Perhaps the quarter is not shaping up well. The number is a tiny spot on the horizon. The board is going to be on your rear end if this doesn’t get fixed quickly. Your background is in operations, not sales and marketing. You need help understanding the issues in order to fix them.  


When you ask why the number is getting missed:


  • Sales tells you they aren’t getting enough leads from marketing
  • Marketing says sales can’t convert leads to orders.


If you aren’t sure who’s telling the truth, start by taking the CEO’s Funnel Test. This will give you an objective view of your entire sales funnel. Rather than thrash about and point fingers, use this to educate yourself on where the problems lie.


How to Spot Issues

There are 3 sales productivity cycles you can use to spot issues.


Sales Productivity Cycles resized 600 


1. Demand Generation – Creating interest and attracting new potential customers.

2. Lead Management – Converting leads to qualified opportunities.

3. Opportunity Management – Converting opportunities to customers.


The CEO’s Funnel Test will help educate you on areas of opportunity in your revenue stream. Have your marketing leader fill it out and send it to you.


Quick Tip: If your Marketing team can’t complete the CEO’s Funnel Test, this is issue #1. It means you lack definition in your funnel and can’t make informed decisions. Included in the tool are common definitions to help you with this.


Educating Yourself on the Funnel

Here are 3 ways you can educate yourself on why the number got missed. 


Issue #1: Demand Generation

You are generating a ton of inquiries, yet few of them become leads. Your demand generation efforts have attracted visitors. However, they may be the wrong type of visitors (competitors, students, etc.). Or, maybe they are the right visitors who didn’t find enough value in your content.  


Here are 4 areas to explore to find answers:[p]

  1. Low website visits – When buyers go to look for you, they can’t find you.
  2. Low open rates – Marketing produced content (blog, white paper, etc .) Few people opened it. The subject/title of your content missed the mark.
  3. Low Click-throughs – The title worked. Once the audience opened the content, it didn’t keep them engaged.
  4. Low form fills – The audience didn’t provide their information (email, title, etc.). The value of the offer was too low. They jumped ship.


CEO educational tip: Read this article for CEOs to educate yourself on Demand Generation best practices.


Issue #2: Lead Management

Visitors are showing up and providing enough information to become a “lead.” The problem occurs once your leads get into the hands of your Lead Development Reps (LDRs). For some reason, they can’t get them qualified and over to sales.


Your LDRs are trying to get people who are interested to actually take action. This is the most difficult part of the funnel to master. It is an educational role, not a sales role.   


If you are having issues here, look into the following 3 areas:



CEO educational tip: Read these articles on lead nurturing and how to understand your buyer.


Issue #3: Opportunity Management

When you review the Test, you find leads are making it to the sales force. But, they don’t convert to orders. This is where you’re likely to hear sales blaming marketing and vice versa.


Here are 4 places to look for potential solutions:


  • Opportunities aren’t real – LDRs are passing leads to sales reps too quickly. Once the reps realize the prospect isn’t ready to go, they abandon ship.
  • Opportunity management process – Reps aren’t following it. Or, they’re being outsold by the competition.
  • Knowing the buyer – see above.
  • Hanging on – Reps spinning their wheels on deals that aren’t real. They don’t know when to walk away.


CEO educational tip: Consider using win-loss calls to diagnose why you lose. Attend a couple sales calls to see for yourself how sales engages your customers.  


The above are a few potential causes for your team missing the number. The key is using the Funnel Test to understand the bottlenecks.


The first step is educating yourself. Once you’ve identified the issues, prioritize areas that help you make the number. For more info best practices to implement, you can read more here and here.