Which Type of Lead Gen Agency Will Deliver MQLs?
Many companies make the mistake of assuming more leads for less money is always the best option. The reality is that lead generation agencies use different strategies to achieve their goals. The quantitative approach is all about numbers. You pay X number of dollars for Y amount of leads (or a commitment to a minimum) in order to see results as quickly as possible. The qualitative approach invests more resources into understanding your business’s needs, your target personas and will create clever campaigns that deliver only relevant leads known as, Marketing Qualified Leads, MQLs.
Why would a company pay more for qualified leads?
Simple. Qualified leads have a much higher conversion rate.
Understanding Quality vs. Quantity in Leads
The quantitative approach to lead generation focuses on generating leads and uses a transparent pay/cost per lead model. The focus is on numbers and only numbers: how many leads does your company want to buy, and at what price? The idea is achieving rapid results as quickly as possible by growing the sales pipeline. And depending on where your company is at, the quantitative approach can seem very attractive.
Young start-ups are often drawn to this model by the promise of quick results at an affordable price. “It’s a numbers game,” they say, “A certain percentage will always convert.”
Really? What industry are you working in? B2B tech certainly does not operate like that.
Meanwhile, marketing agencies that focus on qualitative lead generation invest time and money into understanding your company’s specific needs and goals and more importantly, what your target audience is looking for. The goal is not just short-term leads, but a significant long-term impact on your ROI which only comes through taking care of the sales funnel. Rather than focusing exclusively on the number of leads, it’s quality which matters most now. A lot more thought and intention are given at each stage of the process. Leads are qualified by nurturing them through several touchpoints and a whole consumer journey which is tailored from start to finish.
Throughout your campaign, you will start off with a high(er) price for your contact and MQL. But with optimization that takes place over the course of months (and longer), the price of your MQL is reduced and quality improved. Only several months into a good campaign will you really understand how many $x you need in order to generate ‘y’ MQLs. Any agency that tries to explain it otherwise is simply telling you what you’d like to hear.
Which Do You Need?
The question of quality or quantity: each approach definitely has its ups and downs. The short answer is – if you need a bucket of leads, irrespective of their quality as you are running on a number game and a certain number of leads will convert, then you can go ahead and work with a quantitative-based agency. If you need MQLs that you can nurture through your funnel until they become opportunities and customers, only the quantitative approach will work.
Companies often fall for the allure of cheap results, especially if they’re new to the marketing scene. For example, a 3% conversation rate promised by quantitative agencies can seem too good to pass up.
It’s worth considering the following: If you’re a young company at the very beginning of its life cycle, attracting as many leads as possible can allow for rapid initial growth. However, it may bring leads from random companies that have no chance of increasing your bottom line. After you’ve learned more about your target audience and who converts the best, you can switch to more qualified leads.
Bottom line: quantity may or may not bring short-term results; don’t pay for leads which drain your budget for no good reason.
On the Subject of Qualified Leads - Where We Come Down
1. Qualified leads cost more but are also worth a lot more since they convert at a significantly higher rate. An effective marketing agency will integrate SEO, PPC, content, blog posts, social media campaigns, and paid promotion to form a cohesive strategy, and these multifaceted strategies can outperform the quantitative pay/cost per lead model in the long run.
2. Heed blatant warning signs from Lead Generation agencies such as:
- Promising X amount of leads (MQLs and SQLs) without evaluating your business’s needs beforehand.
- Promising huge results in no time; this usually means a large number of worthless leads that don’t accomplish anything. More does not equal better.
- Presenting a one-size-fits-all approach. Marketing is a complex methodology, and if an agency isn’t willing to invest time and resources into your company’s particular needs, they’re not worth your money.
While the pay/cost per lead approach can be helpful at certain stages for some businesses, more leads are typically not the optimal path. Depending on your company’s budget, size, and objectives, the more sustainable path for generating leads is an investment in a qualitative strategy built for the long-term ROI in mind. Trust us: you’ll want a Lead Gen agency who really gets that.
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