Businesses are always pushing to grow their lead count. But the increase of information available through online marketing is making lead quality even more important.Each drop represents a high-quality lead.
“Salespeople have always been data scientists, but they haven’t always had the data required to understand intent the way they should,” Anand Kulkarni, co-founder of data research firm LeadGenius, told Forbes. “Precise data allows a salesperson to understand a customer on an incredibly detailed level before establishing a relationship, ensuring that we’re providing someone with exactly what they want exactly when they need it.”
In other words, qualifying leads makes sales easier because salespeople know that their leads need what they’re offering. Predictable Revenue author Aaron Ross says businesses with a great system for generating qualified leads are going to succeed -- even if they have a crummy sales process!
Qualifying leads may seem like extra work, but it saves the sales team time in the long run and leads to more conversions. But to identify quality leads, we need to clarify what “lead quality” actually means.
What is Lead Quality?
Let’s start by establishing a working definition of the word “lead.” For our purposes, a lead is information on someone who is interested in your product, but may or may not be ready to purchase right now. This might be someone who clicked on your Facebook ad or visited your website but stopped short of committing to your product or service.
“Lead quality,” then, is the likelihood that visitors like these will actually become customers. High-quality leads -- leads that match your company’s buyer persona, for example -- are better targets for your sales team’s efforts.
Benefits of establishing lead quality include:
- Improved marketing strategies that focus on specific lead characteristics
- A common language for marketing and sales to discuss lead types
- More revenue
Lead Quality vs. Lead Quantity
It’s worth pausing for a moment to highlight the difference between lead quality and lead quantity.
Lead quantity is simply the number of leads your business receives in a given time period, while lead quality… is defined above. (We won’t repeat ourselves -- just go read it again if you forgot already.)
According to a 2015 survey of B2B professionals by LinkedIn partner Holger Schulze, improving lead quality is the top priority for most businesses, even more than growing lead quantity -- and a lack of resources like staff, funding and time is the biggest obstacle to developing better leads.
Now that we have a clear understanding of lead quality (and why it’s important), let’s move on to the next question: how do you measure lead quality?
How Do I Measure Lead Quality?
Exact measurements of lead quality will vary according to your company’s specific product or service, but there are broad methods to help determine whether a prospect is right for your business.
The first step toward good measurement is tracking and recording all inbound leads. Our preferred methods for tracking this information is via website forms and incoming phone calls.
Prospective leads who fill out a form -- either to contact your business or download content like an e-book or PDF -- have to provide information like their name, email and/or phone number to be sales qualified. From there, we can sort form entries into leads, existing clients and spam.Your sales team's face when high-quality leads come in.
Similarly, by using trackable numbers, we can sort inbound phone calls into groups like:
- no answer
- existing clients
You might have noticed that we included “spam” form entries and phone calls in our lead quality measurements -- tracking spam makes it easier to re-focus our online marketing efforts and weed out characteristics that trigger spam.
Our online marketing services are designed to stay at the top of the sales funnel, since our clients are responsible for closing the deal with the lead. But tracking lead quality according to the measures above helps us reach more of our client’s ideal buyers. Further, we keep our reporting simple so we can provide clients with lots of data quickly.
Other methods for measuring lead quality include tracking downloads (with no form), longer transaction timelines with multiple steps, and offline connections like direct mail campaigns.
Developing quality leads is a lot of work, but partnering with an online marketing team that measures lead quality takes a lot of the work off your hands -- while still providing the benefits.