Monday, July 27, 2009

 

B2B lead generation: Four better measures of success

If you work for or with a marketing team that drives leads for a sales team, it’s likely a mistake to measure your success based on lead volume.

Lead volume doesn’t matter.

What matters, of course, is revenue. Your job as a marketer is to give your sales team the best opportunities possible to close business, increase sales, and grow the value of the overall business. To that effect, there are far better ways to measure marketing success instead of pure leads. Here are four I like in particular:

  • Lead Quality: Leads are only good if they represent individuals or companies who can buy. Sit down with your sales team and agree on a common definition for a qualified lead. This can include things like company size, title, industry, purchase timeline – whatever you agree on. Leads you generate that aren’t quite “in profile” aren’t necessarily bad – some will still have revenue in them – but your primary job is to focus on optimizing volume and cost of the in-profile leads first.
  • Pipeline Contribution: Simply put, how many of those leads generated become active sales opportunities? Sure, this step requires work by your sales team, but it’s another good indicator of lead quality. This step also requires marketing to work collaboratively with sales to get the job done. No more passing leads over the wall and walking away. Marketing’s job includes helping the sales team continue working with new prospects until they’re ready to buy.
  • Deal Size: If you look deep into your lead generation metrics, I guarantee you’ll find trends that help you increase deal size at the lead level. Do particular industries buy more? Do certain titles tend to buy more products? Certain company sizes, geographies? Find the trends that lead to bigger deals, and find ways to generate more leads like that moving forward.
  • % and # of Deals from Nurture Database: If a lead isn’t ready to buy, but hasn’t said no, it’s marketing’s job to nurture that prospect until it’s ready to be passed back to sales. How well does your marketing team drive interest and urgency with your nurture database? How well does marketing identify when nurtured prospects are ready to buy? This is a great way to ensure your marketing team is innovating ways to drive urgency among your prospect database, and many of those urgency drivers will work in primary lead generation channels & campaigns as well.

Last but not least, there's of course cost per lead all the way through to the sale. Too many B2B marketers measure cost per lead (and sometimes even cost per in-profile lead), but fail to look at relative marketing cost of the opportunity and sale. A certain lead source can look great based on cost per lead, but if the conversion to opportunity and sale (not to mention lifetime value) is too low, leads that cost more can actually be better for the business after sale price and renewals are factored in.

What success measures work for your marketing team to drive focus on revenue?


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