Marketers: do you know where your leads come from?
Knowing which ads are generating the highest quality leads is the key to generating more of them.
September 19, 2016
You’ve all been there: sat in the meeting with the CMO, who rests his or her hands firmly on the table, looks the marketing team straight in the eyes, and in a voice that really means business asks “how are we going to drive more leads?”
If you’re a smart B2B marketer, here’s what you’ll probably do: you’ll pick out a ‘Big Rock’ piece of value-adding content that’s relevant to the audience you want to target, put it behind a data capture form, and promote it through a combination of paid and earned that will persuade people of the value of sharing details in order to download it.
This works brilliantly when you’re promoting your Big Rock through Sponsored Content in the LinkedIn feed – because you know exactly who you’re targeting, and you probably already have some LinkedIn Analytics available about the types of content that most engage that particular audience. You can be confident that you’ll drive leads and you can be confident that they’ll be the right ones.
Do you have to trade quality for volume when generating leads?
But of course, if you’re a smart marketer, you’ll also know that converting someone into a lead in exchange for a piece of content is only one type of journey that a prospect can take – and it’s likely to produce its best results amongst people who are already engaging with your brand and content and can see the value in sharing their details to access more of it. To meet those stretching lead targets that your boss is talking about, you need to be doing other things too. The problem is, those other things often don’t have the same measurability – and you can’t say with the same confidence what quality of leads they will be driving.
Advertising is an obvious strategy for any marketer to turn to when the pressure is on to increase lead volume. Through it, you can reach large numbers of potential prospects, at all stages of the journey – and seek to persuade them to put their hands up as a lead through a direct call to action. If one of the actions you take from your meeting with the CMO is to put together an ad campaign then you’ll be fairly confident of having a larger bag of leads to hand over to sales. The problem is, you’ll have much less idea about the quality of those leads. You’ll be bracing yourself for awkward meetings a few weeks later when your sales reps announce they’d like to discuss what your definition of a qualified lead really is.
This is the danger when the pressure’s on – you can easily find yourself adopting tactics to chase a higher volume of leads quickly, but losing sight of quality in the process. It’s often felt like an inevitable trade-off – but what if it’s a trade-off you don’t have to make?
Measuring ads properly in order to manage them properly
“The big difference for us is that we can measure the impact of our LinkedIn ads right from within our campaign manager interface,” says Christian Weichelt of Unit4, the Netherlands-based enterprise software provider. Unit4 has become one of the first advertisers to make use of conversion tracking on LinkedIn, which records how different levels of exposure or interaction with a display ad translate into eventual conversions. “Conversion tracking means we can make sure that we’re not only driving traffic, but real business.”
Conversion tracking gives display advertisers proper visibility in terms of which ads are generating which leads – and whether those leads fit the profile they are looking for. It opens up a powerful channel for driving leads at scale – and provides the same level of visibility for a range of different types of customer journey: when somebody clicks on an ad but also if they are simply exposed to it, don’t click it at all, but take some action later on as a result of encountering your message. With LinkedIn data you’re able to get a full view of all of the different journeys your leads take on the way to becoming leads.
This means that your answer to the CMO’s question can be a lot, lot better. It’s not just a question of investing more in ads, boosting lead volume and turning a blind eye to lead quality for a while. Instead you can see the profile and quality of leads that each of your ads is helping to drive – and optimise your approach around those that genuinely align with your objectives. The compromise between volume and quality of leads quickly disappears.
This is what’s possible when you know who your leads really are – and where all of them are coming from. It enables a more complete, more strategic and more responsive approach to demand generation – and we think that’s what every marketer should be demanding.