February 02, 2022
By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist, and Lauren Lyons, Senior Analyst and Research Writer
While marketing is the most powerful tool businesses have to attract qualified leads, smart marketers can also use it to keep leads that are a bad fit out of the sales funnel.
Last week, we showed you how to define what a "good lead" is. In this week’s installment of our “Why Do My Leads Suck?” series, we’re discussing how to create marketing campaigns that both bring in qualified leads and keep unqualified leads out of your sales funnel.
Some B2B marketers have the mindset that marketing and lead generation are purely a numbers game and that the more people who view your website or interact with your social media posts, the more successful sales you’ll make. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
When your ideal customer profile (ICP) is limited to a specific type of company (which is the case for many B2B companies), increasing website visits with marketing that appeals to a broad audience won’t generate more qualified leads1. Instead, it will fill your sales funnel with the kind of unqualified, bad-fit leads that frustrate salespeople so much. Your marketing efforts must focus on reaching the right people with the right content at the right time.
When businesses take an autobiographical marketing approach — one that focuses on your products and features — you wind up attracting unqualified leads because they are unclear about whether your solution is right for them. A business in the wrong industry, or that is much smaller than your ideal customer, can still be interested in features your product includes. If you’re not clear about who benefits from your products, their interest will lead them into your sales funnel.
For example, imagine you sell a software platform that solves a problem unique to multinational businesses with tens of thousands of employees. In that case, your ICP would include a relatively small number of companies with big budgets for targeted solutions like yours. If you choose to focus your marketing on specific features, leads not in that target market will still be interested in those features and not understand that your product is out of their budget or designed for businesses much larger than theirs. So you might attract more leads, but many of them won’t be in your target market or be likely to convert down the road.
Instead, you must focus on the pain points specific to your target market and the benefits that they will experience from using your product. When your marketing content is built specifically for your ICP, your messaging will attract qualified leads and give unqualified leads the information they need to opt out.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a methodology built on precisely the kind of marketing activities that attract qualified leads and deter unqualified leads. The goal of ABM is to deliver highly contextual content to leads at key companies during every part of the sales process to educate and nurture them.
HubSpot’s 2021 Not Another State of Marketing Report found that 70% of marketers reported using ABM - a 15% increase from 20202. It will likely continue growing in popularity because so many businesses have found that using ABM to build marketing campaigns helps them structure their content generation and delivery to attract more qualified leads and fewer leads that aren’t likely to convert.
Once you understand who your ideal customers are, your marketing should be hyper-focused on their pain points and the benefits your solution will create. This type of targeted marketing has the added benefit of weeding out leads that aren’t a good fit for your solution so your sales and marketing teams can focus on nurturing qualified leads.
In next week’s installment, we’ll talk about how you can nurture good leads through every part of the sales process. Even some leads that might appear “bad” at first blush may just need a little bit of nurturing to become a high-value account.
Read the next installment in our series here: Why Do My Leads Suck? Your Lead Nurturing Isn’t Effective
1Smart Insights, The 3 biggest causes of bad sales leads (and how to avoid them), January 12 2018
2HubSpot, Not Another State of Marketing Report, 2021
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