Is your company finally managing to generate the amount of leads that was in the targets? Great news!
But, are you satisfied with the quality of these leads?
Many marketing and sales departments suffer from lead generation , but disqualified leads.
If this is your case and you urgently need to improve your strategy's lead qualification, check out the content we've prepared with 6 practical tips for optimizing and maximizing your results.
What is a lead?
When your company acquires a customer's contact or personal data, such as name, email or phone number, you start calling him a lead and the leads are the base of contact, your company's database.
Interested in something your brand offers — and that isn't always the product or service — this consumer provides this data as a bargaining chip.
The delivery of your brand depends on the step of the marketing funnel . It can be exclusive content, a return of a contact, a question resolved, a product demonstration, an offer, etc.
What are qualified leads?
Unfortunately, not every lead conversion represents someone with a real interest in closing a purchase or hiring.
In fact, many of these leads won't become customers, and many of them won't even maintain a bond with your brand.
Often a lead will not evolve through the sales funnel.
And so often the lead is not ready for purchase and needs to go through the process we call, in Marketing, nutrition and qualification .
There are a few classifications for qualified leads :
MQLs: is the acronym for Marketing Qualified Lead,. MQL Leads are already aware of the problem they have and better understand what kind of solution is ideal to solve it. Despite this, they are still not thinking about the options of brands that will be chosen, as they still need to be better qualified for this next step.
SQLs: is the acronym for Sales Qualified Lead,. SQL leads are leads that are closer to closing the purchase, as they have already chosen the type of solution your company offers. This type of lead must be worked on by the sales team, as it is more open to negotiations.
PQLs: stands for Product Qualified Lead. PQL leads are those who have already tested or had access to a demonstration of the product or service that your company offers. These leads have a different propensity for closing a deal and therefore the commercial approach should be too.
What is lead qualification?
Generating qualified leads means focusing your marketing and sales team efforts on opportunities that are more likely to become a customer of your brand.
Qualifying your leads means approaching them at the best time to close a purchase or hire.
With lead qualification , in addition to focusing on who is ready to receive a contact from a salesperson, you don't wear out the contacts that might be interested in the future, but that would move away if they felt uncomfortable with a commercial contact at the wrong time .
Why qualify leads? 3 reasons to invest in this practice
Lead qualification is critical to the success of your strategy and the focus of your marketing and sales efforts and resources. Understand in detail the reasons to invest now:
Increase conversion rates
If the sales team is working with contacts with a higher purchase intent, it also means that conversion rates will be optimized.
Approaching the potential consumer at the right time, the chances of closing a purchase or hiring are much greater.
Reduce costs and increase business efficiency
The sales team focuses its efforts on leads that are already better prepared to close a deal.
That is, sales time and resources are used on consumers who are already more likely to buy, so marketing time and resources can also be better allocated to preparing leads that have not yet reached that stage.
Prevent and reduce churn
The churn metric monitors the lost revenue or customers that your company has. Qualifying leads helps exclude bad contacts that don't fit with the branded solution or product.
These contacts may even close a deal with you, but they soon become a problem as they become dissatisfied and generate losses that you don't want to have.
How to qualify leads?
Qualifying leads is linked to some important points that we are going to clarify:
Is it necessary to have a dedicated team?
One of the solutions aimed at improving the quality of generated leads is the dedication of a team or even a SDR (Sales Development Representative) professional, who makes the qualification and schedules for the sales team.
It turns out that this is not the reality for all companies, especially for smaller ones that have smaller teams. In this type of dynamic, it is the salesperson who takes care of the qualification.
For these cases, relying on a good job of qualification during the marketing strategy is even more accurate so that contacts reach the commercial more educated about the solution.
What to look out for when qualifying a contact
Understanding whether a lead qualifies isn't just about hiring or buying at the end of the sales funnel.
After all, you need to understand if that contact is evolving throughout the process and contacts with your brand and not just at the end of the funnel.
For that, you need to define, track and direct your strategy to the qualifiers.
Here are four factors that will help you understand what these qualifiers are for your leads.
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) fit : Asking yourself if this lead really needs or wants the solution you offer is the first step in not focusing your efforts on disqualified leads. If the lead doesn't fit the customer profile you want, why invest in a qualification that won't exist? For example, if you serve a specific region, which comprises only a few cities in Bahia, but ends up generating a lead from São Paulo, that contact can never become a customer. Don't be afraid to act and don't get hung up on the numbers: leads that can't become customers don't matter to your strategy.
Timing: the moment of purchase and the duration of maturation interfere in the qualification and in the strategy designed for it. The decision time for a shoe purchase is different from an apartment purchase. B2B businesses have a hiring time dynamic than a direct purchase made by the end consumer. Pay attention to this factor.
Decision-making power: within your audience, do you only deal with purchase decision makers or influencers, but you don't have the final say? Understanding the classification of this profile for each lead makes all the difference for communication, hooks and benefits presented for its qualification.
