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

Sales | 5 minutes to read

14th Jul, 2022

B2B lead generation is a complex act that needs strategic approach with accurate execution to achieve the best results. Modern enterprises need a funnel-stitched brand messaging along with sales & marketing alignment, and marketing automation to generate high-quality leads and convert them into deals.

Snapshot:

    • Lead generation is the backbone of any B2B sales enablement function that helps enterprises maintain a steady growth and maximize ROI

    • Enterprises struggle to generate sales qualified leads that leads to wasted resources and lost sales opportunities

    • Companies need a strong fix to alleviate these concerns and build a sustainable demand generation engine for continued sales success in the long run

    Generating high quality leads is the backbone of every good B2B demand generation strategy. Establishing strong lead generation programs ensure that enterprises maintain a steady growth rate and maximize ROI Q-o-Q.

    Often enough, enterprises generate high lead quantum but the number of successful conversions still remain low. It is an often-relatable situation for B2B enterprises’ online lead generation and sales enablement teams. Almost 50% of the leads, at any given stage, in a B2B sales funnel are those that are not 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 sales agents).

    But Why Businesses are 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.

    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 topmost challenge for marketers as per various surveys done in the last 8 years.

    Contact us to build a unified lead generation engine & fuel your sales pipeline with BANT qualified leads.

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

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

    The sales 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 a sales lead is good or bad.

    Enterprises need to have the most updated and accurate B2B database to be able to have positive results at this stage.

    Globally, duplicate data, invalid values and missing fields have been voted as the most prevalent data quality issues by salespeople. 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 Data 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 & 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 enterprises can undertake to improve their lead quality significantly.

    Marketing & Sales – It Takes Two to Tango

    Blaming the poor lead quality on the marketing team won’t get the sales teams anywhere because in sales, every dime made (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 the company’s 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 don’t mean more sales.

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

    • Assessment of the team needs
    • Setting of objectives
    • Defining roles and KPIs
    • Understanding buyer personas
    • Developing a unified customer outreach strategy

    Establish a Lead Validation Methodology

    Leads are the lifeline of every business. While lead generation programs have become a common practice, there are certain B2B lead generation techniques that separate the best marketers from the rest—amongst them are regular list hygiene and lead validation.

    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 an enterprise already has 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.

    Revamp the Content Strategy

    Vague or uninteresting messaging starting with unclear websites to spammy newsletters or unclear emails – they are all like nails ready to puncture a company’s 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 B2B lead generation process lifecycle. The brand’s 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 customer outreach strategy or lead scoring matrix finalisation. Businesses need an active feedback loop to continuously optimize their marketing communication.

    It will not only be beneficial for the 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. Companies looking to build a long-term sustainable B2B lead generation engine 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 foreseen or as they share) and cultivate the opportunity till it ripens. Marketers 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 

    Marketing automation solutions are a market hit for a reason – they enable businesses to take control of their lead generation, free-up time from mundane activities and make the entire cycle hassle-free. It also provides them with 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, it’s all possible with automation.

    Companies can also link their CRM with the marketing automation software to get the most out of the automation.

    Conclusion

    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 dynamics of selling have turned from being a seller-centric to a buyer-centric process. With the rapid digital transformation of the B2B ecosystem, companies 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 the B2B demand generation and lead generation process OR BE LEFT BEHIND.

    Contact us to learn more about our integrated B2B demand generation & digital marketing services.

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