There's no question that lead generation is the key for growth for any B2B business; sometimes, however, a lead generation campaign can go awry and end up with a negative ROI.
Whatever the reason for that may be—and there are many—if you want your business to succeed, you need to make the most of your lead generation campaigns and achieve the highest ROI possible.
Here are a few ways you can do that.
Get better leads
What's the one thing that makes a lead generation campaign work? Leads.
The quality of your leads determines the quality of your ROI. In other words, if you bring relevant people—those who are truly interested in what you have to sell—to your landing pages, you will improve your ROI.
The question then becomes, How do you get better leads?
First, create relevant, high-quality content. There's no question that the primary way to improve your lead generation campaigns is by creating great content. Everybody knows that, and works hard to do so, but let's first understand what makes a piece of content relevant.
The relevance of the content you offer depends on the stage of the lead in the buying process. If a lead is in his first stage, when he's the most unaware of his problem nor your solution, offering an article that educates him on his situation may be the best content you can give him. On the other hand, offering him a guide on all the reasons why he needs the software you provide isn't something he might be interested in; if he ends up converting, it's likely it will have been for the wrong reasons.
Second, keep your lead database clean. If your business has already done more than 10 lead generation campaigns for the past few years, it's likely you have old leads in your database that are killing your ROI calculations. After all, why would a lead that you got five years ago still be interested in what you have to offer?
Your database should have only the most current and valid contact data possible. If your lead database is a few years old (or even a few months old), you need to clean out the ones that aren't relevant any longer. You have to make sure that the leads you get are legitimate before you hand them to your salespeople.
Finally, acquire leads from relevant sources. If you want to sell an enterprise B2B SaaS program, and for some reason you got a lead from Instagram, there's a high likelihood that person isn't truly an enterprise manager who is interested in your software. So make sure to bring people into your funnel from better sources.
Optimize your funnel
The problem here is whether you have a leaky sales or marketing funnel—whether leads are leaking and you aren't converting enough people.
How do you "convert" people into leads? You begin by following a few simple psychological principles that the psychologist Robert Cialdini explains in his book Influence. Those principles, including the following, explain why people do things that may not be rational for them to do:
- Commitment and consistency
- Social proof
(Marketing nerds probably figured out I missed the "Liking" principle, but it isn't relevant here).
How do you optimize your funnel using these psychological principles? A few ideas might help:
- Give without asking. Creating relevant content that offers value, without asking for anything in return, is a good way to use the reciprocity principle. As the saying goes, "Give, and you shall receive." That content can be something as simple as a tip or as complicated as an e-book.
- Make them say "yes" to just one simple request. Before sending them to your landing page, make them to overtly say "yes" to your request to visit your landing page. This simple act triggers the commitment and consistency principle.
- Show them you are an expert in your industry. By showing yourself to be an expert, you will touch on the authority and social proof principles. Showing awards won, conferences in which you have participated, clients you have worked for, and professional certifications you've earned helps to achieve this goal.
- Make your offer scarce. Make your offers time-sensitive or limited to a certain amount of seats or downloads. That will trigger the scarcity principle, which is one of the most powerful ones I've encountered personally.
Analyze and act
You can do everything right, but if you don't know the results of what you are doing your lead generation campaigns aren't going to be worth much in the long run. Once you start getting results from your lead gen campaign, you need to analyze your results and act on them.
Start this process with an analysis of the deals that your company has closed. How did these closed deals enter the system? Take a look at your analytics and ask your salespeople or marketing managers for more information.
To make this process easier, there are a few pieces of data you want to record for each acquisition channel and campaign:
- Number of leads you got
- Number of deals won
- Percentage of deals won
- Cost of campaign
- Cost per lead
- Cost per deal
- Total revenue
- Average deal size
(You may want to add a few more that are unique to your company.)
With all this information, break down your results by marketing tactic used and analyze the following:
- Total lead volume: How many leads has each tactic generated?
- Total deal volume: How many deals have you closed for each tactic?
- Qualified lead volume: How many of your leads were still interested when your sales team contacted them?
- Percentage of qualified leads per marketing channel: Use the previous numbers to derive this number.
- Cost per lead: How much did each lead end up costing you to generate?
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To sum up: if you increase the quality of your leads, improve the effectiveness of your funnel, and analyze your results thoroughly, you will be able to maximize your lead generation campaign ROI and grow your business.
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