5 Easy tips to improve the quality of B2B leads!
Imagine a situation, you have spent several thousands of dollars into your big Pay Per Click (PPC) search campaign and you have also managed to bag a substantial degree of leads. So, that should mean you are rocking your conversion rates and the cost per lead is also good. What could the problem be then? The problem comes in when you begin analyzing the results and ponder a little deeper. That is when you’ll realize that a humongous amount of these leads are in general ‘junk leads’. Only a few of these may be turning into opportunities let alone the customers. The bottom line is you are perhaps not availing a healthy ROI. So, what should you be doing? You must probably find ways to improve the quality of B2B leads. Before we get to that, you must know what is a quality lead.
What is a quality lead?
In the real sense, the definition of quality leads is variable. Speaking of personal experience, the most common requirement is that an acceptable percentage of leads pass the sales funnel and actually convert into ‘sales opportunity’. In other words, quality leads are the leads that are deemed worthy of the sales resource along with continual follow-up.
5 important tips that will help you work on the quality of your B2B leads
1. Understand Inquiries v/s Leads
- Firstly, you must track and evaluate the raw Inquires as well as the accepted leads. Raw Inquires involve every contact record that is generated via your marketing program. On the other hand, the accepted leads are the subset of the raw inquiries and comprise of desirable and legitimate contact details.
For instance, before presenting all inquiries into a lead tracking system, several companies tend to eliminate the records that contain non-bonafide names, phone numbers, email addresses or the inquiries that relate to the current customers, competitors, consultants or students which may not be your target audience. Also, here the marketers can eliminate the inquiries that do not fall in your service area.
- Secondly, the B2B marketers must work out a way to analyze the cost associated with both accepted leads and raw inquiries. Post that, only those inquiries must be loaded in the lead systems and undergo a follow-up activity.
- Given all of this, there is still a possibility that for multiple programs B2B firms manage, it may not be uncommon to experience a lead acceptance rate of only 50%. This may be especially true for the firms that deal with niche specific markets.
- If you too are facing a situation like this, it is important to understand the inquiry to accepted lead ratio critically. The CPC (cost per conversion) or CPI (cost per inquiry) as noted by your PPC account manager or by Google Analytics is not a reflective of the Cost Per Lead. In actual terms, when you get a 50% acceptance rate, your true Cost per Lead is twice the reported CPC.
2. Implement A Lead Grading System
Next, you can implement a lead grading system. This is one of the most common techniques where you can rank the leads in the A, B, C, D format. The sales and the B2B marketing team must jointly determine a suitable grading system.
- Leads would include the inquiries that possess the highest sales potential. This may include large companies that have a significant purchasing power in your desired geographic area or a targeted market zone.
- B leads might include those that have been acquired from slightly smaller firms that are still in your market.
- C leads would include those that are associated with companies which possess the potential but may not directly fall in your target market.
- D leads would include some follow ups but they aren’t seen as high potential
3. Come Up With A Marketing Sales Feedback Loop
One of the key aspects of lead generation is communication and communication between a marketing and sales team are crucial. This is especially true for companies that have long and complex sales cycles. The B2B marketers can’t wait that long for a sale to be complete for them to assess the quality of a lead. Moreover, the data will get stale so it would be pointless to use that data to actively manage a real-time program like search. So, to work right, it is extremely important for you to receive direct feedback from the sales team. On the basis of this, the marketers can understand which leads can be qualified as good and will make through the sales funnel. It can be a good idea to evaluate, review and update the leads on monthly basis by the sales team. These must be then shared with the marketing team so as to complete the lead quality feedback loop. It has been noted the time and again that marketers are often amazed to know that the keywords and campaigns which generate a high volume of leads and inquiries are usually not the same words that generate high-quality leads.
4. Identify Marketing vs. Sales Leads
Besides, lead grading, there is another technique that works to improve the quality of leads that is identifying sales leads from the marketing leads.
- Sales Leads: Sales leads are usually the prospects who further go on in the buying process. They are closer to making a purchase decision. In terms of budget, needs and project timelines, these leads are the ones that are ready to interact with a sales executive.
- Marketing Leads: Marketing Leads are usually the ones that need to be cultivated over time so as to persuade them to interact with the sales executive. These prospects may be highly qualified however they are a little early in the buying cycle and demand additional resources and information.
By being able to analyze and categorize the leads in this manner, the marketers will be able to treat the prospects appropriately as they proceed through the buying process. This will ensure that the sales team dedicates its precious time, resources and attention only on the right prospects.
5. Evaluate Quality At A Granular Level
Lastly, the B2B marketers must evaluate not only the quantity of the inquiries generated but also the quality of the resulting leads. This can be done on the basis of the Return on Investment and sales results. You must conduct this analysis at the granular level that is by keyword, ad group, and campaign. Only then will the search marketers be appropriately able to manage all the keywords based on the word’s ability to generate qualified (graded) prospects, inquiries, sales-ready leads, accepted registrations and finally profit, revenue, and more customers.
Hopefully, with these 5 easy tips, the quality of your B2B leads will improve for the good.
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