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The Importance of Quality Leads Over Quantity

Recent in-house research published on Forbes.com reveals that only 27 percent of leads are ever contacted. Dave Elkington, CEO, and Ken Kroque, President, of InsideSales.com partnered with James B. Oldroyd from the MIT faculty to conduct in-depth research into lead efficiency. Some of the statistics they found were groundbreaking and should change the face of modern sales.

 

More, More, More = Waste, Waste, Waste

Sales teams routinely ask for more leads. But with only 27 percent of leads contacted, what happens to the other 73 percent?

Certainly, quantity plays a role in conversion numbers. Salespeople have no one to contact if they have no leads. A short list of high-quality leads might produce virtually guaranteed sales, but it is typically not enough to produce the revenue companies need. If marketing efforts are producing all those "extra" leads, why are sales teams ignoring them?

If these leads show as unqualified or less qualified, of course sales teams will focus first on the leads most likely to close. Extra leads do not always, or even usually, translate into more sales. Effectively using high-quality leads is what moves prospects through the sales funnel faster, but that only works if companies have the data on hand to properly assign quality to each lead. Data is what drives the ability to quickly and correctly assign quality values.

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Effective Use of Leads

After testing more than 10,000 companies, what helps close leads is clear: response time and quality. Responding faster to the best-quality leads can drive up conversion numbers dramatically. The real challenge lies in separating quality leads from the generic list generated by marketing.

Often, lack of data creates problems that start during marketing campaign planning. If marketers do not understand what makes a quality lead, they cannot tailor their efforts to focus on those customers. Lead generation strategy starts with marketing, but only if sales is involved in the planning.

With effective targets in hand, marketing can work more efficiently to pull in higher-quality leads. This requires access to reams of data. Buyer profiles are a commonly used method for isolating the most likely candidates. Bringing together information from social media activities, firmographics, buying history, and demographic information allows marketers to better segment their efforts, but these profiles have not yet shown the lift that most companies are looking for.

New data is one way to help segment leads more effectively, with a particular focus on content interactions. When marketers can see which content that visitors engaged with longest, they can create more directly targeted messages. Working with vendors who gather only the highest quality data is a solid place to start.

 

Content Consumption Guides Marketing Efforts

Lead quality allows companies to spend limited marketing budgets more effectively, but only if they know where to focus efforts. Many marketing departments still look at content as merely a way to generate leads, not as a key data point in itself. Buying leads and working with lead generation vendors can be an effective shortcut to more and better leads.

What content prospects view and how they interact with it can be crucial when crafting a faster sales funnel. Vendors who already track prospect browsing history can provide leads that are in line with a companies targets. Better demographic segmentation comes from better data and leads to improved lead generation effectiveness.

Data also impacts the sales team. When sales reps know what interests prospects, they can better convert leads. They gain insight into specific prospect's pain points, wants and needs. The more sales reps know about the specific customer, the better their conversion rates and the more valuable each customer becomes.

At scale, marketing departments need to figure out which types of content generate the highest numbers of leads, and why. This allows them to optimize their content strategy across all platforms, from social media to banner ads.

By looking more closely at the content that generates the highest conversion rates, marketers can better map the customer's journey from site visitor to sale. Working with vendors who already have customer data at their fingertips can improve both response time and lead quality, in one simple step.