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Topics: Inbound Marketing

If you’re a B2B company looking to sell a product, service or message, then you have your
eye on one thing—clinching sales.
And if your sales and marketing set-up is what it should be, then these conversions are the
direct result of a smartly planned and implemented sales process.

Everything must run smoothly. From driving and snaring the type of leads you want, to
nurturing these potential customers with customised marketing content, to handing them
over to your sales team at exactly the right time to net them.
And doesn’t it feel good—when this works as planned and another sale is landed?
However, there is a common pitfall that can undermine this process and prove a pricey
It’s called Bad Timing
It’s when you hand those leads over to sales too soon…

Why and how you must pace the handover

It’s all too tempting to hand a seemingly juicy lead straight to your sales team. But you must
remember that, however juicy, there are leads that you will never be able to convert.
You may have the best salespeople in the business, but it just isn’t going to happen. So, not
only is there no conversion, you have wasted the time and expertise of your top sales staff
on something that was never going to pay.
Spend a little more time on your leads and weed out the no-hopers. Work on your
qualifying process—how to identify whether this is a quality prospect, with a real
requirement and from a company that is the right size and fit for your offering.

Lead qualifying—good signs can be misleading

Downloading gated content can be a good indicator of a quality lead. Or is it?
Someone has handed over vital contact information, followed a process and invested
precious time. What better sign that they are interested in your white paper? Webinar?
Advice guide?
However, although this is a good sign, there are people whose interest will not benefit you:

—Students researching their project or thesis
—Job applicants sussing you out
—Rivals snooping around to see what you are up to                                                                                                     —The easily led—those who have responded mindlessly to your catchy headline or image
Sometimes, even if the downloader is a top fit—the right person from the right
company—they aren’t necessarily going to shape up into a good lead. For various reasons
such as window shopping—looking around with no intention of buying, or maybe it’s just not the
right time.
Chase them with an ill-timed sales call and you could see them scarper, never to return.
The trick is not to read too much into these responses, particularly if you are focusing on
them in isolation, minus other important details that will show if they are a hot lead or not.

How to strengthen your qualifying activities

A good habit to get into is to review and refine your sales process on a regular basis. Looking
at your leads and how you qualify them is vital to this process.
Look from all angles and pay attention to key areas such as:
When was the last time you checked and updated how you qualify leads?
Have you refined this process to meet the requirements of wider business goals. To meet
any company changes and technological innovations?
How are you tracking and measuring the success of your qualifying system?
Are you liaising closely with sales and marketing teams? You should be hands-on with their
feedback, ideas and input.
Are you up to scratch with technology and digital tools? There’s a vast array of smart gizmos
and gadgets to help you achieve what you want from your marketing campaigns, and this is
always changing and expanding.
For example, invest in marketing automation and patterns, indicators and opportunities will
never pass you by.
It is worth investing in your qualifying activities—to get them fit for purpose and keep them
at the forefront of techniques and technologies.
The better this process is, the better will be your leads and sales success. Your teams will
perform better knowing that they will be dealing with hot leads every time.

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