When it comes to marketing there is no more common request than sales asking for more leads. If we simply went for more our job would be relatively easy. But before we run off and sponsor another event, or buy a new list we must remember what everyone really wants is more, good quality leads.
Four essential factors go into delivering quality leads:
Data accuracy – is the information you supplying accurate? Do you have a valid email address and phone number. Is the client in a geography you serve? Does the title of the lead resonate with your solution’s selling model?
Buyer readiness – perhaps trickiest of all to master, is the buyer ready to engage with your sales team? Are they doing background research? Do they understand their own needs enough to appreciate your value proposition?
Relevancy of content – do you understand the buyer’s pain/needs enough to have a meaningful conversation with them? Can your sales team ask pertinent questions? Can you offer advice and content geared for their short-term investigative needs?
Compelling offer – Can your solution eliminate some of their pain? Are you trying to fit a square peg into a round hole?
When you take all of those factors into consideration you realize quickly “more” can’t be manufactured. It takes time to nurture relationships and develop compelling content. But time isn’t on your side when the Quantity heavyweight champion is breathing down your neck asking for a match.
It’s time we hung up our boxing gloves for good. Here are a few tips you can use to help the organization transition from a volume model to a quality model.
1. Set expectations – how long will it take to feel the impact of quality lead program management? In my experience, it takes a about two to three full sales cycles for the program to fully mature. If you’re sales process from quality lead to close is on average 90 days, expect 6 – 9 months for a nurture program to have significant measurable impact. Set milestone’s along the way so the team can understand how your progressing against that goal.
2. Find quick wins – Two to three sales cycles is a long time to wait for results. Most organizations aren’t that patient. Instead of giving up, find quick wins that can be produced and promoted in the beginning of your program. Run a pipeline acceleration promotion to progress the hottest deals. Spotlight in-bound wins (even if there are only small numbers) to showcase the power of nurturing. Celebrate a sales reps particularly good use of the program with broad public recognition. Net net, do whatever it takes to keep your momentum and show progress against your long-term goals.
3. Have faith – As marketers we know that nurturing buyer relationships is essential. We’ve read the research, we’ve experimented with organizations in the past, we’ve built lead scoring models. Yet a few weeks of in-patience by the organization at large and even our most stead fast confidence can be shaken. Are we doing the right thing? Should I just buy more data? Maybe I should just loosen lead accuracy criteria just a little bit to meet my numbers? I understand the temptation — but DONT lose faith. Give yourself and the team time to work out the kinks, give buyer’s time to mature their relationship with you and hang on to the goal of quality.
4. Take them on the journey – What has become second nature to marketers isn’t always natural for the rest of the organization. A regular cadence of education programs is critical to engaging with your team. Once people understand the quality vs. quantity debate they’ll start to throw punches right along-side with you. Run workshops, have lunch time huddles, share research — all of this will compel the organization to be in the same corner.
Punch – Block – Match
The end game of all marketing programs should be to deliver a reasonable quantity of high quality leads, not just a lot of leads. Sorry, Quantity – you’re knocked out.