3 Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Sales Leads

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Posted: May 17, 2011 | Sales

If your sales leads aren’t receiving lead nurturing efforts from marketing to convert them quickly into business, they ultimately aren’t going to benefit your bottom line.

Improving lead quality requires a commitment from sales and marketing to focus on both quality and quantity, not just one or the other. If your team excels in quantity but lacks in quality, try these three methods to improve the quality of your leads.

1. Fine-tune your lead scoring system

Dynamic scoring is key to lead prioritization, but lead profiles can become stale as the industry or target audience shifts. Therefore, creating scoring criteria that take into account the ever-changing demographic and psychographic elements of your prospective customers is crucial. Unfortunately, it also can be time consuming.

Automated lead management can help you tweak your scoring practices so that you keep up with the changing face of your prospects. It also can help hot leads move directly to sales, while allowing lukewarm leads to move quickly into lead-nurturing activities such as calls-to-action for white paper downloads, webinars or blog subscriptions. Automation also can be an excellent tool to build categories that relate back to marketing and create clear steps for inquiries, suspects, leads and sales-ready prospects.

2. Commit to lead nurturing

A 2010 Forrester Research study found that companies that excelled at lead nurturing were able to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost per lead than other companies.

Some leads start out hot and turn into sales in a flash. However, most prospects require further lead nurturing before they can become sales-ready. This means that in order to keep most prospects in the system, marketers need to create relationships with them through dialog and contextually valuable information.

If you aren’t already engaging in lead nurturing, a good way to begin is with newsletters or email campaigns. These methods allow you to maintain frequency with lukewarm leads while continually offering them valuable information. Once email marketing is integrated, you can start testing more advanced lead nurturing initiatives, such as automated campaigns based on email clicks or website visits.

3. Practice consistent lead measurement

According to MarketingSherpa, 56% of B2B companies don’t measure lead generation’s contribution to revenue. But online leads have measurable components that can give great insight into their intent. Ignoring that information leaves revenue on the table. Automated lead software can give you an overview of how each of your leads behaves in the sales funnel and how your marketing programs will affect lead generation.

Your marketing measurement should consider:

  • How many leads will be generated in a given period.
  • How those leads move through various stages of lead nurturing and qualification before they are sales ready.
  • How quickly different types of leads move through the system.
  • Which marketing programs will generate new leads and at what conversion rates.

When leads behave a certain way, measuring how your system responds will allow you to keep more active leads in your pipeline. Marketing automation takes the guesswork out of this type of analysis, allowing to you ultimately improve sales alignment, increase sales effectiveness and grow revenue.

3 Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Sales Leads

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