We all know the wonderful PD James children’s classic, “Are You My Mother?” that tells the story of a baby bird whose mother has gone to find some worms. Left alone, the baby starts to wonder, “where is my mother?” and then goes to find her.

I’m reminded of this story every time someone asks me where a lead came from. Not because it has anything to do with mothers or birds but because whenever anybody asks me about Lead Source, I think of this book. Everyone wants to know where a great lead came from — a lead that turned into a deal quickly and cleanly, at nice margins for the business.

But lead cultivation doesn’t start with a bang; the first activity is hardly the most important. With a lead, there is no ‘mother,’ there is no one source. It is cultivated over time across a variety of mediums, persons, technologies. It takes a village to raise a lead.

I say this because basically when we talk about leads we’re talking about the net sum of prospects and users in your company’s universe. Each lead is a moving organism that doesn’t travel a linear path from start to finish. Rather, a lead moves forward and backward, to the side, up and down — it swoops and dives over time, across programs, campaigns, marketers, reps, services, support — gathering depth over time. And many different people in your organization are interacting with this lead, either directly or indirectly.

So it can be debilitating to understand what’s going on with one lead, much less with a bunch of leads in an opportunity or across an account. But while they may appear to be moving at different paces, and perhaps according to different patterns, they aren’t: collectively, the patterns tell a story about the company’s interest level, time-fame and intent. You just need the tools to get to that information, so you can identify patterns, analyze outcomes, share insights across the organization, and make the right decisions.

For marketers, driving strategic demand is easier now because modern marketing technologies get us to these deep insights by helping us focus on the whole set of data, rather than the incremental bits:

  1. What did we say, when and how did we say it, in which contexts, to get this person to move from discovery to deal
  2. What combination of information dissemination and communication techniques (both online and live) was most helpful in driving this to conclusion
  3. How are these patterns reflected across all leads, opportunities, accounts, customers, renewals
  4. Which dials can we turn to improve the overall yield and quality
  5. And finally, which programs will deliver the leads that turn into deals faster and with better margins for the business

Having access to tools that allow you to ask and answer these questions is a big opportunity for marketers, potentially providing insight into everything happening across the entire village.

About the Author

rebecca-white-headshot Rebecca White is an industry veteran whose approach to demand generation and pipeline development has helped companies like Oracle, Tibco, Talend and Jobvite achieve quick, sustainable improvements to front-end operations.