Available budget: Lastly, understanding the purchasing power or budget available for that purchase or hiring is critical to the lead qualification approach. This way, you understand if the lead is interesting for the reality of what your company offers and so you don't waste time with leads that don't have this qualifier. Remember that this qualifier can change, so timing needs to be evaluated as well. It could be that a lead doesn't have a budget available this month, but it does the next. The context will guide the qualification.
Lead Qualification Tools
Explore the tools that can contribute to your lead qualification work.
Software such as CRM, automation and lead scoring platforms will enable your strategy and lead selection to be done in an automated, centralized and easily visible way for the entire team involved.
6 tips to optimize your lead qualification
But let's get down to business, after all, you want to know how to make qualifying leads viable and stop directing uninteresting contacts to the sales team, right? Check out our tips!
1. Get better leads by setting an ideal customer profile (ICP)
Who is your best customer? What features does it have? Wouldn't you like all customers to be like him?
Defining an ideal customer profile (ICP) helps to better target your marketing efforts and define good lead qualification criteria.
To do this, design a qualification rule and add questions to find out which leads are the best from your ICP.
Your brand personas are ideal customer representations for the solution the company offers.
Through the design of the personas, it will be possible to create quality materials that are aligned with the challenges, pains and goals of your consumer.
Without understanding these points, communication becomes superficial and qualification of leads becomes even more limited.
2. Be more demanding when qualifying marketing leads
Smaller companies especially have a tendency to want to handle all contacts that come in via website or marketing campaigns. But as we mentioned, not all contacts are worth that effort, really.
Being more judicious when defining what a qualified lead is can reduce the number of leads, but it will allow the salesperson to spend more time talking to the contacts that actually have the possibility of closing a purchase or contract.
Note: This tip works for those who are getting a lot of disqualified leads. If your company is getting few leads, the tip can be applied in the opposite way. Loosen the qualification criteria a bit.
3. Analyze whether your tools are helping or hindering qualification
Today, there are already very interesting tools that automate part of this process, such as sending emails, follow up, filling out reports and monitoring metrics.
Explore this type of tool and put your salespeople where they need to be: on offer for heated leads.
Tools are your allies, of course. But they won't create your company's lead qualification strategy alone.
Sometimes the qualification flows built into automation tools and CRM are too simple or complex, which can interfere with how leads are getting to the salesperson.
Identify the profile of your contacts through qualifying points and lead scoring, test different approaches, track the results and change what is not working.
4. Respect the timing of each lead
Identifying and approaching each lead according to purchase timing and maturity is important to generate good business opportunities.
Maybe that lead who didn't want to close a deal with you isn't really disqualified: sometimes, he just wasn't ready to make a decision at the time.
Identifying and including these leads in a nutrition strategy until they are mature is one of the ways to work with these contacts without taking a more commercial approach.
On the other hand, leads that are ready to buy sometimes end up in a stream of emails, when they could already be directed to the commercial.
It is also worth making several attempts to contact and follow up with the best leads according to ICP and qualification rule.
And don't forget: throughout the lead management process, it's important to monitor and track metrics.
In addition to tracking the number of leads and sales generated throughout the development of your actions, we recommend that you also track the number of qualified leads at each step of the funnel.
This way, you monitor how many leads are eligible for marketing and how many leads are eligible for sales, keeping track of whether the funnel is balanced and also understanding which actions bring better results.
5. Always optimize your paid media campaigns
Sometimes disqualified lead entry has to do with poor targeting in paid media campaigns. It is important to be always following, reviewing and optimizing this strategy.
Explore the options for each tool, think about your ideal customer's habits to define channels and platforms, and use remarketing as a qualification strategy.
It works as a way to target your online ads to people who have already had contact with your brand, whether through your website, Landing Pages or your social networks.
6. Value feedback from the sales team
No one better than your front-line team to validate the lead qualification process.
For this reason, be in contact with the employees and leaders of the sales teams and understand how the arrival of leads to them is impacting the work.
Do they feel that consumers are already arriving with fewer questions? Is the argumentation process simplified? Have the results been shown to be effective? Have the conversion rates of qualified leads to customers improved?
All of these questions will help to align, monitor and refine the strategy.
Understand team feedback on leads by segmenting by channel and qualification ruler.
They will be able to tell, for example, if leads originating from Google Ads campaigns buy faster than those originating from Facebook Ads, but have a lower average ticket.
Use these feedbacks to optimize and focus on the best performing channels.
And be focused! Don't try to do a little bit of everything, as you will end up having poor and average results in all of your lead acquisition, generation and qualification initiatives.
Prospecting and negotiating with customers is one of the most laborious steps for the sales team and also one that offers a lower conversion rate, since many contacts generated as leads do not end up evolving into a purchase or hiring.
To facilitate and focus the efforts of your sales team, invest in qualifying contacts even before they are transferred to the commercial sector.