The last months have seen an increasing emphasis on building a strong qualified lead database through robust inbound lead generation programs. Inbound lead marketing has set marketers buzzing to develop more content, experiment with new ways of getting prospects to the website and filling the lead funnels with inbound leads so that the lead pipelines never dry up. Having leads generated and flow into your database gives you a fantastic sense of achievement and anyone who has started an inbound marketing effort from scratch will know the feeling. There is one important area to pay attention to which can easily be overlooked. The aim shouldn't be to fill the lead funnel with as many leads as possible to build a large database. The aim should be to fill the lead funnel with as many qualified leads as possible to build a strong and valuable database.
Even lead funnels need filters in the form of a quick and effective lead qualification process in which inbound leads are qualified at a high level (at least) before moving on to the main lead database. As with other forms of lead generation, inbound leads are not immune to having unqualified prospects signing up or filling in forms and it's important to filter these before they make it to the database. At the higher level, you don't want to filter out leads which are not ready to buy right away as those can be nurtured over time but you do need to have some questions which would help you filter out anything which has no future potential or is a junk lead which would just litter your database. Whether you qualify inbound leads in-house or contract the process, the response time (how soon after the lead has been generated is it contacted and qualified) and the ability to qualify all inbound leads daily is key. This small step can spell the difference between a quantity database and a quality database. It's the quality database that will bring home the sales in the long run so get that filter if you don't already have one for your leads!
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