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November 18, 2005


Justin Sullivan

As a sales guy, I guess I just look at this issue from an entirely different perspective.

What PR firms (with a B2B practice) are talking about these days is measuring the number of leads that they produce - generally speaking. This then becomes great ammo for budget time, and in general to justify their existance. Others want to take it a step further and look at hard-dollar metrics (revenue generated from PR leads).

The challenge is that most marketing departments feel that their job is to fill the top end of a sales funnel with leads. Once the leads are in the funnel, it goes to sales and marketing's job is done. Looks great on paper, and marketing can (hopefully) show progress.

In this mentality, it's perfectly acceptable to throw $40k at a trade show and come back with 300 names of people who stopped by a booth to pick up a tzotchke.

The dirty little secret is that sales guys know these leads are DOA. Thus, the return on this investment is nill.

True sales professionals should not be paid 6-figures to chase down unqualified leads. This should be done up-front by someone (or some organization) who'se job is to ask the right questions (Is this project funded? Who is the economic buyer? Is there a true business need for this solution?) *before* engaging a field rep.

Are PR and brand-building valuable? Absolutely. Is it the silver bullet? Hardly. There is a lot more work that should go into qualifying something before it even reaches the sales radar.

Nick Wreden

Thanks for your feedback. However, a couple of comments are in order.

First, the name is Wreden, not Wrenden.

Second, I do not sell lead management systems, which makes it a bit difficult for people to buy a system from me. I am an international brand consultant. I do, however, believe that every company should have a lead management system.

Third, the ultimate goal of every PR or branding investment must be to increase profitability. If that is accepted as the goal, then why not measure PR in terms of its contribution to profitability? Doesn't profitability have more relevance -- and thus give PR professionals more credibility -- in executive suites than, say, as you suggest, "web site downloads?"

Nick Wreden, CEO
Author, ProfitBrand: How to Increase the Profitability, Accountability and Sustainability of Brands.

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