While getting your hands on a large number of leads is great, it’s only half the battle. The best lead converts fast and stays forever, but not every lead will provide any revenue at all. 70% of marketers say that the most important objective in a good lead generation strategy is to improve lead quality. The way you capture, build and manage your contact profiles is what will determine your overall level of lead quality, and with it, your success as a company.
What Makes a Quality Lead?
The sole purpose of a marketing lead is to potentially provide you with a sale at some point, even if it takes you a while to get there. With that in mind, lead quality is all about what revenue a person stands to bring to you. High-quality leads are highly likely to become your paying customers.
You want leads who will buy from you without stringing you along and will hopefully keep coming back for more. The very highest quality leads are those that will not only purchase quickly from you and continue to be loyal, but also have a keen interest and deep pockets that potentially allow for up-selling or higher-volume orders.
How Is Lead Quality Measured?
There is no standardized equation for determining lead quality, but there is a generally accepted process that nearly every marketer can use. The things that make someone a quality lead will show up in their contact data; this makes your contact database your number one tool in this endeavour.
The process starts with a solid database of contacts. 50% of records in the average marketing database are useless, largely due to a massive number of incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent and duplicate data clogging up the ranks, and you obviously don’t want yours to be one of them. From there, you’re looking for signs that your lead is ready and willing to buy from you. You’ll find that information in data points like their industry title and their budget, as well as in things like their purchase history with you and their level of contact they have had with your own sales team. All of these pieces of information can be found in a high-quality database that is constantly being updated after new investigations. It’s absolutely vital that you collect as much information as you can about every one of your leads because if you don’t, you’ll never achieve the kind of comprehensive profile that you need in order to find out how good your leads really are.
Maximizing Lead Quality In Your Own Marketing
Ready to start picking out high-quality leads? These six tips will help you to find the best leads in your current crop and find more quality candidates in your future lead generation efforts as well.
Look For Leads That Fit You
A quality lead is one that not only has a problem that your product or service can solve, but also is in need of your specific solution. Not everyone who is experiencing a particular problem necessarily thinks it’s enough of an issue to warrant any intervention at all. Further, even if they do want to do something about it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be willing to have you provide the solution for them. For one thing, they may not be willing to pay the price you’re asking for it; assuming you aren’t willing to haggle with them, that’s an immediate deal-breaker. Other than that, perhaps they are only willing to buy from companies referred to them by a trusted source, or your company profile does not align with their ethics or mission. An estimated 50% of leads turn out not to be a good fit in one way or another, so screening those ones out will leave you with a much better crop of leads overall.
Nurture Your Leads
Lead nurturing is the process of nudging leads closer to a sale through strategic touches, including email messages, content options, or even things like discount offers. The idea is to have a piece of content ready for each lead as soon as they enter into each phase of the buyer’s cycle. If that sounds a bit complex, there’s no need to worry: marketing automation can handle most of the timing and contextual framing for you, as long as you produce the relevant content ahead of time. As for how much it pays off, don’t worry; it’s definitely worth your time to go to all that trouble. Nurtured leads go through a sales cycle that is 23% shorter than leads that were not nurtured, meaning that they will buy more quickly and with less effort on your part. They also make 47% larger purchases on average. Both of these things mean that nurtured leads often become very high quality leads over time.
Be Picky; Chase the Ideal Customer
Even though there is a general idea of a perfect lead that applies to all marketers, a lead that is perfect for you as an individual will be a much more specific type of potential buyer. What does your ideal customer look like? Are they young or old, male or female, single or married? What’s their income like, and how frequently will they buy? Questions like this help you to find your ideal customer profile, or ICP. People who fit this profile more closely are more likely than others to be easy to convert, so they make prime quality leads. This kind of in-depth consumer knowledge is part of how Whole Foods became such a front-runner in the grocery industry despite its lack of appeal for the common budget-conscious shopper.
This approach can also work for B2B sales leads, although it must be modified a little in order to do so. Instead of looking at the buyer as an individual person, you should be thinking in terms of the company they are representing. Are they in the right industry? Do they operate in the public or private sector? What kind of budget do they have at their disposal? Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition; it’s possible for a lead to meet only some of these criteria and still be of fairly high quality. The closer they get to this profile, though, the better.
Implement Lead Scoring
Lead scoring takes into account a lot of the same things as the ICP approach does while allowing more room for variation. In this process, every lead in a database is assigned a particular score or rank – which system you use doesn’t matter, as long as it stays consistent – based on certain attributes it possesses. These should include things like industry, company size, and the level of authority that the lead has over purchase decisions within the company. Equally important, though, are immediate bits of information: how they found you in the first place, how they behave on your website (did they spend just a few seconds on a page or two and then leave, or did they spend more than an hour consuming multiple pieces of content?), and whether or not they chose to subscribe to your marketing campaigns or request a quote. You can get these data points from things like your marketing software or your website’s internal metrics. Score each lead you have this way and you can get a detailed breakdown of your best prospects. If you do it all right, you could net yourself a 138% increase in ROI for lead generation due to the clearer picture of lead quality that you’ll get.
Ask the Right Questions
When you can’t find the information you want any other way, smart marketers go straight to the source. Call up your leads and ask them a little about their budget and intentions. Can they afford what you’re selling, and do they really need it? How soon could they make the decision to purchase? Gather this information discreetly and file it away in a comprehensive profile stored in your contact database. Now you know the quality of those leads.
As useful as this approach can be, though, you obviously can’t use it on every lead you get. Any phone call takes time to see through to completion, and that’s assuming that you can get ahold of the person to begin with; it takes salespeople an average of 8 attempts to reach someone by cold calling, and there will always be some people who simply never pick up. You’ll be making far too much work for yourself if you do this for every single lead on your list, so save your efforts for your very best prospects.
Diversify Your Channels
Not all marketing channels are created equal in terms of either cost or lead quality. For example, leads gained through search engine optimization cost an average of $31 a piece and are one of the cheapest options available, making that channel a great choice for marketers who must be thrifty with limited resources. That same source quotes an average cost of $811 for leads gained through events and tradeshows, which obviously makes those a much scarcer resource. However, a lead gained from those shows is exponentially more likely to be a quality lead than whichever leads your SEO efforts happen to bring you. This means that it is worthwhile to invest in a few different channels, including some of the more expensive options, to maximize your chances of pulling in high-quality leads.
Identify Your Best Leads Before They Get Away
Too many companies spend their time catering to the wrong leads and miss out on prime candidates and the money they bring with them. Understanding lead quality and implementing ways to check for it within your own contact database is the best way to reduce wasted time and realize the full revenue potential of your contacts.
Our look at lead generation and its various intricacies isn’t over yet, so expect the next part soon. Until then, you can join us to help keep yourself occupied with tons of similarly helpful content.