Some companies follow a “volume” model when it comes to marketing: Reach as many people as you can, and if you convert just a small percentage of those leads, you’ll reach your goal. I call this the “credit card marketing strategy.” Credit card providers send out millions of mailers (both postal and email) to try to drum up business. And it seems to work for them.

On the other end of the spectrum are companies that have highly targeted audiences. They aren’t looking for millions of leads. Or even thousands. They are looking for a handful of highly targeted, qualified leads they can convert into sales.

The question is which model is right for your business? There are a number of ways to determine where your organization’s marketing efforts should fall on this broad spectrum.

Establish clear goals

Take a look at your business goals. Do you rely on your marketing to add a large volume of new customers? Or will one or two new clients move the needle?

Do you have historical information you can rely on to determine how many leads you need to generate to reach your sales goals?

When we help our clients with lead generation campaigns, we listen to the internal sales teams to understand historical conversion rates. We then know how many leads we need to drive in order to meet sales goals, without over-taxing internal resources.

Know your resources

What is the volume of leads your internal operations can EFFECTIVELY handle? The last thing you want to do is drive a prospect to contact you, and then not deliver a top-notch experience. That can result in a lost opportunity and even lead to a burned bridge that may not be repairable.

There is an important balance that needs to be reached: Drive enough leads to keep the team busy. But don’t overwhelm them.

Know your target

Be as specific as you can when defining your target.

For some consumer products, the definition might be very broad (18-35 year old males, for example). In those instances, mass marketing can be used to drive huge volumes of leads. Conversion rates will most likely be low, but volume will be high. A significant amount of resources will be required to weed through the leads and find the ones most likely to convert.

For other businesses, the target can be much more precisely defined (Human Resource professionals at companies with fewer than 100 employees, responsible for the purchasing decisions for investment products, for example). In those cases, targeted, direct marketing techniques can be employed, leading to a lower volume of leads, but much higher conversion rates due to the lead quality. Resources are focused on pre-qualified leads that are likely buyers.

Take a step back and look at your lead generation efforts. Do you rely on a high volume of leads? Or is quality more important than quantity for your business?

In my next post, I’ll share some ideas on how to drive the right leads.