The biggest mistake you can make in the B2B world is one that is all too common—chasing the wrong leads. You know the feeling—you schedule numerous calls, send emails, and hold meetings only to learn that the person on the other line isn’t interested in your product or service.

Qualified Leads vs. Unqualified Leads

First, let’s get this out of the way—a qualified lead is defined by three main criteria:

  • Need: the prospect has a problem that your product can fix.
  • Budget: the prospect can afford the product you’re offering.
  • Authority: the prospect is in a position to make a purchase decision.

If you feel you have a grasp on lead qualification, but still have trouble connecting, keep reading! Today’s post explores five ways to increase your qualified lead pipeline.

1.    Create buyer personas.

If you want to increase your qualified lead generation, the first step is to understand your target audience. Sounds obvious, right? But 60-70% of B2B marketers admit they don’t truly understand their buyers (source).

If you don’t understand your buyers, you’ll waste valuable time chasing unqualified leads. To fix this, companies must begin by creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is essentially a detailed profile of an ideal customer based on existing data and research. Using buyer personas, you will be able to focus your prospecting and lead generation efforts to ensure you’re not wasting time with the wrong people.

As the following statistics show, buyer personas make a massive impact on your quest to find the right customers quickly and efficiently (source):

  • 36% of companies have shortened their sales cycles by using personas.
  • 56% of companies have created higher quality leads using personas.
  • 93% of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals segment their database by persona.

For a more detailed guide to creating buyer personas, check out this infographic: Buyer Personas—The Missing Piece to Your Lead Generation Puzzle.

2.    Establish sales and marketing alignment.

Believe it or not, only 45% of businesses establish a company-wide definition of a sales-ready lead (source). It’s an age-old story: Marketing delivers unqualified leads, sales proceeds to ignore them, and both teams are left frustrated. Don’t let your company fall into this familiar mess.

Research proves that companies with solid alignment between these two departments results in significantly improved sales numbers. Consider these statistics (source):

  • Aligning sales and marketing leads to 38% higher sales win rates.
  • Sales and marketing alignment can help your company become 67% better at closing deals.

Develop an open line of communication between marketing and sales, and get these two departments on the same page. This will drastically increase productivity and it’ll save both departments the headache of spending time on unqualified leads.

For more information on sales and marketing alignment, check out these blog posts:

3.    Optimize your web forms.

Your website is perhaps your most valuable tool when it comes to qualifying potential prospects. When people visit your site, they do so for a variety of reasons; perhaps they’re aimlessly browsing – but more likely, they’re looking into the products you have to offer.

So how do we distinguish between the uninterested website visitors and the ones that are qualified prospects?

Use your web forms to qualify incoming leads. To have the most success with your web forms, you must strike a balance between asking for too much information but still gathering important contact, demographic, and firmographic information.

To make the most of your website forms, incorporate a qualifying question when appropriate. This helps your sales team prioritize hotter leads vs. colder leads.

4.    Contact past customers.

If you’re having trouble reaching qualified prospects, one quick fix may be to reach out to people you’ve sold to before. It’s less likely to be a waste of your time – after all, they were a qualified prospect at one time! This is a great method for two reasons:

  • They may be interested in buying from you again.
  • They might be able to put you in touch with other qualified prospects.

There is very little downside to reaching out to former buyers – even if they are no longer in the position to buy from you, you’ll be demonstrating that your company values its former customers.

5.    Refine Your Marketing Content.

Content marketing is another area where too many companies fall short. In fact, 65% of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects (source). If your company is part of that percentage, it’s time to revamp your content strategy.

Although you may produce valuable content, unless it’s timed correctly, it likely goes unnoticed. Rather than hoping for the best with your content, map your materials to the buyer’s journey.

If you’re strategic about your content creation, you’ll be able to move your prospect’s through the funnel, so they’re automatically qualified by the time they reach your sales team.

Qualified Sales Lead vs. Unqualified Lead: Key Takeaways

Lead generation has become easier with the influx of resources available to salespeople and marketers – it’s finding qualified leads that is the real challenge. For this reason, it’s important to review your strategies and make sure you aren’t wasting time on inefficient lead generation methods.  Remember: it’s not about reaching as many prospects as possible – it’s about reaching the right ones.

If you’re interested in generating more qualified leads, contact ZoomInfo today.

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ZoomInfo combines the leading business contact database with best-in-class technology to pinpoint, process, and deliver the marketing and sales intelligence you need— exactly when and how you need it, to always hit your number.

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