How to Generate Qualified Leads that Generate Sales

Leads are oxygen to businesses. No leads, no chance for survival.

But by relentlessly pursuing online lead generation are we letting ourselves off the hook too easily? Focus only on lead quantity with a disregard for lead quality and youmight sell yourself short.

Eventually, realization sets in: a funnel full of lookie-loos and tire-kickers has little value. It becomes incumbent on marketers to take on the challenge of producing sales-qualified leads.

Want a sizable list of lead-generation strategies? Check out that post.

The content of this article is originally published on How to Generate Qualified Leads that Generate Sales by Barry Feldman.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) vs. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

It’s important to understand the difference between marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL).

  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) are the leads marketing programs collect and qualify for sales follow-up.
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)are higher quality leads, determined by a vetting process of some sort. They present a greater chance to create a sale.

In a perfect world, MQLs convert to high quality SQLs. But it’s not a perfect world. A website visitor that goes no further than handing over an email address usually isn’t a red-hot buying prospect.

Let’s examine ways marketing and sales teams can work together to generate more sales-ready online leads.

Ways to Generate Sales Qualified Leads

Understand the need for lead scoring

Sales and marketing teams must rally around lead scoring together. Lead scoring ranks the sales-readiness of a lead, based on specific criteria or data points traced to:

  • Demographic/firmographic information
  • Online behavior
  • Engagement

Obviously, you first pursue the leads that score highest.

This infographic from SnapApp and RingLead gives a brief overview of how to get started generating a lead scoring program.

Most marketers don’t abide by a lead-scoring system. They treat most leads equally and nurture them (or not) in the same way. Consequently, the efficiency and the effectiveness of the sales teams suffer.

Achieve sales and marketing alignment

As is often the case, the hardest part of lead scoring is getting started. Doing so requires sales and marketing alignment. The departments must work together to:

  • Establish specific buyer personas
  • Define what constitutes a sales-ready lead
  • Create a lead-scoring methodology and vernacular

In its Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring, Marketo recommends marketers get together with their sales team to gather data indicating the buyers’ interest or sales-readiness.

This includes things like:

  • Past deals and current opportunities
  • Online activities — pages visited, referring sources, etc.
  • Sales logs that indicate past interactions with sales and the activities and campaigns that touched the prospect before the purchase

Organizations using lead scoring experience a 77% increase in lead generation ROI, according to SharpSpring.

Deploy marketing automation

Don’t dismiss leads that fall short of SQL levels. Nurture them.

Lead nurturing is the process of facilitating the buyer journey, helping leads progress from stranger to customer by prompting them toward the buying decision with helpful content. Invariably, lead nurturing depends on drip email campaigns triggered by the actions subscribers take.

Enter marketing automation. Marketing automation systems facilitate a variety of performance marketing processes — including lead scoring. And, one undeniable strength of these platforms is automating follow-up emails.

The leading marketing automation systems include (in no particular order):

  • ActiveCampaign
  • Pardot
  • Marketo
  • HubSpot
  • Mailchimp
  • Drip
  • And many more.

Check out a full list of marketing automation tools and platforms from Neil Patel.

Apply segmentation and personalization

The conversion rates you aim to achieve kick into higher gear when your lead nurturing features segmentation and personalization.

Rather than simply blasting emails to every lead you’ve captured, lead nurturing programs apply specific criteria to create targeted email lists that receive more relevant content and offers.

Personalization takes this idea a step further. Lead data enables message and content customization to produce more targeted one-to-one messaging, based on the unique needs of an individual prospect, as indicated by time, place, and whatever additional and relevant information the underlying platforms have gathered.

Put the power of forms to work

Though it may sound mind-numbingly obvious, an uber-powerful factor to increase qualified leads is to, well, qualify the leads. In other words, you aim to learn more about the potential needs of each lead by gathering information via forms that go beyond a name and email address.

