4 Ways to Improve Lead Quality from Inbound Marketing

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There are many great ways to improve lead quality from inbound marketing campaigns. In this article, we cover four of the best. We also discuss how marketing campaign ROI and sales team productivity increase with more sales-ready leads.

You know the inbound marketing process: To increase lead generation, you create compelling content that helps prospective customers answer their questions and solve their most pressing problems. Then, you push that content in organic searches, PPC, and on social media. When interested prospects click on the link, you take them to a customized landing page. There, you provide gated content they can only access once they share their contact information.

Inbound Marketing Works, But How Many Leads are You Really Generating?

There’s a reason inbound marketing is so pervasive these days. It works. Inbound lead generation strategies like our gated content example are surprisingly effective. In fact, according to Impact:

  • Businesses that rely primarily on inbound strategies generate new customers for $14 less, on average
  • Inbound marketing strategies save medium-size businesses 31% compared to paid search
  • On average, inbound campaigns generate 3 times as many leads at 62% the cost compared to outbound ones

Four Key Ways to Improve Lead Quality

Those are some impressive metrics. But they would be even more impressive if marketers implemented the following four ways to improve lead quality from inbound marketing campaigns. Doing so will help ensure the leads they hand off are sales-ready.

1. Optimize the Lead Funnel

To support lead qualification, marketers can work with sales teams to define what qualifies as a sales-ready lead. They can evaluate the lead funnel together and determine where there are gaps that marketing can fill.

Ensuring Accurate Data Collection 

For example, marketers can ask the important questions on web lead forms that will help qualify leads efficiently. They can also take steps to ensure the contact information entered is accurate at the point of capture. One way to do this is by using an email, phone, and address API on lead forms and anywhere else they collect contact data. And they can regularly clean lead lists with third-party CRM software so communications can continue without interruption.

Why is verifying each lead’s contact information from the very beginning so important? Because accurate contact data facilitates prompt lead follow-up, which can make or break a sale. Additionally, inaccuracies at the point of capture are a common issue. According to Verve, as reported in Marketing Week, 60% of consumers provide incorrect personal information when they submit it online. And 1 in 3 people admit they have given fake names or email addresses on occasion. The resulting “dirty database” means you don’t really know how many new leads you have. It also means you’re probably wasting valuable time and marketing dollars because of that.

Using Multiple Touchpoints

Another way marketers can improve lead quality is to use multiple touchpoints to help move a prospect to a qualified lead status. “The problem is that most so-called ‘leads’ rarely receive any touches beyond receiving an email and filling out a response form,” wrote Laura Beasley and Tom Judge in an article for the Online Marketing Institute. “Some of those unqualified leads that marketing tosses into the sales funnel are good potential leads, but they rarely receive enough touches to become qualified.”

But when you optimize the lead funnel, you make every inbound marketing campaign more successful. You don’t just bring in a high volume of leads. You make sure you’re sending the most sales-ready leads to the sales team, allowing them to focus their efforts on the leads that are most likely to convert.

As Mike Lieberman, writing for Square2Marketing, notes, “I do think having more leads at the bottom of the funnel is better than having more leads at the top of the funnel. Marketing’s job is lead generation and revenue. Bottom-of-the-funnel leads are ready-to-buy leads, which means a bigger, more dramatic impact on closed sales. I do think you want to generate as many qualified leads as possible and help the sales team focus its limited energy on the more qualified leads, while letting marketing nurture the unqualified or top- and middle-of-the-funnel leads.”

2. Leverage Lead Scoring

According to MarketingSherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27% of those leads are qualified. Lead scoring can net more valuable leads being passed to sales.

Lead scoring is a process in which you assign quality points to each lead based on key demographic and behavioral data. For example, you might give 10 points to any lead who’s downloaded gated content or visited a minimum number of pages on your website. Once you’ve scored all your leads, you can rank them based on total number of points. In this way, you send sales the leads with the greatest degree of interest in your products and services.

3. Nurture Your Leads

According to a study from Forrester, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads – and do so at 33% less cost.

Triggered Emails

There are many ways to effectively nurture leads so you can convert them over time from casual onlooker to loyal customer. One of the best ways to do it is through well-targeted, personalized email marketing campaigns. You can substantially improve the results of your email campaigns if you automate the process. For example, triggered emails that are sent based on what a prospect does, such as visiting the website or unlocking another piece of gated content, can be highly effective.

Retargeted Marketing

So can strategies like retargeted marketing, where you use specific advertising messages to re-engage already collected leads or drive previous visitors back to your site. Online retailers have made effective use of this strategy by sending messages regarding abandoned carts, encouraging prospects to return to the site to complete a purchase. In one example, Watchfinder, the UK’s largest online watch dealer ran a retargeted campaign and achieved 1,300% ROI in just six months.

Pixel-Based Retargeting

Another great use of the strategy is pixel-based retargeting. HubSpot refers to this as a way to re-display your material to any anonymous site visitor. “When someone comes to your website, an unobtrusive piece of JavaScript (often referred to as a pixel) is placed on their browser – making their browser ‘cookied.’ When they leave your site to surf the web, that cookie notifies retargeting programs to serve specific ads based on the specific pages they visited on your website.”

4. Monitor Progress and Measure Results

According to HubSpot, “Marketers that measure inbound ROI are 17 times more likely to see the same or greater ROI over the previous year. But only 53% of marketers are actually measuring ROI.”

It’s imperative that you continually measure how much marketing’s leads contribute to the bottom line. How many leads are making it through your sales funnel, how many ultimately convert, and how much is that costing your business? Among other things, use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure what percent of leads you generate in a given period of time, how well leads advance through the funnel, and which marketing strategies are most effective in generating, nurturing, and converting your leads.

More Ways to Improve Lead Quality

Leads are the gasoline that fuels your engine and gets you from where you are to where you want to be. However, to achieve your major marketing goals, boost conversions, and drive sales, you need to take proactive measures to ensure that your leads are of the highest possible quality before you send them to sales. These additional resources can help you get on track:

  • 1 out of every 5 commercial emails never reach the inbox. If you can’t generate enough leads to take the steps necessary to qualify them, you’re not going to get the ROI you deserve. See how you can make every campaign more effective here.
  • Find more ways to generate leads that matter from your inbound marketing efforts in the infographic found here.
  • Learn how to get better quality bottom-of-the-funnel leads from PPC campaigns here.


Photo by from Pexels




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