Pressures are mounting on companies to maximize marketing ROI. In other words, the money spent on lead generation should show a strong return related to sales revenue. This money should be evaluated so it is continually applied to the highest yielding program(s). To do this, marketers must gain visibility into individual programs to determine the number and quality of leads they generate, and how many ultimately transform into closed sales.
But the issue doesn’t stop there. Increasing the value of lead generation dollars also means ensuring the leads being handed to costly sales resources are indeed “sales ready.” According to CSO Insights’ Sales Performance Optimization Study (2008), salespeople are generating 50% of their own leads. That’s an expensive proposition and raises the question – what is marketing doing?
It’s clear marketers must find ways to track and manage leads through the lead life cycle. This requires the ability to evaluate leads, determine when leads are “sales ready,” and when they are not. Additionally, marketers must take responsibility to nurture those leads that aren’t “sales ready” to maximize the value of what they’ve spent on lead generation dollars.
Industry benchmarks suggest that leads must be continuously “touched” before they close. About 80% of leads close after 5 contacts and sometimes it’s closer to 9-11 touches. If you’re assuming the value of lead generation dollars comes from one email blast or a month of AdWords, you’re not on the right track to understanding how to increase value. Nurturing leads (through multiple touches) as part of lead generation programs will increase the return of dollars.
Lisa Cramer is president and co-founder of LeadLife Solutions, a provider of on-demand lead management software that generates, scores, and nurtures leads for B2B marketers. For more information on lead management or best practices call 1-800-680-6292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.