Too many businesses fall into the trap of putting all their effort - and budget - into lead generation, with little thought on whether they’re generating the right type of leads.
Have you fallen into this trap?
In this article, we’ll demonstrate the importance of increasing qualified lead volumes. We’ll also explore the dangers of boosting lead volumes of the wrong type of lead, and show you how to generate the right leads.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is qualified lead generation?
- Why it’s important to generate qualified leads
- The dangers of increasing unqualified leads
- How qualified lead generation can boost your conversion rates
- How to qualify your leads using lead generation tools
- The benefit of using lead generation companies
- Six ways to boost your qualified lead generation
What Is Qualified Lead Generation?
You’re probably familiar with lead generation: the process in marketing of capturing the interest of a person or business in a product or solution your company offers.
Once a lead is generated, the goal is to nurture them through the buyer journey and towards making a purchase.
But how do you tell the best way to allocate resources amongst the various leads generated by your lead generation efforts?
This is where qualified lead generation comes in: here, the goal is to identify and generate those leads that are most likely to convert, so that your marketing efforts can be made more efficient and effective.
Why Is It Important To Generate Qualified Leads?
Before we dig deep into the specifics of qualified lead generation, let’s take a top-level look at some of the benefits:
- Increased revenue: more qualified leads translate to higher conversion rates and spend.
- Higher ROI: with less money spent advertising to unqualified leads, coupled with a higher quantity of leads more likely to make a purchase, the value of each increases.
- Refine your understanding: the process forces you to think deeply about your customer profile on an ongoing basis.
- More evangelisation: a qualified lead is more likely to become a satisfied customer and more likely to spread the word as a result.
- Streamline processes: less time is spent on cold calls and other speculative, time-consuming activities.
The Dangers Of Increasing Unqualified Leads
We’ve seen the potential benefits of qualified leads. Let’s take a look at the risks of continuing to generate unqualified leads:
- Wasted resource: time spent generating unqualified leads could be put to better use with a qualified lead generation strategy.
- Wasted insights: qualified leads provide valuable data that can further refine your lead gen process. Unqualified leads don’t...
- Irrelevant traffic: it doesn’t matter how much traffic your site generates unless it comprises your target audience.
- They’re not actually leads… They’re contacts, and they have little to no intention of making a purchase.
- They’re not spreading the word: we’ve seen how qualified leads will evangelise; unqualified leads mean fewer reviews, fewer positive testimonials, and so on.
Taken together, hopefully, the benefits of qualified leads and the dangers of unqualified ones show how important it is to invest time and energy into refining this part of your strategy.
How Qualified Lead Generation Can Boost Your Conversion Rates
You’re probably familiar with conversion rates, too. This metric is the crux of marketing: how many of the people your business attracts become customers?
That is, how many convert?
When we’re talking about lead generation metrics, the conversion rate is perhaps the most important. When it’s high, it means your marketing efforts are working as intended and bringing in the revenue to match.
When your conversion rate is low, it’s usually a symptom of some deeper issue. But as is the case with symptoms, low conversion rates can usually be cured.
Generating qualified leads is a way to refine down the recipients of your marketing efforts. By understanding their needs, the questions they’re asking, and the potential solutions they’re looking for, you can tailor your marketing to capture the people who align more closely with what your business offers.
By bringing a higher ratio of these people to your site, you increase the likelihood of each one having their needs satisfied, wherever they are in their user journey.
Put simply, driving more of the right traffic to your site - by qualifying generated leads - will help maximise conversion rates as the user is purchase-ready, or at least well on their way.
How To Qualify Your Leads Using Lead Generation Tools
By now we’ve made a pretty firm case for qualified lead generation. Let’s switch over to the good stuff: how to do it.
1) Develop Your Lead Qualification Framework
A lead qualification framework is a strategic document that underpins your qualified lead generation efforts. Without one, you’ll struggle to get as much value from the leads you generate, so it’s important to invest time and resources into this process.
2) Ideal Customer Profile
The first step in developing a lead generation framework is to build an ideal customer profile. Here you look to understand what makes somebody a good fit for the product or service you offer.
This requires identifying attributes that determine good customers. Marketing and sales departments should both input into this process, as their understandings will vary.
You can consider all sorts of factors: market segment, geographic region, economic factors, and so on.
3) Start Using a Lead Qualification Matrix
Drawing again on both marketing and sales departments, you can populate a lead qualification matrix. Here you assign responsibility for leads at each stage of the process - and at different levels of suitability - to the most relevant department.
