Using Qualification Data to Help Companies Take the Lead

Posted by LinkedSelling in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Development

As you know, data is just a set of numbers and without context, it gives you no power to take action. Today we’re going to address something I don’t read or hear about often, but it’s something that comes up quite a bit in our clients’ companies, and even in our own:

How to properly leverage prospect qualification data in a way that dictates the decisions and the actions that will affect the bottom line.

To do that, you need to understand the data and really know what specific data signifies. You need to know what to look for. That way, you’ll know where to focus your efforts on optimization and how to make changes to your marketing and sales processes.

Find the Root of the Problem

At LinkedSelling, we prioritize anything that will make a difference to the bottom line. In other words, while we recognize the importance of such things like branding and awareness campaigns, we must have the systems dialed in first that directly contribute to getting more clients. 

That means we have an intense focus on keeping pipelines full of real sales opportunities. Through various channels, we find the prospects, vet them, and nurture them. However, as we’ve discussed in this series on prospect qualification, when problems arise, it’s not always obvious to know where the bottleneck is.

  • Prospects aren’t showing up. Is this a marketing issue or a sales issue?
  • Prospects are buying. Is this a marketing issue or a sales issue?
  • Where do we focus our efforts to fix this problem?

To start, let’s first discuss how to use the “tangible” and the “intangible” data to make decisions about not just which prospects to pursue, but also where to allocate resources so that they’ll make the most difference on your bottom line.

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Two Types of Data: Tangible vs. Intangible

In the previous blog post in this series we identified the tangible data as data that’s obvious and that can fill an Excel spreadsheet. For example, let’s focus on the BANT qualifiers (budget, authority, need, and timing). You can get specific with company revenue to infer a marketing budget and you can make sure you’re speaking to someone with the right title, but until the first call with them… you might not know their immediate need, their timing, their frame of mind, their history with other marketing agencies (or whatever your industry). That’s all what we call “intangible” data.

The “intangibles” get evaluated on a case by case basis. So if you have a ton of terrible clients, we need to ask why? How did a client who’s really not a good fit get through your defenses, so to speak...

  • At what point did the qualification fail? Sales or marketing? 
  • Do you have the wrong targeting or the wrong message? 
  • Is your service offering messed up? 
  • Do you need to go back to the drawing board? 
  • Where should you focus your attention first?
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The “Walk the Line” Exercise

Here’s how we do it at LinkedSelling...

When it comes to identifying the problem, both sides (Marketing and Sales) need to be able to identify the problem and you need to be able to take time to sit and go through your leads line by line.

  • Does this take time? YES
  • Is it tedious? YES
  • Is it worth it if you have a problem? YES
  • Do most companies do this? NO

Why not? They don’t take the time and/or they don’t know what to look for.

Unfortunately, most companies are stuck on where to look, if they do in the first place. This is a huge issue that can actually cause major ramifications down the road! We’ve seen companies jump from marketing agency to agency thinking that the leads were poor, when really it was a sales issue that needed to be addressed. That’s a lot of wasted money that could have been fixed if they had gone line by line.

What to Look For

Let’s say that as a client of ours, we’ve been working to deliver you 6000 touchpoints a month with prospective clients. We’ve got our system up and running… everything approved by you, and as agreed, we’ve launched. You come back to us a month or two after we’ve gotten your lead generation machine ramped up and we’re in full optimization mode.

So what’s the problem. Well, say you tell us that you had 20 appointments booked thanks to all those touchpoints, but only 2 showed up. (For the sake of easy math)

Whoa. That’s only a 10% show up rate. Which means that you’d have to be confident in a 50% conversion rate, where’d you’d expect to close only 1 new client. 

We take this seriously. While we can’t guarantee perfect leads, we do have a high priority on qualification and doing our best to deliver the best leads possible. 

This is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. So we would insist on scheduling a time where we sit with you and go line by line through the prospects who signed up for a call.

We need to determine where the real problem lies here… 

At the Marketing level or at the Sales level? That way, we’ll be confident in making the right decision and allocating resources in the right direction.

So back to our example. Let’s sit down and go line by line. We’ll look at the data for each prospect. 

In some cases, we might catch a common mistake of sales teams… where the CRM is set up to capture data but the salesperson doesn’t use the CRM as they should. This is more common than you might think. Our theory is that it’s a combo… the CRM isn’t set up by salespeople who understand the work flow… but it’s also not set up by marketing or anybody who is in a position to see the whole picture and knows exactly what information is needed to optimize campaigns. This is a training, and software issue. 

So what happens? Data gets left out and when we pull a report at the end of the month, we only see 2 prospects who showed up for a call, when in reality, there were several more.

Which we could discover if we went line by line and looked into all the data, not just the weekly or monthly report pulled by the supervisor.

So in that case, it would just be a matter of retraining the sales team to enter data in a timely fashion.

In other cases, it could also be a sales issue if you determine the prospects to be qualified but you have a relatively low conversion rate. So if the prospects are qualified and the issue that keeps coming up is that “they need to wait till Q4”, you still have a sales problem, not necessarily a marketing problem.

Now, on the other hand, if you have 80% of your leads who do show up to calls, but they don’t even fit the BANT criteria, for example, then that is definitely a marketing problem. In that case, we’d go back to the drawing board to dial in the targeting and the messaging. 

We’d look at the numbers as a whole, and at the prospect’s individual reactions. What are they responding best to? What might work instead? We tweak and adjust and test again.

In Conclusion

This is how we use prospect qualification to make decisions that streamline processes, connect in a better way with prospects and get better results.

And again, the results we look for are results that directly impact the bottom line. Not likes, comments, or shares on social media. Not awareness, not branding. We’re talking about what directly brings in new clients the action that lead to it: 

It’s about taking the time to really dive into the leads generated and the data you have on them. This data can be used to determine where the bottlenecks are and where you might have leaks in your marketing or sales processes. It’s not always obvious though when looking at “average numbers” or an overview of a weekly report. 

We take pride in our ability to really dive deep with our clients to help them optimize and maximize their lead gen, marketing, and sales processes. This saves time and money down the road. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we attract, vet, nurture, and set appointments with prospects on your behalf, let’s talk. There are a lot of strategies out there, and the experts on our team can discuss your company, industry, and budget and determine what kind of strategy we would expect to give you optimal results. We’re here to help you make the right decisions about how to move forward and support increased revenue and growth. Click below to schedule a free consultation now.

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