How to Measure the Value of a Lead in a B2B Setting

If you’re looking to expand your horizons as a marketer, inbound marketing is an excellent tool to master. Marketing is equal parts art and science and now more so than ever before. In a digital environment, the tactics you learn in school and that you will apply in your future career (or your current one if you are just starting) are increasingly inbound.

Instead of blasting a message as loud as you can to every prospect in a database, you will carefully craft website content, blog posts, social media updates, and more that provide real value to those prospects. The concept isn’t new but the execution and our ability to measure the results is revolutionary in the field of marketing.

Yet it can pose a problem for a lot of marketing teams that are accustomed to measuring lead value in terms of their readiness to buy. A lead traditionally was someone who had shown very real interest in purchasing a product. It was a rare thing and a very valuable thing, often quantifiable down to the penny based.

Inbound marketing changes that by adding more steps to the top of the funnel and requiring a much larger output on behalf of the marketing team. Instead of blasting a message about the benefits of a product you sell to a list you bought from a third party broker or in a newspaper or magazine that matches your target demographic, you will now create authoritative content with little or NO selling points. Instead of convincing someone to call you, you build a level of trust in them that will eventually lead to that phone call.

When entering the marketing field or studying its continuing evolution, this can make lead valuation more complicated than it once was, and it can be a real stumbling block when starting a new career.

Measuring Value in an Inbound Environment

But despite the challenges that an inbound strategy brings to assigning value to any one lead (let alone determining when it’s okay to finally pitch your products or pass the lead to a sales rep), leads are still very much a quantifiable commodity.

While the philosophy behind inbound marketing and the new school of digital thought leadership in general forces you, to some degree, to think about value offered first and lead scoring second, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a rubric that will break down what each of those leads you generate is really worth.

Here are some things to consider when doing this:

  • Activity – How active is the lead in question? While a single “contact” form submission related to a product request is a big deal, is that the only contact the lead ever made? If it’s been six months and they haven’t responded to emails or returned to your site since, lead value is lower than if they continue to return daily to read your new blog posts, tweet at your company’s profile, and download new eBooks you release.
  • Position in the Funnel – As soon as possible, at least loosely define the funnel your company’s website uses to move a prospect into the lead cycle and closer to becoming a buyer. From offers that provide legitimate value to useful tools that solve problems for your prospects, know where someone is located and how likely a lead at that level is to convert to a buyer.
  • Decision Making Power – If a lead has downloaded five eBooks and contacted you twice, it looks pretty good on paper, but take into consideration the decision making power of that lead. Is it someone with purchasing authority at another company, or is it an intern doing research for their boss? You can’t always tell the difference, but when you can, it will impact the resources you expend to chase a lead.
  • Reach of the Lead – One of the best parts about inbound marketing is that a good lead doesn’t even have to buy something from you. Someone might download four or five of your eBooks and never once place an order or hire you for your services. But they might also share those eBooks with colleagues or recommend you to someone who WILL purchase from you. If this happens, that lead, regardless of their own buying behavior becomes a golden opportunity.

When you take these five things into consideration, you will start to understand how leads are assigned value and how you can create new opportunities when you take a new position or are studying the field of marketing.

There is no hard and fast formula and even within one company or one demographic, you might see some leads that shouldn’t be worth anything become massive opportunities. Never let yourself be blinded by the numbers on a page, but at the same time, teach yourself to see these patterns and you’ll be better suited to target and capitalize on the right leads coming through a website.

About the Author

Featured on websites in more than a dozens countries, Anthony Chatfield has consulted with business leaders, Fortune 500 companies, and entrepreneurs for much of the last decade.

Anthony founded two companies in content development and marketing. Anthony currently lives in Staten Island, NY and produces marketing and content development training on numerous websites.

For more information, visit his Google+ Page.

Distinct or Extinct in a Digital Age of Marketing

Marketing will never die – it is how we promote, brand, and sell products and services to each other. Whether it’s a mom and pop store putting coupons in mailboxes or a multi-billion dollar software company sponsoring a new football stadium, there will be plenty of jobs for men and women who have the creative knack and drive to dream up these campaigns.

This fact makes the current state of marketing that much more interesting. Rapidly (and picking up speed every year), advertising firms, major companies, and small businesses alike are moving their marketing budgets into digital campaigns. Nearly half of all advertising budgets in 2012 and 2013 were devoted to digital ads. It’s no accident. The tools, reach, scope, and frequency of those campaigns is just plain better.

But what does it mean for someone pursuing a career in marketing? Whether you’re a few years down the line in your career path or are looking at a degree in business and marketing and have yet to embark, there are a lot of things to consider – from who you might want to work for to what you should learn before you work there.

What’s Unique About Digital Marketing?

The best thing about marketing as an industry is that while technology, tools and even some methods can be completely revolutionized by digital media, the concepts generally remain the same.

So we have new things to consider like:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Blogging
  • PPC Advertising
  • Digital Media Buys

But the messages that reach buyers and convert to future customers are very similar to the ones used in newspaper ads, magazines, and TV spots for decades (and still today). People are still driven by scarcity. They still look to their neighbors for social cues on what to buy. They like an honest, yet palatable option over a shiny, over-hyped one any day. The major difference is not technique, but saturation.

Online there are so many more people vying for the same attention and the platforms are more accessible, so millions more can attempt to get that attention. You need to stand out and that means being distinct.

How to Be Distinct As You Embark on Your New Career

There are a number of ways to stand out in a crowded job market. The best way, though, especially in an increasingly digital marketing industry, is to show your ability to generate distinct ideas. Ideas like this:

Chipotle Scarecrow

Chipotle’s recent marketing campaign was online only and tied together the above video with a mobile game app, social media campaign and more, almost none of it with any branding of any kind.

The idea was unique and stood out because it hit a chord with so many people in the industry (and those who eat the food). And it was solely digital. A commercial wouldn’t have had this impact. Chipotle did something distinct.

Here’s another digital campaign that transcended the platform on which it was devised:


American Express proposed to support small businesses, and believe it not this is only 3 years old. Despite it’s youth as a campaign, the last Small Business Saturday had more than 100 million participants with President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg in New York City both promoting it.

Their use of a digital platform to reach a wide audience went viral in a very short relative time period and they’ve started something new that will long be associated with their brand.

So what does this mean for someone who is just starting in the industry?

It means developing a cross-section of skills. Where marketers of yesteryear could be proficient in basic psychology, copywriting, and visual mediums, today’s marketers need to have a much more diverse skillset:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Video Creation
  • App Development
  • Web Analytics
  • SEO

The more of these things you understand, the more compelling you’ll be as a candidate. Of course, these things are constantly evolving – you can’t just get a degree in digital media (at least not a current one), and few certificates exist for this type of skillset.

That means private study. Spend time learning how digital marketing tools work, maintain accounts on 5-6 social sites, create a blog and learn how to use platforms like WordPress. Create a knowledge base so that when a recruiter asks you if you can use X, Y or Z, you say yes more often than you say no.

And of course, start building a portfolio of creative, distinct ideas that are not like what other people are doing. While results matter most when pursuing any career opportunity, the creativity that went into achieving those results matters almost as much, and it involves technical knowledge as much as it does creative chops.

About the Author

Featured on websites in more than a dozens countries, Anthony Chatfield has consulted with business leaders, Fortune 500 companies, and entrepreneurs for much of the last decade.

Anthony founded two companies in content development and marketing and currently provides private consulting services for the online-side of small and medium sized business’s marketing campaigns.

Anthony currently lives in Staten Island, NY and produces marketing and content development training on numerous websites.

For more information, visit his Google+ Page.