By M.H. “Mac” McIntosh

Prove That Your Marketing-Driven B2B Lead Generation is Paying Off

Budgets are being cut in every department and now your boss wants to see evidence that the money and resources the company’s investing to generate leads are really paying off.  You start to sweat.

Relax. It is surprisingly easy to prove that your marketing-driven lead generation program is contributing to your company’s bottom line, and that sales would suffer without it. Here’s how.

Show the relationship between your marketing-driven lead generation and sales revenue

Start by looking for sales and revenue that can be linked to leads generated by your marketing activities. Simply compare lists of new or recent customers or invoices to companies or people in your marketing database and look for matches.

You don’t have to find every sale that resulted from your marketing activities. Sometimes all it takes is one big sale to justify your entire program.

If not enough sales can be matched, count the number of qualified leads generated, then use estimated conversion rates and average sales sizes to quickly determine the sales potential of those leads. Or look at the forecasted sales in the company’s CRM system and compare them to the database of prospects, inquiries or qualified leads.

You can also send “Did you buy?” surveys to inquirers and qualified leads, using their answers to show that the prospects being targeted by your marketing are actually buying from you or the competition. Ask if they bought, and if so, from whom. Also ask why, and how much they spent. If your sample size is large enough, you can use the answers you receive to estimate the number of sales and the amount of revenue that are represented by all the inquiries and leads you’ve generated over the past year or more.

Show how much you saved the company

Just give it some thought and you’ll probably come up with a list of things you’ve done to save your company money or time. For example:

  • The money you saved by eliminating non-productive marketing activities;
  • The printing, handling and postage savings that resulted from promoting the electronic versions of your literature, or from cleaning up the prospect and customer database, or by delivering the company newsletter by e-mail;
  • The time and money saved by automating the capture of Web forms and eliminating some manual data entry;
  • The lower cost per inquiry and cost per qualified lead you generated by concentrating your lead generation activities where they get the best results;
  • The sales time and costs you saved the company by pre-qualifying leads for sales.

List all the marketing projects you have completed over the past year

Marketers often don’t think about their own productivity when justifying the money the company invests in marketing. Unfortunately, people quickly forget what happened last month or last quarter. Or they simply have no idea how much work is involved in developing and implementing marketing programs that drive leads and sales.

Pointing out the number of marketing projects completed, and all the work steps involved, can be a real eye-opener to others who aren’t aware.

Then give some additional thought to other ways your marketing has benefited the company

Review all the work you and your team has done over the past year, looking for additional ways you saved the company time or money, or helped increase its sales.  For example:

  • How many more prospects have you reached with your marketing messages, and what improvement has that made in the cost per impression?
  • How many expensive, in-person sales visits have been eliminated because of the webinars and online demos you set up for sales?
  • Can you estimate the customer service costs you eliminated by creating a Frequently Asked Questions section on your company’s website?

Always be ready to make your case

Block out a couple of hours for all this every month so you’ll always have up-to-date results at your fingertips. If you’re pressed for time, consider using an intern, a temp or the receptionist (if your company still has one!) to do it for you.

Your results may vary, but consider this…

A client of mine recently reported to her management that awareness of their company and products among target prospects had more than doubled, the cost per qualified lead delivered to sales by marketing dropped by nearly 40 percent, 58 percent of the opportunities in the sales pipeline were found first by marketing, and 48 percent of the closed sales and 62 percent of the sales revenue during the past 12 months came from marketing-generated leads.

The result? Instead of having her budget cut, she was given more money to invest in marketing to drive leads and sales. And perhaps the best part, she says, is that senior managers at her company, including the budget-cutting CFO, no longer doubt her marketing program’s contribution to the company’s bottom line.


M.H. (Mac) McIntosh is described by many as one of America’s leading business-to-business marketing consultants and an expert on the subject of sales leads. Mac specializes in helping companies generate more high-quality sales leads and turn more of those leads into sales. For more information, or to request a free subscription to his newsletter, Sales Lead Report®, please visit