One of the key challenges for B2B Marketers is to do a much better job of identifying and then closing the gap between an unqualified website visitor or lead who visits your landing page and downloads a document or two, and real genuine sales ready lead, who has a real problem your firm is in the business of fixing.
What constitutes a sales ready lead? Someone who has an identified need, someone who has the budget to fix it and the authority to spend the required funds...and a clearly identified timeline for the project. If all you have gathered is their name, job title, email address and phone number, they are NOT ready to speak with your sales team! Makes sense right?
So check out this latest data from Marketing Sherpa.
So 80% of B2B Marketers who have responded to this survey have identified an exchange of their basic contact information as sufficient criteria to define a lead as qualified and ready to be passed to sales. Only 42% of respondents feel a valid business need is required to define a lead as qualified and a measly one quarter think that being a decision maker, and having sufficient funds as being necessary information to have.
No wonder sales people ignore the leads they get sent from sales! If a lead IS sales ready it's by pure chance and NOT by design.
The implications for underperforming lead engines are far reaching. Having sales teams working on unqualified low quality leads is expensive and inefficient. Compared to a firm that is does a good job of qualifying leads, you will either need more salespeople to generate the same amount or revenue or achieve lower revenue with the same number of sales people.
I suspect most marketers accept the need for better lead qualification, however simply don't know how to achieve this affordably. The good news is that inbound marketing solutions and marketing automation systems are relatively cheap and affordable.
But building an engine that qualifies leads for sales requires a number of steps:
- Define marketing campaigns that speak to your audience at different stages of their buyer's journey with genuinely valuable and remarkable content specific to that stage of the journey.
- Progressively profile those leads who consume your content. Ask B.A.N.T. (budget, authority, need and timeframe) style questions in exchange for your valuable content.
- Marketing and sales must jointly agree what constitutes a lead and the process for handing over leads. Hard coding this agreement via a lead scoring framework of explicit and implicit data works best.
- Work with sales to work out the kinks, you won't get it right first time, continually adjust and adapt your scoring framework. Set expectations accordingly.
It's worth it! Firms with sales and marketing teams that are aligned:
- Grow 5.4% faster
- Close 38% more deals
- Turned over 36% fewer clients