Ways to do so include:

  • Multi-step forms — Research indicates that fewer form fields result in more conversion. Companies that have experimented with multi-step forms, however, have enjoyed great results. With this approach, you first gather essential contact information and then follow-up immediately with a second (or maybe even third) step requiring additional input.This example from Uber clearly indicates to the visitor that there are additional steps to take after filling out the initial form. – Graphic by
  • Progressive profile forms — Some marketing automation tools feature smart fields that spare return visitors from having to resubmit information. You can put progressive profiling in place too, allowing you to add new fields to the forms’ return visitors experience, so over time, you gather more lead intelligence.This step-by-step flow from shows how your form could progress for a returning visitor.
Graphic by
  • Mad Lib forms — Here, the same questions presented in a traditional form are ‘Mad Lib’ style. This is a narrative format that presents input fields to people as blanks (or pre-formatted choices) within sentences. Check out this example from huffduffer:
Graphic by
  • Qualifying questions — Yes, adding questions to your forms reduces responses, but if your leads are too often low quality, this strategy makes sense. A question around budget or the decision-making time frame can produce meaningful qualifiers for the sales team.For example, this form from Quicken Loans asks a qualifying questions regarding the visitor’s credit profile:
Graphic by

Try other forms of interaction

Interactive content and its power to engage potential buyers is a popular topic. Interactive content including quizzes, assessments, directed buying guides, calculators and surveys, subtlety entices users to provide insights into their needs.

As the user ‘plays along’ he or she answers the questions that help you assess their needs and satisfy them accordingly.

Run ads for the full funnel

Are your lead-generation strategies entirely about raising brand awareness?

Brands today often dial-back (or eliminate) ‘hard sell’ ads that feature products. Instead, they focus on building awareness with content marketing. While it is easy to justify budgeting ad spend on feeding the top of the funnel, completely forgoing the middle and bottom of the funnel can hit sales.

For example, Samsung Life used an interactive insurance calculator to engage potential consumers in the middle of the funnel.

Graphic by Samsung Life

In this example, University of the People takes a more full-funnel approach. First, they engage people at the top of the funnel with earned media, and then retarget them a landing page that captures leads interested in their class offerings.

Finally, Otty focuses mostly on the bottom of the funnel, using retargeting tactics to generate as many sales of their mattress product as possible.

Graphic by Otty

Paid-ad programs, be they served via search, social or across the open web in the form of native, sponsored and display advertising, address prospects in all stages of the buying cycle — from the top to the bottom of the funnel.

Create content for all stages of the buying cycle

The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation presents a diagram from DigitalMarketer that does a nice job depicting ‘The Content Lifecycle’ as a three-part funnel.

Graphic by Digital Marketer

Importantly, in each part (top, middle, and bottom of the funnel), various examples of content formats are plugged in where they fit the bill.

The challenge when it comes to improving lead quality, is to examine the buying cycle from top to bottom and develop a content-marketing strategy that addresses the potential buyer’s questions at every possible stage. Ensure you can say yes to questions such as:

  • Do we offer the educational resources and tools interested prospects in the consideration stage will find useful?
  • Do we have the types of case studies, courses, demonstrations and product comparisons prospects required at the decision stage?
  • Do the landing pages that offer specific content assets make it crystal clear who the content is for and what the benefit of consuming it will be?

Examine your search strategy

You’re likely to generate low-conversion traffic if your search strategy — for organic results and ads — focuses on generic one and two-word phrases.

Revisit your strategy to uncover long-tail keywords. Longer, more specific search phrases tend to align with increased buyer intent and will, therefore, drive traffic with a higher propensity to convert to your site .

Circle back with performance reviews

Remember to review your marketing and sales metrics at regular intervals to determine how your campaigns are performing and identify weak spots that call for making strategic or creative changes. It’s helpful to create a dashboard reflecting the stages of the buying cycle and examining specific conversion metrics.

Use Google Analytics and additional lead-generation tools to establish specific lead goals and examine conversion paths. The more information you have regarding sources of traffic, keywords, popular pages and other elements, the more equipped you’ll be to enhance future lead-generation campaigns.

Main takeaways

“How do I generate more leads?” is really the marketing question today. As you generate more and more leads, it’s important to make sure that you’re maximizing for quality over quantity.

You can do so by…

  • Defining your MQLs and SQLs
  • Building a lead scoring model
  • Deploying marketing automation
  • Segmenting your lead lists and personalizing your nurture campaigns
  • Getting creative with forms and interactive content
  • Reaching potential leads at every stage of the funnel with the right paid strategy, content and search strategy.

Your strategy for generating leads and qualifying the good from the bad will change depending on the vertical you’re operating in. Here are tips on generating leads for B2B brandsreal estatefinancial advisorssmall business, insurance verticals and mortgage.

Why Lead Generation Is Important for Your Business

Lead generation is the most talked about topic in the marketing world. But what is Lead generation? How does it help? what are the techniques used to generate more leads? Get answers to these questions and more through this blog today.

