By Matt Farber

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Picture this: you open the office doors just as your do every other day of the week.  You make your way to your desk, perhaps stopping at the coffee machine on your way for a fresh cup of joe. Before you can set your cup of coffee on your desk a sales rep stops you and asks you, “How were you able to get all those leads in Salesforce for me?  They are great!”

Let’s start at the beginning.  How are you able to convert inbound leads that will make your sales team sing your praises? First, sales and marketing needs to decide what a qualify lead looks like. Next, you can offer free, educational content to the visitors of your website to download in exchange for their contact information. Once you have a lead in the system, using the steps below will help qualify the lead sooner and keep sales happy!

Collect the Right Information

As leads continue to consume data, you should be asking different types of question about them in order to gain intelligence on the characteristics of qualified leads. Collecting this information will help you weed out the good from the bad.  Here’s a list of form fields you could ask for the initial offers:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Email Address
  • Job Title

The email address is critical here so we can continue sending them emails with additional content.  Here’s some form fields you could consider including for the ebooks and case studies:

  • State
  • Number of Employees
  • Phone Number
  • Biggest Challenges (this would be an open field where they can write anything)
We’re now asking for information that can be leveraged by the sales team to prepare for the phone call.  If you can give the sales team all this information with a history of content they’ve consumed on your website, your sales team will be taking you out to dinner in addition to their clients.

Do you have any big issues that prevent you from delivering this information to your sales team?

Offer Additional Content that Makes them More Qualified

Let’s create a fictional representation of your ideal customer, or as we like to call them, a persona.  For the sake of this post let’s call our persona Marketing Mary.  Mary visited your website and downloaded a white paper that shows your knowledge of the industry.  Instead of passing Mary off to your sales team, further qualify her into a lead that they’ll love.  You can do this a few ways:

  • Offer in-depth webinars that dive deeper into your industry
  • Place case studies, testimonials, and other “proof” of success on your website
  • Encourage a consultation, demo, or quote request on your website
  • Try to obtain more detailed information about Mary by using “smart” fields or progressive profiling with HubSpot forms.

Ideally, we want Mary to complete a form that requests a consultation with someone at your company, but Mary may not be ready for that.  When she’s not,  it’s time to implement a lead nurturing campaign.

Nurture to the Next Step

Lead nurturing is a series of automated emails triggered by an action from a lead.  The emails should be spread out over a 2 or 3 week period of time.  The emails should reference the last action the lead took on your website and offer additional resources they can consume.  Ideally this content is placed on a landing page where you ask for additional contact information.  Examples of content you could include are blog posts, infographics, ebooks, case studies, and demo/consultation requests.  

The idea behind lead nurturing is to pull a lead through the marketing funnel so that they become qualified. As marketers, we should anticipate the questions our personas will ask and then deliver that content to them. When creating a lead nurturing campaign, always consider the stage of the funnel the lead is in. For example, if a lead downloads a case study, your lead nurturing campaign will not start with a free ebook. The lead is closer to being qualified than that. However, if a lead downloads a basic, Awareness-stage guide, you can start by offering other free content that becomes more and more serious over time. The latter example will be a much longer campaign than the first example. The goal is to tailor the campaign to the need of the persona, warm them up with enticing offers, qualify them with lead intelligence, and then pass them on to sales.

Delivering qualified leads to sales is extremely important. What steps are you taking to ensure sales and marketing are happy with lead quality?

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Matt Farber

About the author

Matt Farber is an Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. Using his project management and inbound marketing experience in the B2B sector Matt helps clients build and implement their inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion and revenue. Read more articles by Matt Farber.

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