If you knew in advance that your campaign would bomb, you’d never run it, right?  If you are a traditional marketer, you probably know how to evaluate which publications to run an ad in or whether an event is useful to attend.  And you evaluate these things up front before ever investing the resources or money in them.  The same should be true of your lead generation campaigns.

The difference with lead generation campaigns is that you should have a much more specific goal in mind, such as generating a certain number of leads or revenue from the campaign.  The best way to figure this out is by modeling based on past history.  If you’ve done campaigns long enough, you should know your average conversion rates.  But even if you don’t have past history to draw from, there are enough baseline metrics out there for B2B firms, you should be able to find a reasonable set of metrics to model your campaign.

At it’s simplest, here’s what a model might look like to determine the expected revenue of a campaign:

# Inquiries x % Conversion to Opportunities x % Close Rate x Average Deal Size = Expected Revenue

You may also need to add in information about channel performance and number of targets to figure out how many inquiries to expect.  If you tend to market to a lead throughout the sales cycle, these numbers will generally be reflected in your conversion rates, so you are really looking for number of inquiries that this specific campaign might generate.  If this campaign is meant to be one that pushes people through the pipeline, maybe you are more concerned about increasing the conversion rate or speeding cycle time.  Even if you don’t have numbers, you can model out what it might look like if you increase the conversion rate from a marketing qualified lead to a sales qualified lead by even 1%.

If you don’t have a past history, at least create a model with some conservative numbers to track against.  Once you do this a couple of times, you will have that history, but you need to see if your assumptions are reasonable.  So start making some assumptions to test.  Bottom line – never run a campaign at all before you at least take the time to see if it can theoretically meet your goals.