How to Go for Quality (Not Quantity) Leads
By Jennifer Barham
Leads! Leads! Leads! We want them. We need them. We’re always talking about them. As a matter of fact, a recent study showed that 67% of businesses use the number of leads they get as the single most important metric to determine the success of their brand.
So let’s talk about leads. Getting lots of leads is awesome, and we all love that. But why do we even want leads? We want them because we hope they turn into a business relationship and ultimately, a profit. Often, however, they don’t. So we have to look at the types or the quality of leads we gather. It might look like we’re back to the old debate of whether the quantity or the quality of the leads is most important.
Children’s pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Spock, when asked if quality time or quantity time was more important for children, famously answered, “Quality time. And a lot of it.”
And that’s the answer to the quantity leads vs. quality leads conundrum: you need quality leads, and you need a lot of them.
Although salespeople will frequently infer that more is better, it’s not. More is not better. Better is better. Salespeople should not be asking “How many leads did I get?” but “What kinds of leads did I get?”
Focus on how to get the kinds of leads that will result in the outcome you want. Here are some simple ways to fortify your lead gathering.
- Think of the immediate future – within 6 months. Don’t dwell on a lead that “might” eventually pay off.
- “No” means “next”. Move on. Add a name or contact to a CRM, code them as “next year,” and focus on those leads that have the budget and immediate intention to purchase currently.
- Know your target audience and their persona. Would you recognize a great lead if it was standing in front of you? The pre-work that knowing what you’re looking for takes is worth it. It will save you countless hours of wading through people who are simply curious or have no buying power.
- Choose events that help you gather quality leads. Even though this tip sounds obvious, how many times have you gone to a huge trade show hoping that the mass of people will fill your fishbowl with leads? Choose a smaller trade show that has who you’re looking for over a massive one that might not.
- Know the right questions to ask and keep it simple. Try to strike a balance between asking enough questions to get the information you need and not too many as to overwhelm. Powwow with your sales teams to generate the most productive questions to ask, especially on automated emails where folks will click away if they have to spend too much time filling out automated responses.
- Ask for your lead’s work email. This gives you a name, a position, and a company name. Additionally, work emails get checked more than once an hour, on average, whereas personal emails barely get checked once a day.
- Set up email automation. And stay on it. Make sure you’re responding to email queries. Ask for responses – fun quizzes, polls, questionnaires -- so you know the emails are being read by the right people. Don’t wait too long between email blasts.
- Identify the decision-makers. Who makes the call and who holds the checkbook? This is what you need to be discerning in your conversations with leads.
- Keep the conversation going with your sales team. This is so, so, so important. The gap between the lead-gatherers and the people who follow up on the leads can be tremendous, and it’s your entire business to close it. Make sure the lead-gatherers know what the sales reps are looking for, and make sure the sales reps are constantly revising needs and alerting their team about what constitutes a strong lead.
- Set appointments. If you think you have a qualified lead, don’t let them walk out of your booth until you’ve set up an appointment. Don’t default into thinking that sales will scoop them up later. Setting appointments is 10x more effective than pushing off a meeting until later.
- Follow up. I’m going to say it: the fortune is in the follow-up. An overwhelming number of leads are never contacted after the show. Dropping leads is like buying your favorite ice cream and then bringing it home and setting it on the counter for 2 days. IT’S NO GOOD.
- Make it personable. 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences, and over half of those report leaving a company’s website and purchasing elsewhere because of a poorly personalized experience. You can use gamification to capture data and get to know your audience.
At the end of the day, your sales teams are going to have the leads you hand them, and you want them to have a ton of possibilities. Set goals WITH the sales team to encourage stronger, more quality leads. Agree on what your call-to-action is and make them relevant so the chance of ROI is greater.
So feed the funnel, and feed it well.
Photo by Brett Jordan