Build Pipeline Not Hypeline

Posted by on October 29, 2012

Sure, you want to take advantage of some hot sexy trend and use it to pull loads of leads. That’s why you wrote the definitive guide to “Getting Better ROI out of Mobile Big Data Social Interactions” then you threw it on your site, mass e-mailed it, leveraged multiple paid channels, Tweeted it, FB’d it, LinkedIn’d it, took a picture and Instagram’d it, threw it on Slideshare and armed your sales force.

Then you celebrated as this amazing piece of content delivered the highest lead numbers marketing has ever seen.  Now, you just wait for the sweet payoff – oh yeah, you’re not just filling the sales pipe, you’re gonna break dem pipes!

A couple months later, there’s some pipeline but just a few months after that, whoops, there it went. Where did it go?

In reality, there wasn’t anything to sell to people. Sales probably had some conversations that required a product marketer to be pulled into – because someone had to create a connection between the hype and reality. But, in reality this content didn’t promote even a conversation that was actionable.  Sure, there were some heady “innovation” conversations but you can hardly understand even two of four BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) qualifications from such a conversation. You may have carved out a nice time-consuming, long lead proof-of-concept project (ohh joy).

Maybe this piece was good for your brand, maybe it was good for thought leadership, but if you were trying to build pipeline, you paid because of the opportunity cost. What could you have put out that’s more actionable?

So, how does something pass the “Is it Pipeline or Hypeline Building?”

Here’s my test:

  • Is the content’s subject matter something that can be purchased today? (not purchased through a long custom development engagement.)
  • Does the sales team understand the content?
  • Did you get leads that match the target buyer you are looking for (as opposed to innovation tire kickers)?

If you answered no to any of the above questions, it’s highly probable that the piece was more around hypeline building.  In some cases you may sell directly to the R&D guys, but they look awfully close to a CTO who loves to have brainy conversations. Or, you are a professional services organization.