Lead Generation Guide With Effective Marketing
Every marketer agrees that lead quality is more important than increased lead generation. However, generating quality leads from marketing continues to be a pain point for many companies. They fall out of ways by which they can have effective marketing campaigns. More often, they are not aware of the tested campaign techniques that guarantee leads. To know what works best to drive prospects towards your business is not that difficult. It would help if you thought from the buyer’s perspective, to provide them with products and services. As a savvy marketer, how would you know whether a lead is ready to buy? Also, how can you produce more quality leads for your sales teams? The answer to these questions is within your lead qualification process.
What is lead qualification marketing?
Lead qualification is a process used to evaluate and measure each lead’s chances of becoming a paying customer of your company. And for savvy marketers, lead qualification is a much-needed process. It is required to to increase your sales and marketing teams’ efficiency, improve lead generation, and have more closed deals.
How lead generation works
Earlier lead qualification process used to be a manual process. It was executed by the sales development representative (SDR) during the sales process’s early stage. Sales representatives used to reach out to every lead scoring their way. Throwing predefined questions to analyze whether they were a good fit for their solution or not. There are several frameworks built to assist sales representatives in qualifying leads effectively. Lead generation companies like Infotanks Media use the framework to enhance the process of B2B lead generation.
Budget, Authority, Need, Timing(BANT)
IBM originally devised this framework. It is the original framework of the lead qualification process and is still in wide use today. Most lead generation companies follow this framework because they know the benefits of it. The potential questions of the “BANT” approach are the following;
- Do you have a budget allocated for this purchase?
- Do you have the authority to make the purchase decision?
- What are the pain points, needs, and most significant challenges faced by your team currently?
- Is this a priority purchase for your team at this time?
Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority, Negative Consequences and Positive Implications (GPCTBA/C&I)
HubSpot originally devised this to put the sales representative in a highly advisory role for more informed buyers. The potential questions of the “GPCTBA/C&I” approach are the following;
- Does your company have specific B2B lead generation goals?
- Do you have enough resources that are needed to implement a plan?
- How are you handling these challenges currently?
- What is your timeline to implement this plan?
- Are you already using the budget to resolve the problem(s) we have discussed?
- According to you, what are the concerns your company stakeholders will raise?
- What are the implications or consequences for you to achieve your goal or not?
Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritization (CHAMP):
Insight Squared originally devised this. “CHAMP” deals with pain points, needs, and challenges the leads are experiencing. The potential questions of the “CHAMP” approach are the following;
- What do you want to achieve by resolving these challenges?
- How are buying decisions made for solutions like ours, and who has the authority to evaluate this solution?
- What are your expectations about the investment money needed to purchase this solution?
- What is your prioritization for starting the implementation plan of this solution?
Each of these frameworks has some pros and cons. BANT is a quick and straightforward framework. But it misses a few modern aspects of the B2B buying process such as growing number of stakeholders involved in the buying process. GPCTBA/C&I considers the sophistication of the B2B current buyer but is a relatively complex process. It is not that well suited for smaller teams. CHAMP emphasizes the problems faced by buyers but has the potential to slow down your buying process. These frameworks must be used as per the sales stages funnel.
There is still a need for a manual component to lead qualification framework that tries to automate the entire process. However, you can compute a lead score from the available data of leads to carry out this.
What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is a process used by the sales and marketing teams to determine the value of leads or prospects. It is done by assigning values to leads based on their behavior related to their interest in a product or service. The value assigned to each lead varies for different companies. Lead scoring happens by the interest shown towards a company by a lead or their position in the buying cycle. Organizations assign point-based systems (usually on a scale of 10) for lead scoring. Else, they refer to the leads as cold, warm, and hot based on their interest and previous engagement. As a result, there is an increased B2B lead generation.
According to HubSpot, just 37% of businesses respond to their leads within the first hour. And between 35% to 50% of the sales goes to the company that responds first. Failing to have an effective lead scoring system in place will leave you with no other choice than to manually go through your entire lead list. Separate the leads based on whether they are qualified or not. It might require time for each sales stage funnel.
