B2B Demand Generation is not a Numbers Game – The Risks of Choosing Quantity over Quality

Garrett Mann

Senior Director, Corporate Communications

lead providers - quality vs. quantityWhen it comes to B2B enterprise technology, there are a finite number of buyers in each market segment. And it has been well-documented by a number of sources that even the most qualified of buyers are pretty far along in their buyers journey before they are ready to hear from you. So, what is the best way to reach buyers that have the best possibility of converting to pipeline?

Some marketers believe that the best way to do this is feed as many low cost leads as possible into the top of the funnel and hope that some of them get through. That’s because for decades, many marketers have been judged upon how many MQLs they can generate rather than their specific impact on pipeline.

But if your leads aren’t any good, does it really matter how many you have? As long as you continue to emphasize quantity over quality, you create a “garbage in, garbage out” scenario. And while they may satisfy a lead guarantee or quota, there is a higher chance that leads you buy from many providers are merely spreadsheets of compiled names masquerading as qualified prospects.

If you are looking to maximize impact on pipeline, you must look for lead providers that are invested in delivering more than merely names in a spreadsheet.

To provide you with the tools to make the right decision, following are 6 key categories that any lead provider you are considering should be evaluated against. 

6 Ways to Evaluate Potential Lead Providers

#1 – What is the lead generation goal that the provider is satisfying?

While there’s standardized data that is included in a lead file (demographics, firmographics, content consumption details), not all providers have the same goals when compiling this data. There are two types of lead providers—those that want to add contacts to your database and those that actually engage relevant buyers with your content. While certain providers might offer very low CPL, you have to evaluate the impact on quality as they focus on adding contacts rather than engaging with real buyers.

#2 – What is the deliverable they are providing to you?

There’s a difference between delivering contacts and delivering leads. The goal of lead gen is to build a database of prospects that can be efficiently nurtured in the pipeline, not just the cheapest possible contacts. A real lead is one that is delivered with both standard contact info as well as a profile of relevant activity that provides insight into their intent. If a lead provider has a track record of compiling leads with no activity history against relevant topics, you’ll want to look elsewhere for real prospective leads.

#3 – How are the leads sourced?

Transparency is important and should be demanded of your lead provider. A key part of lead quality is understanding the source and activity history of the lead you received. Providers that source leads directly from their network have a better chance of providing this information to you. Providers that broker leads will have no insight into relevant account activity. If they say they do, they are likely deriving it from third-party overlays that have no connection to your lead’s activity. Ask your providers to offer insight into what they know about the overall account. It’s a key factor in trusting that the leads you’re buying are truly qualified.

#4 – How do they promote content?

It is important to understand how providers promote your content to generate “leads”. Are they sending promotions based on a prospect’s demonstrated relevant activity in your solution area or are they sending to generic lists to merely satisfy the number of leads they have guaranteed to you. Prospects with recent activity related to your solution convert better, both in initial lead capture and when you start nurturing them post-delivery.

#5 – What do they provide in terms of reporting?

Names and contact information shouldn’t be the only thing in a lead generation report. However, if your provider’s only goal was to build a database of contact information, they might not provide a very robust report. Quality lead providers will include the purchase intent data and activity context for each lead, giving you more information as you nurture those leads.

#6 – How are leads identified/how do they opt in?

Many lead providers use promotional tactics that have nothing to do with you or your solution, such as games, gift cards or other economic incentives. In exchange they obtain the contact’s permission to have you contact them. In reality, these contacts have no interest beyond receiving the gift offer. This is not a lead by any definition. A lead is someone who at least responded to a relevant content offer from you. Lead providers should not only tell you what the offer was, but guarantee that the lead wasn’t otherwise incentivized.

Using these points will help you better assess the quality you are getting from providers rather than just the volume in order to find a successful partner to drive your demand generation efforts.

The TechTarget Approach to Demand Generation

lead providers comparison chart
Fig. 1

TechTarget strives to provide customers with leads that are real buyers, not just massive volumes of contacts with no purchase intent. Our approach comes down to four main guarantees:

  • Deliver leads based on direct knowledge of user activity and purchase intent related to the customer’s solution.
  • Exclusive use of relevant content offers—not gift cards or economic incentives—to generate leads.
  • Remain transparent about the specific content used to generate each lead.
  • Provide intelligence and context about the individual and overall account from which the lead came, aiding lead scoring and optimizing follow ups.

To help you better understand how this approach differs from other B2B technology lead providers, please see this comparison chart (Fig. 1).

Just because you’ve purchased a large volume of contact information doesn’t mean you’ll actually increase sales. To learn more about the importance of lead quality when choosing a demand generation partner, download this white paper: Why All Leads Are Not Created Equal.

B2B demand generation, demand gen, demand generation best practices, demand generation providers, lead generation

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