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B2B Lead Generation Step #2: Build a Strong Roster of Stakeholders

Mike Sweeney | October 22, 2009

In last week’s post, we discussed the first step in the creation and execution of a lead generation program: establishing the right mindset.  This week, we’ll cover an equally important step: building your roster of stakeholders in the lead generation program.

Unfortunately, it’s far too common that this step looks a lot like the following within small or mid-sized organizations:

[VP Marketing and CEO/CFO are wrapping up a marketing/budget meeting]

CEO: OK.  Things seem to be stabilizing.  You guys should have an additional 50k to spend on lead generation next quarter.

VP Marketing: Great.  I think we can do some impactful things with that money.

CEO: Excellent.  Like what?

VP Marketing: Good question.  Let me bring this back to my team, and we’ll identify a plan of attack.

CEO: OK.

[VP Marketing walks down the hall, stops by the cubicle of his Marketing Manager]

VP Marketing: So…good news.  Rick agreed to give us an additional 50k to spend on lead generation programs next quarter.

Marketing Manager: Great.  That will help a lot.

VP Marketing: Yeah, that’s what I said too.  Anyway, what do you think we should do with it?

Marketing Manager: Good question.  Let me call our pr agency and see if they have any ideas.  Oh, and I’ll check in with Ralph who handles our search engine marketing, see if he thinks he can expand the program with a larger budget.  And last but not least, I’ll check in with those guys from Socially Insane Marketing to see if they think some increased social media activity will drive some leads.

VP Marketing: Sounds good.  After you talk to those guys, let’s put together a 1-2 page plan and we’ll send it over to Rick, and we should be good to go.

Marketing Manager: Sounds like a plan.  I’m on it.  We should able to crush it with an additional 50k.

VP Marketing: Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking.  This is gonna be fun.

[VP Marketing wanders back to his office to see if today’s press release is 1st, 2nd or 3rd ranked in Google News when searching for the company’s name.  Marketing Manager checks on the company’s Facebook fan page and is pleasantly surprised to see that the company now has 37 fans, up from 33.]

OK.  So injected a little humor into that dialogue, but it’s not that far from the truth in some organizations.  The VP of Marketing and Marketing Manager are off to figure out what to do with their additional 50k in lead generation dollars, and the only stakeholder they’re worried about is the CEO.  Now, we’re all concerned about anything that ends up with CEO-level exposure, but this is NOT the right way to build your roster of stakeholders when creating a lead generation campaign.

Even though we’re just in the initial stages of this new endeavor, I am a big believer in over communication.  As the person that generally serves as the spokesperson for the marketing department, the VP Marketing ought to at least let the following types know about the potential of new lead generation programs:

  • The CEO, if for no other reason than exposure to the fact that you’re moving on a new idea.
  • The CFO/Controller, because he/she may be the one that signs the checks or at least authorizes them.
  • The entire marketing team, because any good lead generation program is multi-faceted and ought to involve input from and integration with other efforts.
  • The VP/Director of Sales, because leads are, well…kind of important to that person.
  • The sales team that might be handling those leads, or at least the manager of that team, because they will need to adjust to new leads, leads from new sources, new qualification procedures, etc.
  • The external agencies/consultants, because they’re typically more than willing to help brainstorm new ideas to spend more money.

There are other possible stakeholders, but I think you get the point.

I know what the VPs of Marketing out there are saying right now.  Mike, you want me to allow that many cooks into my kitchen?  That’s a disaster waiting to happen, and you’re insane.

That’s a fair statement, but that’s not what I am recommending.  I am recommending that you identify these people as stakeholders and share your initial goals and plans with them.  What’s the primary reason to do that?  So that they don’t become cooks in your kitchen later on!

Explain to these stakeholders that you are expanding the company’s lead generation program.  Explain the process you’re going to go through to create the plan.  Explain how you intend to execute on the plan.  Explain to these people the types of help/support you might need from them.  Explain to them how they can submit any ideas now, as opposed to later.  Explain to them the format you need those ideas submitted.  Explain how you intend to keep them in the loop throughout the process.

In other words, over communicate now so that you don’t have to later.

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