What’s More Important: New Leads or Existing Customers?

It’s a relatable question that most marketers pressed for time are wrestling with. What’s more important – earning new quality leads that will eventually stimulate growth or focusing on maximizing the relationships you have with current customers?

As a longtime marketer, I can understand both points of view, and each deserves consideration. It’s important, too, to understand that different departmental personas – from content marketers to product marketers to the sales field – may have a slightly different opinion.

For instance, a product marketer is more interested in providing excellent product expertise and benefits to customers and internal employees involved with the product. The sales team, on the other hand, will be more interested in new leads. It’s the job of content marketers to enable both.

No One Size Fits All

Generally, any company interested in sustained, long-term growth will naturally tend to spend most attention on their most profitable and loyal customers. They’ll also spend considerable time on the rest of their customers, trying to satisfy them in every respect to urge them along the customer lifecycle. New quality leads are usually prioritized next, followed by site visitors, or referrals.

And this makes some sense – according to Marketing Metrics, it’s 50 percent easier to sell to existing customers than new prospects. It’s important to remember, though, that not all companies provide products that require or even enable rapid new sales opportunities to existing customers.

Those companies will likely be bigger, and have departments tasked with both customer relationship building and lead generation. The time table also affects each. For lead gen specialists, the chances of converting a new lead after the first hour of contact decreases 10 times. Fifty percent of new leads, however, are not ready to buy and require additional follow up—that’s where sales and content people come in.

The Chicken Or the Egg?

One may argue that for a business-to-consumer company looking to maximize existing customer relationships, these relationships first must be cultivated. Attracting new customers in a non-intrusive, nurturing way is an art, and the larger the investment, the more time and energy both you and your prospect will be investing. The good news is that a hefty sum usually indicates quality, and quality is very attractive.

To truly answer this question, marketers first have to understand what their counterparts are tasked with and how they operate. Then, they need to understand their buyer personas and be able to prioritize the likelihood of converting new leads. It’s a matter of who you are, and where you stand. Now it’s time for you to weigh in. Where do you stack up, and what do you think?

This article originally appeared on Forbes.