Whether or not you believe the aphorism, “What Gets Measured Gets Done”, lead volume is an important metric to most businesses. Measuring your lead volume on a consistent basis is critical to hitting business goals such as your Sales targets. A lead volume report is something the executive team expects at the end of the month, or often in the middle of the month if Sales is not on target. However prior to pulling lead volume goals and quotas for your team out of your hat, there are some key things to consider.
6 Ideas to Consider Prior to Creating Lead Volume Goals For your Marketing Team
- Track the correct lead volume metric. The particular lead volume metric varies from business to business. Number of raw leads generated may be important to some and to others it is number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). If you have an SLA (service level agreement) with your Sales team that metric may be the number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) or Sales Accepted Leads (SALs). Think about the appropriate metric(s) for your business and plan to measure that.
- Establish your lead volume goals based on your Sales goals. Work backwards from your Annual revenue goals and use historical deal conversion and lead conversion data to establish your goals. e.g. Say your Annual goal is to hit $5 million revenue and your average deal size is $100K, you need to win 50 deals to hit that goal. If your Opportunity to Win rate is 50% you need 100 opportunities to get to 50 deals and if 50 leads yield an Opportunity, you need 5000 leads (or qualified leads, depending on your business) to hit your Sales targets. This allows you to calculate the number of leads you need to generate every month.
- Plan to track your lead volume consistently (i.e. daily). Tracking your lead volume consistently will allow you to control it and provide leads to Sales when they need them most. Hitting the proverbial hockey stick at the end of the month or quarter might make your marketing team look like heroes in theory but will not make you popular with the Sales team. The lead volume needs to be ahead of plan in the early part of the sales cycle so reps are working on raw leads early and at plan towards the end of the Sales cycle when Sales is busy closing out qualified opportunities. Low quality leads at the end of the month or quarter are not helpful and in fact will probably not get follow-up on till they are stale.
- Account for Growth.The world is flat, but unfortunately no one likes flat graphs. In the above example we established that your team needs to generate 5000 leads per year or approximately 415 leads per month. In theory you could average that number of leads per month and hit your goals but in reality your executive team wants you do be doing a little better every month. In fact if your Sales team is growing, you need to be doing a lot better every month.
- Break down your lead plan by Organic vs. Paid Leads. The reality is marketing is viewed as a cost center. To prove that your are a revenue source the majority of your leads should be inbound or organic. The shorter you are falling on your lead goals, the more money you are spending on PPC, advertising or other paid Channels to make up for that difference. Any goal is obtainable with an unlimited budget but we rarely have that liberty. If you plan and track your leads goals by organic versus paid leads you can manage that a lot better and keep marketing costs down.
- Measure recycled, older Leads. Every lead model, plan and goal should have a strategy to recycle older leads since those are sunk costs. What Marketing can achieve en masse via email or social media is atypical of what Sales can or will do. Your lead goals should contain some metrics for bringing older, dormant leads back into the Sales funnel through lead nurturing or recycling campaigns. Often that is taken for granted but it is up to the marketing team to demonstrate the value by tracking it and showing the conversion results to the organization.
How are you establishing lead goals within your marketing organization? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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