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B2B Lead Generation: Is It Working For You?

Almost every B2B marketer will be assigned the task of lead generation at some point. Particularly in earlier stage companies – that’s what we’re hired to do.

“We want more leads for sales to close”.

So many marketers then follow this process in response:

  1. They slap together an ebook, guide or something else of value in exchange for a prospect’s email address, job title and company they work for.
  2. They place this resource somewhere their Dream Customers will see it
  3. Depending on the maturity of the company, the ‘lead’ will go through a qualification process before it’s handed off to sales

Rinse and repeat.

The team initially gets excited when leads start flowing in. But it’s very likely you’ll start to hear some rumblings from sales about these leads being ‘low quality’. Leads not turning up to meetings. Leads not qualified to buy. Leads not interested in your product or service. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

My advice is to get ahead of this. Take ownership of the job you have been hired to do. Marketing isn’t just there to generate leads. We’re here to make meaningful contributions to the business, and to help it generate revenue.

So measuring whether or not your lead generation is an efficient process for acquiring new customers for your business is essential.

How To Measure If Your Lead Generation Is Working

If you’re going to evaluate whether lead generation is profitable for your business, you’ll need to consider the costs associated with generating leads and the value of those leads to your business.

At a high level, this is:

Revenue From Leads / Cost To Get Leads

Here’s how to get your revenue number:

  1. Pick a period of time to measure performance. We recommend 6-12 months
  2. In your CRM, pull the amount of Closed-Won revenue that came from leads marketing generated
  3. Adjust the revenue figure if necessary to account for the average Lifetime Value (LTV) of a client

Here’s how to get your cost per lead number:

  1. Look at data from the same period of time that you analysed revenue
  2. Sum the cost of advertising to get these leads (the amount you spent on all advertising like Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, social ads, sponsorships, etc.)
  3. Sum the cost of tools and tech used (marketing automation tools etc.)
  4. Sum the cost of labour for this period (salaries and contractors involved in marketing)

Now take that revenue number, and divide by the cost per lead number.

For example, let’s say we’ve gone into our CRM and seen that over the last 6 months, 50 leads turned into closed-won revenue, totalling $150,000.

You can adjust this amount to account for LTV.

Let’s say your LTV is $5,000 – your adjusted revenue figure is: 50×5,000 = $250,000

Marketing over the last 6 months is expected to generate $250,000 from the leads they have brought in

Let’s see how this weighs against to our marketing expenses over the last 6 months (the same period) to see if we’re profitable.

Marketing over the last 6 months has spent $208,000 acquiring new customers

2 x marketer salaries: $100,000

Tools & tech: $8,000

Ad spend: $100,000

Add these up, and you get Total marketing costs: $208,000

Now to see if we’re making more money than we’re spending:

$250,000 / $208,000 = ROI of 1.2

So for every dollar we spent on marketing, we’d expect to get $1.20 back.

Looks healthy, right?

Take It One Step Further With Sales

If you want to take it one step further, you should also sum the cost of the sales staff required to close those leads. Because remember – it costs money every time they chase a prospect, whether they turn into a paying customer or not.

We may have sent sales 50 leads that close into won deals, but they were just a fraction of the total leads that we sent them to chase.

We might have sent them 2,000 leads over that last 6 months to pursue.

So it’s worth adding the costs of sales chasing all of those leads – because that’s a very real cost on the business.

You might need to work with finance to figure out what this is, but let’s just say you had 4 sales staff chasing these 2,000 leads over the last 6 months, with an average salary of $60,000 each for 6 months.

That’s $60,000 x 4 = $240,000

Adding the cost of servicing the leads from sales to your total marketing expenses

Now our total expenses are $448,000

And our total revenue is still $250,000

250,000 / 448,000 = 0.56

So for every $1 we are spending, we are only getting back $0.56.


This Is A Common Problem With Lead Generation

This is a very typical scenario when businesses invest heavily in lead generation without examining the downstream effects. It becomes a quantity over quality game, which looks okay until you realise the very real business costs when chasing quantity.

In my experience, marketers often cop the brunt of the blame when the business finally figures out that their lead generation is completely unsustainable. It’s not a nice position to be in, which is why we’ve built The B2B Playbook and The B2B Incubator to share how marketers can generate revenue much more efficiently.

I'm George, and I'm an embarrassingly passionate B2B marketer.

But it wasn't always that way. When I first got into B2B marketing, I actually found it so confusing. There was conflicting advice - and I kept pursuing the promise of "the one thing" that would work - with varying success.

With my own agency and working in-house, I tested different strategies and tactics to see:
(a) which ones could be done by a small marketing team
(b) which ones actually resulted in REVENUE for the business

We then turned the stuff that works into one cohesive strategy that I follow when I consult with B2B clients.

It's called our 5 BEs Framework.

And now we're dedicated to sharing it, right here, on The B2B Playbook.

We're giving away our 5 BEs Framework step-by-step, and creating the resource I wish I had when I first fell in love with B2B marketing.

When I say step-by-step - I mean it! Start the podcast at Episode 1, and work your way through.

If that sounds like too much, we give you the strategy, templates & tools in our 12 week program - The B2B Incubator.

Check it out here:

I'm also extremely active and share much of our framework on LinkedIn - so please feel free to connect with me there and say hi!

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