How To Improve Your Inbound Lead Qualification

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“The perfect qualified lead is someone who fills out a form with a great decision-making title, who understands the pain points that their company is experiencing, and is doing some kind of outreach that we could help them with.”
– Morgan Schuler, inbound sales development manager at ZoomInfo

Just because a lead is inbound doesn’t mean it’s qualified. Whether or not it progresses through the funnel depends upon what kind of inbound leads you’re attracting, as well as the lead qualification process that happens once they enter the sales funnel. 

What is Lead Qualification?

A lead score is determined by analyzing a user persona based on demographics and online behavior. A lead’s qualification is determined by a conversation with them. In this conversation, sales reps should be able to uncover things such as

  • Company size 
  • Size of the sales team 
  • Company location and headquarters
  • Existing tech stack
  • Main business challenges 

Based on the information discovered in conversation, a sales rep should be able determine whether or not the account will move through the sales funnel. 

“It’s about getting all the information we need to kind of connect the dots to the right people at the [prospect’s] company,” explains Schuler. 

5 Tips for Inbound Lead Qualification 

Lead qualification depends on a deep understanding of your ideal customer and accurate, up-to-date data. However, there are a lot of confounding variables that can impact inbound lead qualification. Here are five tips for gaining a better understanding of your inbound leads, as well as how to better qualify them. 

1. Add Relevant Screening Questions to Forms on Gated Content

Content is one of the main avenues for lead generation, withgated content offering the opportunity to learn about the individual accessing it. By adding relevant screening questions to forms, you can determine whether the prospect has real problems that your solution can solve and increase conversion rates. 

2. Validate Contact Information 

Inaccurate data is a killer, and burner  emails used by prospects to download content lead to wasted time and dead ends. 

To avoid this heartache , validate contact information received through form fill-outs and then enrich it with external data to learn more about a prospect. 

Features like ZoomInfo Enrich ensure your data is accurate and they provide advanced data points such as installed technologies, company attributes, direct dials, company location, and org charts. 

This added intel allows you to prioritize the inbound leads that most closely match your ideal customer profile. 

3. Feed Inbound Leads Into a Marketing Drip Campaign

Inbound leads that opt in to providing contact or business information can be fed into an automated email marketing drip campaign. 

This means that they will receive emails either at regular intervals or based on actions they take, such as signing up for a free trial or downloading another piece of gated content. 

Drip campaigns can be useful when it comes to qualifying inbound leads because they provide the right information at the right time, preparing your leads to make an informed buying decision. 

Say a lead has been hovering around your sales solution page and they’ve  downloaded a piece of content on sales prospecting. A series of drip emails can be sent out that provides them with even more resources that show  the value of your solution and how it can work for them. 

4. Build a Predictive Score Using Historical Salesforce Data

While lead scoring typically happens before the qualification process, predictive lead scoring can give you a better idea of whether a lead is worth pursuing. 

Advanced predictive modeling algorithms have the potential to predict future outcomes based on a combination of historical CRM data and current behaviors. 

Having a better understanding  of your inbound leads can help the qualification process because you’ll know what they have looked for in the past, what they’re looking for now, and how your solution can potentially help them going  forward. 

5. Look at Their Tech Stack 

“If a company understands the importance of technology — are they using a good CRM, are they investing in something like Salesforce or HubSpot — that suggests that they are willing to put the money in to increase their revenue,” explains Schuler. 

The technology that companies use can inform you if they’re familiar with the kind of benefits your solution provides, as well as their familiarity with your industry. 

 If they don’t have the level of tech your solution provides, the qualification process may take longer and the sales cycle becomes a little more challenging. But it’s not impossible.

Refine and Repeat: The Lead Qualification Process is Ongoing 

Inbound lead qualification isn’t just a one-and-done process. What makes one lead qualified won’t necessarily be the same for another. 

You can track the usual metrics — such as average deal size, cost per acquisition, time to close, customer lifetime value, and churn rate — but in the end, this  will show you that you always need to adjust your approach. 

While inbound lead qualification is a necessary step in the sales process, having high-quality leads enter the funnel in the first place can improve your success throughout the rest of the sales journey.