Three smart strategies for boosting lead quality
Over recent years, more website owners and marketers have become familiar with the term, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).
CRO is particularly attractive to search marketers who have witnessed the relentless rise of both click costs and SEO competition. Increasing conversion is a great way to control search costs.
However, when it comes to lead generation, most of the CRO strategies being discussed today focus on improving lead quantity, making the assumption that “more is better”.
While more leads may indeed be a good thing, it’s also possible to be flooded with too many unqualified leads that chew up sales resources. In this post, we’ll take a different tack and look at three strategies aimed at boosting lead quality and hopefully overall sales throughput as well.
1. Unique Positioning and Meaningful Differentiation
Similarity to competitors and lack of meaningful differentiation is the number one killer of lead quality. If you’re seen as a commodity, prospects are more likely to be talking to multiple companies, shopping for the lowest price.
Lack of meaningful differentiation is the norm in commodity markets. Do a Google search for “promotional products” and the messaging within ads is all the same. E.g.
- Quality options, printed with logos
- Put your logo on creative giveaways
- Get custom made corporate gifts with your logo printed
All different ways to say the same thing.
With every provider selling different flavours of vanilla, is it any wonder lead quality tends to be a problem in the promotional products industry (one example of many)?
Now consider a radically different strategy.
One company selling promotional products re-positioned themselves as an expert in “lumpy mail”. In other words, direct mail that features enclosed promotional or novelty items to improve cut-through and impact.
Instead of just selling product, they sold business owners a compendium of professional direct mail letters containing sample sales copy that ties into each promotional item. For example, a letter with a pair of casino dice enclosed might have the headline, “Are you gambling with your <BLANK>?”).
By providing clients with a value-added solution, they ended up selling all their promotional items at prices 30% to 50% higher than their competitors, in a competitive vacuum – and their customers were happy to pay.
2. Education-Based Marketing
Rather than going straight for the quick conversion and risk generating a non sales-ready lead, it often makes better sense to spend some time pre-educating prospects to understand what you do, how you’re different, and how you can help them.
One of our clients was a property developer who was plagued by phone calls from under-qualified leads, who required a great deal of sales time in order to “bring up to speed” with basic information before they were ready to make a buying decision.
They adopted an education-based marketing approach that first invited prospects to request a Free Report explaining their methodology and approach to property development. The Report also discussed several qualification criteria for potential clients.
By pre-educating prospects in this way, the result was a smaller volume of much more qualified enquiries, resulting in significantly more new business overall.
3. Disqualifying Language
Disqualifying language tells prospects who shouldn’t buy your product or service. Some marketers wonder whether to disclose price in their sales copy – especially if they’re worried the prospect might shy away before they understand the value.
However, if you find yourself fielding enquiries from prospects whose budget is well below your minimum, doesn’t it make sense to nip these calls in the bud? A little phrase like, “Our services start from as low as $15,000” can work wonders to deter clients who are looking for a much lower-priced solution. Then there are differences in the way people operate with respect to “price” and “value”. Relentless price shoppers are often unpleasant to deal with and more trouble than they’re worth.
Why not weed them out early, with something like this: “If you’re the kind of person who isn’t prepared to pay a little extra for a vastly superior product, this is not for you.” If improving sales lead quality is on your radar, try these three strategies and watch your sales productivity and throughput soar.
Article by Will Swayne, lead generation expert and Head of Strategy at Marketing Results