Defining lead scoring criteria
Lead scoring is a method to determine the qualification of a lead effectively. This method uses a predefined point-based system to altogether avoid the wild guess or gut instinct approach from the lead qualification process to add and manage leads effectively.
Following are the step required to implement an effective lead scoring method;
Create ICP and buyer personas
Develop an ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer persona for your target accounts and target contacts, respectively, to determine specific characteristics that are common among your best customers. Level-up the lead generation process with a robust ICP.
Decide which data points you will consider
You can consider behavioral data points like downloads, form submission, website engagement, etc. And demographics data points like job title, company size, and location makes the lead generation process easier.
Assign point value
Assign point-based values based on their sales-readiness. For example, if the leads who request a free trial successfully convert into a paying customer at a higher rate, you should assign a higher point value to the trial requests than blog subscription requests—Speed-up the funnel marketing procedure by this method.
Set qualification thresholds that indicate what exactly a different score means. What are the scores that represent SQL and MQL? What is the score that disqualifies a lead? Setting the threshold for these will provide a structured system to manage how leads move through your funnel sales.
What is MQL in funnel marketing?
A qualified marketing lead (MQL) is a prospect that has shown some interest in your product or company based on marketing teams’ efforts and is highly likely to become a paying customer. Usually, an MQL is someone who has intentionally engaged with you by taking any actions like submitting your form, listing into your program, downloading resources like e-book, reports, surveys, etc., or frequently visiting your company’s official website. Prospects like this move through the funnel sales faster.
These are highly promising leads that are very curious and are considering your product or service but still have not made any further steps into the funnel marketing process yet. However, they are likely to be more receptive to your sales pitch than a standard lead generated without any lead qualification process.
What is SQL in the sales stages funnel?
A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is a prospect that is researched and vetted first by a marketing team and then by the sales team and is deemed ready to enter the next stages of the sales conversion process. A SQL has shown intent to buy any product or service and has completed lead qualification criteria of a company that determines whether a lead is a right fit or not. A lead is moved to the SQL category when they have gone past the engagement stage and can be transferred to the next steps of the sales conversion process to become a paying customer.
The core characteristics of SQL vary among the different organizations and even within an organization, as marketing teams and sales teams usually don’t agree on the lead qualification process. Many organizations have implemented a lead management system that identifies serious buyers to save sales representatives time and quickly achieve their sales target.
The difference between MQL and SQL
To build a highly effective lead qualification process, you should first understand the difference between an MQL and SQL. This understanding is critical if you want to understand the complete buyer’s journey that will ultimately affect your success in nurturing leads through the funnel’s sales stages. There are some overlaps between the two lead qualification processes.
For example, when a user visits your company website and downloads a gated content like an e-book, a PDF report, etc. This user has given you a signal that he is interested in your content but hasn’t shown significant buying intent. So, you add that user to your prospect list and then nurture such users with useful content and relevant offers through email campaigns. Eventually, this user inquires about your product or service’s demo, and then this user becomes a SQL. This clear distinction between these two types of the lead qualification process is very critical.
Just think about it for a moment. Out of both lead qualification processes, neither is more important as a lead from both the lead qualification process can convert into a paying customer. Although, to reach there, you must have a clear understanding of how to nurture leads from both the lead qualification process through the sales funnel before giving these leads to your sales team. The best way to nurture leads is with the help of email campaigns. Could you make the most of it?
Alignment between sales and marketing for lead generation
Achieving a scalable revenue model is done with the alignment between sales and marketing teams. In recent years buyers’ behavior has changed, and marketing teams must contribute significantly to the entire buying process. Sales teams understand that the traditional buying process has changed a lot, and buyers have more information than ever. As a result, they are self-serving their requirements instead of talking to a sales representative.
Unless you are on the same page as your sales team and working very closely with them, then your lead scoring, lead qualification, and lead generation efforts will not be effective, and you are sure to encounter failure. Lead generation is essential for any business to drive revenue. When marketing and sales teams don’t work with the same definitions, rules, and guidelines, the lead qualification process turns into chaos. Only an effective strategy of lead generation is the way out of the chaos. Sales and marketing teams must work together while determining MQL and SQL criteria and selecting criteria for lead scoring.
