Demand Gen Series- A 6-Step Guide to Achieve Better Quality B2B Leads

Sales | 7 minutes to read

23rd Aug, 2019

Getting a high volume of leads but the number of successful sales still low. Does it sound like an often-relatable situation?

50% of the leads in any sales funnel are nowhere near being ready to buy.

Bad leads are an expensive proposition for any business. Not just because they eventually don’t convert but also because of the time and energy spent by the team in chasing them does monetary (to the company) as well as morale harm (to the agents).

But Why Are You Getting Poor Leads?

  • Is it because of sales and marketing misalignment, or
  • no agreement on an ideal buyer persona? or
  • too much quota-completion pressure on agents that it overrides the need of lead-validation or
  • not much thought given to the power of lead nurturing.

And there could be many more reasons added to this list.

But they can still not be used as an excuse for poor revenue at the end of the fiscal year.

Want to bail out of such loss-making proposition but don’t know how? Let’s delve into the answers, together.

Generating high quality leads has consistently been the top most challenge for marketers as per various surveys done in the last 8 years.

The Lead Game – What’s Good and What’s Bad

First step is to understand what a good lead is and clear demarcations to separate it from the bad ones. The ideal customer profile comes in handy for making that discretion.

The data accrued based on the conversation (and other explicit data) as well as the backend research (implicit data) can give an understandable idea of whether that lead is good or bad.

To be able to have positive results at this stage, you need to have the most updated database.

Globally, duplicate data, invalid values and missing fields have been voted as the most prevalent data quality issues by salespeople and on an average, it costs about $1 to prevent a duplicate, $10 to correct a duplicate, and $100 to store a single duplicate data entry if left untreated.

Only 56% of B2B companies check valid leads before passing them to the sales department.

Best Practices for Improving Lead Quality

The entire lifespan of a lead which starts with demand generation and closes at a successful or unsuccessful sale, follows a simple Attract, Interact, Manage and Close cycle. While it’s crucial to recalibrate the acts at each of this stage to impact the final numbers, let’s look at a few overarching drills you can undertake to improve your lead quality significantly.

Marketing & Sales – It Takes Two to Tango
Blaming the poor lead quality on the marketing team won’t get you anywhere because in sales, every dime you make (or miss) is a resultant of team effort.

A perfect alignment between the marketing and sales team is non-negotiable for achieving better lead quality.

They need to be aligned not just for defining the parameters for qualifying a lead as MQL but also for outlining the ideal buyer persona in line with your product or service. This will help marketing team to reach out to the probable potential leads instead of them casting a wide net while prospecting. After all, more leads no more mean more sales.

In a nutshell, following needs to be done as a joint exercise:

  • Assessment of your needs
  • Setting of objectives
  • Defining roles and KPIs
  • Understanding buyer personas
  • Developing an outreach strategy

Establish a Lead Validation Methodology
A lead scoring methodology is a further step in the direction of saving the valuable time of sales agents.

Apart from BANT qualification, scoring based on not only what the prospect shared but also what the team gathered from unspoken cues such as his/ her online behaviour, websites visited etc.

If you already have a scoring matrix in place but the results are still not satisfactory then may be its time to relook the scoring and optimise wherever possible.

Only 25% of marketing-generated leads are typically of a high enough quality to immediately advance to sales.

Relook Your Content Strategy
Vague or uninteresting messaging starting with unclear websites to spammy newsletters or unopened emails – they are all like nails ready to puncture your high hopes for quality leads.

There’s a reason why demand generation is the rightful precursor to lead generation. A legitimate interest can only be ascertained by customised content for each stage of lead-generation process lifecycle.

Your content outreach strategy also needs to properly map with buyer personas.

Websites that speak directly showcase domain expertise and understanding get serious attention right away as per 66% of B2B buyers.

Keep the Communication Going

The alignment doesn’t end at outreach strategy or lead scoring matrix finalisation, but an active feedback loop needs to be in place.

It will not only be beneficial for your marketing team to hear from sales team about how the leads are faring and get inputs for database corrections, but the real-time intelligence accrued by marketing team on in-progress leads can help sales team to timely steer the conversations in the apt direction.

Become Natural at Nurturing
Stop having a narrow view for immediate conversions. If you’re in the ring for a long haul, then you cannot ignore the difference which lead nurturing brings in.

Not every lead which is not ready to buy yet means that it’s a bad lead. Some may be highly potential buyers, but the timing may not be right.

In such a case, assist the qualified leads with additional personalised content in line with their requirement (as you foresee or as they share) and cultivate the opportunity till it ripens. You can also explore partnering with industry influencers for conditioning the delayed (but potential) lead.

Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than their neglected counterparts and salespeople who excel at lead nurturing tend to generate 50% more sales at a 33% reduction in cost per sale.

Time to Embrace Automation (if you haven’t already!)
Marketing automation solutions are a market hit for a reason – they make you take control of your lead generation, free-up your time from mundane activities and make the entire cycle hassle-free along with providing you a real-time analysis and a quick overview of lifecycle stage of the lead, and much more.

Initial opt-ins to sequentially timed follow-ups to behavioural re-touch or retargeting, when it’s all possible with automation then why would you be risking better revenues with keeping the process manual (which is inadvertently more time consuming and prone to errors).

Best case will be to link your CRM as well with your marketing automation software to get the most out of the automation.

Organisations that use marketing automation with prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.

At times, even small actions like attaching rewards to quality lead generation can prompt agents to put that extra effort instead of only pressuring them for quota completion.

However, that cannot be the complete solution.

The way the dynamics of selling have turned from being a seller-centric to a buyer-centric process and the rapid digital transformation of the ecosystem that has happened, you cannot generate conversion-worthy leads by following the ‘more leads=more sales’ philosophy anymore.

Trends like chatbot usage for immediate query resolution, increasing worth of social media referrals, personalised interactive content instead of its static and generic counterpart etc. along with increase in investments in the realm of martech and specifically ABM, signals towards only one thing – it’s time to revamp and revolutionise your demand generation and lead generation process OR BE LEFT BEHIND.

Add to our list of best practices for improving lead quality – share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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