Thought Leadership #4: Bringing Down the Housse: Smashmouth Marketing with Mike Damphousse

Having worked with Mike Damphousse over the last couple of years, I can tell you this:

  • He has a value-added opinion on anything and everything.  Check out his blog and you’ll believe me.
  • He is the expert in one of the hardest things to do in lead gen: Getting an appointment for the sales rep.

Damphousse is the founder of Green Leads LLC and is known as a smashmouth marketer with a heart — he believes in bringing value to people. I know this because he’ll offer his take to anyone, including his competitors. He’s building Green Leads from scratch. The company has already grown tremendously by focusing on quality and pay for performance marketing programs, helping it emerge as a big player in appointment setting, lead generation and market research for B2B marketers. And, as par for the course for anyone successful in providing value to marketers, Damphousse has 20 years of sales and marketing experience and was the CMO of two software companies.

Here’s what Damphousse had to say about marketing and lead generation:

1.    What are the three trends you see emerging in 2009?

  • More outsourcing of critical demand-creation functions
  • Lead Gen 2.0
  • Social media impacting the B2B lead gen world

2.    What are the biggest challenges for 2009?

The economy does make us a bit timid, but use it as an opportunity to play offense. Competitors will be cinching their belts. It’s an opportunity. Buyers are still out there, and the ones that are active will respond to your marketing programs. Don’t be shy; market with courage!

3.    What are three metrics that B2B marketers should care about and why?

  • Percent of leads converted to pipeline. Sorry “funnel.”
  • Percent of pipeline that closes
  • ROI of that program

But don’t be afraid to invest in some hard-to-measure marketing. Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are hard to measure, but look at trends. If the investments you are making in those programs are paying off, you will see increased inbound activity.

4.    What are the top oversights marketers are making regarding lead generation?

Don’t get caught up in the noise. I don’t quite remember the stats verbatim, but SiriusDecisions Inc. has some great stats on how much unsolicited marketing a typical executive receives over time. It’s incredible. Be different, be sincere and stand out from the crowd.

I also see a great deal of marketing dollars being spent on advertising, search engine marketing, etc.  It’s great to get the hand raisers, but have you looked at the price of quality keyword clicks on Google AdWords lately?  We’ve had some of our keywords bid up as high as $15 a click.  Try to pay that bill with any real traffic.

Oh, and lead scoring. Isn’t a lead either a quality lead or not? Why measure the in-between?

5.    What will you prescribe to marketers to carry out effective lead generation?

Don’t spend the budget on every idea you know. Diversify, but stay focused. Pick a handful of effective programs as opposed to all of them. Use experts, use technology, but DON’T use your sales team. Serve the leads to them in a quality package that’s ready to be sold to. Don’t inundate them with names, numbers and email addresses. They shouldn’t be doing the marketer’s job.  They should be face to face with prospects that have real issues to solve.

6.    What three Web 2.0 applications, cutting-edge technologies or lead generation sources do marketers HAVE to consider to be successful?

My top three are:

  • Salesforce with marketing automation tools and integrated call-center software.  You’d be amazed what you can do with Eloqua and an integrated VoIP call center.
  • All the crowd-supported sites such as LinkedIn and Jigsaw (check out the unlimited Jigsaw license, by the way).
  • Google apps. Integrated with Salesforce or stand alone, just use it. Share data and reports with your sales team, marketing vendors, management; provide sales-enablement tools — you name it.

7.    What do you hope for in B2B sales and marketing for the new year?

Courage. I’d like to see marketers pushing management teams to invest in the top line. If it weren’t for the top line, there would be no bottom line. Prove what we can accomplish. Evangelize your programs. Then get results. Marketing should be leading an organization, not responding to it.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • I was interested in Mike’s mention of “sorry funnel”. Do you not feel that the concepts of marketing qualified leads and sales accepted leads as defined by Sirius Decisions is not important?

  • Actually, that is a metric that I believe and follow. As far as Sirius Decisions methodology re: mqls vs sales accepted: love it….As a matter of fact, I now need to understand why Mike wrote “Sorry Funnel”….

  • I think the grammar of the comment was misunderstood. It was a tongue in cheek comment implying I shouldn’t use the word “Pipeline” on Craig’s “Funnel” blog. So when I said:

    Percent of leads converted to pipeline. Sorry “funnel.”

