In the world of B2B marketing, lead generation is king.
However, not all leads are created equal. The debate between quality leads vs quantity leads has been going on for a long time but we’re here to take a fresh look at it through a 2023 lens. And if you’re part of the 75% of companies striving to meet aggressive growth goals through lead nurturing and personalization/customization, then this one is for you!
In this article, we'll deep dive into the importance of targeted lead generation in B2B marketing and the key differences between quality leads vs quantity leads. We’ll also provide some insight into which is best for your business so we can finally put this debate to rest!
But first, why is lead generation critical for B2B marketing success?
Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company's product or service. The ultimate goal of B2B lead generation is to create a pool of potential customers who are interested in your product or service and are likely to buy from your company.
In B2B marketing, lead generation is critical because it helps companies identify potential customers who are likely to be interested in their products or services. Knowing who your highest ROI audience is makes it easier to plan and execute a winning strategy. Instead of reaching anyone and everyone, marketing resources can instead be directed towards people who actually want your product or service!
Quality Leads vs Quantity Leads: What's the Difference?
Quantity-based B2B lead generation focuses on generating as many leads as possible, regardless of the quality of the lead. The primary goal of this approach is to create a large pool of leads that can be passed on to the sales team for further qualification and follow-up.
Also, this strategy often involves tactics like mass email marketing, cold-calling, and online advertising. While these tactics can generate a large number of leads, they may not necessarily be good quality leads.
Quality-based lead generation, as the name suggests, focuses on generating high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into customers. This approach takes a targeted and strategic approach to B2B lead generation.
The primary goal of quality-based lead generation is to attract potential customers who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. This is achieved by creating content that addresses the specific needs and pain points of your target audience and by using targeted advertising and social media strategies to reach your audience.
The key difference between quality leads vs quantity leads is the emphasis on fit, interest, and appeal. Quantity-based lead generation focuses on generating many leads with the hope that maybe some of them will be of high B2B lead quality. On the flipside, quality-based lead generation aims to generate fewer but higher quality leads that are more likely to convert into customers.
Another difference is the approach used to generate these leads. Quantity-based B2B lead generation often uses mass marketing tactics like cold-calling, cold email marketing, and paid digital advertising aiming to reach a wide range of demographics. In contrast, quality-based lead generation uses targeted advertising, social media, content, and account-based marketing strategies to reach the target audience.
The Drawbacks of Quantity-Based Lead Generation
“I’d like to waste time and resources making impersonal mass marketing content that collects thousands of leads my sales team will have to pick through with a comb in order to find even one remotely viable option,” said no one, ever.
That’s why in the debate of quality leads vs quantity leads, seasoned marketers put their money on the former. Here are some more drawbacks of quantity-based lead generation you should be aware of:
Ineffective targeting of leads
One of the primary reasons why quantity-based B2B lead generation can lead to ineffective lead targeting is that it doesn't take into account the specific needs and preferences of the target audience.
This can result in a large number of leads that are not interested in your product or service or are not a good fit for your company. Who hasn’t seen a paid ad on a website and thought, “Why am I seeing this?” That’s exactly the kind of issue with generic retargeting ads that frequently pops up (no pun intended) in a quantity-based lead generation campaign.
In addition, quantity-based lead generation often relies on marketing tools that can be perceived as intrusive by potential customers. This can lead to low response rates and a negative perception of your brand.
Overwhelming the sales team with unqualified leads
Quantity-based lead generation often focuses on generating as many leads as possible without taking into account the quality of the leads. This can result in a large number of leads that are not a good fit for your company or are not interested in your product or service. So not only will a quantity-based lead generation approach lead to an overwhelming amount of work for sales teams but it will also lead to an underwhelming amount of results from all that labor.
Quantity-based lead generation can be expensive because it often requires a large investment in mass marketing tactics like cold-calling, mass email marketing, and online advertising. These tactics require a significant investment in time and resources, and may not always generate high-quality leads.
In contrast, quality-based lead generation uses targeted advertising, social media, and content marketing to reach the target audience. While targeted advertising may be more expensive than mass marketing tactics, it is often more effective in generating high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into customers.
The Benefits of Quality-Based Lead Generation
A quality-based lead generation strategy can help businesses attract and convert high-quality leads, improve customer relationships, and enhance their brand reputation. But that’s not all, folks!
