We, marketers, are supposed to love challenges to the extent that it can be categorized as an occupational hazard. But the true marketing skill lies in how the challenges are dealt with. The art of marketing is making sales easier. Many marketers make the mistake of generating enough B2B leads but giving up after that instead of focusing on the most promising ones.
This is primarily because marketers tend to end up focusing more on the quantity of B2B leads than their quality. The concept that lead generation is a means to an end, not an end in itself is forgotten here. The end goal is to churn out customers not just generating enough B2B leads.
When B2B leads are generated by forgetting this concept, the poor salespeople who start pursuing the leads identify the low quality of most leads. This results in the sales team becoming discouraged & stalling the follow-up process, which in turn leads to losing out on the qualified B2B leads that were ready to buy.
Further repercussions include salespeople shifting the blame on to the marketers saying “the leads are weak” & marketers in turn accusing sales team of being lazy & not doing enough follow-ups.
Fixing the problem with Lead Scoring
With the simple method of lead scoring, which can be considered as the first method, B2B leads can be perfectly ranked on interest level & sales readiness based on what’s agreed by marketing & sales. Yeah, it’s true that the value of each lead varies from one company to another but can be generally categorized by the interest shown in the organization or their positions in the buying cycle.
Whether the B2B leads are assigned using rankings like A, B, C or D or by terms like hot, cold or warm by making clear what exactly constitutes the criteria for generating quality B2B leads. Sorting Leads appropriately not only helps in tracking their progress along the sales funnel but also boosts productivity, efficiency & alignment of both marketing & sales departments.
But however, the lead scoring system is only as good as the rules that are applied. This is because lead scores in most cases are a combination of demographic information & activity of the user which includes visits to your website, eBook downloads or email opens, which demonstrate their overall interest.
What to do when you don’t have a lead scoring system?
This is where things tend to get a bit tricky. True marketers should be familiar with the approach to lead prioritization based on the interest a lead shows in moving from one buyer stage to another even without the help of marketing automation software that is integrated with your CRM software.
B2B Leads can be placed in any one of the three lead categories based on the actions the leads take after the initial conversion
Information Qualified Lead (IQL)
This comes in the Awareness stage in the buyer’s journey, where they provide their contact information in return for something useful. This is because the buyer has realized that there is a problem and a solution should be found out for it.
Here the lead becomes an Information Qualified Lead & with marketing automation, it can be directed to a thank you page with the link to download the offer & receive follow up emails with same download links spaced out over time.
Free webinars and free samples, case studies, product spec sheets & catalogs can be used to invite IQLs to learn more about how you can help them out & convert to the next stage.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Majority of the IQLs who take the initial information do not move to the next stage. The ones who have decided to download the information about your company’s product or service turns to MQL. This is the consideration stage. Crafting content in order to appeal to buyers at this stage is crucial to determine which B2B leads may be the final candidates for your services or products. The B2B leads here are looking for different approaches to solve their problems or pain points.
Free trials, free consultations, demos, estimates or coupons can be used to pilot MQLs to the next stage.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
This is the decision stage where the B2B leads know their preferred solution & are actively looking for a partner or vendor.
You have hot B2B leads here – So quick, pass it on to sales to call them. True marketers know that the faster the sales team follows up with SQLs, higher the closing rate.
Here offers like a free consultation or talk to sales now can be used to catch the lowest hanging fruit & convert.
Your organization may already have enough content that can be used to aid prospects move through these stages. Once you crack which ones can be used for each purpose you can easily add the additional content. Do not just be a regular Joe, be an incredible marketer who can do magic with B2B leads.