Quality vs. Quantity: Successful Lead Generation on a Budget

August 10, 2016

Quality vs. Quantity: Successful Lead Generation on a Budget

Editor's Note: This post has been contributed by Laura Luckman Kelber, Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Design.

I just got back from the B2B Marketer Awards and Conference, where I was honored to share a case study on Sandstorm’s award-winning brand launch for Holden. During the day’s events, the conversation kept returning to the same topic: how B2B marketers can create quality lead generation campaigns on tight budgets and timetables.

How do you own attention and quickly lead discerning tech customers down the sales funnel when time—and money—are of the essence? Focus on the quality of your leads and not just the quantity.

Developing Your Test Strategy

One of the most critical components of creating a quality lead generation plan is developing a test strategy with measurements that align with your business goals. While most marketers and sales teams use Cost Per Lead (CPL) as a success metric, Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) captures the overall return on investment of marketing and sales efforts by associating costs with a closed sale or specific action.

The challenge for you as a marketer, especially if you’re marketing technology with a long and complex sales cycle, is acquiring leads for your sales team. By using CPL, you only see the volume of leads without insight into their quality. While your campaign might have great volume, that volume could be clogging the sales funnel and soaking your sales team, limiting their effectiveness.

The Benefits of Cost Per Acquisition

Recently, a SaaS provider came to us with a sales funnel full of congestion.While their campaigns had good volume, their sales team reported that their leads consisted of people without the authority to make decisions and companies without the budget for the provider’s services. By digging into their metrics and moving them to a CPA model, we were able to help them focus their spend on better-qualified leads and increase their ROI. SaaS businesses, in particular, benefit from the CPA model because it allows them to find engaged clients that fully utilize products and offer insightful feedback.

With CPA as a success metric, you can see exactly where the quality leads come from and distribute your budget to the tactics that provide big returns. CPA forces your organization to look at the entire sales process from awareness to contract while providing you with a metric that helps you develop your customer personas, then find more leads that match those criteria. As a bonus, using CPA will make for a very happy sales team, and what marketer doesn’t want that?

So, why don’t people use CPA more regularly? Looking at the entire prospect journey in the B2B space is a tricky and time-consuming process, especially when there are multiple touch points online and offline that are difficult to track. Taking the time to sit down with your sales and finance partners to map out separate interactions and agreeing to valuations for the overall process will give you much better analytic insights into what’s working and what’s not. You may find that a more expensive top-of-the-funnel or middle-of-the-funnel tactic ultimately gives you a greater return on investment.

Successful Lead Generation in Action

Our clients, The Axelrod Group, were launching a new book called Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done. With a very small budget and lofty goals to meet, our team worked collaboratively with their team to evaluate and prioritize all current and potential lead generation activities and provide them with the greatest return.

Paid search, remarketing, and banner ads weren’t nimble or cost-effective enough for us to utilize on this project. We had to dig deeper than these common tactics to identify and engage with an audience of executives quickly. That’s when we thought of LinkedIn. The platform was one of the most effective tools we used in the campaign, allowing us to reach the Axelrod Group’s target audience of executives and business influencers at a rapid rate, and make the biggest impact with their limited marketing dollars.

In addition to marketing on LinkedIn, we recommended SEO, email, and social campaigns to drive awareness and book purchases. We implemented UX best practices on their website to prioritize book material and built a content strategy to garner significant reach for their stellar content.

As a result of our efforts and the superior quality of the client’s product, Let’s Stop Meeting Like This became a top ten Amazon business book upon launch. By prioritizing tactics based on CPA and ROI as opposed to CPL, and utilizing social media channels like LinkedIn, we were able to reach an influential group that drove book sales beyond expectations.

Tech marketing is more complicated than ever, and it’s time to embrace the challenge or fall behind. Stay ahead of the pack with Beneath the Surface: Taking a Deeper Look at Today’s Empowered Tech Buying Process.