FAQ Series: What Kinds Of Leads Will You Give My Team?

Posted by LinkedSelling in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Development

You want to fill your sales pipeline - and you want your sales team talking with quality leads. 

And for you, maybe that means speaking only with CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies in Rhode Island. 

We get it! We’ve talked a lot about the importance of qualification and how to vet and qualify your prospects as a way to decide which opportunities to pursue. Otherwise, you risk wasting time and money on opportunities with low ROI, if any.

However, the issue of getting quality prospects to book appointments comes with a lot of questions…

What constitutes a quality lead for you? For us?
Can our process meet those standards and deliver the quality you’re looking for?
Can we break through the gatekeepers and speak to decision makers?
Is that realistic?

This post will address the most common questions we hear from the people and companies we speak to on a regular basis about leads, quality, appointments, what you can realistically expect, and more.

What kind of leads can I expect?

We get this question a lot… and with reason. You want leads most likely to become real sales opportunities. But…what’s a “lead” really?

Is a lead a booked appointment? A new contact in your database? Someone who registers for a webinar/product demo? Is it just site traffic you’re looking for?

The word “lead” can mean a host of different things.

Because it’s been talked about in so many different ways and defined by so many different companies that it really depends on what you define as a “lead” in your own terms.

The order of things within our “lead generation” process at LinkedSelling is this (because we’re a B2B service based company):

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Prospect(s)

  • Prospect Profile fit
  • List of contacts that fit the prospect profile (generated by ads or manual list)

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

  • anyone that raises their hand 
  • (ads - opts in for content; outreach - responds positively to targeted messaging)

MQL Appointment

  • This is an end goal for us internally - this is defined as a “lead” for us
  • If someone books an appointment to talk with our team and they fit our prospect profile

And yet, take Connect365 (a SaaS company that relies on product demos and trials), they define a lead as a registrant for a webinar.  Read up on the case study here.

We work with our clients to give them what they need… whether it’s a webinar registrant, or an appointment. We adapt to our clients. For example, if a client comes to us wanting “leads” in the form of list-building, then that will be our metric. We will focus on targeting prospects who fit the client’s qualifications and work towards building a database of leads for the client to reach out to.

On the other hand, if a client knows that what they really need is more “leads” in the form of actual sales appointments, we will develop systems designed to create those kinds of sales opportunities.

In fact, we can go a little further to classify the kinds of leads…

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The Difference Between “MQL” and “SQL” Leads

We focus on building the systems that are most likely to attract your best “Marketing Qualified Leads” (MQL’s). These are leads who meet the initial criteria that represent promising opportunities for your sales team - as communicated by your team. Once our sales development has vetted prospects based on that initial criteria, we execute the follow-up campaigns most likely to result in “Marketing Qualified Appointments”.

We take qualification very seriously and while we can’t deliver “Sales Qualified Leads” (SQL’s - leads who are ready to buy and fit your prospect profile - that qualification happens once your sales team speaks with them in the initial appointment)...

HOW MANY LEADS CAN I EXPECT?

Another excellent question. Any company investing in lead generation will want to know what to expect. Unfortunately, there is no direct answer here.

There are many factors, such as industry, your offer, even your brand guidelines that play a part in the final result. What we can promise is the execution of a system that leads to leads in your database, and appointments on your calendar.

It’s like wanting to lose weight. Unfortunately, we really have no control over how our body metabolizes food. Factors such as hormones, sleep, water levels, and many other things determine how our body functions. We can’t actually make our body lose an exact amount of weight exactly when we want it to.

However, what we can do is follow the tasks that are proven to work over time, such as eat more protein and greens, move more, sleep better, etc. It’s the same for lead generation. We can promise a certain amount of touchpoints that are proven to be the most effective methods we know of to generate leads. With continual optimization and testing, the system we develop on your behalf will become more effective over time.

Read more about what you can realistically expect here.

In fact, if we were to promise a number of leads without testing your market and your message, we’d be lying. Another post explains in-depth why any company who promises exact lead numbers out of the gate is lying. 

It’s as simple as that…

It’s a fool's errand to predict exactly how many people will respond to a campaign, whether that’s via cold outreach or social media ads. However, once we’ve tested the market, with various messaging approaches, creatives, and different ways, we build up data that will more likely support a specific number of leads over time.

