Pretty much every B2B company tracks their cost per lead. It is a vital metric for them. And while I’m not saying it isn’t important—I am arguing cost per meeting is much better.

Cost Per Lead is Too Subjective

What exactly is a lead? It varies greatly between companies. If we’re being honest, it often varies greatly within the same company. Is it when someone clicks on an article? Attends a webinar? Drops their card in a box at a trade show?

Many try to address this by measuring the cost of a qualified lead. Various actions, like those noted above, are assigned a score and once a prospect reaches XX points, they are considered qualified lead.

This is definitely a step in the right direction, and I’d consider cost per qualified lead a good metric. But it’s still just a collection of subjective events.

Time is Our Most Valuable Asset

I’d rather have something a little more solid and less subjective—like if a prospect is willing to put some time on her calendar to learn more over a call or face-to-face meeting. Cost per meeting is more objective. (Or maybe it should be called cost per initial meeting.)

This doesn’t include when you first called and left a message. They need to agree ahead of time to put it on their calendar. Time is everyone’s most valuable asset. When a prospective is willing to allocate 15-30 minutes for a one-on-one call, it becomes more clear that she has some interest.

Time is also the most important asset for the seller. You’re not going to schedule a call with just anyone. If you sell a $100,000 per year solution, you’re probably not going to schedule a meeting with the owner of a small lemonade stand.

When scheduling that initial meeting, both sides are committing that precious asset (time) to see if it might be a fit. Do they know for sure it’ll be worthwhile? Absolutely not. Will it for sure become a valid opportunity? We don’t know yet. But both sides know there is enough potential to warrant at least 15 minutes. Don’t discount that. It is a big deal to take a meeting. Much more of an indicator than trying to guess why someone clicked on a blog post, watched a video, or attended a webinar.

Cost Per Meeting is a Better Indicator of a Qualified Lead

I think one of the reasons cost per lead is more popular is because it’s usually just from the marketing team. Marketing wants a metric that can help measure their effectiveness which does not depend at all on sales.

I get it, but I’d still argue it’s the wrong approach. Cost per meeting is a much better indicator of a qualified lead than any lead scoring system you can come up with.

I’m not saying anyone should abandon their cost per lead or cost per qualified lead metric. I’m just saying, much more of a focus should be put on cost per meeting. Cost per acquisition and retention rate are the most important factors. In my opinion cost per meeting is next in line, quite a bit ahead of cost per lead.

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