You have leads, but are you concentrating on the most promising?
Use this straightforward method to better concentrate your B2B sales efforts.
Lead generation is one of the most crucial jobs for B2B marketers. Unfortunately, for some businesses, marketing’s job definition ends there. All you have to do is produce leads.
There are a lot of them!
When this happens, marketing may become more concerned with the number of leads generated rather than the quality of each one. Because lead creation is a means to an end, this is an issue. It’s not in and of itself a goal. The ultimate purpose of lead generation is to generate customers, not leads.
There are also other issues to consider. A wrench is thrown into the gears when marketing sends every lead to sales for follow-up. Sales begin sifting through all of the leads in order to qualify them, and quickly realizes that the majority of the leads are of poor quality. Salespeople can feel disheartened and cease following up, resulting in the loss of qualified prospects who are ready to buy.
That’s when you hear salespeople criticize marketing, stating things like “the leads are bad!” Then marketing blames sales for being sluggish and neglecting to follow up on leads (wait for it…)
Lead scoring – prioritizing leads – is the first step in resolving this issue.
The process of ranking a lead’s interest level and sales readiness using a technique agreed upon by marketing and sales is known as lead scoring. Companies can score leads in a number of ways, including allocating points and using rankings such as “hot,” “warm,” and “cold.” Alternatively, A, B, C, or D.
It’ll come down to a mixture of “fit” and “interest.” If there’s a good fit but little interest, marketing should keep nurturing the lead. If there is a good fit and interest, sales should follow up right away.
But what if you don’t have an automated lead scoring system in place, with your marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) software integrated?
Another way to prioritize leads is to look at how interested they are in moving from one buyer stage to the next on your website.
Based on the behaviors that lead perform after the first conversion, you can categorize them into one of three lead categories:
- Information Qualified Lead (IQL)
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Information Qualified Lead (IQL)
When a lead converts for the first time, they are frequently giving their contact information in exchange for some type of valuable information, which is referred to as a top-of-the-funnel offer. An ebook, whitepaper, or tip sheet are some examples. Typically, the customer is only starting to look for a solution to a problem. They usually have no idea who you are or what you can accomplish for them.
The lead is classified as an Information Qualified Lead at this point (IQL).
The IQL is sent to a thank you page with a link to download the offer via a marketing automation platform, and then receives a follow-up email with the same download link. The lead receives another email a few days later with further information about what they downloaded. A couple more emails like this follow, spaced out equally across time.
The IQL is also asked to learn more about how your firm can help address the problem connected to what they have downloaded at each of the interactions prompted by the first download (thank you sites, emails, etc.).
Free webinars, case studies, free samples, product spec sheets, and catalogs are all examples of enticements to move on to the next stage.
Many IQLs will collect the first data they require but will not go to the next stage. You can certainly keep in touch with them via email newsletters and new content offers, but the IQL can be deemed a cold lead and a lower priority for sales follow-up based solely on their behaviors.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Assume IQL is curious about how you might be able to tackle the problem for which they have been looking for a solution. They choose to obtain information about your company’s product or service by downloading it.
You now have a Marketing Qualified Lead in your hands. The lead has warmed up.
Your marketing automation creates a new pipeline that generates a thank you page, a thank you email, and various follow-up emails with information about their problem and how you might be able to help, much like it did when they were an IQL.
You then lead the MQL to the next part of the journey, the Decision Stage, with each of those encounters.
You might offer free trials, demos, free consultations, estimates/quotes, or vouchers to help an MQL get to the decision stage.
You now have a Sales Qualified Lead if the MQL raises their hand and continues to the decision step.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Get sales to call them right away; they’re a hot lead!
The faster sales follow up with a SQL, the greater the closing rate, according to studies. Furthermore, promptness conveys a strong statement about your company’s customer-centricity and attention to detail.
You can ensure that sales are at least following up with the warmest prospects by categorizing your leads into three distinct buckets depending on their behaviors on your website. Also, you’ll spend less time on cold leads.
Handing off leads and shifting them from IQL to SQL is a lot like a relay race we used to do in elementary school. Each team member’s immaculate synchronization was critical to the team’s success. The baton is passed from one team member to the next with ease. If a member of the team dropped the baton, they had to work extra hard to make up for the time they had lost.
Similarly, Marketing and Sales must collaborate to ensure that leads flow smoothly from IQL, MQL, and SQL. That is where we come into the picture. Aiozium will not only benefit the company’s bottom line but will also give the prospect a pleasant experience as he progresses from the top to the bottom of the funnel and completes a transaction.