When solidifying your goals for lead generation, it can be tempting to focus on the quantity of incoming prospects. Which is not surprising, given it a rather straightforward and easily accessed metric. However, it is at least as, if not more, important to focus on lead quality— the value, potential, and fit of the leads for your company. High-quality lead generation remains the top challenge for 61% of B2B marketers even if their basic strategy for bringing in leads is in place.

So what are the causes behind a lack of high-quality leads? Let’s examine some of the most common issues with generating high quality sales leads and some remedies to improve results.

Ambiguous or Overly Narrow Buyer’s Personas

As you may know, buyer personas are fictional characters created to represent the needs, pain points, and desires of several main categories of a company’s real-life customers. A well-researched persona can be the core of a marketing campaign; it should be constructed with the use of both statistical observations and insights gained from personal interaction with past clients, through surveys, case studies, etc.

Buyer personas can be used to generate quality leads in a variety of ways, as they essentially provide guidance to your marketing team on how to tailor your entire campaign: everything from content creation and revision to social media coverage to product offers. Your product is, inevitably, not going to appeal to everyone, but the utilization of personas enables a degree of customization in your campaign while maximizing reach to the main components of your lead audience. In fact, 71% of companies who exceeded revenue and lead goals in 2016 reported having buyer personas!

When fleshing out a persona, it’s important to strike a balance between detail and applicability. An overly specific persona will leave you short-sighted and generate a shortage of leads in both quantity and quality. On the other hand, an overly ambiguous persona will be ineffective. It starts with asking the right questions.

Take time to think about genuinely significant criteria to keep in mind when creating a persona, like their job role, company type, personal background (but not TOO personal!), but most importantly their challenges and goals. Additionally, these personas need to have a degree of flexibility because your client base will shift over time— this is also why good data is crucial to remain up-to-date. HubSpot has a great article outlining the process.

An Outdated Lead Scoring Model

A lead scoring model allows you to rank leads by potential for engagement, purchase size and timeframe, fit for your company, etc. on a points system. This model is highly beneficial for any company looking to organize their lead generation strategy; an Eloqua study determined that deal close rates increased by 30 percent for B2B companies making use of lead scoring.

The criteria used to create the model are in your hands, though obviously there are some advisable options out there, such as determining target market and how points will be distributed. When developing a lead scoring model, make sure to account for behavioral data throughout all phases of the buyer’s journey as well as initial interest that a prospect displays at the top of the funnel.

As mentioned previously, social media is a major resource for determining where a lead’s so-called ‘pain points’ may lie. Social data also has the benefit of providing the most up-to-date data about your leads. Demographics, industries, and client needs all need to be monitored real-time to avoid overlooking any major shifts.

Lacking a “Warming up” and/or Lead Nurturing Strategy

You wouldn’t just roll out of bed and take off on a marathon run, would you? No, you would stretch and warm your muscles first. Like a marathon, it is incredibly helpful to warm up your leads to your campaign before sending them into your sales funnel. Using channels such as your blog and social media, you can gauge prospects’ interest (or lack thereof) in specific content you are putting out in order to appeal to and attract the right leads.

Particularly with accessible and fast-shifting channels like Facebook and Twitter, you can start a literal conversation with leads by replying to comments, tracking trending topics, and reaching out directly to leads that demonstrate significant interest in your product/company. For B2B leads in particular, consider focusing on LinkedIn, as it is a network designed particularly for professionals to connect.

In regards to your lead nurturing, a drip email campaign is an integral component to nurtruing, delivering the right material to the right people at the right time through a well-segmented mailing list of leads and marketing automation technology. This is the easiest way to provide your leads with relevant information and pique their interests while avoiding overwhelming those leads who are not ready to commit seriously to your company.

You should also feed into the modern buyer’s desire to binge on content. Like Netflix, don’t just provide your prospect with one piece of content and call it a day. Think about providing an educational journey for them by linking multiple pieces of relevant content together in a lead nurturing funnel. Your funnel should take a prospect from the awareness stage to the decision stage.

No Feedback from Sales

Don’t throw away all of your marketing team’s hard work by failing to close the loop with the sales team! Communication is crucial for making strategic improvements to your campaign, particularly if the company has longer sales cycles. By reporting within a loop, marketing can send more information to sales, while sales can provide feedback and sales activity reports in return.

  • Were our sales opportunities actually leads of a high quality?
  • Which channels attracted the most leads?
  • How and which leads were followed up on?
  • Which marketing activities generated the most leads?
  • Which sales activities generated the most sales?

Automation and tools such as a CRM prove very helpful in accomplishing the closing of the marketing-sales loop. With software and strategy integrated, you’ll be on your way to creating a more efficient lead generation strategy in no time.

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