Our first article from Lead Views, “Striking a balance between Quality vs. Quantity in Lead Generation,” is from 2010. The article is based on a study, “Marketing ROI & Performance Evaluation Study,” whereby research data suggested that 60% – more than half of marketers surveyed – focused on ‘quality leads compared to 40% of marketers whom focused on quantity leads.
For those readers who understand the basic concept, rather definition of a ‘lead’, but do not know or understand its application in terms of B2B or B2C transactions:
“Leads are qualified based on the information available about them. Highly qualified leads are those whose direct contact information, decision marker classification, buying intent and current place in the buying cycle is known. Poorly qualified leads may be nothing more than a company phone number or email address.”
According to Lead Views, “the key to maximizing your lead generation pipeline actually lies in striking a healthy balance between both.”
You might be scratching your head and asking yourself why we are using an article from 2010. The fact is, as many of our sources cited will argue, this question is forever being asked by marketing newcomers and experts alike: is quality better or is quantity better. The majority, if not all of our sources cited argue it is better to attain equilibrium and develop a way to acquire both so that you can have your proverbial cake and eat it too.
Before we proceed, we will be minimizing our use of the term ‘leads’, opting to use the term ‘lead generation’. We want to define that term for our readers, so that everyone is on the same page. The definition below comes from a LinkedIn article by Faisal S., discussed below:
WHAT IS ‘LEAD GENERATION’:
A Lead Generation Marketing System has two functions:
To predictably, profitably and consistently generate precisely targeted sales leads by tapping into a variety of media, both online and offline with a unique message for your business
To nurture, educate and motivate these sales leads, so that over time they mature into customers
With the lead generation tactics create an irresistible, no-risk offer that prospects can’t refuse. 
GOAL-ORIENTATION: THE DETERMINING FACTOR FOR HOW ONE FOCUSES ON LEAD GENERATION
According to Damion F. in his LinkedIn Pulse article, “Lead Generation – Quantity or Quality?” this is one of the biggest questions he receives in his line of business as a business consultant. However, while Damion suggests that both the topic and the answer are difficult to discuss (former) or to determine (latter), “in many cases, it really DOES depend on your goals.” [emphasis added]
Damion illustrates how he manages this dilemma through his own commercial interests: “I chose to only generate top-quality leads… . I chose to drive a lot of traffic to my sites and let them contact me when they had a question.” By following this qualification formula (qualification method), when he was contacted directly for his services, he knew two (2) things: (a) the prospect buyer was serious and was more than just a prospect, and (b), the prospect had done their research.
However, as Damion explains, his qualification method of generating leads is not the only way. In his field he was considered an expert, and had he been working with a much larger business/firm, his goals would have subsequently changed. For example, it would have made “sense for me to turn on the lead machine,” focusing on quantity, and providing his colleagues with more to work with, creating the impression and/or reality that “you are providing something to them.” It would also mean that the approach to said lead generation would change as well.
LEAD GENERATION: THE FIRST STEP OF THE SALES PROCESS
As Faisal S. writes in his LinkedIn Pulse article, “Lead Generation,” it is imperative to strike an operational equilibrium between quality leads and quantity leads due to their importance in setting the foundation of the sales process discussed above. Like many of the articles we cite, Faisal echoes those sentiments by arguing that one’s “Sales Funnel” or approach to sales and thus consumer acquisition must be customer/consumer-centric insofar as “captur[ing] your client’s attention and then provid[ing] a pathway for them to enter your Sales Process and become a client.” If we pay close attention to Faisal position, we can see that Faisal is allowing customers to contact him if they are serious about using his company’s services, albeit more in a more creative developed and evolved fashion. And, as corroborated by Damion F., Faisal is suggested, as you will see in the last article we cite, the customer slowly becomes enticed/persuaded into using the company’s services.
Nonetheless, Faisal corroborates Damion’s position, in that he also states that it is about setting goals. Specifically, Faisal writes: “To be effective, you need to understand the Niche you are selling into and your target market. Then you can implement a strategy that will engage decision makers within your targeted market.”
