Quality vs. Quantity: How to Qualify Leads…And Dates!
Marketers who have been working for B2B organisations for some time often liken marketing and the search for leads to dating. Imagine a singles mixer. Both men and women are invited to a bar to mingle in the hopes of finding someone with the same interests, a mutual attraction, and the desire to spend time together.
Suzy, for example, has been attending events such as these many times and has given out her number to so many men that she hasn’t put effort into making a real connection, and in the end, she is overwhelmed by the lack of compatibility she experiences when she goes out on dates.
Just as in dating, so it is in marketing. According to Marketing Sherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads to sales, but only 27% of these leads are qualified. When it comes to finding the right fit between brand and prospect, top performing marketers say in unison that quality always trumps quantity.
Marketing has the job of passing on qualified leads to sales in order to support their pursuit of bringing in more clients. In order to sift through leads to find the best ones, marketing has to establish which leads are “hot” and which are “cold”, or which are “dead” and won’t pass through the pipeline at all.
Working with a pre-defined criteria
Suzy should have a pre-defined criteria on which to base if she should get to know a potential suitor more. Things like common interests, family values, and personal goals. When it comes to leads, there is a similar method of qualifying prospects.
Lead scoring is that method by which marketers rank prospects against a scale that gives a value to each lead. The score determines which lead is ready for engagement. If a lead downloads a whitepaper, it is assigned a score of +10 points. If a lead has opened an email, it can be assigned a score of +5 points. If a lead has twitted a negative comment on social media, or they have unsubscribed from your email list, they would be assigned a lead score of -10.
What Suzy has done is dive headfirst into a search for a relationship with men with which there is no compatibility at all. Instead, she should be asking herself: do I see myself in a long-term relationship with this man or is there apparent incompatibility from the beginning? From there, she should be pursuing relationships only with those that have long-term potential based on her personal criteria.
We continuously put effort into generating leads through our marketing campaigns, and we do a good job at acquiring them. But do we know who we should follow-up with? Do we know which segment of our leads should be nurtured so that they may make their way through the sales funnel?
True – we can never have too many leads. Lead generation is essential. But what’s more accurate to say is that we can never have too many qualified leads. Are you being careful to screen your potential suitors before diving headfirst into establishing a relationship that is doomed to fail from the beginning? Just as in dating, we should be mindful of what leads have the potential of closing, and which are incompatible with our goals. It’s time we start using best practices when it comes to picking up quality leads.