Demand generation is a core component of an evolved lead generation program. The distinction between traditional lead generation and evolved lead generation is that with the latter, leads are qualified before they go to sales. Any leads that aren’t sales-ready are kept with marketing for lead nurturing.
As a B2B marketer, you may have a limitless supply of tools and channels to drive leads into the top of your funnel. So the next challenge is: How do you measure success?
Tying revenue to demand generation efforts is the first and most important metric for measuring the success of your campaigns. However, doing so isn’t always quick and simple – and ,as with many other marketing practices, there are many different ways to measure success. Raw leads, funnel transitions, meetings and appointments, proposals, time to sale – the list goes on.
While all of these metrics are important factors in your demand generation efforts, they may create only a partial snapshot of your program and not give your team the depth of information it needs to make agile adjustments. Or, on the flip side, using all of the above metrics may result in too much information to synthesize if you are new to demand generation.
Instead, you may want to start by using use these two simple ways to measure what is and isn’t successful in your demand generation efforts:
- Examine lead sources.
When you drill into your conversion stats, take a look at how conversion percentages change depending on the lead source. Does one source consistently outperform others – for example, do your trade show leads convert better than those from social media channels?
Also, are lead sources that cost more upfront typically bringing in higher ROI? Even if your PPC leads (to name one example) cost more, they may end up costing you less per customer if they perform faster/better.
- Track trends over time.
Following trends is key to determining success. When you track metrics over time to understand your prospect-to-lead, lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-win stages, you can determine not only the quality of leads you attract, but also how well marketing is doing in terms of lead generation.
If, for example, your prospect-to-leads are trending down you might find that the leads generated by those programs are taking longer to get through the funnel, or that they are not as qualified.
On the other hand, perhaps your lead-to-opportunity is trending up. This could suggest that marketing is doing a better job at creating MQLs.
Once you begin to collect this information, the next step is to create a forecasting plan that will give marketing increased credibility within your organization. Use revenue cycle analytics to understand lead conversion by type and, over time, to forecast what kind of impact marketing will have on revenue for future periods.
These numbers are valuable in two ways. First, sales can count on your opportunity forecasts to come up with their own numbers. This can be especially helpful if you have a short sales cycle – say, less than 30 days – as a majority of the opportunities generated may not have been in the pipeline at the beginning of the month.
Second, your ability to forecast efficiently will put marketing in the company dialog, which is exactly where you want it. With increased credibility, you’ll have a voice in the revenue cycle and a place at the management table.