Improved targeting of high-value leads
Quality-based lead generation makes it easier to target high-value leads for a few reasons:
Targeting the best possible audience becomes easier and more efficient. With quality-based lead generation, you can identify the specific characteristics of your ideal customer and focus your efforts on targeting that audience. Unlike quantity-based lead generation, marketing qualified leads won through quality-based lead generation come from highly detailed buyer personas that go beyond standard demographics. Long story short: a better pipeline is greater than more leads.
Account-based marketing campaigns will produce higher ROI content. Content created for quality-based lead generation is more likely to resonate with high-value leads because it is speaking to a specific person with a unique want right at the moment they have a need. This will make your leads more likely to engage with your brand and, ultimately, make the sale since their needs are not likely the same as that of the general public or even those who share the same job title.
Focused efforts lead to bigger payouts. Quality-based lead generation focuses on generating a smaller number of high-quality leads, rather than a large number of low-quality leads. This approach allows you to focus your resources on nurturing and converting high-value leads, which can lead to better conversion rates and higher revenue.
Increased efficiency of the sales team
Why work hard to win over 1,000 leads when you can win over 10 who are already highly interested and engaged? When sales teams are given a large number of low-quality leads, they may spend a lot of time and resources trying to convert them into customers, with little success. By giving sales teams fewer but higher quality leads, they can focus their efforts on leads that are more likely to convert, which saves time and resources.
Improved lead-to-sale conversion rates
Higher quality leads are more likely to convert into paying customers. By giving sales teams high-quality leads, they have a better chance of closing deals and generating revenue for the company. That’s because 1) the potential customers have already been vetted and engaged and 2) sales now has more wiggle room to improve trust in the relationship by building stronger bonds and providing top-notch customer service.
Lower cost-per-lead over time
The definition of a quality-based lead is a one who is already interested in your offers, has been nurtured through custom content, and is already primed to convert. Although some effort is required upfront in order to optimize your lead nurturing tactics, marketers will find that once this type of customer journey has been mapped they can easily automate the process to reach similar leads.
*In a nutshell: Less really is more. By focusing on quality over quantity, B2B marketers can noticeably improve ROI.
How to Implement Quality-Based Lead Generation
Targeted lead conversion is a highly effective way to attract high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into paying customers. Not only does this mean you’ll actually see a better return on your investment but the steps you’ll take to carry out this strategy will also improve your brand’s credibility, enhance customer experience, and position your solution as an industry leader.
Want to start reaping those benefits? Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Identify high-value targets
Before you start passing on leads, it's important to qualify them so that they can fit your product or service and help you grow your B2B sales leads. To start, you’ll need to identify the various factors that go into your target audience’s decision-making. This can include their budget, timeline, decision hierarchy, and more. Once these targets are identified, you can move on to connecting with them on a more personal level.
Step 2: Develop targeted content and campaigns
Once you’ve defined your ideal customer persona you can create content that speaks directly to their needs and interests. This includes blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and other types of content that aim to attract and engage high-value leads.
These types of assets should be placed behind a lead capture page, making it possible to collect contact and demographic information from potential customers. Again, you’ll need to make sure you’re sorting through these initial engagements and highlighting only the high-value targets you’ve prioritized.
Step 3: Use data and analytics to measure and optimize results
Like any marketing strategy, you’ll need to track and analyze metrics in order to better understand your progress. For quality-based lead generation in particular, you’ll need to do the following:
Conduct A/B testing. A/B testing is a process that lets you identify the best messaging and content for your audience. It can also help you improve the effectiveness of your campaign. After analyzing the data collected from your tests, use it to make changes to improve your campaign.
Start lead scoring. Lead generation software can help identify which leads are likely to convert. It assigns a score to each based on various factors, such as their engagement with your website and how they fit with your target market. The higher the score, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to convert them.
Choose metrics wisely. The specific KPIs you’ll need to properly assess the performance of your quality-based lead generation strategy will vary depending on your specific goals. However, there are some common ones you’ll want to use as a jumping off point, including:
Cost per lead
Lead-to-customer conversion rate
Time to conversion
Return on investment (ROI)
And the winner is…
While quantity-based lead generation may seem like a good idea, it can lead to ineffective lead targeting, lots of unqualified leads, and high costs. Quality-based lead generation, on the other hand, focuses on generating high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into customers.
By taking a targeted and strategic approach to lead generation, you can attract potential customers who are most likely to be interested in your product or service, and ultimately, increase your chances of converting those leads into paying customers.
Consider focusing on quality over quantity if you want to exponentially increase the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts!