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What Makes A Good Sales Lead?

With the advent of the Internet and digital marketing, the way companies find buyers may have changed but the basic truths of what constitutes a good lead remain the same. In a nutshell, a good lead is your company’s ideal customer. Who do you want to do business with and how do you move that potential buyer through the sales funnel?

THE INTEREST IS THERE

Cold calling because you heard through the grapevine that someone might be interested in your product is practically a thing of the past. Today, there are numerous ways to track the activity of your prospects online. You can see if prospects have been on your website. You can tell if they called you or filled out an interest form.

Account based marketing tools – using IP identifiers – can even tell you exactly how many people from a certain company have visited your site and for how long. In other words, the interest is there, and the sales team now has tools and data to take action. In Business to Business transactions, a lot of times it’s not just one person making the decision to buy. Manufacturing may be a primary contact, but they must get the CFO’s approval as well as buy in from purchasing. As a result, buyers do a lot more research before they ever reach out to sales. Sales is no longer providing most of the education, but rather guiding a buyer through the process.

INTEREST DRIVES INTENT

Among the pool of potential buyers, there will be some warmer leads and some colder ones. A warm lead will obviously be further down the sales funnel. They’ve already educated themselves and are in comparison mode, perhaps almost to a decision. A colder lead is going to depend on sales for more education.

You need both kinds of leads because not everyone is ready to buy, but the difference is that you will see varying degrees of intent. A customer has searched for your product or service, or something related to what you do. You can see the attribution from your website, whether they came in through a Google search ad or if they came organically to your site.

The way potential buyers find your offering will drive your sales approach. Someone who clicked on an ad while they were scrolling on Facebook is probably less serious than someone who typed your company’s product or service into a search engine. The second person has much more buying intent.

THEY ARE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Let’s say you have your eye on an ideal buyer. In this case, you might be using an account based marketing tool to track the online activity of specific companies. And not only that, but you also are delivering ads to people at targeted companies.

This approach is a big investment of your marketing dollars, so the targeted leads are no doubt big revenue producers for your company. However, if you are not doing that and instead waiting to see who searches for you, you can’t really control if the buyer will be big or small in terms of their spend.

In that case, the sales team can decide who to follow up with first, or you can use automation to do lead scoring which will assign a numerical value to each lead generated for the business and help prioritize them.

YOUR SALES TEAM HAS THE TOOLS TO CONVERT THEM

Ideally, both sales and marketing use a CRM (customer relationship management) tool so that they can review the history of your company’s interaction with a specific buyer. Sometimes, because of the cyclical nature of business, your sales team may know more about that history than the new hire/potential buyer now in charge of purchasing.

Digital marketing tools make reaching your target market more efficient. If you are a CEO, it is going to give your business more scale. There is only so much time in a day that a salesperson can generate their own leads. If you are putting out the right message to people who are your potential buyers and they are seeing it at the right time, then your salespeople change from being hunters to being closers.   

Making the sales funnel more efficient means sometimes transitioning the skill set of your sales force. If you have salespeople who primarily excel at the hunt, that’s a different skill set than taking inbound leads and closing them.

If you are going to implement demand generation or lead generation, then you also must ensure that your sales team members are fully prepared to answer the final question from educated buyers looking to compare – why buy from your company? 

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