It’s time to discuss every inbound marketer and sales directors worst nightmare – unqualified leads.
They are notorious for clogging up sales funnels and slowing down productivity. Not to mention, they cause sales reps to neglect more qualified leads and miss out on revenue. The good news is that there’s a way to stop wasting time with unqualified leads. In this blog, you’ll learn 5 proven lead qualification methods that do just that.
Pre-Qualification Using Form Fields
If landing pages are the first line of defense for your website, form fields are the second. Online form fields are a great way to require web visitors to provide contact info and details about themselves in exchange for a premium content offer.
It’s important to keep in mind that we’re not requesting information simply for the sake of gathering information. Form fields pre-qualify leads by asking the right questions and gathering details for the sales team to make connections & close deals.
Asking too few questions makes it more likely that lots of visitors will complete it, and more numbers makes it harder to separate unqualified leads from qualified ones. Thankfully, (yes, thankfully) not every web visitor will want to take the time to complete a form or feel comfortable providing details about themselves. Remember, the goal is to stop wasting time with unqualified leads. Then again, there’s no reason to make the form longer than necessary, so just focus on gathering enough details to determine if the lead is qualified to be engaged further. Include fields such as:
- Role at the company
- Number of employees
- Years of employment
- Biggest challenge faced
- Website, etc.
With these details, you can do some homework and the sales team can have an educated conversation with prospects. Once you get the answers, it will be clear which prospects are likely to purchase your product or service and which are not.
Introduce Your Brand
Another way to filter out unqualified leads is by introducing your brand’s solution into the equation. Create another type of content that identifies who is actively interested in your brand, not just the information you offer. This content type is called Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) or Brand Filter Offer.
Your company’s unique approach should be front and center in every piece of MOFU content you publish. For example, a product webinar, case study, or demo video can illustrate your company’s effectiveness and spark interest in your brand. Even still, it’s not uncommon for leads to get stuck at different stages in the funnel. In this case, they won’t download the MOFU offer and remain stuck in the Information Qualified Lead status. Whether they’re still evaluating their options or simply uninterested, these leads have failed the qualification test.
Address Common Sales Questions Using Lead Nurturing Emails
Another way to spend less time on unqualified leads is by using marketing automation. When prospects get STUCK at different stages of your sales funnel, an automated lead nurturing email series answering common sales questions and pushbacks can sometimes give them the subtle push they need to get UNSTUCK.
Reduce the time spent by your sales team on prospects stuck in the Information Qualified Lead status by creating a three-part email series that answers the most common sales questions based on feedback from the sales team (they know best, so tap into that knowledge). The primary focus of each email should be addressing one of these common sales questions. Answer these questions using blog content, this is a natural and subtle way to market without being pushy. Casually mention your MOFU offer in the P.S. sentence with a link back to the content on your website. Keep it short & sweet.
Address Common Pushbacks Using Lead Nurturing Emails
After downloading your MOFU offer, leads could still be grappling with objections to working with your company and remain stuck as Marketing Qualified Leads. Perhaps they disagree with the cost or methodology. You’ll need to nurture them a bit to get to the bottom of the situation.
The best way to answer common pushbacks is by using another three-part lead nurturing email strategy. Here again, the primary focus of this email is addressing pushbacks using case studies, testimonials, or product specific content. This time, place your Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BOFU) offer in the P.S. sentence, so when they’re ready, they can take advantage.
Reel In Your Hot Leads
At this stage in the game, unqualified leads are dropping off like flies. But in order to oust the remaining ones, you need to develop an inticing Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) offer to move the needle. This offer is designed to turn marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads. It’s a tall order, but very achievable as long as the offer possess the right ingredients.
Pamela Vaughan at Hubspot has some interesting thoughts on those ingredients:
“…content that communicates the functionality and benefits of your product/services -- and content that enables your sales team and helps them sell.”
Our goal is to identify which leads are ready to take action by compelling them with a live demo, free consultation, competitor comparison matrices, customer success stories/case studies, etc.
This is the type of offer it takes to convince leads to sign on the dotted line. If they’re not convinced at this point, it’s safe to say they are not qualified enough to be in the bottom of the funnel. Stop wasting your time with them and focus on those who are ready to test drive your product or service. The remaining leads are the cream of the crop. Turn them over to your sales team, because they’re officially Sales Qualified Leads.
Hopefully, these 5 proven strategies can help you stop wasting time with unqualified leads. Do you have proven tips that have helped your business thrive in this area? If so, feel free to share them with us!