There is nothing worse for a salesperson than realizing their pipeline is bottlenecked with unqualified leads.

Working with an unqualified lead is like going on a blind date. You’re hoping for a perfect match, but you really have no idea what you’re walking into. About two minutes in, you feel the urge to ditch.

Why? Because you quickly discovered you’re not a promising pair. You want hot leads! Or at least semi-warm.

How do you find those hot leads for your team? Strategize!

Given the customers’ speed of change, your company must stay ahead of the game with a solid strategy.

An effective strategy makes up the difference between loathing an unqualified lead vs. landing a qualified lead. A solid sales and marketing strategy will help your company attract the right attention for the right audience, at the right time, with the right content.

Every organization is different, but these strategies apply regardless of the size or industry.  Let’s look at some winning strategies your company can begin using to generate hot leads.

1. ALIGN YOUR SALES AND MARKETING TEAMS

One of the greatest challenges among sales and marketing teams is misalignment. 1 in 4 companies say their sales and marketing teams are misaligned. The left hand must know what the right hand is doing, or there will be confusion.

According to LinkedIn, 81% of highly aligned companies collaborate with sales on how to use content and 61% of highly aligned companies expected their budgets to grow. That’s the point, right? Well, let’s get to it!

Team alignment actions to take: 

  • Agree on a plan of approach. Examine your existing lead journey (yep, the funnel) and the content supporting it. Discuss how to more effectively execute your pipeline and revenue strategies — together. For your sales team, consider things like engagement history and real-time alerts. And for your marketing team, be attentive to insights into pipeline progression and cognizant of sales activity. 
  • Don’t shy away from automation! You can automate your marketing and sales qualification process to be more efficient and accurate. With lead scoring and grading and automated lead generation, qualifying hot leads and routing them to your sales team is easier than ever. There are some awesome options out here. We would be more than happy to help you automate!
  • Schedule a standing weekly meeting. Hash it out. Discuss your process, content, intel, pain points, and how to increase pipeline velocity. Include your customer service team once a month to stay in sync with the temperature of your customers. This fosters accountability and encourages collaboration.

2. IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL PERSONA(S)

If you want to deliver a relevant customer experience, you’ve got to know who you’re engaging.

Make use of firmographic data.  What demographics do for B2C, firmographics do for B2B. Techtarget defines firmographic data as types of information that can be used to categorize organizations, such as geographic area, number of clients, type of organization, industry, technologies used, and helps companies determine which buyers are a good fit.

Who is your ideal buyer? 

If your sales and marketing team hasn’t already designed your buyer personas, run for the white board!

  • Jot down those who can benefit most from your product (i.e. job position, industry, business segment, region).
  • Assign character names (e.g. Molly Marketing Manager, etc).
  • Document their needs, pain points and how your product helps them.

3. KNOW WHAT TO SAY AND WHEN TO SAY IT

Content is crucial to lead generation and qualification and it is present throughout every part of the customer journey – from discovery through evangelism.

Strive to offer enough comprehensive information, inspiration, and education that will enable your brand to become the go-to advisor on all things regarding your company and industry.

And since you’ve already aligned your sales and marketing teams, your content will deliver a consistent and relevant customer experience, whether customers are hearing from your Head of Demand Generation or your VP of Sales.

As this article from Forbes demonstrates, great content marketing is rare. Be the marketing unicorn in your industry.

When creating content for lead generation, keep these goals in mind:

  • Earn trust. Show you know your stuff.  This is when your future customers are in the discovery/awareness, consideration and decision phase. Be sure to inspire conversations, reach out to your subscribers, guide on “how” to do business better, and nurture leads and buyers.
  • Evolve trust. Show them the way. This is where you say, “I got you.” Your customers are now your partners. Ask yourselves how you can help them maximize their investment and master your product(s). 
  • Leave no dead ends. Calls-to-Action (CTA) are a must with every piece put out. A good CTA guides the future customer down the sales funnel to get them ripe for conversion.

4. CHECK THE METRICS – WHAT’S WORKING (AND WHAT’S NOT)

Metrics tell you where the magic happens. They evaluate your performance and help you make data-driven decisions.

There are a ton of metrics out here. Select ones that are right for and relevant to your business. Measure the important stuff. Don’t do the data overload thing. 

Check out these three metrics for your team to consider: 

  1. Conversion rate (win rate) measures how the percentage of leads convert into becoming customers. It helps you calculate the number of leads necessary to fulfill your revenue target.
  2. Funnel leakage is self explanatory. We all know anytime something is leaking, it’s never good. This metric tells you where your potential customers are falling out of the buying cycle. It also tells you the rate at which they’re dropping.
    To find this out, track your conversion rates at every step. Are they peeling off at the discovery or demo stage? Pinpoint where you’re weak and tighten things up.
  3. Lead and behavior scoring. “We got more, check the score!” You’ve heard the chant. Lead scoring gives you an edge to help accurately identify which leads are heating up as they go through the nurture process.

Choose your metrics wisely and communicate. Constantly check your performance and discuss ways to get better results together.

THE WRAP

The bottom line is… the bottom line. Integrating these strategies will get everyone on one accord, pair your company with qualified leads, and increase your chances of customer conversion to generate more profits.

To learn more about how we can help you generate qualified leads, download The B2B Marketer’s Lead Generation Field Guide.

Written by: Crystal Garrett

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