All B2B Leads Are Not Created Equal
When carrying out a B2B Lead Generation campaign, it’s tempting to put all leads in the same bucket. After all, they all need qualifying and developing into opportunities if appropriate. However, leads need to be handled differently depending on their source.
Today, the buzz is all about inbound marketing.
When done effectively, inbound marketing can produce a rich vein of B2B leads. But reaching out too early and trying to convert a lead that has been attracted to you can often spoil the lead. These leads need nurturing, you can’t rush them and you can’t determine the pace at which they move through the early part of your sales funnel. They often take a lot longer than other types of leads to convert but when they are ripe and ready, they convert much more easily than any other type of B2B lead. They don’t require the attention of your best outbound lead generators and often the salesperson is needed to administer the buying process rather than sell.
Then there are B2B leads created by outbound marketing activities that cast a wide net with the intention of landing a few good leads. Theses leads are sourced through activities such as advertising, trade-shows and seminars. Qualification is absolutely the key here because for every good potential lead, there will be several that are a complete waste of time.
They certainly don’t deserve the attention of your highly skilled and well paid sales people. It’s far better to employ lower cost resource that is trained to qualify a lead against your ideal customer profile criteria before passing it over to a salesperson.
Also there are leads developed by targeted outbound B2B lead generation activities. You need to understand your ideal customer profile before you can pro-actively target them but once you understand this you can focus on your targets and get proactive; typically using a combination of email and telemarketing.
These leads take time and focussed attention to generate but when done effectively can often provide your biggest source of convertible leads. They also tend to move more quickly through the sales process. Again, these leads do not require the attention of your sales people, specialists lead generators should pass qualified leads to sales people for re-qualification before they run with them.
This is when the sales professional earns their corn; once a lead is properly qualified and becomes a genuine opportunity the sales professional takes charge of the sales process and conversion.
The final type of lead comes from existing customers.
These certainly deserve special treatment and require the attention of account executives and often a sales person. Whilst account executives provide the customer insight, they are not experts at running an effective sales process. B2B leads generated by account teams can be some of your hottest but they can also be big time drainers if they are not qualified effectively and they are not subject to a proper sales process.
All B2B leads are not created equal. In fact, how the lead is created often determines how you treat them.