PMG Digital Made for Humans

Not All Leads Are Created Equal

5 MINUTE READ | August 23, 2017

Not All Leads Are Created Equal

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Macey Eamma

Macey Eamma has written this article. More details coming soon.

We admit our title is a little misleading. For the sake of clarity, we aren’t saying that leads fall into good or bad categories per se. We mean that some leads have a higher priority than others. For instance, consider the lead that isn’t in market to buy. Even though this lead might not be seen as particularly valuable to your sales team at the moment, that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. While leads currently in the market will be top priority, those that aren’t in market should still be nurtured until the window to purchase nears.

Having the correct outlook on your lead generation is key. Otherwise, identifying valuable leads and developing appropriate strategies around lead value will be difficult. If done properly, you can find favorable opportunities in some unlikely places. Though these opportunities may take time and investment in order to come to fruition, your undernourished pipeline will thank you later.

Yes, we know those C-Level leads are mighty appealing, but there are plenty of other leads you and your sales team should pay attention to rather than undervaluing.

For example:

  • Leads showing in-market intent signals

    • Tools like Priority Engine and Intent Signals from companies like TechTarget, IDG, MadisonLogic, etc. can give you insight into users engaging in relevant content

  • Single Lead Perspective vs. ABM Perspective

    • Consider grouping leads by targeted account and measuring touch points on the account as a whole rather than status of the individual lead

  • Leads that are not in-market, but tick all of your target audience boxes

    • As mentioned above, these leads can continue to be nurtured

  • “Influencer” job titles

    • Though they may not be pulling the purchase trigger, they are heavily involved in high-level conversations and influencing their managers for the team’s needs

Once you’ve removed the figurative veil from your eyes and realize how many leads are at large, you can segment your quality leads and implement appropriate strategies on the back-end to keep them engaged. One way, and probably the best way, to encourage engagement from your leads is by dedicating time and resources to the creation of a strong, nurture stream.

Above all, a healthy nurture stream is one that’s sustainable. To be considered sustainable, a nurture stream needs to have structure and organization, robustness, and the ability to handle external threats such as competition. Sustainable nurture streams do the following:

  • Identify problems your target audience has

    • This ensures engagement and meaningful interaction and discourse

  • Publish content based on each part of the buyer’s journey

    • Top of Funnel (awareness)

      • Usually a blog post or social media content which educates your audience on a need or pain point

    • Middle of Funnel (evaluation)

      • White papers and e-books which position your company as authority

    • Bottom of Funnel (purchase)

      • Sales enablement

      • Case study that proves results

      • Strategic offers

  • Leverage channels that are performing best and even better, producing opportunities

  • Recognize the value of job titles that aren’t C-Level

Something to remember is that not every lead’s path down the funnel will be the same. In addition to shaping the stream based off of the type of lead and their unique value/position, you’ll want to take into consideration the specific action taken by each lead and the level at which they were able to familiarize themselves with your brand and solutions. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Attending an event

  • Stopping by your conference booth

  • Downloading multiple assets

  • Opening an email

  • Engaging with a social media post

  • Visiting your website multiple times

  • Attending a webinar hosted by a publisher or hosted by your company

  • Downloading a demo or trial

  • Following a link back to your company’s site

  • Filling out an opt-in form

Basically, what you want is to be able to position your nurture streams to capitalize on a lead that is positively engaging with your brand. Now comes the bad news…

While we have discussed creating a sustainable nurture stream, there are plenty of ways that you can lose a qualified lead. After all, the key word in sustainable nurture stream is nurture. If your leads aren’t tended to properly, it is possible to alienate even the most qualified. This can be incredibly frustrating. It is important to remember that even when taking a holistic view, and targeting an account, there are still people on the other end of that enticing list of email addresses. Just like a bad date, or an overbearing, car salesman, there should be a balance to every interaction.

  • Spamming (engaging too much/frequently) leads from a target account that are not currently in-market

    • For these leads, you’ll want to build a special stream to keep them nurtured

  • Not having an appropriate nurture stream to guide your lead down the funnel

  • Not giving sales team sales-ready leads

  • Inundating your leads with too much or irrelevant information

    • Know their problem and offer a solution

  • Relying on one type of content

    • Hour long webinars aren’t for everyone, folks

  • Not re-nurturing the leads that aren’t currently in market

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As B2B marketers we want all of our leads to be of a high caliber for our clients. If you suspect that the quality of your leads isn’t up to snuff, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy to see where you’re missing the mark in finding, targeting, and retaining leads. While establishing proper strategies and sustainable nurture streams aren’t exactly “quick wins”, your long-term business goals and pipeline are sure to benefit.

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