Your Guide to Effective Lead Generation Planning
By Experts at Go-To-Market Strategies
In today's economy with ever-tightening marketing
budgets, many companies are throwing their precious
few marketing dollars into one marketing basket—Lead
Generation. While this "all-in-one basket" approach
isn't recommended, we do recognize the importance of
sales lead generation during these times. Investing
in a strong direct marketing program is critical to
both short-term AND long-term success, and it must
be well planned.
To help you make sense of it all, consider the
following tools and infrastructure to enhance your
lead generation success:
• Prioritize and Define Your Objectives.
defining your higher-level business objectives (such
as revenue goals, ROI expectations, etc.), followed
by your campaign objectives (expected number of
leads generated, quality of leads obtained, etc.),
and lastly, outline your tactical objectives
(schedule, budget, etc.). By defining these goals
from the outset, you are more likely to create a
campaign that meets your expectations. Too often
companies embark upon campaigns that have no
quantifiable goals in mind and then later wonder why
the campaign was not "successful."
What follows are three steps to take when selecting
your direct marketing vehicles:
• Select Appropriate Direct Marketing Vehicles.
Direct marketing vehicles are not "one size fits
all." In all actuality, a lead generation campaign
is more effective as a series of direct marketing
activities working in concert and designed to reach
your audience over several mediums, creating equity
with your brand and current offer.
Step 1: Determine Your Message. Once your goals are
in place, you need to determine what message and/or
call to action you want to send to your prospects.
Keep your message simple and clear. This is not the
time to write a dissertation. And, don't
overcomplicate what you're asking your prospect to
do—keep it one key message and one call-to-action.
Of course, you want to make sure that the direct
marketing vehicles you select can and will clearly
communicate this message, and in the end, prompt the
With this in mind, a well-planned and complete lead
generation system (one that works with email, direct
mail, AND telemarketing) would cost on average
between $.76-$1.51 per outbound (where each outbound
included one email, one direct mail, and one
telemarketing follow-up), but would yield much
larger conversion to sales results.
Step 2: Compare Response Rates. Keep in mind that
response rates can vary significantly and rely
heavily on your offer, the targeted nature and
quality of the list, the creativity of the design
and message, the timing of the campaign, and the
industry itself. The following is a comparison of
typical direct marketing vehicles and the industry
average response rates they can generate.
Step 3: Estimate Your Return on Investment (ROI).
More often than not, companies will send out a
postcard to 15,000 leads and then are shocked to
realize that it only generated an additional $2,000
in sales. Analyzing your cost per lead and cost per
sale ahead of time will help you further determine
which mixture of direct marketing vehicles will
contribute to the overall achievement of the
As an example of cost per sales analysis, assume:
• A targeted list of 10,000 contacts with an average
lead generation cost of $1.00 per lead.
You would yield 400 leads at a campaign cost of $25
per qualified lead and $100 per sale. The cost per
lead and cost per sale vary widely dependent on
quantity and quality of the list, and your ability
to close the deal, but this gives you an ROI model
as a starting point. You would, of course, vary the
numbers as you get historical data with each
• A response rate of 4 percent (conservative average
for a well planned and executed campaign of multiple
• A close rate of 25 percent.
• Create a Lead-Management System. Few companies
succeed in turning prospects into customers without
the help of a structured lead-management system,
which should include telemarketing. Studies and
experience have found that sales force follow-up
rates on leads nearly quadruple—from 10 percent to
39 percent—when a structured lead-management system
is put in place.
A good lead generation plan allows you to design
effective lead generation campaigns that will, in
the end, achieve your desired business goals.
• Develop a Response Mechanism. Capitalize on the
generated market interest produced by your
campaigns. Whether it’s a dedicated phone number,
Website or email address, always have a response
mechanism in place prior to launching your
campaigns. Make sure that your sales team is then in
direct line of the response mechanism to handle all
leads. A simple way to increase the success of a
campaign is to respond to customer inquiries,
process requests, and of course, be there to take
• Maintain a Clean Database. While it sounds simple
and very obvious, many companies do not diligently
process requests to be removed from their mailing
lists, undeliverable e-mails, update forwarded
addresses, and worse still, many do not check for
duplicate records. By
NOT performing routine
database maintenance, you run the risk of having
your database populated with “cold” or “unqualified”
leads, which unfortunately will add to the cost and
possible failure of future campaigns. These costs
can be added in a variety of ways, including, but by
no means limited to, distribution costs, print
costs, or costs per lead. You want to maximize your
marketing dollars and your database by targeting
only the most valid, accurate, and qualified leads.
---Source: Modern Postcard Feb. 2010
issue (www.modernpostcard.com). Go-To-Market
Strategies is a resource center for sales and
marketing professionals and business leaders (www.gtms-inc.com).
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