Your lead generation strategy is always evolving, shifting from one tactic that doesn't work to another, trying out inbound marketing techniques, as well as more old-school outbound methods.
But are your key metrics staying the same? One mistake that marketers make is tracking the same metrics over and over again as their strategy evolves. This article will help you identify the metrics that best suit your lead generation efforts to improve your performance over time.
Inbound Lead Generation
Inbound lead generation comes down to creating value that can take the form of content, tools, or giveaways for your target audience, and using the power of search engines, social media distribution and word of mouth to attract qualified traffic. One of the most important metrics in lead generation is usually the cost per lead, or CPL. But since inbound marketing often costs you only time and labor, the cost per lead should not really be a concern with this strategy, unless you spend a lot of money outsourcing the creation of your offers.
The caveat to inbound marketing is that you have little or no control over who is taking advantage of your free offers, so it’s your responsibility to really understand your target customers and what will be valuable to them. Lead qualification is most important to ensure that you are not feeding the wrong leads to your sales team simply because they’ve shown interest in your free offers.
What should be tracked:
- Landing page conversion rates: Are your landing pages optimized to convert inbound visitors and capture their contact information?
- Most converting offers: Understand what is generating the most leads through content attribution, and create more similar offers/repurpose them in various formats.
- Lead to opportunity ratio (short term): Monitor if your inbound leads are turning into sales opportunities, or if you’re attracting the wrong leads.
- ROI (long term): Are your inbound leads turning into customers? Measure the revenue from inbound leads on the time and money spent creating offers.
Paid Lead Generation
Another lead generation strategy that goes hand-in-hand with your inbound marketing efforts involves putting a few dollars behind the promotion of your free resources. Instead of relying on the gods of SEO, you can make sure that your content is pushed to the right audience, through the right channels.
The challenge when using paid promotion is to keep the right balance between the cost per lead and the quality of leads. It can quickly become expensive to acquire leads that are highly targeted and interested in your offers. The focus should be on getting to know the ROI of a paid channel as soon as possible. If your sales cycle is too long to get such feedback in time, you can also use the leads to sales opportunity ratio as a leading indicator, but sooner rather than later you need to put your finger on the ROI of each channel. You can achieve proper channel attribution by tagging your campaigns with UTM codes and by using dedicated URLs and landing pages.
The data will allow you to track the following:
- Cost per lead (per channel): Which promotion channels provide the lowest CPL (all other things equal)?
- Average revenue per customer (short term): Are your paid promotion efforts bringing in the highest paying customers?
- ROI (long term): Is the return worth the investment for each channel? Should you double down on one very profitable channel?
Outbound Lead Generation
The last strategy that I would like to point to is outbound lead generation through prospecting. It consists of reaching out to targeted prospects that may have never heard of you before, but who are a good fit for your product.
This is often the least cost-effective strategy, because it takes more time and effort, and the conversion rates are usually lower because prospects have no existing relationship with your company. It may even be illegal to contact prospects without their consent depending on the channel that you use and the country where you live in. An outbound strategy will be most effective if you already have a strong inbound strategy in place because it will increase the odds that prospects have already heard of your company and see you as an authority in a certain subject area.
The main challenge of outbound marketing is tracking outreach to prospects through multiple channels like phone, email, and social media, and logging that activity in a centralized place like your CRM. Once you have an overview of all interactions taking place and the conversion rates on those interactions, you can start measuring the ROI of your outbound efforts.
An outbound marketing strategy should keep track of the following:
- Average number of attempts: How many attempts does it take on average to get a response from a prospect?
- Response rate (short term): What percentage of prospects engage in a discussion following an outreach?
- ROI (long term): Is the revenue generated higher than the cost of the time spent prospecting and reaching out to outbound leads (on multiple occasions)?
Capturing the Right Data
No matter which lead generation strategy (or mix of strategies) you decide to implement, you need to capture the right data to measure its performance. When using forms to capture information, prioritize form fields that are the most important in your qualification process and keep additional fields for the next submission by using progressive profiling. This will help you qualify the leads faster and funnel the lead through the right nurturing path.
Lastly, I can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining organized, clean data in your marketing automation software and your CRM—otherwise your metrics will be skewed. Try to avoid manual steps at all cost and pick tools that sync with your current marketing ecosystem.
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