A quality lead is a marketer’s dream: these leads are easy to convert into paying customers and have the needs and budget to provide you with ongoing revenue for a long time. With enough of them, you have the basis for a thriving business for years to come.
Unfortunately, leads like that don’t grow on trees. 46% of B2B sales representatives say that poor lead quantity and quality is their biggest problem in their day-to-day operations. This suggests that not only do you need high-quality leads, but you need a lot of them. This might sound like a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. The process of generating a sufficient level of high-quality leads over time is as simple as following the right steps, and we’ve laid them out for you right here.
1. Align Your Sales and Marketing Goals
If you’re going to be chasing quality leads, it helps to know exactly what they look like for your specific company. Sales and marketing work together to close deals with leads, and they have to be on the same page in order for anyone to have a clear and useful picture of your ideal target prospects. Failure to achieve proper communication between these two departments is estimated to account for up to $1 trillion of wasted resources across the entire world economy. If you want to avoid those losses in your own organization, you’ll want to make this exchange a priority.
Making this meeting as productive as possible is as easy as asking a couple of well-chosen questions. What kind of people does the sales team usually have the easiest time closing with? What pain points are the people that they talk to most eager to address? What makes people walk away from a sales conversation? These are all things that it would be helpful for the marketing team to know, and you can share equivalent insights with sales to help them better address their leads’ needs as well. Be sure to keep your lines of communication open even after the initial dialogue has taken place – you never know what discoveries either department might make as the market evolves, and those new pieces of information should be shared among both teams if they’re going to have the biggest impact possible.
2. Use Referrals To Your Advantage
Now that you’ve established what it is that you’re looking for in a lead, you can start your search from within your existing customer base. Reach out to the representatives and companies in your contact database with whom you enjoy a good working relationship and ask them if they would be willing to provide you with some referrals to people they know. Since they will be choosing people who they know to have an interest in your type of product and people are 4 times more likely to make a purchase from a company if they were referred there by someone they know, these individuals are likely to be very good quality leads. Ideally, you want referrals from the customers who were your best quality leads prior to converting, since they are likely to know more people and companies with similar profiles who would be just as well-suited to your products as they are – be sure to contact them first. Run all of these new leads through a lead scoring routine to make sure they are worth your time, then enjoy the sizeable boost in quality lead numbers you just got.
3. Engage In Active Prospecting
Once you’ve exhausted the potential of referrals, you should move on to a more active search for quality leads both through social media and in person. LinkedIn alone boasts 40 million users in decision-making roles at their respective companies. That’s a lot of people who could potentially make top-quality leads for your business, assuming they are part of an industry you serve. Pick through your network on this and other social media platforms and see what you can come up with in terms of promising leads. Another great place to look for good leads is at networking events. These events pull specific people together for a specific purpose, so you already know that the individuals you meet there are likely to be receptive to what you’re saying and selling.
Because this method involves a lot of one-on-one time with your potential leads, it’s a great opportunity to collect some extra salient information about your leads and add to the data quality of your contact database. Remember, the more information you have about your leads, the easier it is to gauge their quality, so you should take the time here to be as thorough as you can. Any information you can get will pay off in greatly increased lead quality later on.
4. Ditch the Form Letters – Personalize
The future of marketing is tailored specifically to each individual, and that philosophy can help you in finding quality leads as well. When you reach out to the leads you’ve collected, try to do so in a way that targets their individual needs and tastes. 57% of consumers have indicated that they are open to sharing some of their personal information if it means they can get access to personalized discount offers, and only slightly fewer say that they would be willing to do the same for tailored product recommendations and personalized shopping experiences. The latter two options cost you nothing but the time and resources to set them up and can be replicated over and over for every lead you have, so you can see the value in investing in that type of lead capturing effort as soon as possible. Not only will this allow you to collect enough information to build a more complete profile for each lead, but it will also enable you to shape your offerings for each lead around what they are specifically seeking from your company.
5. Get Your Social Media Strategy Running
Your goal at this point in your lead generation process should be to nurture the leads you have and bring them closer to being sales-ready; marketers have found that nurturing leads drives 50% more sales for 33% less cost, so it has a clear impact on lead quality over time. Having an active social media strategy is one of the best ways to do that, since this platform allows you to reach a wide audience easily and for comparatively little expense.
Contrary though it might seem, your social media posts should never be solely about your company or its products. Keeping such a laser focus on yourself makes you look aggressive and overly concerned with selling, which detracts from social media’s strengths as a more organic way of driving sales. Instead, try to follow the Rule of Thirds, a commonly accepted practice among social media marketers. You want to devote about one-third of your posts to content that specifically promotes your products and is intended to drive conversions, but no more than that. Instead, you should give one of the remaining two thirds over to interacting with others on your page and building your company brand, leaving the last third for sharing relevant insights from other businesses and leaders in your industry. Doing this allows you to avoid looking too self-centered while also demonstrating that you know what’s going on in your industry and in the lives of the people who make up your customer base. It also takes some of the content production pressure off you and gives your promotional posts some time to really make an impression on your audience.
6. Gate Some Valuable Content Behind a Lead Capture Page
Once you’ve started to gather an engaged audience on different social media platforms, you can then introduce them to what is perhaps the ultimate quality lead generation tool – gated content. This should be unique, high-value stuff that your leads will have difficulty finding elsewhere, because this exclusivity forces them to play by your rules. Longer-form mediums work best for this because of the additional value they can pack into that extra length; think webinars, e-books and white papers. If your lead wants to gain access to it, they will have to hand over their contact information to you, opening the door for further and more intimate connections in the future.
This technique has been proven to work; web design company Unbounce has reported that content gating has been able to increase their conversion rates between 19% and 45%. Because the content itself generally only appeals to a niche audience who is interested in your field of expertise and wants in-depth knowledge badly enough to put up with the gate, you will generally only attract the most serious and qualified of leads this way. You also have the chance to include a subtle sales pitch in your content that explicitly outlines the strong points of your product. This will hopefully get your leads thinking about what other benefits they might see if they were to purchase your product, and perhaps to seek out more content or even some one-on-one time with a sales agent to explore this possibility.
⭐ Bonus Tip ⭐
Worry Less About Your Lead Quality Again
Getting quality leads isn’t magic or happenstance – it happens when marketers know what they are looking for in their future customers and go after those people with an actionable plan in mind. The steps we’ve outlined have been proven successful by countless companies at this point. If you do these things too, you’re sure to come out ahead with enough excellent leads to keep your sales team busy for quite a while.
Our look at lead generation strategies will continue next week, so check back in to further refine your skills. Subscribing will get you access to even more content, so consider doing so to get the insights you need to excel in your work.