Be it a small startup business or a big multi-million-dollar business, Lead Generation is the only common word which is used the most by the marketing and management team of any company. Lead Generation is actually what gives meaning to even run a business. It is like the blood in the veins of an organization. So, what exactly is Lead Generation? First, we need to learn, what is a lead?

The content of this article is originally published on Why Lead Generation Is Important For Your Business?

What Is A Lead:

A lead can be anyone (Typically a person) who has expressed his/her desire in your products or services. A Lead can come through many sources such as your website, through word of mouth, or even through a phone call. Digital Marketing Solutions which direct traffic to the website, improve search engine rankings, and increase web referrals account to an astounding 93% of leads.

What Is Online Lead Generation:

It is the most important aspect of Online Marketing which refers to developing the interest of a possible consumer by providing them the information about your products or services. Lead generation is basically developing an interest in a person so much so that he/she contacts you for more information and perhaps even end up buying it.

Lead generation is a start to the process which ultimately leads to a possible customer transforming into a regular customer down the line. Having a lead generation strategy is imperative for you and your business.

Why Is It Important:

The vast majorities of salespeople are losing the will to work in the area when they think they have reached the limit of companies and people to sell their products to. This, of course, is not true and hardworking salespeople are trying to find a solution to the problem by targeting the right group with the help of Online Lead Generation.

Businesses today are heavily depended on Lead Generation as it enables the websites of such businesses to generate more traffic which may lead to the further conversion of such found Leads into Customers. This leads to an increase in conversion rates helping a business gain huge profits in the process. Google has made the process of connecting the consumers and the providers very simple helping the prospects find exactly what they need online and also for the providers to showcase their products and let the world know how different their products and services are from their competitors.

So, when a potential client is looking out for something they need and your website distinctly grabs the attention of the client the chances of conversion shoot up sky-high automatically. A quality and funneled lead generation process will definitely make it easier on both the client and the business side by getting exactly what they need online.

Important Tactics for Lead Generation

1) Content Marketing:

“Content is King”, this was the topic of the essay which was written by Bill Gates and was published on Microsoft Website. He stated in it “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting”. And these words are coming true after nearly two decades after as blogging and content marketing are the very best methods of generating leads. Content marketing attracts and provides knowledge to the interested audience about what you. Business has to offer to the audiences. What this does is that it makes the work of the sales team a bit easier by helping them gather relevant leads with prior knowledge of their products and services.

2) Social Media Marketing (SMM):

Social media is rising and is probably the most widely recognized platform to promote your business. Through social media means it is easy to get quick popularity and also to know the potential leads which is very necessary.  SMM (Social Media Marketing) has increased its reach from being just a means to connect people online to become the biggest hub of connecting people to the products and services they need.

3) Hiring A Lead Generation Specialist:

Getting yourself a lead generator will definitely help you get new leads with the ones you already have. As the legendary Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”. Lead generators have been working and polishing their skills and have perfected in providing the one most important thing that is there for most businesses which are to generate new leads from outbound marketing using cold calls.

4) SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential process which is done to rank websites. The Better the rank of your website the greater the chances are of a business website to be visited by a bigger and relevant traffic. More traffic means more leads and if these leads get converted than there is no stopping your business from reaching new heights.

These were some of the processes which help in Lead Generation. PPC, Web Design & Development, and remarketing are also other online Lead Generating activities. The market today is undergoing a lot of changes day in and out. All this is because of the everchanging algorithms of search engines and various Digital Marketing tools. Also, many companies still prefer the traditional way of lead generation rather than the digital way. Businesses have to understand that the way people trust and buy things is changing rapidly. Hence companies that do not follow such important and updated trends of lead generation are at risk of being overtaken by their competitors who prefer the online way of generating leads.

Lead generation is a very cost-effective and result providing solution to all businesses who are facing problems in raising the bar of their business. Generating Leads also helps a company build a tighter relation between the sales and the marketing team as they have to work with each other side by side for the development of their company and themselves as well. Lead generation can also be made possible by employing various new Digital Marketing techniques available in the market now. Most of the Digital Marketing agencies provide Digital Marketing services which help clients to get the leads they deserve through content marketing and social media marketing. A 360° web and Digital Marketing partner is a must if a company wants to generate new leads and stay ahead in the competitive world. So, more qualified leads, more the customers, more the profits, this is why exactly lead generation is important for your business.

If you desire help with your digital inbound lead generation, contact Ideal Sales Leads:   or call 318-349-4998