By Amber Kemmis

There are some things in life that are better when cold. Ice cream, soda, a sandwich (IMHO), and the list could go on. One thing, however, that definitely isn’t better when cold is your contact database. It’s actually a pretty common problem for marketers. A small or large segment of your database is “cold,” meaning they have been unresponsive or disengaged for a long period of time. They may also be cold for other reasons, like maybe you don’t have enough data to declare them a marketing qualified lead (MQL). Whether you have a small or large segment of cold contacts, you can be sure that you’re leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table—this is especially true if you happen to purchase some of those leads. Below are ways to identify cold contacts so that you can turn them into MQLs.

Agree on Definitions – Cold vs. Marketing Qualified Leads

With marketing automation more than likely at play, it is extremely critical that the sales and marketing team are in alignment on what makes a cold lead different from an MQL. Your automation systems should be built to detect MQLs in real time, which is why agreeing on the demographics, behavior, and attributes that constitute an MQL is important. Your company’s MQL criteria will depend on your entire marketing and sales funnel, but it is commonly defined as any lead that is qualified for marketing engagements such as email, social media, and web conversions. The lead is not ready to be passed to sales but could meet SQL criteria one day. After you have an agreement on the definition of an MQL, you’ll need to do a bit of analysis to determine the best way to awaken these leads and turn them into MQLs.

Check out this article that outlines how to use HubSpot for automatically  defining MQLs

Analyzing Your Cold Leads

Understanding your cold leads will take a bit of marketing or CRM reporting. When you can segment your cold leads in the database, you can discover numerous ways to quickly develop MQLs. Some of the common insights pulled from segmenting these leads are:

  • Insufficient data: When your definition of an MQL is missing critical data. For example, if you need to know the contact’s job role but don’t collect that data on forms.
  • Activity: The contact has not had activity in a long period of time. This may be due to you neglecting him or her, or he or she might be tuning out your content.
  • Automation issues: Similar to insufficient data, you may also have problems with your marketing automation system that doesn’t properly tag all MQLs.
  • Non-qualifying engagements: This type of contact regularly engages with your company but not in a way that allows you to qualify him or her. Yet, he or she seems like a good target based on activity.
  • Stranded: There are times when contacts in your database may seem like they are stranded on a desert island. Only, in this situation, the island has WiFi, and other priorities take center stage for the lead. You know the lead is still around. He or she has even opened an email or two from you, but you cannot get him or her to pull the trigger to become an MQL.

Once you have an idea of why your leads are cold, you can now do something about it. The course of action, of course, is dependent on what you find out about your cold contacts in your initial analysis.

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Amber Kemmis

About the author

Amber Kemmis is the VP of Client Services at SmartBug Media. Having a psychology background in the marketing world has its perks, especially with inbound marketing. My past studies in human behavior and psychology have led me to strongly believe that traditional ad marketing only turns prospects away, and advertising spend never puts the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Thus, resulting in wasted marketing efforts and investment. I'm determined to help each and every one of our clients attract and retain new customers in a delightful and helpful way that leads to sustainable revenue growth. Read more articles by Amber Kemmis.

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