    I should have written: “funnel”, Sorry Craig for the use of “Pipeline”. I guess that’s why we need copy specialists, I guess.

    Since you brought it up though, I totally believe in Sirius Decisions’ concepts, although I’ve never been fond of their third metaphor for funnel and pipeline, “waterfall”. But definitely, there is a lead nurturing process. In fact, I wrote a blog piece on this a while back and I’ll share it here since I can’t figure out how to embed a link.

    I happen to enjoy poker tournaments and am a math geek poker player, which is a different breed. Part of winning in poker is understanding the equity of your hand. I’ll bypass all the math and explain it in layman’s terms. Basically it is the value of your hand as it relates to the investment you have made in it. I believe this applies to demand gen as well.

    Most marketers do not spend enough time looking at the investment they make at each phase of the funnel. They look at stages and lead scoring, but are they looking at the value of a lead and a demand generation/lead nurturing program? As a lead moves through the process, it picks up overall investment value – call it “lead equity” (am I coining a phrase?). My question(s) to marketers is this: there are several techniques, services and sources that will bypass, or I should say, expedite, these higher levels of the lead nurturing process, is each stage of that process increasing the lead equity? Is each investment adding the expected value (EV) at each stage? Is the equity in a lead when it hits your opportunity pipeline higher with one method than another?

    Services such as outsourced lead gen, appointment setting, lead brokering, or an inside sales team can provide one lead with high equity versus a hundred leads with little equity. We need to asses the value of the overall investment of each technique to the lead equity. Personally, I see a disproportionate investment in the highest levels of the funnel, which can result in low equity leads.

    So back to poker. When we find a technique that provides a higher value than others, go all in!

  • Thanks for the lengthy comments and for the clarification. Glad I wasn’t the only one that was confused! I really like the concept of lead equity. I think I’ll use that. I’ve personally seen results that demonstrate programs designed for the middle of the funnel that deliver highly targeted content to the right person at the right time increase the chances that leads with a higher equity will turn into sales opportunities.

  • Mike, Craig,
    Great article and great discussion. I like the concept of “lead equity”, but unlike poker, I think leads have two dimensions of how “good” they are. I’m not sure if lead equity counts for only one or both of these dimensions.

    What I mean is a lead can be the “right person” – a key exec in the right industry and right geography, and/or they can show the “right interest” – actively interested in your product or solutions right now. They can be any combination of these, and this leads to different “investments” to increase their lead equity.

    ie, if you find the right exec, but they are not interested, you would invest in higher level communications, value proposition, ideas, peer comparisons, etc, to spark interest (over time, this nurturing may take many quarters). If you find the wrong person (too junior) with the right interest, your “investment” is to try and get them to move you up the chain to someone with more power. Very different investments.

    (I wrote a bit more about that here:

    I think the lead equity concept is great, but would really need to take the different dimensions into account.

  • Mike, what do you see is driving increased outsourcing of critical demand-creation functions? I’m actually considering bringing demand-gen entirely in-house to get more value for money.


  • Steve,

    What you call dimension, fits perfectly into lead equity. In fact I got a couple emails from people asking more about lead equity, so I put together an overdone article on the topic that elaborates more into the math and understanding of lead equity. Without applying the term “dimension”, I believe the example of deciding which vertical market to invest in is addressing it.

    They key to the whole discussion is for us to not just “feel” what the value of a lead is, but to “understand” the value of that lead. Understanding is the first step towards knowledge (isn’t that a botched Neitzsche quote?).

  • Jep,

    You are right, I see definite growth in outsourced demand gen functions. I have many friends and colleagues who have asked me recently how our company is doing with all the economic issues and such. Frankly, other than one client putting on the brakes, a billion dollar company that just filed bankruptcy, we have been seeing new clients every month on an increasing basis for the past year.

    The economy may have had a hand in it: 1) Companies don’t want to invest in their own infrastructure and hiring, thus they outsource, 2) Companies realize that they have to invest in the top line or there will be no bottom line, and 3) Marketing professionals have realized they need to use experts instead of doing it all themselves (empire building or job survival).

    The reality is that most specialized vendors are just that, they are specialized. They do what they do because they are good at it and clients pay for it because it works.