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Why Engineering Marketers Aren’t Getting Credit for their Leads

Why Engineering Marketers Aren’t Getting Credit for their Leads


We’ve all been there.  The VP of Sales says that your marketing team isn’t delivering qualified leads.  As a marketer, it’s hard to refute that claim.  After all, you aren’t speaking directly with the prospects.  And yet somehow, despite these allegedly poor leads, the sales team is still bringing in new business. 

The VP of Sales says it’s because his heroic sales people are out pounding the pavement for new opportunities.  But you also know that the phones are ringing with inbound calls.  You know a significant portion of the inbound leads have been touched by your marketing efforts.

This is a classic dilemma.  Marketing isn’t getting credit for leads that it generates.

Why doesn’t marketing get credit for engineering leads?

There is a shift in the marketing industry – industrial marketers are increasingly held more accountable for ROI and revenue generation. This is the evolved sales funnel that we and others in the industry are seeing: In the old sales funnel, marketing was responsible for bringing leads to the middle of the funnel.  Now marketing is responsible for making the leads even more sales ready.  

Evolving marketing funnel and sales funnel(Source)


Of course, there are many steps to this online engineering buyer’s journey. It can start with the engineer reading about your product in an article, or through your search marketing efforts.  It can come from attendance at a trade show, or from reading one of your white papers.  But in many companies, your marketing team only gets credit if the “last touch”, the one that qualifies the lead as “sales ready” in your CRM, can be traced directly to your marketing activities.

The easy fix to getting credit for your engineering leads

The “easy” fix is to nurture the leads further, until they are at a point where they would ask to speak to a salesperson.  That way, there would be no question that marketing is delivering valuable leads, and so you would be able to get more budget for marketing campaigns and content creation. 

But in most organizations, lead qualification means contact by the telemarketing team, and those people typically report to sales.  (Read here about why telemarketing should report to marketing.)

To nurture leads further down the sales process you would ideally set up a work flow with multiple touches. Along the way, the prospects would have the opportunity to announce that they are ready to speak to a sales person rather than being called by telemarketing  That sounds great, but it’s a ton of work.

According to this survey, 88% of marketers believe a nurturing work flow takes more than 3 touches.  


For engineering marketers this situation is really a challenge because you need content for each touch, and the content has to be technical.  In other words, you need an engineer to write it.  In earlier studies we’ve heard from engineering marketers that they find “lack of budget” and “creating engaging content” to be two of their biggest challenges.

How to solve the “no budget” dilemma

One way to crack through the lack of budget dilemma would be to prove that marketing is delivering high value leads.  So how could you do that without having the budget in the first place?  One idea would be to take this approach in a test campaign to prove that the lead nurturing works. 

If you don’t have the resources to do that internally, many agencies and publishers would be happy to give you a hand.  If you do a good job setting up the work-flow and data tracking, and you have the right content, you should be able to prove that the additional work-flow created superior value in the leads.



Results of the marketing survey show that additional nurturing leads to better sales opportunities. 

Will this work for your company?  I can’t guarantee it.  We are at the edge of marketing innovation here, which is why I suggest you experiment rather than going all in.

We are currently experimenting with this sort of campaign for some select clients.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  If you are doing something similar, please share your experience.



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