Inbound marketing qualifies leads so that you don’t have to – but many companies still have a number of misconceptions about what “good” leads are. Here are five of the most common misconceptions about qualified leads that you need to know:
Qualified Leads Are Ready To Buy When They Visit Your Site
Being qualified does not equate to being ready to buy on the spot. Even if a visitor has the budget, authority, need, and timeline, chances are that they’re visiting your site while weighing all their options. They’re only interested in looking around and seeing what you have to offer.
Instead of trying to push a sale right away, focus on educating each visitor about your products and services. The more they know about what you can offer them, the faster they’ll make a decision about following through.
Leads Will Offer Their Email Because Your Site Impressed Them
They may like you, but not that much. Most professionals are hesitant about providing their contact information to anyone – and the best way to get their name and email address is to offer something of value. At this point in the sales process, you shouldn’t be trying to close the deal. Rather, all of your efforts should be put towards improving the visitor’s experience and making them feel that you are the solution to a problem they’re having.
That, by the way, is the single best way to convert qualified leads into customers. When you’re a problem-solver, leads are inherently more interested in what you have to say – as opposed to what happens when you’re busy killing your lead process with unworkable strategies.
All Leads Should Go Straight to your Sales Team
Some companies are so focused on closing the deal that they forgot to see if leads were qualified in the first place. Now, we’re not going to knock the pursuit of profit, but if you spend too much effort on closing deals and not enough on narrowing down the number of potential clients, you’ll actually lower your sales rate.
The idea here is finding a “Marketing Qualified Lead”, or MQL – someone that your marketing team has determined is a likely customer and actually worth spending the time to follow up on. HubSpot has a great guide for finding such leads – learn to love this, because it will help you get more sales.
Marketing Never Needs To Deal With Leads After They’re Passed to Sales
This is another mistake that’s very easy for businesses to make – but despite the idea of a nice, neat sales funnel, customers are erratic beings who may bounce up and down the funnel several times before they’re finally ready to buy.
Instead of immediately passing things on, Marketing should focus its efforts on determining when customers are most ready to buy whatever products of services you have to offer – and Sales, in turn, should pass leads back to Marketing if warning flags go up and signal that the lead isn’t ready to make a purchase.
The overall goal is to create a lead-nurturing strategy – providing a steady stream of help, information, and opportunities to each qualified lead until they are ready to buy. Don’t be afraid to track how long this takes and see how long the average lead needs to be nurtured for – that can help you plan your content strategy and get a sales funnel of a more appropriate length.
Qualified Leads who give their Contact Information should receive Generic Form Responses
Basic fill-in-the-blank letters are easy, but they’re rarely as effective as a fully-featured automated follow-up system. In fact, using a proper response system is likely to increase your final conversion rate and ultimately cost you less to do – and when your business is past its smallest growth stages, that’s a lot of money.
Now, what could you do with all that extra cash? Well, you could funnel it into research and development to improve your product, shuffle it right back into advertising in the hopes of getting even more sales, add it to a company-wide profit-sharing scheme, donate it to a charitable cause that your business would like to support… whatever you think is best. The main point here is that when you focus on effective marketing strategies, you can actually do these things.