B2B marketers across all verticals are constantly challenged with driving qualified leads to hand off to Sales, all while making sure that cost per lead (CPL) is optimized - the less the CPL, the better. As a result, an entire ecosystem of tools, strategies and tactics are at marketers' fingertips today. There are even third-party companies who specialize in acquiring qualified leads for B2B marketers.
Their tactics vary - from buying lists and cold calling them, to PPC or full-fledged inbound marketing. Whichever the tactic, the vendor that delivers the most qualified leads with the lowest CPL is the one marketers want to work with.
What does a lead cost?
Thanks to the folks at Madison Logic we have a good understanding of what the average B2B lead costs in marketing, healthcare, business/finance, human resources and technology.
- Marketing: $32
- Healthcare: $60
- Business/Finance: $43
- Human Resources: $38
- Technology: $31
This is great benchmarking data for B2B marketers in those verticals. However, the challenge is to get CPLs even lower, if possible, because the lower it gets the more profitable the campaigns can be.
Building an audience to mine for leads
Many B2B marketers are focused on organically building an audience through content, social media, search engines, sponsorships and a variety of other channels. The ultimate purpose of building this audience is to mine and nurture it for leads. It takes a lot of hard work, resources and time to build an audience of significance that delivers acceptable to low CPLs and the quantity of leads needed to be profitable.
One way businesses can off-set some of these challenges is by partnering with a third-party that already has an audience of significance. This can alleviate some of the pressure on B2B marketers to grow their own audience quickly, while keeping CPLs as low as possible.
After much due diligence we chose to subsidize our own lead generation activities by working with NetLine, a lead generation company that exposes brands' advanced content (ebooks, whitepapers, guides, studies, etc.) to their large and prudent audience. We specifically opted to leverage their self-service product called LeadFlow.
NetLine allows customers to collect its standard/un-filtered lead data for $9.00 per qualified lead. Customers with unique qualifying criteria can choose to add supplementary form fields (filters) at additional cost. Based on the average cost per lead for a B2B healthcare company of $60, marketers in this field can potentially reduce their cost per lead by up to 85 percent.
Their web properties and channels reach over 75 million unique monthly visitors across a multitude of channels and audience touch-points. This has led to the conversion of over 23 million leads. Below shows how NetLine promotes and distributes its customers' content.
We established several additional filters on top of the standard questions due to our rigorous qualification process. This drove our CPL to $27, which is 16 percent lower than the average cost of a marketing lead. As a customer we were able to score our form field answers with letter grades in order to assist their proprietary targeting algorithm to find more qualified leads over time.
By partnering with a third party for content promotion and distribution we've been able to land 735 incremental conversions that we likely would have never received. Of the 735 conversions 122 met our tough qualifications. This 17 percent qualification rate meets or exceeds the typical monthly qualification efforts of our organic audience building.
As you're putting your content promotion plan together for this year don't forget to consider third party companies like NetLine that specialize in distributing your content to the right person on the right channel and at the right time. By paying close attention to your CPLs you can find them an excellent source for incremental leads while simultaneously reducing some of the pressure on your own audience building activities.
h/t Michael Brenner
Image credit: Flickr