The primary goal of revenue marketing is simple: find new leads and turn them into clients. Traditionally, leads are created by marketing and turned over to sales with the hope that they will convert into customers.
Oftentimes, however, after a few follow-up calls, sales frequently concludes that marketing leads are junk, i.e., unqualified prospects that are not willing to buy.
This is typically where the counter-productive pointing-the-finger game starts between marketing and sales. The tension arises from sales reps frustrated that they have just wasted a lot of time on poor leads and spent too little time on positive leads.
Here’s when lead qualification comes into the frame. This article will help you learn:
- How to qualify your leads effectively?
- Two common challenges with the traditional lead qualification process
- Using data enrichment to boost your lead qualification process
Let’s get started!
How to Qualify Your Leads Effectively?
Lead qualification is all about looking through your list of leads and figuring out which ones are most likely to become your paying customers. You need to define and recognize leads on three different levels to ensure that the emphasis is on the correct leads.
1. Organizational Level – Evaluate if they are the right fit
Objective: Identify if the company matches with your Ideal Consumer Profile (ICP). Things that need to be learned at this stage:
- Industry the company operates in
- Services are they offering
- Customers they serve
- The demographics of their business (Firmographic Data)? (Employee strength, locations, maturity phase, annual revenue, etc.)
A better way to address organizational-level selection is to build an ICP and use it as a lead selection criteria to define if their business meets the ICP.
2. Opportunity Level – Identify if there is an opportunity for a deal
Objective: Prioritize the lead by identifying how soon the deal can be closed. Things to learn at this stage:
- Can you help their pain points, please?
- Have they shown any interest in your product?
- Do they have enough money to spend on your product?
- When are they going to be making a purchase?
When you have decided if the business suits your ICP, you can go a little further into the lead qualification phase to decide whether there is a possibility for you to make a sale. It is important to make sure your leads are ‘qualified’ at this point.
Suppose you have found a specific lead whose business suits your ICP but it turns out that they have already bought your competitor ‘s product and are unlikely to buy any comparable product in the near future, even though they would benefit from your product. This lead is not qualified.
Scenarios like these illustrate the need to learn buying intent and key information that will decide whether they need your product immediately or still need time to come to a decision.
3. Stakeholder Level – Identify the key decision-maker(s)
Objective: Identify the key decision-maker(s) who will sign off on the deal.
You should look for the following information at the Stakeholder level.
- Does your lead have decision-making authority?
- Who else is involved in the purchase decision?
- Which team will benefit from your product?
This is the final stage of your lead qualification process. The person who will fill the form need not be a decision-maker,, although identifying if the lead has the authority to take the decisions can speed up the sales cycle.
So, you start the lead qualification from the ‘organization stage’ and if the lead fits the specified requirements, you pass to the next level, the ‘Opportunity level’ qualification and the ‘Stakeholder level’ qualification. Only when you have enough data to understand your leads on all these 3 levels can you say that you have effectively qualified them.
Two Common Challenges With Traditional Lead Qualification Process
The lead qualification process differs from one business to another. As we have discussed above, leads can be qualified at different levels. However, even if the processes may differ for every business, there are two common challenges associated with every qualification process:
1. Involves Time-Consuming Manual Process
When marketing needs to qualify leads, they need sufficient data. Thus, every qualification process involves research for valuable information that impacts lead qualification and helps nurture them through email campaigns, messaging, routing, and so on. The issue that hinders the growth of a business is that these activities for lead qualification and nurturing are often done manually.
2. Data Accuracy and Completeness
Since the research process is often manual, there are higher chances of data inaccuracies. When the leads fill a form on your website, they prefer to fill basic mandatory fields and skip the other optional fields that you add to learn more about the lead. This is how bad data enters your CRM. Thus, data accuracy and completeness becomes a challenge for marketers.
However, where there is a problem, there is a solution. Data enrichment can help you overcome lead qualification challenges and boost the qualification process.
Using Data Enrichment to Boost Your Lead Qualification
With the given slowness in using traditional lead qualification processes, data enrichment becomes the catalyst that boosts the whole qualification process. How? Here are a few ways that will help you understand the role of data enrichment in lead qualification.
Create a Focused Ideal Customer Profile
It all starts with building an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Just as you need a benchmark to set the standards, you need an ICP to set the lead qualification criteria. If you do not have complete information about your existing customers, you might still continue with the available data and create an ICP. Having incomplete data can lead to an inaccurate or generic ICP. On the other hand, complete data can help you develop a more focused ICP based on the attributes that make prospects more likely to convert.
For example, you can run a report to surface top attributes, like industry, annual turnover, and company size from your closed-won opportunities, and then use that data to prioritize the leads, decide future marketing efforts, or pass them on to the sales department.