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How long will it take to start getting leads?

Well, frankly that’s a loaded question, but if onboarding and alignment in our partnership is consistent we shoot for launching a campaign within 4 weeks of onboarding.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that with a cold outreach campaign, where you’re aiming to connect one on one with prime prospects via email, cold calling, or even LinkedIn messaging, you need to develop trust first. Otherwise, you come off as a pushy salesperson and you’ll be ignored right away. 

This takes time and a LOT of consistent touchpoints to develop the trust and open a conversation. This is why we focus on what’s in our control - and can promise up to around 6,000 touchpoints a month.

Ad campaigns on the other hand have the ability to go through that process more quickly as the people who respond to your ad likely have an interest at some level in your messaging. They are not completely “cold” prospects who have responded. 

That’s why an ad campaign coupled with a sales development follow-up effort is extremely effective in leveraging that interest while it’s still relevant. (See how we increase the “Speed to Lead” to get more than 33% more appointments on the calendar!)

How can I be sure that you're reaching the right people for my campaign? I don't want to speak to anyone who isn't a good fit.

We hear questions like this all the time…

...I only want new clients in Rhode Island. Can you do that?
...My ideal client is someone who is looking to sell their company. Can you find them?
...Can you get me appointments with the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies?
...How do you target leads? How targeted can we get?

And they are very valid questions - and we’ll cover each below. 

So the answer to this question is that we do our best to deliver the most qualified opportunities that these platforms allow us. Remember prospecting is one of the most key pillars to any lead generation system, if you can target your prospects online accurately it will result in better results “down funnel”.

To do this, we use the granular targeting that the LinkedIn and the Facebook ad platforms provide. We look for industry specific titles, company size, and other factors, such as a location, that you share with us. The ad platforms today have a huge database of knowledge and allow for granular targeting. 

With outreach campaigns, we do research using third party platforms, as well as information from these ad platforms before we build a list to try to connect with. From there, we reach out to very targeted people and begin the process of turning cold prospects into warm prospects, and into sales appointments.

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Having said all that…

...I only want new clients in Rhode Island. Can you do that?
Yes, depending on the size of your targeted market and the method of lead generation, we can put our efforts into connecting you with potential prospects in a specific geographical area.

...My ideal client is someone who is looking to sell their company. Can you find them?
This is a trickier metric to find, however, there are ways to attract companies who are in that position. In this case, we’d identify some basic criteria that you want, and rely heavily on our lead generation messaging to filter out those who don’t fit the bill.

...Can you get me appointments with the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies?
Well, yes and no. Obviously, we have no control over whether or not the people will respond to our campaigns - or book an appointment with you. However, we design our campaigns to be as relevant as possible to the people you want to speak with. This increases the likelihood that they will respond and book appointments with you.

For example, MarketSmiths is a client who has a very specific target market. See how we connected them to their ideal prospects here.

...How do you target leads? How targeted can we get?
Click here to see how granular you can get on an ad campaign.

How We Define “Lead Generation”

The way we see it...

Lead generation is the art and activity of identifying or getting someone to identify themselves as a fit for your prospect profile.

Our lead generation campaigns employ a number of different touchpoints through a number of different channels to build rapport, deliver value to and get you on the phone with your ideal customers in a predictable, repeatable volume.

In our process, lead generation is still very top-of-the-funnel, and coupled with a good sales development process, can be very effective in turning leads (whether from ad campaigns or outreach campaigns) into booked appointments.

Read more about the synergy of lead generation and sales development here. 

What Other Questions Do You Have About Lead Generation and The Systems To Support It?

We trust that our clients do their research and as part of our core values, we promote transparency and open, honest communication. We are dedicated to helping companies find the best solutions for their teams, whether that means working with us or not.

If you have more questions about our lead generation and sales development systems, how they work, what it looks like to partner with us to strategize and execute them, and whether or not our approach is a viable option for you both in terms of ROI and leads generated - let’s talk!

In fact, if you are looking for a solution that gives you more control over your sales pipeline, and you want a system that optimizes your lead generation costs over time, while allowing for more predictability, schedule a free consultation with our Director of Client Strategy below. 

Together, you’ll analyze whether your industry, offer, prime prospects and our our systems will have synergy and produce the kinds of results you’re looking for.


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