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The challenge of lead generation

If you ask any B2B marketer what their biggest challenge is, most likely you’ll hear “generating more leads” near the top of the list. In fact, according to a 2013 survey by BtoB Magazine, 60% of the US B2B marketers participating said that generating more leads was their number one challenge.

As marketers, we’re tasked with not only generating a high volume of leads for our sales teams, but measuring the quality of those leads. We usually turn to a mix of online and offline tactics to feed the funnel, whether it’s direct mail, email marketing, search engine marketing, advertising, trade shows, social media, etc. We juggle all of these channels trying to communicate our value to our prospects. We spend our days developing relevant content to get our prospects excited about our products and/or services.

But sometimes it feels like we’re trying to find a needle in a haystack.

How do you define a quality lead?

The definition of a quality lead varies by organization. Organizations must define their own set of attributes to decide what makes a qualified lead for them. This target customer profile is the first step to understanding which leads your sales team is most likely to convert to a paying customer. In our case, we have three specific criteria that a lead must meet in order to be deemed “marketing qualified”. Unless the lead meets those criteria, it does not get passed to a sales person.

But just because a lead fits your target customer profile and has made an inquiry, it does not mean that they are ready to buy your product. In fact, according to a study conducted by Gleanster Research, 50% of qualified leads are not yet ready to buy. These marketing-qualified leads still have value, they just need to go through a process of nurturing and/or qualification before being passed to a sales rep.

Not all qualified leads are created equal

So now you have all your leads defined and are passing only the qualified ones to your sales team. It’s not enough just to measure the number of leads you have coming in and their conversion rate, but to really understand your funnel, you should measure leads based on how the lead was acquired. A lead generated from email marketing may be 50% more effective than a lead generated by paid search. Treating all leads the same can be dangerous to your sales process. Your leads should be prioritized based on channel so the sales reps can follow up with the ones that have the highest chance of converting.

So what is the most qualified lead you can get?

In an ideal world, we’d be able to pass leads to our sales team of people that have already done their research, have already chosen the product they want to use and are just ready to buy. Unfortunately for most of us, that ideal is not attainable. However, for V.i. Labs customers, this is exactly what one of their lead funnels looks like.

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Qualified Lead Funnel

Using CodeArmor Intelligence leads as one of their channels, they are able to identify organizations that are currently using their product without a license. They can even create filters and score those leads so they’re only passing the most qualified, easily convertible leads to their sales teams.

For example, if they have a $5,000 product and they identify an organization using 10 seats of their software in the United States, they know that this is a highly convertible $50,000 opportunity for their sales team. They can score these leads and calculate ROI vs other channels like webinar or email marketing leads to properly prioritize the most qualified leads for their sales teams.

Our partner, Software Compliance Group, typically sees a 60% global win rate on CodeArmor Intelligence leads. I’d take that win rate any day!

Define your lead quality

So when it comes to the question, “What is the most qualified lead I can get?” Only you can answer that question. What works best for the company across the street, might not be the same for your business. You’ll never know unless you have the metrics in place to understand how each type of lead is moving through your funnel.