How to Test Your Prospect’s Seriousness
In B2B marketing, the ability to consistently generate leads will define how successful a company can become. Lead generation doesn’t define success, but it does set the ceiling of growth. Without a stream of new customers to grow an audience, nothing thrives. But not all leads are good leads.
Surprisingly, certain leads can actually be detrimental to your growth cycle? These aren’t people who make it all the way through the buyer’s journey. As a result, they stagnate as strangers with no real intention of making it to the sales point, at least not anytime soon.
Testing a prospect’s seriousness is how we eliminate poor leads to free up resources for high-quality ones. To avoid clogging the buyer’s journey with people who aren’t interested in going through it, we first need to understand the difference between a good and a bad lead.
What kind of lead are you actually looking for?
There are many names for a high-quality lead, but Hubspot offers one of the more practical ones: a marketing qualified lead (MQL). By their definition, an MQL is:
“…a lead that the marketing team has deemed more likely to become a customer compared to others.”
This gives us a good starting point for why seriousness is important. The more serious a lead is, the more likely they are to reach the sales point and become a customer. Several factors are used to assess when a lead becomes marketing qualified (i.e. engaging with them is likely to produce a return on investment). The key ones to keep in mind are
- Need for the product
- Access to your solution
- Willingness to engage
Without these three factors, a lead is less likely to turn into a customer.
Setting yourself up for high-quality leads
Interestingly, not every factor that affects lead quality is up to the lead themselves. Access to your solution is a lead generation problem that starts on the business side rather than the customer side. Wherever you contact the lead, there has to be a clear pathway to get them to your solution if it’s something they need and show interest in.
This is an important point to bring up now because many e-commerce businesses neglect this step. Without it, vetting leads becomes fruitless because you’ll still be losing them before the sales point. This is true now more than ever.
It’s impossible to ignore the pandemic’s impact in any sector. For B2B marketing, it’s impossible to ignore how consumer behavior is shifting – and where lead generation strategies need to adjust.
McKinsey conducted a study to understand, among other things, where the pain points were for customers along the buyer’s journey. The top three issues found among supplier’s websites were:
- Order processing time (36% of respondents)
- Difficulty finding products (34% of respondents)
- Technical glitches with ordering (33% of respondents)
That’s a third of customers driven away from the sales point by something within a company’s control. While that may not tell you much about a lead’s seriousness, it needs to be addressed. These types of hurdles can obscure the data that actually helps you rate a lead’s marketing qualifiers.
Marketing and sales collaboration
But now you have several leads, and you need to test how viable each is. How do you do that?
We’ve already highlighted the three key traits to look for in a lead: a need, an interest in your product and a willingness to buy. If a lead has all three of these traits, chances are good that they’ll make it to the end of the buyer’s journey.
However, these traits only work when the ideal lead is clearly defined. The best way to do this is to foster strong coordination between the two departments that interact most with leads; sales and marketing.
A marketing team that can clearly define what a marketing qualified lead looks like can hand that information over to a sales team that can make good use of it. Information is power, and customer analysis is powerful information.
The figures the sales team returns will also be vital to the marketing department. Successful sales create revenue, but unsuccessful sales have the next most valuable thing: data.
Sometimes a lead can be serious and perfectly positioned to make a sale and still fall through. Understanding why is the key to honing in on what’s actually blocking people off from the sales point.
Email is one of the best engagement tools for B2B leads. Unlike social media, an email inbox is devoid of distracting, external noise. More importantly, it’s only filled with people the lead actually wants to hear from since they have to offer their email address before receiving communications.
Want to know how serious the leads on your contact list are? Track the open rate on the emails you send them. There are a number of email management platforms that help you do this. Google Analytics also has a built-in tool for Gmail users.
Leads who open the majority of your emails are displaying interest, even if they’re not responding. Those are people keeping up with your communications and product – they’re leads you want to keep investing in.
The other benefit of tracking your open rate is clean up. Leads who haven’t opened your last few emails may no longer be interested. Consider removing them from your mailing list – but do it the smart way.
Trimming through automation
An automated email chain is a great way to check the interest of non-responsive leads. These chains usually feature anything from 2-5 emails, with each one used to gauge interest. If no interest is shown, the final email is typically a “sunset” message. This asks the lead to unsubscribe if they would rather not receive communication from your business anymore.
In short, they let leads indicate their own seriousness without you exhausting resources to arrive at the same answer. A chain template might look like
- Email 1: check lead’s interest in existing products
- Email 2: check lead’s interest in upcoming products
- Email 3: offer lead the chance to unsubscribe
Ultimately, a lead’s seriousness is about how prepared they are to get to the sales point. There are things you can control to help this and things that are fully dependent on the lead. Still, gauging interest is a valuable way to ensure that you’re only investing in the best leads for your business.
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How to Test Your Prospects Seriousness – Any great marketing or lead nurturing campaign starts with solid research and the freshest highly targeted lists. Impact Enterprise’s highly skilled data specialists can get the data, cost effectively and efficiently. Test pilots are always FREE. Services include, lead validation, data enrichment, contact research, data entry & CRM hygiene; content services include content management, influencer mapping and moderation for social media; AI Data Annotation services include image labelling, language processing and geospatial analysis.
Impact Enterprises was Established in 2013 and recruits skilled talent from bright young professionals in Zambia, Africa, where 59% of graduates find themselves unemployed and without an opportunity to showcase their skills and dedication. For recurring projects, the company provides a dedicated team to oversee operations for each client and guarantees an exceptional standard of delivery.