Having a process with clearly defined responsibilities helps to ensure actions are taken at the right time.
4) Measure Sales-Readiness By Reassessing Your Qualifiers For What Is Deemed an MQL and a SQL
MQLs are marketing-qualified leads and SQLs are sales-qualified leads. Both have different criteria, but often it’s not unusual for there to be overlap or confusion in the definition of each.
With the ideal customer profile in mind and with responsibilities assigned in your lead qualification matrix, now is a good time to reassess how MQLs and SQLs are defined. It may be the case that your previous definitions are leading to roadblocks in the lead nurturing process.
5) Use Your Keywords & Content To Shape Lead Generation Strategies
In Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Content Marketing, you’ll hear the term ‘search intent’ mentioned a lot. This refers to the intent behind a user’s search engine behaviour: are they typing their query because they want an answer to a specific question, for example? Or because they want to make a purchase?
A clearer idea of what defines qualified leads can be backed up with in-depth keyword research to ensure the content on your website is hitting the right areas in terms of search intent. Content that ranks for terms and phrases qualified leads are searching for will be much more valuable in a qualified lead generation strategy than terms that unqualified leads are using.
6) Lead Scoring
Lead scoring refers to an automated process that attaches a numerical value to each lead, with a higher number demonstrating a higher level of qualification. This metric is determined by the criteria you set, affirming the importance of spending time in establishing the right criteria.
Lead scoring is one of the most popular marketing automation services we offer and is a crucial part of an effective qualified lead generation strategy.
7) Know Your Audience - Including Competitors
Thinking back to point 5, knowing the keywords your prospective customers are searching for lets you tailor your content to have a better chance of attracting them.
You can also take a look at your competitors to build an understanding of terms they rank for that you do not. In a competitive marketplace, this can be indicative of high-value terms you’re missing out on and can inform the future steps your strategy should take.
What’s The Benefit of Using Lead Generation Companies?
Now you’ve got an idea of the process behind qualified lead generation, you may be curious about the benefits of using a lead generation company - after all, can’t you design and implement the strategy internally?
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of working with experts:
- They have the right tools and knowledge: marketing platforms like HubSpot have lead-scoring tools built in. They also have a steep learning curve, and there are plenty of benefits to working with HubSpot-certified partner agencies like us.
- Expertise: whereas you’re building a strategy for the first time, lead generation companies have demonstrable track records of achieving success for other organisations.
- Lower internal demand on resources: outsourcing to experts means you don’t need to hire new staff or upskill your current team, meaning lower internal spend and fewer logistical considerations.
- There’s a vast pool of talent: lead generation companies have teams of experts experienced in different areas of the process, meaning that the best person for the job will be the one doing it.
- There’s accountability: setting KPIs at the outset of a campaign means there is ongoing reporting, and recourse if expected metrics aren’t being achieved.
These are just a handful of the benefits of working with lead generation experts. If you’d like to hear about some of the others, head to our lead generation services page and book a meeting with one of our experts.
Six Ways To Boost Your Qualified Lead Generation In 2022
Before we wrap this up, here’s an actionable recap on how you can boost your qualified lead generation:
- Accept the need to make a change: realistically, the majority of businesses have room to improve in this area
- Get the discussion going internally: speak to sales and marketing, identify any gaps, and start thinking about how things could improve
- Evaluate where you are now: do you have a strategy in place? If so, are you aware of any shortfalls?
- Benchmark: what is your conversion rate at the moment? How many leads are you generating? Get metrics now that you can evaluate progress against later
- Start thinking strategically: look back over the ‘how to qualify your leads using lead generation tools’ section: which of these steps does your business need to take?
- Talk to the experts: whether you decide to outsource or not, conversations with expert lead generation companies will put you in a better position to move forward.
How To Choose Lead Generation Companies That Deliver
In this article, we’ve given you a comprehensive rundown of qualified lead generation. We’ve defined the term and explored the value it can deliver to your business. We’ve looked at actionable steps you can take to improve your qualified lead gen strategy, too - all of which should put you in good stead to take some significant strides forward.
When deciding to work with a lead generation company, there should be rapport and a willingness to have deep conversations about techniques, expected results, and how success will be measured.
Their goal should be helping you to understand where you are now, where you could be, and, most importantly, how they’ll help you get there.
Our team is happy to discuss the next steps on your journey to generate more of the right type of leads. Get in touch: we’d love to hear from you!