The role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) is changing. As organizations large and small go through digital transformation, the roles of their top executives continue to evolve. Many CMOs believe they are ultimately responsible for driving business growth through strategies, including B2B lead generation.

“Far from being just brand custodians, many chief marketing officers believe corporate leaders now expect them to have primary responsibility for growth strategies and revenue generation.”Click To Tweet

Historically, many CMOs viewed themselves primarily as “brand custodians.” Today, they consider themselves “the executives primarily responsible for growth strategies,” “us[ing] revenue growth as the top metric to demonstrate the value and return on marketing spend” (Deloitte, 2016). Indeed, CMOs must increasingly collaborate to drive revenue growth through marketing and sales activities, which frequently tie to lead generation.

5 Steps to Igniting Revenue Growth Through B2B Lead Generation

B2B lead generation isn’t new. It’s also no secret that revenue growth is closely connected to a company’s ability to draw audiences in through digital channels and convert them into leads. Yet, the majority of marketers still struggle to generate leads effectively. In fact, according to one study, “80% of marketers report their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective” (BrightTALK, 2015).

1. Open the communication channels

The role of the CMO extends beyond the marketing team. CMOs are well positioned to act as shepherds within their organizations, helping build connective bridges between organizational silos – other executives and board members, sales, public relations/communications, customer experience, digital, social, etc. While these groups may operate independently, it’s critical for CMOs to open the lines of communication; lead generation, when executed successfully, touches the entire organization. Start by meeting with leaders from each of the aforementioned teams to review organizational goals and create strategic alignment.

2. Set clear goals

Before diving into strategy, think through what you’re hoping to achieve beyond generating leads. One of the best places to start is to discuss with your team how the strategy will ultimately support larger organizational goals. Marketing activities don’t live in a vacuum. Everyone in the organization has their own needs and priorities. It’s essential to understand what you’re working toward as an organization as well as a department.

3. Conduct a content audit

Now that you’ve identified the key resources within your organization and set clear goals, conduct an audit and create an inventory of all existing content. This will help you identify gaps and prioritize content creation based on the areas with the most direct impact on your goals. Consider segmenting your content by audience, topic area and channel. If organic search traffic is a key driver for your business, a topic cluster model could be valuable. This helps build your brand’s thought leadership around the topic areas most relevant to your business and its audience.

4. Document everything

According to recent research, marketers “who have a documented content marketing strategy report higher levels of overall content marketing success compared with those who have a verbal strategy only, or no strategy at all.” Yet, the same report shows that only 37% of marketers have a documented content strategy (Content Marketing Institute, 2018). Conducting a content audit and mapping out your goals are a great start, but you’ll want to create additional documentation that outlines topline strategy, process and ownership. This will arm you with information to take to the executive team, while also giving your team a resource to guide implementation and evaluate results.

5. Follow through

It’s likely you’re looking for some quick wins. However, understand that lead generation is a long-term investment. Map out your goals with concrete time frames that create built-in “checkpoints” for your team to evaluate progress and adjust course accordingly. Quicker wins are likely achieved through paid channels (e.g., paid search/social, partnerships and direct engagement); owned channels (e.g., website, social media) take more time to build equity and begin yielding fruit. Regardless, see your strategy through, but also don’t be afraid to course-correct along the way.

An effective B2B lead generation strategy may be very different in its execution depending on the organization’s goals and audiences. However, these steps are important considerations, especially as digital transformation continues to evolve. The CMO is uniquely positioned to be a growth driver. Take the time to plan and document everything upfront; you’ll be much better positioned to meet your marketing goals as well as those of your business.

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Justin is responsible for leading overall direction on all digital programs and projects as well as overseeing and advancing the agency's digital competency and teams. He works alongside our senior management team to provide strategic and tactical client counsel; help set client expectations; and collaborate with account teams on project implementation and competency training. Justin holds a Masters in Business Administration with a dual concentration in Marketing and Management Information Systems, and a Bachelor of Arts in English, General Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University.