Qualify your B2B Leads in 3 Steps

Every lead is a potential customer for your business, but in many cases it never closes. But how do you qualify new leads and convince them of your products? We'll show you how to turn your leads into satisfied customers in just 3 easy steps.

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From New Lead to Loyal Customer

Leads are an important component in the acquisition of new customers. Only prospects can also become customers. However, in many companies, it is exactly this conversion that is a problem. For example, new content is published daily, social media posts are shared and exciting products are integrated into the shop. And that's in every industry. However, this does not qualify your leads.

For this reason, it is important to make the potential customer himself an actor. Strong content with text, graphics or video is the basis for gaining the customer's interest. Therefore, offer your leads an incentive to reveal more about themselves and their purchase intention.

Leads are like fish. Once you've hooked them, they won't let go in a hurry.

Here, the approach of quality over quantity always applies. Those who comprehensively qualify their B2B leads in marketing save time, money and nerves. Many companies know the problem of losing potential customers halfway through the process. Always keep in mind here that one good customer can ideally replace more than 100 cold leads. Clear priorities always get you ahead.

This is How the Lead Qualification Process Works

But why are we writing on this topic at all? Even in the days before the advent of marketing automation, lead qualification was an important approach. We ourselves tried to attract attention and market services through content.

Without fixed indicators to measure success, however, qualification remains like looking for a needle in a haystack

We have learned from this mistake and would like to present the most important processes to you in detail

What Is A Qualified Lead?

Often the handover from marketing leads to sales fails because there is no common understanding of what exactly a qualified lead is. So as not to fail at the very beginning of the qualification process, we have outlined for you here which qualification levels there are in lead management

Unqualified Lead

Unqualified leads don't know exactly what your business offers or are contacts you don't know enough about yet. In some cases, it is possible to convert an unqualified lead into a qualified one through consistent lead nurturing

MQL

The abbreviation MQL means "Marketing Qualified Lead" and stands for contact with a potential customer. An MQL is a prospect who does not yet show any willingness to buy. Through the lead nurturing process, however, his interest in buying can change. You reach this stage, for example, when a user downloads something from your blog. This can be further details or PDFs, among other things.

SQL

A SQL, i.e. "Sales Qualified Lead", is a user who is ready to buy. The trigger for this qualification can be, for example, the request for a demo or the desire for an individual offer. In this case, it is worthwhile to pass the lead on to the sales department.

Opportunity

Once the lead is convinced by the demo or the particular offer, the final phase of qualification begins. In this stage, you can take the initiative yourself to bring about the successful conclusion. Usually, a final conversation is suitable for this step.

In many marketing agencies, in addition to the steps presented, there are other levels that should lead to lead qualification. One of the most well-known impulses is the Sales Accepted Lead (SAL). Here, selected leads are handed over from the marketing department to the sales department. However, this step is obsolete in case of concrete indications such as the request for further information.

The Concrete Implementation of the Lead Qualification

To turn theory into practice, you should go through these 3 steps:

  1. Define your Ideal Accounts and Personas

  2. Identify behavioral patterns and commonalities among existing leads and customers

  3. List the evaluation criteria including scores to be awarded

1. Clear Ideal Account Profiles and Personas

To ensure that you attract the right leads through the evaluation process, it is very important that you review and update your personas and Ideal Account Profiles at the beginning of the process, whether you are creating new profiles or revising existing ones: Be sure to involve your sales team and your customer success team in the (further) development.

2. Analyze your Existing Customers and Leads

Once you know which personas and accounts you want to increase as customers, you should check your existing database for exactly these contacts in order to validate your target group and gain further insights that you can use later when evaluating your leads.

The more you know about your leads, the more effective you can make your lead qualification. Many companies chase leads even when there is no chance of closing a deal. By clearly segmenting your leads, you can effectively save marketing and sales team resources without losing sight of potential customers.

As a first step, create lists for all different personas or target accounts, as well as for unqualified contacts, and then compare the following data:

  • Demographic data (region, job, education, industry, company size, etc.)

  • Behavioral data (search queries, interaction with content, visit frequency, etc.)

  • Buying behavior (time to purchase/decision, size of buying center, etc.)

  • User behavior (products/services purchased, use of products)

First, gather all the common characteristics from your lists and then compare the lists with each other. Especially by comparing qualified contacts and unqualified contacts in your CRM, you will be able to recognize certain patterns.

3. Create Your Lead Scoring Concept

Now you can get down to work and list the individual criteria in your lead scoring concept that suggest either high quality or poor quality leads

This is the easiest way to structure your lead scoring concept:

Explicit Lead Scoring

Explicit lead scoring provides profile information and relevant characteristics of the company or contact person, obtained through registration, downloading a white paper or signing up for a newsletter, and enriched with other important data. This includes

  • Contact person is known

  • Industry is X, Y or Z

  • Number of employees is >100

  • Annual turnover is >5 million

Implicit Lead Scoring

Implicit lead scoring reveals the customer's interest in your business. The lead's behavior on the website is captured and analyzed for potential buying interest. The higher the potential sales opportunity, the better the lead is scored. This includes

  • At least 10 page views

  • Has visited our product pages

  • Was last on our website a maximum of 60 days ago

  • Has opened at least 75% of his emails

  • Has filled out form XY

  • Follows us from social media

Once you have listed your criteria, you can assign a positive or negative value to all of them, which you can then use as a basis for calculating your lead scores, e.g. at HubSpot. This way, you only have to enter the rules for the calculation into your marketing software of choice, and from now on you can benefit from better qualified leads.

Practical Advantages through Qualified Leads

Through targeted measures for lead qualification, you not only generate new customers, but can also sharpen your Ideal Customer Profile at the same time. In this way, you can identify in advance which users are increasingly dropping out and at which points an improvement of the customer journey is required

You should therefore no longer miss out on the following benefits with lead qualification:

  • Indirect feedback on your content

  • Clear identification of lead priorities

  • Better assessment of potential sales leads

  • Smooth integration with data management

  • Potential development of new business relationships

All these advantages accompany you in forming sustainable customer relationships from initial contacts. The sooner you find out more about the buying power of your prospects, the sooner you can convince them with individual offers. Therefore, be sure to include your data strategy in the lead qualification process in order to statistically capture new customers and identify customer preferences.

4 Advantages of B2B Lead Scoring

The quality of the leads generated is a recurring source of disagreement between marketing and sales. The remedy is to score the leads according to sales-specific criteria. With lead scoring, you increase the win rate in the marketing process - simply and effectively!

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4 Advantages of B2B Lead Scoring

Only Qualified Leads Enrich Your Marketing

Without a dedicated lead qualification concept, your marketing success will remain a product of chance. Some days prospects will contact you, other days nothing will come. For businesses that live off new customers, this state of affairs is untenable. Only with an active analysis you can recognize who appreciates your services and who you can win as a customer.

In this respect, a good interaction between marketing and sales is crucial. Clear indicators such as replying to a newsletter or requesting a demo should not be withheld from sales. Every movement of your leads allows conclusions to be drawn about which offer works best. And all this without any active communication with the user.

Conclusion: Systematically Qualify and thus Generate Customers

Going back to our fishing comparison, you can't fish in the deep end. Clear lead qualification helps you categorize your prospects and deliver the best leads to your sales team. This ensures that you no longer have to miss out on a good customer.

Coupled with a successful and automated data strategy, your marketing department will be constantly updated with new information about your leads. This approach can be used for both new and existing customers. This way, you can quickly judge who is driving your business forward and who is costing you more time than it's worth.