What is the value of an online-generated lead?

Part I – Organic vs. Paid

So you are now ready to begin to generate leads online.  You are convinced that you have the skill, the knowledge and the resources to generate sales leads online, fill your sales pipeline with tons of new prospects and finally start making the big bucks.

One question that has to have come to mind is whether you should use free organic search methods or paid search avenues.  This eventually comes down to a question of time vs. money.  Of course, you can find a plethora of generic information regarding these two lead searching methods available online today.  However, rather than give you more of the same, we will help you figure out which method is best for your personal selling situation, your resources and your career.

What can you invest?

The first question to consider is what can you invest?  What can you afford and more importantly how much should you invest in generating leads online or anywhere else?  Even if you choose to find leads on the Internet primarily using organic search methods that are free, there is still a cost.  As a professional sales person, you have to realize and know the value of your time.  The time you spend searching for leads online could outweigh the value of the leads themselves.  You must know the real value of your time and the exact monetary value of a lead to work proficiently.  Through this and the proceeding three short articles, we will help you place true monetary values on all of these important selling activities.

What is a lead worth?

In figuring the value of a lead, you will have to know your numbers.  You need to have real data derived from your actual performance or the past performance of sales people in your company.  You cannot guess or make up these figures.  You need to know:

  • What is your average sales commission? On average, how much do you earn when you close a sale?
  • What is your overall closing average?  How many closing attempts does it take you to make one sale?  If you average one sale for every four closing attempts, you have a 25% closing average (1 out of 4).
  • What is your appointment to closing average? How many attempts does it take you to set up one closing attempt or sales interview?  Depending on your business, you may ask for an order from every talk to.  However, perhaps you need to make calls to set appointments to ask for an order.  On the other hand, you may need to have one or several sales interviews to qualify the prospect and to generate a proposal.  In any case, you need to know how many steps or attempts it takes for you to gain just one closing interview where you ask for the order.
  • What is your prospect to appointment average? How many calls, emails, letters and other types of prospecting contacts does it take you to generate one qualified sales interview?
  • What is your lead to prospect average? How many bare, unqualified leads does it take you to generate one prospect?

Though this may seem like a lot of unnecessary work and unless data, it is vital information for your sales career.  In fact, if you do not know these figures, then you do not really understand how much you earn or how you are paid.

However, armed with the above data, now you can figure out exactly what a single lead you generate online is worth to you and therefore how much time or money you should invest in acquiring those leads.  Once you have the data, join us in Part II.

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