Not all leads are quality leads. If you find that most of your leads are not qualified to buy your product or service, you may need to do some fine-tuning at the top of your marketing funnel.
Getting quality leads into the sales funnel is a top priority for every B2B business. But the funnel gets tighter as unqualified leads lose interest. Those that make it further down the funnel are what we consider sales qualified. In some cases, the funnel may be so tight at the bottom that only a few leads reach a salesperson. If that’s the case, you may be getting leads at the top of the funnel, but you aren't engaging in qualified lead generation.
Qualified lead generation starts at the top of the funnel. You also need a documented method for qualifying the leads you’re generating. In 2016, only 22% of companies had a formal definition for their quality leads. 70% of salespeople believed identifying and qualifying leads was the biggest challenge at their company.
What Do Quality Leads Look Like?
Marketing qualified leads are more likely to become customers than others. Sales qualified leads are ready to talk to a salesperson and make a purchasing decision. They’ve already engaged with some marketing materials and are ready to be handed over to sales. Lead quality is determined by metrics and lead intelligence.
Generally speaking, quality leads are leads that can directly benefit from your product or service. They have also verified some interest in what you have to offer. They may do this by submitting contact information, downloading one of your materials, or visiting your website. The definition of a qualified lead varies from business to business.
HubSpot identifies quality leads in various parts of the funnel identifying the stages of a lead's lifecycle. The lifecycle stages are as follows:
- Marketing Qualified Lead
- Sales Qualified Lead
Qualified lead generation ensures that the right kinds of people are getting into your sales funnel. This means your efforts have a better chance of pushing them through the stages of their lifecycle. There are a number of strategies for generating more quality leads.
Qualified Lead Generation is Targeted
According to HubSpot, 80% of marketers report that their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective. To engage in qualified lead generation at the top of the funnel, you need marketing material that appeals to qualified leads at the awareness stage. During the awareness stage, a prospect is experiencing a problem and is actively searching for a way to understand it. Offer prospects a free and easy way to frame their problems.
Use well-written content to provide online searchers with fast solutions. Offer up content that addresses the problems your clients usually have. Relate your written content to the products and services you offer, but don’t sell your services directly. Here are some good examples:
- Blog Posts
- Step Guides
This increases the likelihood that a qualified lead will find your content useful and explore further. To actually become a lead, your prospect needs to provide you with contact information. Include calls-to-action, contact forms, buttons, and other lead capture devices within your online content. Use contact forms to gate your most substantial content. If your content is targeted, qualified readers are more likely to find it useful and seek additional information.
Other Lead Generation Strategies
Of course, written content isn’t your only strategy for qualified lead generation. Here are some other tips:
1. Search Ads: Use targeted search engine advertisements to get more qualified leads from search results.
2. Website Optimization: Enhance your website so there are clear directions for visitors to convert into quality leads.
3. Website Redesign: Design your website so that who you are and what you do is immediately clear.
4. Social Media Marketing: Make connections on social media and post regularly about industry news and other topics.
5. Search Engine Optimization: Optimize your digital content with keywords that your prospects may be searching for.
And don’t forget offline methods for qualified lead generation. Online marketing may be all the rage these days, but 78% of marketers say that referrals have a higher conversion rate when compared to other types of leads. You can drum up more qualified leads by going to networking events, reaching out to old connections, and joining business groups.
Get Some Help
If you don’t have the time to focus on qualified lead generation, don’t let it go by the wayside. You may need to adapt your entire marketing strategy to get more quality leads which can take a lot of time and energy. 68% of B2B businesses struggle to fulfill their lead generation systems. Instead of doing it all yourself, get some help!
Give yourself more time to hit the pavement and look for referrals. Reach out to a team of digital marketers to take care of your online lead generation. The best agencies can even create content for you so you don’t have to spend hours writing blogs, whitepapers, and eBooks. They can also redesign your website to lower your bounce rate and appeal to prospects.
Acquiring interest in your product or service is great, but that interest needs to lead to sales. Learn more about qualified lead generation and put your new strategy into action.