For long-term success of your inbound marketing strategy, lead qualification is a crucial process. Regardless of how many contacts enter your database, your bottom line will only be impacted if these contacts are actually likely to become customers.
The key to success lies in both generating leads that are as qualified as possible when they enter your database, and increasing their chances of customer conversion after they are part of your nurturing process. To accomplish both of these goals, here are 6 ways your company can generate qualified sales leads.
1) Let Them Come
Put simply, the best way to generate actually qualified leads is to let them come to you. Inbound marketing, multiple studies show, significantly outperforms more traditional, outbound tactics in terms of lead generation. Leads who choose to enter your database are simply more likely to convert to customers than those purchased or generated through cold calls.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to wait for your leads to drip into your database. A number of inbound tactics can help you draw attention to your website, where you can prompt visitors to give you their contact information by offering value in return. Align your marketing strategy toward the inbound methodology, and the quality of your leads will increase.
2) Target Strategically
The chances of a lead converting to a paying customer, of course, also depends on just how likely that lead was to find your product or service relevant. That, in turn, makes strategic targeting throughout your marketing efforts an absolute key to success.
By now, search engine optimization is an obvious concept to consider when designing your website. But you should give special consideration to the types of keywords on which you want to focus. A high search volume on a given keyword may not be indicative of the type of visitors who actually end up on your website.
Similarly, any social media ads you run should be strategically focused toward your ideal customers. Advanced targeting options allow you to do just that, Meanwhile, using closed-loop reporting helps you discern the actual success of each of your marketing efforts in generating leads that have a high chance of conversions.
3) Stay Consistent
Consistent messaging is crucial. Don’t try to wow your audience initially through bombastic marketing messages and promises that will be impossible to keep. If you do that, you risk cognitive dissonance, with a large amount of leads in your database that have entirely wrong ideas of what your brand can do for them.
Instead, be honest about your product or service. Outline its benefits, and why potential customers should give it a try. You may generate fewer leads as a result of this approach, but the leads that you do generate generate will have a much higher chance of conversion. Considering that 60% of your audience expects a consistent experience throughout the buyer’s journey, staying true to your core message is an important part of lead qualification.
4) Focus on Pain Points
There is a reason your audience chooses to interact with you. They have some type of problem, and are looking for solution. It’s your job to find out both what that problem is, and how your product or service can provide the solution your potential customers are looking for.
Positioning yourself in this way can do wonders for increasing your qualified sales lead generation. If you focus your message on your audience’s pain points, your brand will be more likely to resonate. And if your product or service is a natural solution to these pain points, the chance that qualified potential customers enter your database increase significantly.
5) Nurture Effectively
Of course, generating qualified sales leads is not limited to the moment before and when they enter your database. Through strategic lead nurturing, you can increase the percentage of contacts who eventually become qualified for a direct sales pitch.
Studies indicate that only 25% of leads entering your database are immediate sales opportunities. The vast majority of your contacts need at least some additional convincing before they become a customer. Through lead nurturing, you can gradually nudge them toward that goal while continuing to increase your credibility and value to potential customers.
6) Score Your Leads
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of lead scoring in determining and improving sales qualification. Any action that your leads take related to your company should be given a positive or negative point value, which you can use to gauge whether their interest is enough to justify your sales call.
But lead scoring doesn’t only improve your sales team’s chances of reaching out to potential customers at the same time. In fact, it also helps you better understand what actually makes a lead qualified.
By evaluating the scores of what you have deemed sales-qualified leads, you can compare the sales closure rate to determine which of your contacts were actually ready for a sales pitch. Then, you can focus all of your marketing and sales efforts more directly on reaching out to leads similar to these, and improve your success rate.
Generating qualified leads is as the core of many companies’ marketing and sales goals. Improving your lead conversion rate can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, through the above tactics, you can both improve the qualification of contacts as they enter your database, and improve the chances that they become qualified once they’re in your system.
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