Through their recent research, Marketing Profs uncovered the top challenges for B2B marketers this year:
- 78% of respondents needed to generate more leads
- 60% believe the biggest challenge is to generate quality leads
Of course, the race to generate leads is always on! But budgets are stringent, and in most cases, not that big, with 46% of marketers find working within budgets to be the top challenge.
Therefore a business leader’s job is to invest in the tactics that will yield the greatest returns. Before determining the mix of tactics to invest on for a specific budget, a business leader should first be aware of the costs inbound and outbound generation tactics and how well they work.
In their research, Marketing Profs pointed out that outbound tactics were most effective in delivering quality leads, with 39% of respondents citing it as the most effective.
Internal salespeople were believed to be most effective in lead generation, through the use of referrals. As you would expect, this is also the most expensive tactic. Salespeople rarely only receive their basic compensation, they generally receive commission on the sales they make. MyCareer.com.au notes that on average, Sydney sales consultants receive AUD $75,000 annually, while sales managers receive AUD $100,000 annually.
The second most effective lead generation tactic, according to Marketing Profs is telemarketing, due to its direct and interactive nature. But again it is one of the most expensive lead generation tactics, given the costs of professional telemarketers. External telemarketers charge between AUD $20 - $25 / hour or more depending on the work they’re expected to do and the quality of the list. The other option is to have telemarketing done in-house, which means the cost you incur is training the staff in telemarketing, in addition to their compensation which depends on the role selected for the job (higher for salespeople, lower for admin staff).
The second most effective set of tactics was events, according to 27% of the survey respondents.
Trade shows bring businesses and buyers together and allow business owners and their salespeople to establish personal connections with their buyers. They are also able to filter out contacts from genuine leads at the event (if they ask the right questions), making it a highly effective source of qualified leads. At a trade show, a business can choose to sponsor and speak, exhibit or just attend, so the investment that is entailed for each participation phase differs. It also generally differs by scale of event and industry type. But it is not uncommon for businesses to pay about AUD $1,000 - $2,000 to attend the event, AUD $8,000 - $10,000 to exhibit and above AUD $10,000 for sponsorship and speaking opportunities.
Executive events are generally of smaller scale than trade shows. If conferences can have hundreds or thousands of people, executive events tend to have less than 50, and some events are more intimate with less than 10 people. With the smaller group, the conversations become more targeted and you can easily identify a genuine lead. Of course, these come with an investment for rent and meals, but not as much as trade shows. Typically, the cost of these events range from AUD $2,000 to $4000 for a small-scale event, and above AUD $5,000 for a larger event.
One of the top inbound marketing tactics believed to be one of the most effective is webinars. The ability to engage through video and audio has proven to be popular amongst B2B marketers and buyers alike. The cost to do a webinar is relatively low, compared to the costs associated with the aforementioned tactics. You need the right content as well as the voice conferencing capabilities. Companies like Citrix have made this easier with their tool GoToWebinar, that is delivered on-demand for AUD $49 / month for up to 50 attendees, and goes up to AUD $499 / month for 1000 attendees.
Online marketing tactics were also believed to be effective as noted by 17% of respondents, with a mix of email marketing, content marketing and website SEO and social media.
As one of a direct marketing tactics, email marketing has been successful in generating qualified leads. Some businesses shy away from it, for fear of being labeled as SPAM, but those who still leverage it believe it is valuable. The main cost associated with email marketing is the marketing automation tool. There are some inexpensive tools such as Vision6 or MailChimp that provide basic email marketing functionalities and list management, and there are those that are full scale inbound marketing tools like HubSpot. The monthly cost of these inbound tools can range from AUD $10 to $800.
Google search is perhaps the most used search tool in the world. To be on the first position for your keyword is what every company strives to achieve or maintain. Organic search has been a key source of qualified leads, and that is why many companies invest in SEO experts and consultants. The costs of these vary greatly since there are freelance SEO consultants overseas that charge less than AUD $10 / hour, while there are specialised SEO agencies whose fees are AUD $3000 a month.
An overarching tactic that is also believed to be rising in effectiveness is content marketing. It comprises of the two above and many others including website content, blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, videos, etc. Case studies and customer testimonials were highlighted as the two most effective content marketing tactics in lead generation. The costs for content marketing overall mainly involve freelance writers / internal marketers costs, freelance designer / design agency costs, and marketing automation which could potentially cost between AUD $1000 - $5000 every month.
According to the research by Marketing Profs, social media was perceived to be the least effective lead generation tactic, with only 5% of respondents believing it to be effective. What has been established is that social media is a good channel to maintain brand presence and increase brand exposure. The costs involved with social media tactics are next to nothing since social networks are free. However, you may want to use scheduling tools to be more efficient with your social media posts, and these cost AUD $7 - $18 per month.
Overall, the costs of inbound and online lead generation tactics are much less than outbound or events, even though it is perceived to deliver better results. It is important to note that no category of tactics will work as absolutes. These depend on your buyers, their needs and their buying behaviour.
The best way to navigate through the challenges of lead generation is to use a mix of outbound and inbound, perhaps leverage content marketing with a quarterly executive event or a trade show once a year. After all, if you leverage the right inbound and outbound tactics that suit your buyers, the results you receive will outweigh the costs.
To learn more, refer to our whitepaper on measuring marketing ROI.