“You must be Continuously Growing Your Customer Base 24/7.” Faisal suggests asking oneself specific questions to determine whether you and your business are adhering to the statements above and discusses possible avenues to balance what he calls, the online and offline “Sales Funnel” which you can read in its entirety here:
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO ATTAINING LEAD GENERATION EQUILIBRIUM
In “Striking the Right Balance Between Lead Quality vs Quantity,” experts Rick Faulk and Aaron Dun, writing specifically on generating leads for SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, state:
“Typically, when your objective is to raise lead volume, it comes at the expense of lead quality….. [a]nd all too often, that imbalance tends to cause [most] businesses to spin their wheels. While they may have many leads, filtering into the company” time, money, energy, capital and human capital is not only exhausted but wasted on “filtering out the low quality [leads. Consequently,] what value does higher lead quantity” garner for the business?
Out of this proverbial conundrum, Faulk and Dun provide three (3) options to create balance and find that ‘happy medium’:
- “Establish efficient automation, nurturing, and scoring processes”:
- Develop processes which nurture (both messaging and marinating the quality) and thus converting the same into lucrative business ventures (quantity – money making, or further lead generating mechanisms)
However, as Faulk and Dun illustrate, often companies make the mistake of going full speed ahead in a reaction to leads, affecting an automatic filtering mechanism – they avoid what should also be an automatic neutralizing zone of osmosis: balancing an area previously occupied by high levels of quality leads but low quantity leads and vice versa, creating a sense of equilibrium.
Faulk and Dun argue that marketers must both hone and create “their [holistic and synergistic] processes for acquiring, filtering, nurturing, and scoring leads, and making adjustments to their lead generation efforts” stemming from the same.
- “Implementing an Automated Lead Filtering System or Consider Hiring a Lead Scrubber”:
- Take advantage of outside resources which allow one to compare or cite one’s lead generation information with the same outside resources, insofar as “refin[ing] your lead scoring models” insofar as programming an ‘excel-type equation’ wherein leads are usurped/internalized and passed along to your sales department, or denied like a credit card based on its attributes/characteristics and score. (If x lead is greater than score y, accept; if not deny).
- “Give a little more to get a lot (and consider executing progressive profiling)”:
As Dun sates: “it [is] critical to focus on improving the value that you deliver to prospects in exchange for their information (i.e., name, email address, phone number, etc.). The more information you know about your buyers and what they need…the better your chances of delivering the kind of highly relevant value that yields a higher volume of high quality leads.”
This plays well into the advent of Native Advertising discussed here and, to our last blog which in which we newsjacked to another blog which discussed utilizing LinkedIn for B2B Marketing (i.e. Lead Generation). As well, this line of thinking plays into some of the trends we catalogued on our 2013 and 2014 ’emerging trends’ chart, such as: consumer / customer-centric information / advertisement, cognitive computing and more engagement of end-users.
Intronis, the company which Faulk and Dun are both CEO (former) and CMO (latter) in, brings into fruition the above-noted through what they call “progressive profiling.” Mind you this is not new, reader, as you may already have participated in the same:
“For example, when a first-time visitor comes to the company’s blog, that person might be asked to sign up for [the company’s] newsletter with his or her email address only. If that same visitor responds to a future email campaign, they will ask them to provide a little bit more information about themselves (i.e. the position at their company, the company’s revenue size, etc.) And if they come back to take a product trial, for example, the company would ask that visitor for another tidbit of information.”
As you can see, “the prospect” is not initially bombarded, poked and prodded into providing a plethora of personal information all at once – something which they most likely will be averse to doing. Rather, they are, over a strategic period of time, data mined for the same information – a smart and quite sneaky, but non-intrusive, non-bombarding form of marketing and customer information acquisition.
