Attention (not leads) should be B2B marketing’s primary measure

Leads, of course, are cleaner and reasonably easier to measure.  They are more tangible.  You can physically give them to your sales team.

But leads alone don’t tell the whole story.  So you generated a “lead”.  So what?  They downloaded your white paper.  Who cares?

How much of the white paper did they read?  Did they come back to visit your site or blog afterward?  What else did they read or engage with?

And what if you never generated that “lead” in the first place?  Does that mean the prospect has no value?  Does it really mean you (marketing) haven’t generated any value to move that prospect closer to a sale?

Let’s say that same prospect, who has never filled out one of your forms, reads your blog 2-3 times a week.  They follow and periodically read your CEO’s Twitter feed.

That attention has value.  It means you’ve already accelerated the awareness and mindshare game.

For the lead that’s already in your database, an acceleration of attention is equally if not more important.

Leads may be easy to measure, but they only tell part of the story.  I could easily argue that attention is a far better measure of marketing’s impact, especially as you correlate attention (type, volume, frequency, velocity, etc.) to movement in the sales pipeline and buying process.

Perhaps we should measure this not as a binary “lead or no lead” status, but instead give prospects an attention score.  That score, of course, would be dynamic.  Prospects can accelerate attention, and just as quickly fade back away.  The overall attention score as well as recent positive changes to that score could all signal sales or marketing follow-up.

And as you begin to more comprehensively attribute those attention types to sales velocity and conversion, you can further weight and score that attention accordingly.

We have lead scoring today, of course, and a lot of companies are already actively scoring attention.  But more often than not, that scoring and attention measuring is seen as a means to an ends.

What if it was the other way around?  What if generating or registering a lead was simply one of several ways we measure and value attention as the primary measure of marketing success?

Worth thinking about…