Develop Stronger Understanding of Your Leads
Unless you have complete and necessary information about your lead, you cannot be sure whether the lead fits in your ICP and the qualification criteria.
Suppose you are considering BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline) as your lead qualification model. You identified the need, decision-maker, and timeline they might need to close the deal. However, you don’t have an idea about their spending ability. While it is obvious that no company would want to tell you their budget straight away, a hint is enough for a good marketer to decide if he/she should further pass on the lead to the sales team. You might try to figure out their annual turnover by manually doing some research on LinkedIn or business directories. Here’s where you skip the long process and easily get the annual turnover using data enrichment in your CRM.
Skip the Manual Research
Manual data research and entry limits the productivity of your marketing and sales teams. It forces the team to spend more time collecting supporting data to qualify the leads before sending them to the sales team.
Additionally, manual data entry either creates higher chances of data inaccuracies or the data remains incomplete. Both possibilities result in inaccurate lead qualification. While 27% of business leaders aren’t sure about the accuracy of their existing data, it directly hurts their revenue generation.
To prevent bad data from entering into your CRM and speed-up the qualification process, automating account research and data entry is necessary. Data enrichment helps you skip the manual process and automatically fills the data gaps with accurate data that enables you to achieve accurate lead qualification and precise routing.
Enrichment helps you to monitor your entire CRM database constantly and automatically keeps it complete and updated so you never have to think about researching the data about the decision-maker or the company data again.
Qualify Leads in Real-Time
Data enrichment allows your marketing staff to set up lead qualification programs to qualify all inbound leads in real-time. When a lead is captured, it will be immediately enriched and monitored by SalesIntel using various data attributes generated by SalesIntel, such as job position, sector, company size, annual revenue, page visits, lead scoring, and buyer intent.
Avoid Back-and-Forth of Leads Between Sales and Marketing Team
Tagging leads as Sales Qualified (SQL) and Marketing Qualified (MQL) without enough data becomes a challenge. It can lead to a constant back-and-forth relay of the leads between the marketing and sales team. As a result, it can lead to a delay in one-to-one conversations between the lead and your sales team, causing you to lose a potential lead to your competitor. Data enrichment avoids this friction by enriching the data as soon as the lead enters your CRM.
Save Time By Using Only Accurate Data for Qualification
To learn more about your leads, adding more fields to the form becomes the ultimate option. It is a good way to know your leads before the sales team connects with them. However, you need to consider that your lead is still at the start of the buyer’s journey and may not be willing to provide more information.
Let’s take an example. Suppose, you are a CRM provider and have a ‘Request a Demo’ form on your website. Along with the mandatory information (in this case) such as name, email address, and company name, you have added a few questions to help you qualify the lead better such as:
Considering the above form, let’s consider two cases:
- Case 1: All fields are mandatory
- Case 2: Only basic fields are mandatory – Name, Email, and Company Name
Case 1: All fields are mandatory
Considering you provide a CRM solution, your buyer personas will be Marketing VP/Manager and Sales VP/Manager. Now, keeping all the fields mandatory is not a good move as they may not be comfortable providing all the information. But, since the fields are mandatory, they might enter random information or simply skip the form and jump to your competitor’s website.
Case 2: Only basic fields are mandatory
If you keep only basic fields mandatory, you can miss the valuable information.
In both cases, there are more chances of getting incorrect or incomplete data. This will increase your time to research incorrect or missing data, slowing down the qualification process.
Data enrichment helps you to skip the research and creates a win-win situation for you and your leads. It allows you to add only the basic fields and the rest of the necessary information for lead qualification to be enriched automatically.
Enriching Data With SalesIntel
Don’t let missing fields hold your sales and marketing team back. Schedule your database to be enriched automatically every time a new contact or account is added or apply filters to get the exact missing data points manually. Get your demand gen team all the data they need.
The functionality is entirely customizable for any enrichment you need.
- Easily set up auto enrichment, such as filling in the inbound form, to get a deeper insight into outreach or customize your post.
- Battle data decay by keeping your contacts and accounts up to date with the latest details.
- Enrich and append event leads to touch and firmographic information.
- Auto-enrich every lead or communication you have added to your framework with a sales representative and more!
Here’s how it works for different CRM users.
Enrichment for Salesforce
Salesforce users are able to search for contacts and companies, export information directly in Salesforce, and have the opportunity to run enrichments or set up self-enrichment for profiles, leads, and contacts.
Enrichment for Marketo
Marketo users are able export contacts directly to Marketo and have the opportunity to run enrichments or set up self-enrichment for leads and contacts.