B2B Lead Generation: Are You Killing the Golden Goose?


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This is the first in a series of four blogs about B2B Lead Generation marketing and sales metrics, and proverbs. There are plenty of expressions or proverbs you hear every day that are familiar and understood (such as “a penny saved is a penny earned”). Other expressions contain useful advice that you don’t really get—because you don’t understand.

Something else not well understood in many marketing and sales departments is the importance of certain metrics.

This first blog is about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing results and the proverb or expression “Kill not the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

A Greek fable tells of a man who possessed a goose that laid golden eggs. Impatient by nature, he was not satisfied with one golden egg every day or so—he wanted all of the eggs at once. So, he killed the goose—opened her up and—well, you can guess the rest of the story…

Our experience is that companies are killing the golden goose by focusing too much time and money on inbound marketing campaigns (and technology) and not enough time and money on outbound marketing and nurture campaigns. Over the next four weeks we will talk about all of the statistics on the following table, though today we are going to focus on lead rate:

Lead Rate Chart

  • Based on over 60,000 completed company dispositions per year (annualized for 2012).
  • Leads and expected metrics are defined in carefully created and detailed program plans and lead rates are impacted (particularly in 2010) by the mix and quality of inbound dispositions.
  • Qualified Rate includes leads, pipeline (specific action required by PointClear) and nurtures (qualified companies with no immediate pain/need or interest).
  • No Response means we completed a multi-touch, multi-media touch cycle without reaching the prospect or their reaching back out to us. As info, 20-30% of opportunities or leads developed for clients are as the result of a call or email back due to our outbound voicemail messages followed by outbound emails.

In 2010 just over 40% of our dispositions or completed companies were from inbound responses. At that time we had one client that depended almost exclusively on webinars and telephone follow-up to drive leads (they also had a relatively generous/loose lead definition). However, in 2011 and 2012 the percent of our efforts focused on inbound dropped to 22% and 11% respectively. So, the overall lead rates in 2011 and 2012 are probably more comparable than comparing either to 2010 (2010 is included in the analysis for reasons that will become apparent as this series continues).

Note that while outbound lead rates increased in 2012 (first half) as compared to 2011, inbound lead rates actually declined. I can tell you that a significant reason for this was one client’s propensity to source cheap, so-called, leads from various sources that included one “content aggregator” (a collection of content from multiple sources designed to attract a specific audience) producing “leads” that converted to real opportunities at a very low rate. For example: 6,000 out of 9,000 leads generated by one client’s marketing department had a 1.28% lead rate resulting in a cost per lead of $2,662.24. Yes, while the cost per so-called raw lead was $23.15, the real cost per qualified lead was 1.96 greater than “cold” outbound prospecting and nurturing. You can read more about this by clicking this link to Point C: From Chaos to Kickass – 3 Steps to Sales and Marketing Optimization.

It is not as important that you compare your own lead, qualified and no-response rates to PointClear’s experience. We have clients who generate terrific ROI with 3% lead rates and other clients that boast lead rates of upwards to 10%. The important thing to do is to:

  1. Start tracking your disposition rates now and over time.
  2. Track them by source.
  3. Compare inbound and outbound results (including all costs).
  4. Document, for each source, the percent of leads actually accepted and qualified by sales.
  5. And, please do this BEFORE you declare victory, give up on outbound programs and end up nine months later (as one client did) with deal sizes about 1/3 of what they had been and almost no pipeline.

By the way, the definition of a proverb is: a short and expressive saying in common use, which is recognized as conveying some accepted truth or useful advice. If you want to read more about proverbs and their origins, click here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan McDade
Dan McDade founded PointClear in 1997 with the mission to be the first and best company providing prospect development services to business-to-business companies with complex sales processes. He has been instrumental in developing the innovative strategies that drive revenue for PointClear clients nationwide.


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