Improving your lead qualification process to capture high-quality leads is one of the most effective ways for B2B marketers to boost their conversion rates through their funnel.
Marketing has traditionally been a numbers game, with Demand teams delivering the biggest possible volume of leads to their sales team to avoid missing out on high-quality prospects. That can work, but it’s not sustainable for the downstream teams, from SDRs to AEs, who need to work the leads. Ultimately, sales teams will become frustrated by the high volume of undesirable contacts, forcing reps to spend time filtering out low-quality leads.
- Generating high-quality leads is predicated on alignment between Marketing and Sales teams to collectively identify some key elements of a good lead generation strategy, including but not limited to:
- Defining the rubric for lead qualification
- Tuning demand generation strategy with the most important buyer characteristics and segmentation
- ICP and Predictive Analytics to understand historical conversion behavior
What are high-quality leads?
High-quality leads are ideal prospects that have a high propensity for conversion.
A good way to classify leads as high quality is by attributing values to their characteristics or actions, such as job title, buying power, engagement with content, and congruity with your Ideal Customer Profile, or ICP.
Here are five ways you can feel confident your leads become prospects with strong potential who understand the business problem, your solutions, and your offerings, and how Leadspace Studio can help you identify them.
Engineering High-Quality Demand Gen
Develop your Ideal Customer Profile
Whom should you target? This is the first question you should ask to determine your ideal buyer. Recognizing your ideal customer profile (ICP) will take you closer to defining a high-quality lead for your business.
Lay out the characteristics of your ideal customers by describing the most relevant attributes for your business, such as job title and decision-making authority, and your target's implicit attributes. The former establishes the qualifying factors to assess the basic fit of your leads, and the latter sets up certain thresholds that a prospect must reach in the buying journey to qualify as a high-quality lead that's ready to become a paying customer.
You can also build out your ideal buyer profiles from previous conversion data! This is our recommended approach. By leveraging your Leadspace ICP with the deep insights that come from marrying your first-party data, rich third-party signals, and lens of companies that convert versus those that do not, you’re then enabled to ‘dig in’ to the signals that are consistently seen in converting companies. These signals define your Ideal Customer Profile.
Understand the attributes to identify your ideal buyers:
- Profile fit
- Demographic: Information about an individual such as job level, experience, and purchase authority
- Firmographic: Information about the company such as revenue, location, and existing customers
- Technographic: Information about a company’s technological maturity, such as technologies used and decisional authority with their IT department
- Interaction with content: Information on a prospect’s online behavior such as site visits, frequency of visits, and engagement with sales reps (on social media or email
- Most Effective: Historical Purchase Behavior: analytics about how far a historical prospect proceeded through your buying journey funnel, indicated by downloading content closer to the path to purchase
Instrument Predictive Analytics to remove the Guesswork
The nature of B2B marketing and sales is that potential buyers are complex organisms who need to take into account several diverse factors when making a decision. According to McKinsey, sales and marketing teams need to factor in a new “response to changing buying preferences, sales organizations have started moving to become more agile.”
So how do we adjust to buying preferences? Remove the guesswork and allow predictive analytics to help shoulder that burden on your demand generation pipeline. How? Use Leadspace's Propensity models, of course. Essentially, we look to identify and evaluate relationships between various attributes associated with your customers, prospects, opportunities, leads, and the identified behavior in your funnel (such as closed/won opportunities) and produce a model which predicts just that.
Once the model is built, employ it to:
- Score your inbound leads
- Prioritize your existing accounts
- Quickly identify accounts and prospects who are a good fit for your products or services
Leverage Intent Data to Identify Buyer Interest
B2B marketers have come to recognize the value of intent to understand whether a lead or their organization might be looking around for a solution like yours. This is where intent comes in! By leveraging Leadspace Intent, you can not only identify 1) which information your prospects find most engaging, but 2) act on those leads with content and communications that correspond to their active interest level.
Here's how those support you in generating more demand
- Identify early buyer interest
- Purchase intent signals help identify which companies are actively researching your solution before they fill out a form on your site or engage with your sales or marketing teams. Meet your prospects where they’re at and send a relevant email their way
- Build targeted account lists
- Dynamically filter your Smart Lists and your marketing programs for accounts that show active interest, and tailor them to your ABM targets
- Personalize your outreach and programs with resources that match whatever accounts are already looking for you. Engender trust and build rapport with bespoke recommendations and comms
- Prioritizing accounts.
- Give priority to companies that demonstrate interest and purchase intent—before they initiate the buying process with a competitor.
We’d also recommend you compliment your first-party data sources (engagement, emails, website, social media) with our Leadspace intent data to target high-value, in-market buyers and convert them into high-quality leads.
Revisit your sales and marketing alignment
Even with well-defined ideal customer profiles, intent data and lead scoring mechanisms (see our primer to lead scoring here), poor conversion rates can still be a struggle for marketing and sales teams alike due to a lack of alignment on not only what characterizes a lead, but then how to action and nurture them once they are in your funnel.
Effective lead generation begins with marketing and sales co-developing lead qualification strategies, straight from defining a high-quality lead to determining lead scoring strategies and making iterative improvements. When your organization has an aligned-upon, distinct rule set in place for scoring leads, you can ensure that every lead you pass on to sales should meet their criteria for qualification—thereby strengthening the alignment between the two functions, facilitating coordination and reducing friction.
The absence of defined analytics, Lead Scoring models, or other signals of buyer propensity can contribute to misalignments across the organization, particularly the alignment between sales and marketing teams.
To enable collaboration between marketing and sales:
- Solicit feedback from sales on lead quality. Also, take their suggestions on your ideal buyer personas and the attributes and characteristics you deem necessary.
- Agree on what a high-quality lead looks like. This process will also involve examining the causes behind rejections of marketing leads or non-conversion of MQLs.
- Review and update lead scoring criteria with sales teams based on evolving buyer behaviors, intent data, or lead quality feedback.
Measure, Measure, Measure
Increasing the quality of your leads means rejecting the objective of delivering as many leads as possible. Since the goal is to limit leads to just high-quality ones, with higher conversions, your metrics for measuring and reporting should also focus on that.
Track these conversion metrics to measure success for quality lead generation. You can connect the data from sales and marketing in your CRM to measure conversion—from there, work with your Leadspace CSM and their team to determine the incremental downstream effects of Leadspace on your programs.
- Response to leads
- Indicates the quality of inbound traffic to your digital touchpoints (also known as responses) who became qualified leads
- Leads to opportunities
- Measures the number of inquiries that qualify to become a potentially good fit for sales (also known as sales-qualified leads or opportunities)
- Time to conversions
- This calculates the number of days it takes for an inquiry to turn into a sale. It measures the marketing effort and time it took to convert a prospect into a paying customer
Curating a quality lead generation plan can take some time, during which there will be much trial and error. As you learn the ins and outs of defining high-quality leads for your business, categorize your marketing campaigns that have best resonated with your target audience and led to conversions.
During this test and learn period, experiment with your additional Leadspace tools, including your predictive models and analytics, Ideal Customer Profiles, and your Intent signals and data. Iterate, iterate, iterate until you find the recipe that delivers on the final outcome you’re happy with.