52% of marketers say they provide salespeople with their best quality leads, while salespeople rank marketing-sourced leads last. (HubSpot, 2017)
Now’s the time to scrutinize your lead qualification methodology and understand what a ‘quality lead’ really looks like from both a marketing and sales perspective.
Read on to discover how to transform your conversion rates and get your sales team back onboard.
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Commonly, BANT qualification methodology has been used by sales to define what constitutes a ‘quality’ lead. Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing are all criteria that need to be established but are they sufficient enough to enable your sales team to close a deal?
When the pressures on, making BANT the focus of your lead generation activities may seem like the obvious tactic but in the long run, it doesn’t always pay off…
40% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is getting harder and 30% say closing deals is also more challenging. (HubSpot, 2018)
What can marketing do to overcome this challenge? Or more importantly, how might your peers have already adapted their sales qualification to keep up with shifting B2B buyer behavior?
The first place to turn to is data. Using data such as action based intent signals to better understand the needs and motivations of your target audiences is essential when qualifying prospects and building profitable engagement.
You may have a heap of BANT qualified leads but without an oversight of what makes them tick, what challenges keep them up at night or who they listen to for trustworthy advice, you’ll never get your foot in the door.
We’ve put together our own acronym which we believe better reflects the types of insights you need to be capturing before qualifying a lead over to your sales team.
Meet PANDA, our lead qualification checklist…
What challenges prevent your target audience from achieving their business objectives?
Where can I find these insights?
3 common overarching pain points that are common to many industries are the need to improve efficiency, productivity or profitability. However deep dive further and you’ll uncover more specific pain points that directly affect the industries and job functions you’re focusing your efforts on.
Equipping your sales team with an understanding of more granular macro and micro factors influencing your target audience’s decision making, will provide them with a greater contextual understanding. The more a sales person can demonstrate an understanding of your audience’s circumstance, the more trust and rapport can be established earlier on.
3 free online research tools we recommend:
- Google Trends
- Google Keyword Planner
- Answer the Public
What level of awareness does your audience have of your solution? Are they actively in-market for your solution or do they need further educating?
Where can I find these insights?
On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. (Think with Google)
This means accessing and analyzing past and present content consumption patterns gives you a strong indication of where a prospect might be in their research phase.
It’s important to map your content amplification strategy to your channel activity and keep a track of all engagement.
Pay close attention to content titles/messaging and formats along with which channels they’ve engaged with. For example, if they have been engaging with infographics on your social channels or banners from your top of the funnel B2B programmatic activity, they are likely to have an early awareness that will require further nurturing.
While on the other hand, a prospect that has engaged with multiple assets hosted on your website including case studies and product sheets, is displaying a more developed understanding.
Using first party and third party cookie data can help you combine data points from across your owned, paid and earnt channels, to give you a clearer picture of your prospect. From this you can gather a more accurate gauge of awareness.
Have your audiences got a clearly defined need and is it compatible with your product/service offering?
How can I capture this insight?
If you’re using forms as a lead capture mechanism, consider adding qualifiers such as ‘Objectives’ as a field. The more specific information you can capture around need, the better your sales team can tailor your USPs to resonate.
Another powerful indication of need is the number of stakeholders in an account actively researching your field of expertise. Leveraging insights from strategic third party partnerships can tell you how many people within a company are actively researching. A high number of active engagers is a strong indication that your chosen account is in-market.
This leads us on nicely to…
Do you have a clear understanding of your target’s decision making unit (DMU)?
Where can I find these insights?
First port of call is your CRM. Here you should be able to see how many contacts under one account you have captured.
In popular article, B2B DMU Buyer Persona Cheat Sheet we discuss the importance of widening your targeting efforts to include a range of key DMU stakeholders.
81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions. (Think with Google)
This stat alone shows how building an army of advocates from within your key target account can be more effective than solely focusing on senior authority levels. It’s important your sales team understand this and the value of non-C-suite contacts are recognised rather than rejected.
Do you have visibility of their digital behavior? What actions have they taken to show they are motivated buyers?
How can I use this insight?
In B2B marketing actions really do speak louder than words. Most marketing automation platforms enable you to track the actions a prospect has taken, while some will even use this data to predict future actions.
Identifying which digital touchpoints signify important indications of intent is essential to ensuring quality leads don’t slip through your net. If you use forms, plot out their hierarchy – contact forms, requests for brochures, media packs… etc., should feature at the top while newsletters subscriptions and white paper downloads should appear further down.
Go one further and use lead scoring to translate actions into indications of buyer motivation. This enables you capture multiple interactions from across your marketing activity and use this as a basis for your lead qualification.
Harvesting action based intent data such as intent tags, also provides essential marketing intelligence that be fed directly into your lead generation strategy and sales follow up to improve conversion rates.
Why use PANDA to inform your lead qualification process?
When it comes to lead qualification, using our PANDA criteria to organize your data into actionable insight, should give your sales team a lot more to work with than BANT alone.
The best B2B marketers use this knowledge to guide their follow-up approach. If you understand how your target audiences perceive quality, you are better positioned to understand how you can shape you USPs and value proposition to resonate.
In the fight to get your message heard, trusted and acted upon, this knowledge can provide a critical competitive advantage that translates into higher conversion rates – and ultimately sales!
Did you find this article useful? For more expert tips and actionable advice around lead generation, download whitepaper; 5 ‘Must Dos’ to Accelerate Your Lead Generation Strategy