When it comes to defining standards for lead qualification, sales teams have very different and closer perspectives. So their contribution can provide several important insights that otherwise marketing teams may not have known. It is why alignment between sales and marketing teams is a must in modern companies.
Following are the critical elements that marketing and sales teams must agree upon;
Target buyer and their buying process
The sales and marketing teams must collaborate about who your target buyer is, what they do, and other questions about their buying behavior. And the efforts to find the answers for these should not be isolated to either the sales team or marketing team alone. But, this should be a combined effort. There are three essential elements to understanding your target buyer that is “ICP,” “buyer persona,” and the “buying process map.” Your ICP, buyer persona, and buying process map are the foundational elements of your revenue chain, and as a result, an agreement between the two teams is critical. Your target buyer’s research informs sales and marketing processes, content, messaging, and email campaigns.
Once the contract happens between your sales and marketing teams, you must bring your entire organization on the same page and then train your various teams about your target buyer.
Once your company truly understands your target buyer, they have to agree on the revenue process. The entire revenue process takes place based on a set of defined conversion points that move from the funnel’s top, from the awareness stage to the stage where you close the deal. There are many conversion points that you can consider; the revenue process shared by different teams should primarily focus on five to seven critical conversion points.
Once you have developed an agreement on your revenue process, then a flow chart or a clear picture should be designed to help everyone in your various teams understand precisely and, more importantly, what it means. Teams can process all the relevant conversion points to analyze your revenue process jointly, identify any roadblock in the process and make informed decisions about what has to resolve. What lead generation means here is to include all the necessary steps for conversions.
Messaging created for revenue process.
Messaging your target buyer is a vital part of your revenue process. And, disagreement on messaging between sales and marketing teams is a common problem. The alignment problem between the two teams about messaging usually occurs because the messages have not to be created to use in the day-to-day warm-up of leads as the sales teams do. You can quickly resolve this by testing the messages by riding along on your sales pitches and analyzing how your leads react. Based on their reaction, optimize your messaging so that it is highly effective. Researching your messaging can be highly effective, but the real test is when one of your sales representatives sends these messages to leads. Only then can you be sure about which messaging works and which ones do not.
Content alignment in funnel sales
Sales and marketing teams working together can quickly solve content alignment problems and come to a mutual understanding on the following;
- Where to find the content
- How to identify the effectiveness of the content
- How and when to use the content for lead generation
- Overall content strategy
Once your sales and marketing teams agree on content strategy, sales teams should train their sales representatives to use the buying process’s content.
Service level agreements
There is a lot of service level agreement between the sales and marketing teams that must develop alignment. Marketing teams have agreed to produce a set quota of qualified leads, while sales teams have to agree on a guaranteed lead follow-up process that instructs how quickly they will follow up on a lead and the effort they will put in the process. You must ask questions like, “What does lead generation mean to your business?” Sales teams have to agree to provide periodic feedback. Delay in the lead follow-up harms the entire revenue generation process, and the team must avoid it.
Feedback loops and optimization
Finally, the sales and marketing team’s alignment is the agreement to communicate periodically and optimize the entire process. You should conduct a series of periodic meetings that happens between your sales and marketing teams. And the goal of these meetings should be to discuss what’s not working and what’s working.
Optimize your lead qualification process
Every company evolves eventually and changes over time, especially when they create new solutions. Hence, your lead qualification process must develop accordingly. For example, a change in your marketplace or a new product may open the doors to your company for entirely new demographics. And if you don’t change your lead qualification process accordingly, then the qualified leads may fall through the crack. So, evaluate your lead qualification process thoroughly. Figure out how your target customer base has evolved, and then optimize your lead qualification process accordingly.
There’s no exact science to develop and implement a lead qualification process. Different companies have different lead qualification processes as every company is unique and so what they look for in the lead are also impressive. But the key to an effective lead qualification process lies within developing a clearly defined system and sticking to it. Infotanks Media has the most efficient techniques that guarantee the increased number of leads.