What Makes a Great Inbound B2B Lead?

Posted by Ken Semple

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Define your the leads you want to target and you'll easily separate the great leads from the restOK, so despite the title of this post, you have to work out what makes a great lead for your business because your business has it’s own unique definition of what makes a great inbound B2B lead.

Defining what makes a great lead is one thing, separating the diamonds from the glass can be a real challenge.

Here are a few things you can do which will allow you to easily separate your great leads from the ones which either aren’t ready yet or just aren’t right for you.

And when you get tired of doing this manually you can use software to do most of it for you.

Collect information on your leads incrementally

Collect the minimum information you need from your leads when they first sign up. The more fields you have on your form the less people are going to sign up.

You can gain more insight into your leads by asking them the right questions at the right time. Ask for the basics to begin with, then when they come back to sign up for another offer, hide some of the basics which they’ve already answered and add some more advanced questions. This is called progressive profiling.

This way your forms never look overwhelming and you get more information from your leads as time goes by.

Your inbound marketing software can automatically expose these fields progressively to your leads.

Of course, if they sign up for a low level offer like an assessment or free trial, ask them all you need right up front.

Look at the company

Make sure you at least get their company name so you can do some research. Be wary of people who say they’re from a particular company and sign up using a generic email address like Gmail. Outside of office hours this might be their only option, otherwise they might be trying to disguise their real identity.

Once you have their company name you can search for the company online. Checkout their LinkedIn profile and their website at least.

You must set some criteria for your target audience so it is clear to your entire sales team which leads you want followed up. You should set criteria for at least:

  • Industry

  • Location

  • Company size

  • Turnover

Look at the person

You’ll only have a name and email address to start with. It’s amazing what you can find out from that alone. In fact your inbound marketing software will do most of it for you by tracking down key social media accounts like LinkedIn and Twitter.

LinkedIn will tell you a lot about the person. Who they are, what their experience is and, most importantly, what position they hold in their company.

Knowing their level of seniority will help you approach them in the correct way. If they’re a junior employee, you will have to gain their trust and wait for the right moment to ask to include a decision maker in your meetings.

You won’t always be able to get the information you need about them right away. Sometimes you have to use your progressive profiling to get the extra information you need. Or you could just call them, work to build trust with them and ask them for the information you need.

Look at their activity

So far I’ve only considered who your leads are and who they work for. What about how interested they are in you and your products or services.

A first time visitor or a one time only visitor, whilst they might fit the profile and worth a call, they’re still doing their research and are nowhere near ready to buy from you yet.

Leads who’re getting close to buying will have visited your website many times. They could be coming back as a result of your lead nurturing or, even better, coming back of their own accord because they like your content.

You want to see them downloading more advanced content, content which shows that they’re moving through their buying process.

Use their activity to help you decide when it’s time for another call or meeting.

Make it easy - Get your software to score them automatically

Sounds like a lot of work keeping track of all your leads in this way doesn’t it?

Yes, call all the good leads as soon as possible after they sign up. Clearly define who your target market it so it’s immediately obvious which leads you’ll call.

You can use software to track your leads, to score them and categorise them and notify you when they meet your criteria.

Using the right software you get to choose how you track, score and get notified about your lead’s progress. Because you have your own definition of a great lead, a qualified lead, one which you should pursue, you need software which allows you to score and segment leads your way.

Using a combination of scoring leads, adding or subtracting points, or segmenting them based on activities or lead properties you are able to unclutter your life and only be notified of new leads and of leads who become qualified.

Key takeaway

Create a clear definition of what makes a qualified lead for your business then develop a system to separate the qualified leads from the rest. This is how you save time and money by focusing on leads which are most likely to buy.

 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales

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