Blog

When is a lead not a lead?

When clients or prospective clients approach us to generate leads for them, one of the first questions we ask is: what does a lead mean to you? A surprisingly high number have no clear definition of what they are hoping to receive and, importantly, what they will be paying for. All leads are not equal and, without a clear lead definition, it is impossible to measure the value of your lead generation effort.

These are just some of the things that need to be clear:

  • Are you looking for leads or appointments and, if so, appointments over the phone, or face to face?
  • What stage of lead? If someone is researching a solution to implement 12-18 months from now, is that still a lead?
  • What level of decision maker? Is a lead anyone who has influence into the decision making process, or do you need to speak to the person who will sign off budget?

Why is a definition so important?

If you don’t have a definition, you will generate a mixed bag of leads of varying quality, not only wasting valuable marketing spend, but absorbing your sales team’s time as they wade through to find the real opportunities.

With a clear definition, you can manage your pipeline and investment sensibly by:

  • Qualifying out poor quality leads, so budget/time/resource is not wasted.
  • Nurturing longer term prospects – feeding them into an automated program, for example, to keep them interested until they are ready to buy. 
  • Applying your most expensive sales resource, where it will produce the biggest return.

What does a good qualification process look like?

Deciding what a good lead looks like for you, is just the start of a successful strategy. It is important to build a framework that ensures good leads are identified and brought to the surface so they can be prioritised and sent through to your sales team.

Key elements of a good process include:

Data input: the old adage applies – rubbish in, rubbish out. No matter how smart your lead qualification criteria and your process, if you feed your systems with poor quality data that doesn’t match your target audience, you’ll never produce good quality leads.

Clarity: find criteria that work for you that can be easily communicated and understood. Using an established set of criteria for your lead qualification, such as BANT, can make life easier, or you may need to create an acronym/approach of your own. The important thing is that your definition is robust and understood. 

Stages of qualification: decide when to apply qualification within your sales process. It is critical to qualify poor leads out at the earliest opportunity, but you may need a multistage approach that identifies different levels of lead at different stages, and routes them accordingly. In this context, SiriusDecision’s Demand Waterfall provides a helpful framework.

Methods of qualification: once you have identified the different levels of lead, you can decide how you handle each, and apply the appropriate resource and investment. For example, you may use marketing automation to score and filter in the early stages, then feed marketing-ready leads into the appropriate marketing programme for further nurture. Automation is invaluable when dealing with high lead volumes, but human to human interaction provides a much higher level of qualification and ensures your valuable sales resource receives a steady feed of leads that are truly sales-ready.

Measurement and analysis: with clear lead criteria and a robust qualification process, you are better able to measure the performance of your campaign and ROI. You can analyse lead quality and conversion rates by source, identifying the pots of data and channels generating the best results. Equally, you can capture and analyse the reasons why leads don’t convert, and use this insight to hone future strategy.

Most telemarketing and lead generation agencies have a robust approach to qualification and will guide clients through their process, ensuring the definition of a lead is clear from the start. At The Telemarketing Company, our briefing process ensures we have a clear understanding of what represents a valuable outcome and a good lead for each client, before any calls are made. A stringent quality assurance (QA) process checks every lead against agreed criteria before it is released and live online reporting measures performance at every stage of the campaign, and across each data segment. Call recordings, shared for each call outcome, reinforce the QA process and provide valuable insight that can improve lead conversion.

A flexible channel such as telemarketing can deliver higher-value, better qualified leads to your sales team at any stage of the sales process. If you would like to know more about our expert lead qualification and lead nurturing services, get in touch today.

Related articles

Artificial Intelligence – a force for good or bad?

Artificial Intelligence – a force for good or bad?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Find out more
Telemarketing, Telesales, Inside Sales: what's the difference?

Telemarketing, Telesales, Inside Sales: what's the difference?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Find out more
‘All change’ – How can financial services organisations grow their customer base?

‘All change’ – How can financial services organisations grow their customer base?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Find out more
Pre-sales research: is it worth it?  (the short answer is yes.)

Pre-sales research: is it worth it? (the short answer is yes.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Find out more

Our full range of telephone services

Data Services

Do you want to improve data quality, increase marketing ROI, and ensure GDPR compliance?

Data Cleansing
Data Cleansing
Expert data cleansing creates clean, accurate and compliant data that matches your target audience
Read more
Data Enrichment
Data Enrichment
Data enrichment delivers the insight needed to connect better with your target audience
Read more
Email Opt-ins: GDPR
Email Opt-ins: GDPR
Boost engagement and ROI with consent based communications
Read more

Pre Sales Research

Do you need actionable insight to inform your sales and marketing strategy?

Pre Sales Research
Pre Sales Research
Arm your sales and marketing teams with clear customer intelligence and accurate data.
Read more

Telemarketing

Want more opportunities to drive revenue?

Lead Generation
Lead Generation
High-quality lead generation at every stage of the customer journey
Read more
Call Handling
Call Handling
Professional outsourced customer service. We can provide your customers with an expert, personalised service – making every interaction count
Read more
Appointment Setting
Appointment Setting
Successful appointment setting requires meaningful human interaction with senior decision makers
Read more
Lead Management
Lead Management
Drive value by improving lead flow, quality and conversion
Read more
Event Marketing
Event Marketing
Strategic event marketing can generate higher demand and deliver greater value.
Read more
Lead Qualification / Nurture
Lead Qualification / Nurture
Move leads through the funnel more strategically with our expert lead qualification and lead nurturing services
Read more

Sales

Is your sales strategy driving the results you need?

Telesales / Inside Sales
Telesales / Inside Sales
The quality of your Inside Sales skills can be a key differentiator in a competitive market.
Read more
Account Based Marketing
Account Based Marketing
Smart account based marketing helps to increase profitability, reverse churn and increase customer lifetime value.
Read more

Post Sales Research

Is your customer intelligence keeping pace with your business goals?

Welcome Calls
Welcome Calls
An effective welcome call helps to create a foundation for a lasting relationship. Retaining customers costs less than acquiring them, so it makes sense to have a robust retention strategy in place – starting as soon as a prospect is converted.
Read more
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Satisfaction
Measure customer satisfaction and gain a more nuanced view of your customers’ experiences through phone-based surveys.
Read more
Treating Customers Fairly / Compliance
Treating Customers Fairly / Compliance
An FCA authorised and regulated business, our expert team can help you meet your TCF compliance needs with greater confidence and increased customer insight.
Read more