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Marketing vs. Sales B2B Lead Sourcing

3 min read
November 18, 2012

Marketing has begun to make a major impact on sales B2B. There is no denying it…that huge gap between marketing and sales (worthy of video humor) is starting to narrow. The question is, by how much? And over what period of time?

This is important because executives are looking to allocate resources toward marketing & sales B2B based on this trend.

Let’s explore further…

A few weeks ago, we attended the Pardot Elevate user conference (which was awesome by the way). Here is what we learned from their VP of Sales:

  • The Pardot sales team sourced 60% of their leads. This surprised us…a marketing automation and inbound marketing company sourced more leads through sales than they did through marketing?
  • An even larger percentage of their closed deals came from sales (let’s assume 65/70%). Now that part itself is no surprise as sales reps want to close their own leads more than somebody else’s (marketing).

Surprising data. But not an isolated case.

When you walk into Dreamforce, the largest software event in the world, you are immediately thrust into a world of marketing automation. The platinum sponsors (which spend over $500k) are almost all inbound/marketing automation companies, Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, Silverpop…and there are a ton of lightweight sponsors out there (Hubspot, Genius, Leadformix, Loopfuse, etc).

The funny thing is these companies, who are preaching the world of inbound & marketing automation software all have some of the strongest and most invested sales teams in the world. They are particularly strong at cold calling, referral generation, and sales blocking & tackling.

The marketing guys have doubled down on sales.

This week, the awesome team at the Bridge Group released a very informative and easy to read case study that looks at these type of metrics. If you are a B2B sales or marketing executive, it’s worth the quick read.

One of the charts shows the percentage of pipeline sourced by marketing. See below.

Marketing vs. Sales B2B Lead Sourcing

38% of leads generated by marketing…not necessarily what you would expect given all the “inbound hype”.

But they also published the report for SaaS companies here. And the results for lead sourcing on SaaS support inbound more:

Marketing vs. Sales B2B Lead Sourcing

These are trending where one would expect, but not in line with Pardot’s sales/marketing breakup.

After making a comment on the Bridge Group blog, I received a prompt response from Matt Bertuzzi which made significant contributions to the discussion. His condensed response:

  • The bigger the company in revenue, the more likely it is that their leads are sourced from sales (*makes sense).
  • It’s not settled on whether cold calls (if they roll up to marketing) are or should be attributed to marketing.
There’s our gap with Pardot as I’m confident that prospecting/cold-calling rolls up to sales. How on earth can you claim cold-calling as marketing is certainly a question.Regardless of where the leads come from, for most companies, marketing can only take them so far. Sales is still responsible for closing most deals of decent size.

Hence my colleague @jonnybird’s tweet from the corporate account:

And that’s why we’re here to help.