Is your B2B company caught up in the blame game between your sales and marketing teams? How often do you see SDRs pointing a finger to the marketing department for not sending high-quality leads? Are your marketing reps complaining about the inefficiency of your sales team to handle leads?
If you’re to drive revenue and increase B2B growth, your sales and marketing departments need to maintain seamless cooperation between them. One way of ensuring that is by focusing on qualified leads for sales.
What is a Qualified Lead?
In simple terms, a qualified lead is a company or an individual expressing high interest in at least one of your products or services and showing signs of becoming your potential customer based on the BANT formula (or your specific criteria) and your buyer profile. Every business has its own definition of a qualified lead, but the basic idea remains the same.
For one business, a qualified lead could be as simple as a prospect who has shown interest in the company’s brand to be further communicated to by the marketing team and whose contact information has been acquired so they could be contacted by the sales team.
For another business, it could be a potential customer who has the ability to buy from the company, responded to the company’s marketing effort, expressed high buying intent, and is further down the sales funnel than other leads.
MQL vs SQL
Qualified leads are mainly divided into marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL).
An MQL is a lead that has passed the primary stage of lead qualification and is considered fit to be handed over to your sales team. It is a lead who has responded to your marketing activities or engaged with your marketing content. Further, MQLs are leads that have fulfilled your basic criteria to continue marketing to them to push them down the sales funnel.
An SQL is a lead that’s ready to be contacted by the sales team after they’ve shown sufficient interest in your brand or product/service and been researched and carefully examined by the marketing team to be qualified for a sales outreach. The BANT system is commonly used by companies to qualify a lead as an SQL.
If you want to learn more about what MQLs and SQLs are and how they differ from each other, refer to our detailed blog here.
5 Ways to Build Qualified Leads for Your SDRs and Sales Reps
Try these five powerful strategies to build a strong list of qualified leads for your sales team to convert them into paying customers.
1. Create Content that Stimulates Interest and Builds Trust
Great content marketing is key to drawing in both high-paying and low-paying potential customers who could become your subscribers or one-time customers in large numbers. Your qualified lead generation content should always include CTAs that are concise, clear, and properly timed and placed to push potential customers down the sales funnel. Don’t shy away from asking questions to your potential customers and compelling them to take action.
Create stories that provide valuable insights to your intended audience and connect with them. They should also be shareable, easy-to-read yet comprehensive, and include intellectual as well as emotional appeals. Of all purchasing decisions, 90% of them are made subconsciously. B2B buyers are 50% more likely to buy based on the emotional value of a product or service.
Don’t forget to earn the much-needed trust of your potential customers by creating content precisely for every stage of the customer journey, i.e. discovery, trigger, brand consideration, evaluation, purchase decision, experience, and loyalty. Your educating, inspiring, and value-based content should convince potential customers about your ability to become their best advisor or solution provider in areas you can help them—be them related to their company or industry.
2. Use Account-based Marketing (ABM) to Identify Leads that Actually Convert
ABM is a better way of generating qualified leads than creating marketing content only for the sake of it and hoping qualified leads respond. ABM also involves putting out blogs, creating marketing videos, writing for social media, and creating other marketing content, but the approach is more targeted and the result is more rewarding.
With ABM, you’ll know which personas to target to close deals faster. Furthermore, if you’re targeting a new market, ABM will become crucial for connecting with the new audiences with a personalized approach. ABM is best executed if your B2B company has a strong backing of firmographic and technographic data along with intent data. With accurate information on the online behaviors, C-Suite, and tech stack of your target accounts, you’ll be able to create highly customized ABM campaigns to generate qualified leads.
ABM makes sure your sales team only engages with the qualified leads that are most likely to buy from you. However, pulling off ABM is not easy. If you’re looking to turn your accounts into customers for long-term revenue benefits using ABM, you might want to consider going through this detailed ABM guide for B2B companies.
3. Avoid Misalignment of Your Sales and Marketing Departments
A sales team becomes 67% more efficient at closing deals if they’re aligned with marketing, and sales and marketing alignment results in 209% more revenue from marketing. Sales and marketing alignment, a.k.a. “smarketing,” is the concept of uniting sales and marketing teams to achieve the common goal of driving sales and revenue. It helps B2B companies to scale their top-line growth, sales productivity, marketing ROI, and also qualified lead generation.
