Whatever business you’re in, prospects have various amounts of information that they’ll essentially give you based on how they’re engaging with your marketing materials while they vet your products pre-purchase. Because this data can dramatically affect both sales and how you measure lead quality, the questions we, as marketers, need to answer are, “Do I have the technical infrastructure to collect all the data?” and also, “Do I have the infrastructure set up correctly to get what I need?”
In this blog post, I’ll go through the different lead quality standards, must-haves, and non-negotiables that are necessary to fuel a successful sales and marketing machine. Let’s make some money.
Totally not a surprise! I’ve probably said this in my last 10 blog posts, but here goes. Your business is a beautiful snowflake, just like you! Your customers, product, and marketing lifecycle are just as unique, so what I’m about to tell you is the broad strokes. To get this done, you’ll need a far more detailed plan with experts who know your business and customers. Element Three specializes in this engagement, so reach out to us if you’re interested in hearing more.
Prerequisites for measuring and improving lead quality
Before you start, there are a few things you need in place for this exercise to work. They include:
- A capable website with appropriate content for people to explore and validate your products and your company
- Web tracking software like Google Analytics, or anything comparable
- CRM or marketing automation platform to collect relevant info
What determines lead quality (as it pertains to converting sales)?
Lead quality comes down to having the right amount of information that we, as marketing and sales professionals, can utilize to help prospects find the right products. With thoughtful methods in place, we can quickly determine if someone is interested in buying what we have or not, allowing us to remove people who aren’t a good fit while speaking to the people who are. It’s all about personalizing your brand’s experience at scale.
A while back, I hosted a webinar about marketing automation, talking specifically about the differences between known data and inferred data, both of which can help determine lead quality. Since known data is information submitted by the customer, it’s more reliable, but it also has a higher barrier to submission, because it requires users to choose whether or not to fill out a form to access desirable assets. Still, data collection helps marketers and sales teams alike and should be considered when thinking about your sales funnel.
This is, of course, highly specialized to your business, your products, your industry, and your ideal customers (shocker). Thankfully, I’ve been doing this long enough to see some patterns across most industries. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, brick and mortar or digital, long or short sales cycle, you’ll want to gather this valuable customer data through tracking your leads and the actions they take. Once you have that data, there’s a lot that can be done to segment and communicate with leads, specialize and optimize information prospects are looking for, and improve sales conversion rates.
1. Personal lead information
This is your bread and butter, customer data 101—name and email address. It should also answer the question, “How should we be addressing this user as a person?”
Personal lead information is typically—but not always—a type of known data, or data that’s handed over by the actual person. The most common ways for marketers to get this kind of information are through gated resources or, with really short sales cycles, when a customer purchases a product. You can also buy this information...but that feels spammy and we want to be good marketers.
2. Product interest information
This is where your site and assets come into play. Maybe it’s a brochure download, or maybe it’s simply looking at a page long enough (e.g., e-commerce and those pesky pricing ads that follow you everywhere—damn you Sweetwater). Whatever data point you’re using to determine product interest, you can use that information to assign the appropriate product to a contact record, identifying that Contact A is focusing on Product X so that marketing and sales can use this information.
Custom fields in your CRM are great for tracking product interest. You can also set up goal/event tracking in Google Analytics if your time to purchase is really quick.
3. Purchase process stage
This one gets a bit trickier, and existing data from your CRM will be really helpful here. Knowing which leads are just starting on their path to product exploration and which ones are about to hit the buy button is a MUST. This helps you plan out your messaging and know how much pressure to apply via ads, social media, and other communication methods. Without this information, you’re forced to treat everyone like they’re a buyer right now, and since most aren’t, your lead churn is going to be very high.
4. Price point qualifications
This is another one better suited for CRMs, but it can be reverse engineered with the right tracking and web content. Price point qualification refers to correlating certain activity, or collections of known data, to pricing structures for your products or services. Personas are great here, so you can say X people performing Y actions or submitting Z info means they fit into Persona 1, and those people have a demographic salary range of $50,000, making them a better fit for certain products.
5. Information for sales rep contact
More of a B2B option here, but critical nonetheless: getting that phone number! It’s annoying as hell and people now know that if they give it away, sales people are coming for them. But getting that phone number from a lead also typically means that they’re “sales qualified.” C'est la vie.
Throughout the marketing funnel, you should be asking yourself:
- Where are the high-intent conversion points?
- How are we directing people to sales?
- How do you know when prospects will be contacted by the sales team?
- Is there then a way to continue to nurture prospects throughout the sales process?
Another good practice is to talk to your sales team and ask them what kind of information they’d like to know about a prospect before reaching out. If you’re a B2B company that only works with enterprise-level clients, your sales team won’t be happy if you constantly pass over leads from small companies with no budget. Or worse, they’ll just start ignoring all marketing leads that become “sales qualified.” Basically, make sure you and the sales team are on the same page about what makes a lead qualified—not as easy as it sounds.
6. Recurring conversion tracking
Setting up a funnel to track singular conversions is step one, but if you’re not careful, your tracking can reset post purchase. So the next time a person is ready to buy, they’re back to square one. Does your CRM or e-commerce tracking take repeat buyers into account? Is communication in place to make people feel welcome in moving to other products and services?
7. Kickers: roles and titles, influencers
For every buyer, there are a handful of other people around them who may hold sway on the purchase process. Maybe it’s a boss, maybe it’s a husband, or maybe they’re flying solo. Having a set of persona profiles that you can apply your lead data to can help you categorize prospects—and then determine their value to the buying process.
Foundational Data First, Then Apply It to Your Funnel
To have quality leads, you first have to understand your leads and what differentiates the good ones from the bad. And to do that, you need to first have leads. And to get leads, you need to have a digital presence and points of conversion. And to have that, you need products and services that help people solve problems. It’s all interconnected, from the brand essence all the way to the technical deployment of code on your site.
When asked to sum up himself with just a single sentence, Grady responded with the following, "Commander of the resistance, unrelenting leader in the defense of organic life, chocolate lover."
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