Ask most executives and marketers what salespeople need to sell in this economy and they will say: "more leads." That’s why many marketing and lead generation programs tend to focus on quantity. Unfortunately, as little as 5 percent to 15 percent of all marketing inquiries turn out to be truly sales-ready opportunities. Marketers that really want to help sales perform better will focus on higher-quality leads that have better odds of converting into pipeline opportunities and customers; however, according to MarketingSherpa's data, generating “high-quality leads” is the B-to-B marketer’s No. 1 challenge.
Most realize that the more validation and verification of each lead or database, the better the quality of the lead. So, what’s the best way for B-to-B marketers to efficiently verify the accuracy of their lead data captured online before turning said inquiries over to the sales force?
Create a Marketing Funnel
The purpose of the marketing funnel is to bring inquiries (aka leads) into one spot (your marketing database) and qualify them. The marketing funnel creates sales-ready leads and nurtures the leads that aren’t sales-ready. Lead qualification first must classify leads according to their "sales readiness" and business fit, and second, must manage all the incoming leads effectively.
Keep the 'Giving of Information' at a Comfortable Level
It’s important to remember that most people coming to your Web site aren't coming to purchase right away. They come to your site for information. An early-stage lead shouldn’t be expected to give up the same kind of details as a later-stage lead. People start to question the value of providing too much information on forms before you've earned their trust.
You'll do better by thinking of lead generation as a process of micro-conversions that build an opportunity profile over time. Start with requesting basic information such as an e-mail address; in the next step, request first and last name. Later, request more detailed insights—after a relationship has been established.