It’s not enough for industrial marketers to generate leads for their sales team—their ultimate goal is customer acquisition, as marketers themselves report year after year in the IEEE GlobalSpec Industrial Marketing Trends survey.
Marketers must provide sales not just with leads, but high-quality, motivated leads that have a high probability of turning into customers. The remainder of the leads marketing can work in lead nurturing programs. But how do you measure the quality of leads so that you know which ones are sales ready, which are targets for nurturing, or which leads are just downright cold?
Use these two inputs to measure—and improve—lead quality.
Input #1: Customer Profiles
Customer profiles—also called buyer personas—are composite representations of the types of customers you want to find.
Well-crafted customer profiles are the cornerstone of your marketing efforts. They are used to develop targeted campaigns and content, craft relevant and compelling messaging, help unite sales, marketing and service teams by sharing a greater understanding of customers, and even help guide product development efforts.
Source material for customer profiles
You need raw material to build and shape customer profiles. Where do you find it? Usually from a combination of the following sources:
- The attributes of the best customers in your database. Look at customer location, industry, job title, company size, and other available details.
- Gather anecdotal experience from your sales team or other institutional knowledge regarding the goals and needs of your customers.
- Use industry research to better understand customers; for example, the IEEE GlobalSpec research white paper “Pulse of the Engineer” reports on the values, needs and challenges of today’s engineers.
When you generate new contacts that possess similar attributes to your customer profiles, they are more likely to be high-quality leads.
Input #2: Lead Activity
To really solidify a lead’s quality, look to their lead activity. When a prospect engages with your marketing content—that is considered a lead activity. When they register for a webinar, email or call you—that is also lead activity. The more activities a contact has, the more interested they are likely to be in your product or company. You can increase lead activity by providing compelling content across multiple channels to your target audience.
With each prospect landing somewhere on the scale of your ideal customer profile and also demonstrating a degree of measurable lead activity, you can assign leads a measure of quality.
- Close matches to your ideal customer profile who are actively engaged with your content are likely sales-ready leads.
- Leads that are active but not great fits with your customer profile will need further qualification from marketing before passing on to sales.
- Leads that match well to your customer profile but have shown little activity are good candidates for lead nurturing programs where you can offer additional content and track their digital behavior.
- Leads that don’t fit your customer profile and are not active are cold leads. Don’t waste resources on them unless they raise their hand again and demonstrate further interest.
Learn more about lead nurturing in our 2018 Marketing Planning Toolkit, available here.