4) Lastly, Faulk and Dun do not want you to walk away with these three (3) tips, “thinking you [have] got it all figured out.” While Faulk and Dun provide a thorough explanation as to their reasoning, which we agree with and which can be read in full (along with the full article) by following the hyperlink above, we would also like to add the following:
Social Media, Media, Technology, whatever you wish to call it because that is how you describe it (social media) reflects the way you interact with the same, there is no doubt that it is forever changing and forever evolving with its pros and cons; supporters and detractors. Thus, Faulk and Dun have a very good point: do not think you have it all figured out because in this ever fluid, ever changing medium / landscape, ‘all of it’ can do a complete 720° on you, putting you back at zero and back to the drawing board: don’t be the cool kid on the block today, and outdated with your approach tomorrow. Insure that your approach is both fluid and flexible to an ever-changing marketplace. 
R.I.P. LEAD GENERATION
“Is Lead Generation Dead,” a LinkedIn Pulse article, was authored by Declan D., a Digital Growth Strategist, and Expert in Marketing Design & Development, and Online Education. Declan’s choice of article title is both but engaging and deceiving as he states the following in the first two lines of the article:
“Whenever someone says a marketing tactic is dead, you know it [is] simply changing and the old way just does [not] apply. The rumours of lead generation’s death are greatly exaggerated[. I]n fact most marketing has become multi-step lead generation under different names.”
According to Declan, “we are getting a clearer picture of how many steps it takes” from first grabbing the prospect’s attention (similar to what Damion and Faisal discuss above) to the lead generation aspect of the transaction or, in Declan’s words to the realm of “Intention,” thus turning the prospect into more than just a prospect, but both a reality and a client. Keep in mind that as Faisal discussed above, lead generation is the first step in the “Sales Funnel;” therefore, it is not to say that “Attention” and “Lead Generation” (or “Intention”) should be viewed as two separate steps – a possible inference by Declan.
As Declan elaborates, with the proliferation of various and ever-changing “social tools available” to consumers and marketers, marketers need to be reactive in their marketing techniques and their use of the same, which leads us to our final article.
BLOGGING TO GENERATE LEADS
“The importance of quality website content and its relationship to the generation of traffic, leads and increased brand exposure is straightforward and demonstrable…. [A]n increase in quality material on your website translates into increased traffic and leads.”
This quote comes from our last article, another Pulse piece available through LinkedIn entitled, “The Impact of Blogging on Lead Generation,” written by Brent C., a Web Marketing Advisor.
Brent argues – accompanying his position by several graphs – that regardless of the size of one’s company, there is a great correlation between content quality (also on our previous list of trends for 2013 and 2014) and lead generation – “this proportional increase in lead generation is even more apparent for smaller companies with 10 or fewer employees.”
Brent also examines the impact which blogging to generate leads has on B2B and B2C companies. The chart Brent uses to bolster his position, which you can view in its entirely by following the link above, shows that when both B2B and B2C companies post 10 or less blogs, both B2B and B2C of business produce less than 200 hits / viewers, and when B2C companies post more and more blogs, the traffic to their website(s) increases exponentially. The same is true for the B2B company, but it appears – from the chart, at least – that there is a more direct and immediate benefit / correlation to B2C in utilizing blogging to generate leads than the B2B companies, which can most likely be explained by the articles we discussed above (Faisal, Damion, and Declan).
Brent argues that in providing blogs with quality content and thus useful information (Native Advertising), the same “delivers several benefits,” including the following:
- Positions you as an authority in your industry;
- Provides distinctive brand definition and recognition;
- Answers customers’ questions, providing them needed information, showing you’re interested in helping them and not just making a sale;
- Helps to initiate a relationship with the consumer;
- Shows your company is plugged in, relevant, and current;
- Interesting, informative, entertaining and useful website material is likely to be passed from one reader to another, automatically and naturally expanding your base of potential clients (Native Advertising); and,
- Increases traffic from search engines (like Google).
ADDITIONAL SOURCES TO READ:
- Bob B.’s LinkedIn Pulse article, “Common Mistakes in Lead Generation” which is a short video discussing the same. You can view it here.
- Belal S.’ LinkedIn Pulse article, “Tips to Boost Your Lead Generation,” and view it here.
- Checkout LinkedIn Pulse yourself for more articles on the topic.