What is a Return on Investment?

Ruben Buijs

Founder & Digital Consultant

Written on Jul 31, 2023

3 minutes

Lead generation

Return on Investment (ROI) is a crucial metric that measures the profitability and efficiency of an investment or business venture. It helps businesses evaluate the financial gains or losses generated from an investment relative to its cost. ROI is a valuable tool used in lead generation to assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and determine which strategies yield the highest returns.


To better understand ROI, let's consider a couple of examples:

  1. Suppose a company invests $10,000 in a digital marketing campaign to generate leads. After the campaign ends, they find that the campaign resulted in $20,000 in sales. To calculate the ROI, you subtract the initial investment from the total sales revenue ($20,000 - $10,000 = $10,000) and divide it by the initial investment ($10,000). The ROI for this campaign would be 100%, indicating a 100% return on the initial investment.

  2. In another scenario, a business invests $50,000 in a lead generation software. Over the course of a year, this software helps them generate $200,000 in sales. The ROI would be calculated as ($200,000 - $50,000) / $50,000, resulting in an ROI of 300%.


ROI is a fundamental metric for businesses because it allows them to evaluate their marketing strategies, investments, and overall profitability. Here's why ROI is important in lead generation:

  1. Measuring Success: ROI provides a clear and tangible measure of the success of lead generation efforts. It enables businesses to determine which strategies are effective and which need improvement, allowing them to make data-driven decisions.

  2. Resource Allocation: By analyzing the ROI of different marketing campaigns, businesses can allocate their resources more effectively. They can identify the campaigns that generate the highest returns and invest more in those strategies, optimizing their lead generation efforts.

  3. Maximizing Profitability: ROI helps businesses identify areas where they can increase their profitability. By analyzing the returns from various investments, companies can focus on strategies that generate the highest ROI, ensuring they make the most efficient use of their resources.

How to Use It

To effectively use ROI in lead generation, follow these steps:

  1. Define Goals: Clearly define your goals and objectives for lead generation. Determine what you want to achieve and how you will measure success.

  2. Track Investment: Keep a record of the investments made in lead generation, including marketing campaigns, software, and other resources. Ensure you accurately track the costs associated with each investment.

  3. Calculate Returns: Measure the returns generated from your lead generation efforts. Track the revenue generated from leads and attribute it to the specific investments made.

  4. Compute ROI: Use the ROI formula to calculate the return on each investment. Divide the gains or losses by the investment cost and multiply by 100 to get the percentage ROI.

  5. Analyze and Optimize: Analyze the ROI for each investment and identify the strategies or campaigns that yield the highest returns. Optimize your lead generation efforts by allocating more resources to these high-performing strategies.

Useful Tips

Consider the following tips to enhance your understanding and application of ROI in lead generation:

  • Track Expenses: Accurately track all expenses associated with lead generation, including marketing costs, software subscriptions, and personnel expenses. This ensures you have a comprehensive view of your investment costs.

  • Monitor Conversion Rates: Keep an eye on the conversion rates of your leads to customers. By improving your conversion rates, you can increase the returns and ROI of your lead generation efforts.

  • Compare Different Channels: Compare the ROI of different marketing channels, such as social media, email campaigns, or content marketing. This allows you to identify the most effective channels for generating high-quality leads.

  • Consider Lifetime Value: When calculating ROI, take into account the lifetime value of a customer. A customer with a high lifetime value justifies a higher investment, as the returns may be realized over an extended period.

  • Regularly Review and Adjust: Continuously review and adjust your lead generation strategies based on the ROI analysis. Experiment with different approaches and adapt to changes in the market to maximize your returns.


Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency or profitability of an investment. It is calculated by dividing the net profit of the investment by the initial cost and expressing it as a percentage.
ROI is important for lead generation as it helps assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and strategies in generating leads and converting them into customers. It provides insights into the profitability of investments made in lead generation activities.
To calculate ROI for lead generation, you need to subtract the total cost of lead generation activities (such as marketing expenses, advertising costs, and sales team salaries) from the revenue generated from those leads. Then divide the result by the total cost and multiply by 100 to get the ROI percentage.
A good ROI for lead generation depends on various factors such as industry, marketing strategies, and business goals. However, generally, a positive ROI above 100% indicates a profitable lead generation campaign.
To improve ROI in lead generation, you can focus on optimizing your marketing campaigns, targeting the right audience, improving lead nurturing processes, and enhancing the efficiency of your sales team. Regularly analyzing and adjusting strategies based on data insights can also help improve ROI.
Some common challenges in achieving a high ROI in lead generation include targeting the wrong audience, ineffective lead nurturing, poor sales and marketing alignment, lack of proper tracking and measurement, and insufficient resources allocated to lead generation activities.
No, ROI is an important metric but not the only one to consider for lead generation success. Other metrics such as conversion rate, cost per lead, customer lifetime value, and return on ad spend (ROAS) also provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and success of lead generation efforts.
Yes, ROI can be negative for lead generation if the total cost of lead generation activities exceeds the revenue generated from those leads. This indicates a loss on the investment made in lead generation.
It is recommended to calculate ROI for lead generation on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly, to track the performance of your lead generation efforts and make necessary adjustments to improve ROI.
Yes, there are several tools available to help measure and track ROI in lead generation. Some popular tools include Google Analytics, marketing automation platforms, CRM systems, and lead tracking software. These tools provide valuable data and insights to assess the effectiveness and ROI of lead generation activities.

Article by

Ruben Buijs

Ruben, the founder of Boei, leverages over a decade of consultancy experience at Ernst & Young to optimize lead generation. Boei specializes in converting website visitors into qualified leads. Outside of work, Ruben is passionate about crossfit and enjoys gaming occasionally.

Table of contents

  1. Examples
  2. Importance
  3. How to Use It
  4. Useful Tips
  5. Related Terms

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