No new leads is obviously not good for business. But no marketer should let his or her hunger for fresh leads spawn an “I’ll take what I can get” attitude. When it comes to acquiring new leads, do not settle—because the one thing that’s almost as bad as no leads at all is leads that are worthless and a huge waste of your time.
Bad leads can occur in a variety of forms: leads that are too small, too big, from an inappropriate location; leads that aren’t interested in your product or service; or leads whose budgets are non-existent or too minimal to do business with you.
Effective lead generation is like online dating—sure, you could swipe right for every single person and set up as many dates as possible. But how many of those dates would you actually be interested in? The odds are that most of the people you’d encounter would be wrong for you and just waste your time.
If, however, you conducted a more thorough vetting process by carefully examining each person’s profile, you’d be significantly more likely to meet people you were actually compatible with and wanted to see again. The same logic applies to lead-generation.
How Bad Leads Can Hurt
While the difficulties associated with lousy leads can often go unnoticed by higher-ups, these difficulties are usually painfully obvious to the people on the ground floor, the sales team.
Here are a few of the pitfalls of dealing with bad leads:
- Instead of nurturing high-quality, revenue-producing leads, salespeople squander their time and energy pursuing dead-ends, which costs the company money.
- Bad leads shake the sales team’s confidence in the company’s marketing efforts, resulting in a less motivated work environment.
- Some of the leads may not necessarily be bad; they just might not be ready to act. Therefore, contacting or pushing them too soon can leave a negative impression, damaging the potential for future opportunities.
How To Improve The Quality Of Your Leads
While you won’t be able to bring the number of bad leads that cross paths with your company down to zero, you can take strides to reduce the volume of bad leads you get by following the suggestions outlined below.
Clearly Define The Niche And Geographic Markets You Serve
Brad Shorr of Straight North: “Do you focus on middle market manufacturers? High net worth investors? Borrowers with poor credit? Hit website visitors over the head with this information. First, it will help them identify whether they have landed on the right website for their demographic. Second, it will personalize your website content, making it more persuasive…
Are you local, national or global? If applicable, list your office locations in the footer of every page template; this not only helps website visitors identify whether they are in your market, but also, if done properly, enhances local SEO.”
Keep Your Sales Pitch In Check
Don’t claim to be all things to all people. An overly inflated sales pitch has the ability to turn off legitimate prospects (too-good-to-be-true mentality) while enticing subpar ones.
Practice Lead Validation
According to Aaron Wittersheim, “Lead validation is the process of reviewing all website form and phone inquiries, separating true online sales leads from non-sales leads.” Customer service requests, spam, and sales solicitations are all examples of non-sales leads.
You want to implement a lead validation system in which you have a team that listens to every call and reads every inquiry form submission (preferably in real-time), marking each interaction as either a lead or non-lead.
This way, high-quality leads are quickly noticed and passed on to the appropriate sales person to follow up in a more timely manner, and non-sales leads can also be dealt with accordingly.
What percentage of your company’s leads are no good to you? What are you doing to minimize this number and improve your lead-gen efforts?