Sales enablement and ABM are effective ways of aligning your B2B sales and marketing departments to generate qualified leads. According to LinkedIn, ABM is used by 57% of highly aligned companies. Ensuring sales and marketing alignment for qualified lead generation requires you to conduct meetings, at least weekly, between the two teams to define a qualified lead, encourage collaboration, assign accountability, evaluate their SLA, and discuss ways to improve qualified lead generation.
Moreover, your sales and marketing teams should be on the same page when highlighting the buyer’s pain points, using buyer intel, and developing a content strategy. Automating lead scoring, grading, and qualification is also a great hack to effectively use sales and marketing alignment to send qualified leads to your sales professionals. Lastly, sit with your sales and marketing leaders to decide strategies to increase qualified lead growth and examine your lead generation funnel.
4. Use Attribution and Metrics to Qualify Leads that Bring in Value
Salespeople mainly understand the language of numbers and relate to revenue. One way your marketers can make your lead generation-focused sales team happy is by using marketing attribution. Your marketing team can easily route the most qualified leads to your SDRs with the help of marketing attribution, which clearly informs what’s actually driving revenue from the marketing side.
Since marketing attribution pinpoints offline and online marketing efforts that drive actual business value, your marketers will be able to identify qualified leads based on revenue and not just clicks, direct mail responses, downloads, or webform fill-ups. Such high-value leads will definitely be among the best for the sales team to work on.
Besides marketing attribution, there are some important metrics you can choose to take a data-driven approach to generate qualified leads. For example, funnel leakage informs you about specific customer journey stages that show the highest potential customer fallouts. Behavioral lead scoring helps you determine the sales readiness of leads based on interests, online behaviors, ICP characteristics, and buying intent.
5. Use Webinars (or Webinar Recordings) as Qualified Lead Magnet
A single, well-done webinar could get you 500-1,000+ leads. Hosting webinars is a proven way of capturing both qualified leads and their contact data during the registration process. You can choose to keep your webinars free or paid, but it’s recommended to start with free webinars to build confidence in your audience, especially if you’re a small business.
Paid webinars could be a good choice if you already have a loyal customer base, you only want attendees who’re ready to commit to your brand, your webinar is part of a paid or additional support service, or you’re sharing rare knowledge or conducting an advanced training session.
Hosting qualified lead generation webinars requires you to understand your ideal webinar attendees. Creating buyer personas will help you separate bystanders from sales-ready leads who’re most interested in your webinars and ready to take action. Secondly, use a webinar-specific lead scoring model to identify qualified leads.
Thirdly, make sure your webinar form is optimized for an improved conversion rate. Finally, use your webinars to not only generate qualified leads but also push attendees to buy from you by giving them a discount, a coupon code, or other incentives at the end of the webinar.
Now that you’re all set to feed your sales team with qualified leads, let’s touch on an important point to seal your qualified lead generation success. One of the secrets to reaching qualified leads to accelerate your B2B selling is knowing the psychological signals of your potential customers that drive their decision-making. These signals could be actions, opinions and attitudes, lifestyle choices, personal interests, morals and values, and of course, personality traits.
There’s already enough talk around how B2B companies are using intent, demographic, firmographic, and technographic data to successfully generate qualified leads. However, what B2B companies are missing today is the effective use of psychographics or the use of psychographic data at all. Understanding the psyche of your target audience will not only enable you to know if someone is a qualified lead, but it’ll also improve your nurturing activities to turn that qualified lead into a paying customer.
With SalesIntel, you don’t have to look any further to meet your psychographic and other B2B data needs. Our 95% accurate human-verified B2B data, reverified every 90 days to protect your CRM from bad data, can be a great asset to you, especially when you want to generate qualified leads at scale. Our reliable company data and contact data, including direct dials and mobile numbers, will quickly connect you to your qualified leads. Don’t keep your sales reps and SDRs waiting. Get your free trial today.