusDecisions Summit in May, from a marketing executive from a large Bay Area tech company.
Why are new buyers unicorns? When you have millions leads in your database and you manage marketing for many years for the same company, it is really hard to find any new buyers that you are not already aware of. Are there really target companies, of any volume, that this marketer isn’t aware of? Maybe a handful…
The conversation did not actually start on discovering new leads, but rather on discovering which of the millions leads in their database are likely to become customers. “We know that only half of the leads in the database are good leads; we just don’t know which half,” he said.
But the biggest prize was identifying new leads. A seasoned marketer, his eyes lit up at the thought of Mintigo identifying new leads that he isn’t aware of and discovering an untapped market.
I was skeptical at the beginning. What are the odds that we can discover new leads for such a mature company and marketing team with millions of leads in their database? One of my mentors used to say that when we are chasing a bright, shiny object, “People tend to be so concerned about what they don’t know, rather than about what they know.” The grass is greener. Psychologists state that the problem with the greener-grass syndrome is that it is usually “based on fantasy and fear.” Unicorns, anyone?
B2B marketers typically have a relatively defined universe of potential customers that are most often segmented by:
- Basic firmographic data: Industry, revenue, geography, and employee count.
- Products, services, or solutions that they sell.
Therefore, companies that have been around for a few years are likely to be aware of 95% of their addressable market. Firmographic and product fit are the high level definition of a target. So why are we now concerned about the small percentage of companies, net news, we don’t know about?
My theory is that B2B marketers have been marketing into these broadly defined segments for many years. Therefore, the performance metrics (MQLs to SQLs to conversions, cost/lead, cost/win) are not improving even as they increase the volume of content and campaigns that they run.
What is the solution? Unicorns! That’s what we need. Think about the analogy itself. We’re comparing these net-new leads to something that (People under the age of 18, or those that believe in unicorns, please don’t read the rest of this sentence.) doesn’t exist!
Instead of focusing on how to improve our productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency with the data we have in our known universe, we’re looking over the hill at the greener pasture of potential customers that we don’t know about! This has to stop. Even if we suddenly have visibility or awareness of these magical net-new leads, the marketing generated revenue lift factor will be minor and short-lived. That’s not a sustainable solution and has no leverage.
So what if, instead of looking for unicorns, we uncover the diamonds in our backyard—real diamonds (Ask my wife.). Which brings me to one of my favorite parables Acres of Diamonds told by Russell Conwell in the early 1900s. Trust me, it’s still relevant. If you aren’t familiar with it, I encourage you to look it up. Read pages 4-7 here to learn more.
The Acres of Diamonds
The Acres of Diamonds tells about a farmer who is wealthy beyond his wildest dreams with enough riches to last him several lifetimes. It says, “He was contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented.” One day someone tells him about diamonds and the enormous value each one has. That night he went to bed “poor because he was discontented, and discontented because he feared he was poor.”
He must find these diamonds! To cut to the end, he sells his farm, leaves his family, and spends all of his wealth looking for these diamonds. He dies broke and alone. Shortly thereafter, the man that bought the farmer’s land was walking through a stream that ran through the plot of land. A rock with a shape and color that he had never seen before caught his eye and he leaned over and picked it up. It turned out to be a diamond… Soon thereafter that land became one of the largest diamond mines ever discovered.
Look in your backyard
So to my marketing colleagues that are focused on the finding these unicorns of enormous value out there in the universe, please pause! The buyers and net-new customers you are looking for are in your backyard. You just have to know what to look for and how to mine the data that will identify which of those leads and customers are actually diamonds.
Our focus, energies, and investments should be on the 95% of the market we are aware of that lives in our own databases. The problem isn’t that we don’t know who they are; it’s that we don’t know enough about who they are, what are the characteristics, tendencies and personalities of our customers, to identify the diamonds when we run across them.
Firmographic information doesn’t help you to answer those questions. And you can’t target what you can’t see. That is where Predictive Marketing platforms can clean off the dirt and will help you identify the Acres of Diamonds in your backyard!
About Mike Malone
Mike Malone is Sales Director and a B2B demand generation solutions expert at Mintigo. Mike is passionate about helping B2B marketers, sales leaders and anyone involved with demand generation improve their ability to identify, target and engage new customers.