How many leads do you actually need from marketing?

Since it’s become more difficult for sales people to get in front of prospects, many B2B companies are relying heavily on content marketing to supply top-of-the-funnel leads that can be converted into closed business. But how do they know if those marketing efforts are having impact on the bottom line?

Of course, the number of leads that you need to increase your revenue is highly variable based on the deal size, cycle time and closing rates. But for one client, we were able to calculate that for every $1 they spent on content marketing, they would get back $23—an enviable rate of return!

Here’s how we figured it out:

We started by looking at the total number of MQLs created over a 10-month period.

Based on their total marketing expenditure for the year, we were able to calculate that each MQL cost the company $40.92. 

We also looked at the four products that the company offered and segmented the inbound MQLs based on the opportunities created for each. We found that out of a total of 857 opportunities created, 73 of them had been won and 429 had been lost, giving them a close at the rate of about 14.5%.

The next step was to drill down into the MQL data and separate them by Marketing Sourced Opportunities (MQLs that were generated prior to opportunity creation, indicating that the lead came in solely from marketing campaigns) and Marketing Influenced Opportunities (where the company or sales person may have initiated contact, but used the content created to nurture the prospect through the sales cycle).

In the next view we found that these many of the 73 opportunities that had gotten to their final stage were actually sales sourced, 23 of them were supporting existing sales cycle, and 9 of them are marketing sourced. 

Again, note that this was just one product line within the business that has a very short sales cycle, but because they were winning about 42% of these opportunities, the importance of the digital pursuit taking place in tandem with the human pursuit increased the closing rate substantially.

In fact, the strongest close rates occurred when marketing accompanied the sales pursuit process.

In short, content marketing efforts were responsible for generating a total of 1,658 leads and over 50% of their total revenue for the year.

B2B Marketing Zone