Filtering out low-quality leads is essential for an efficient sales process. Time wasted contacting or selling to the irrelevant business and disinterested leads can cost your business dearly and take up time that could be spent with other, more valuable customers.
While your lead generation process should be set up to only target the most relevant customers, it’s important to consider methods to filter out any low-quality leads that might sneak in too - whether as part of that process or later by filtering your list.
Before we dive in, make sure you've checked out our in-depth guide to generating quality leads post GDPR... (it may have been a while, but you wouldn't believe how often we still get asked about this)!
Now, here are some crucial catch-points your business can use to filter out bad leads.
It might seem counterintuitive, but by making it harder for leads to convert you can actually improve the quality of your pipeline.
The idea behind this process is that by making the lead generation process longer, asking more demanding questions, or even asking for some sort of commitment from would-be customers, you can ensure that the people who do make it through to your list are only the people who are genuinely interested in doing business with you.
As a catch-point, this sits early in your lead generation process. If you adopt this approach, you could consider altering your lead generation forms to be more restrictive and to ask more ‘filtering questions’ (like their budget or business size), or even require customers to contact your team via phone or email to request more information rather than hand it out on your website.
Try making it more obvious, too, just who your lead magnet is intended for. One of our longer-standing offers is our "Channel Manager's Guide to Improving Partner Marketing Performance". You cannot mistake that for anything other than what it is - the true "Ronseal" approach to positioning - and the quality of leads we've generated from it far out-performs any other offer we've published.
Self-Filtering Email Leads
Multi-part email campaigns can be an effective way to have your leads filter themselves out of your list before they become prospects for your sales team, and form part of your lead-gen process.
A five or ten-part series of emails explaining a topic over the course of a week can be used as an indicator of how interested a lead is in your services. Subscribers who open and interact with every email in the series can be assumed to be most interested in your business, while those who subscribed with no real interest in your services will drop out and can be removed from your lead lists.
Information about email open rates and click-throughs can be used to inform the lead scoring system mentioned below too - with the most engaged customers taking preference over others.
Lead Scoring System
Throughout the lead generation and qualification journey, a lead scoring system allows you to rank leads from best to worst to ensure that your team can focus on the most relevant customers and discard the least.
The criteria that you judge your leads on can be as varied as you like but broadly are best split into who the lead is and how engaged they are with your business. Demographic criteria can include things like their business size, geographical location, and approximate budget. Leads can also be ranked on how many times they’ve engaged with your business (as a measure of their interest), what relationship you share with them, how you were introduced to each other, and which of your online marketing material they’ve interacted with.
If your lead generation materials are up to scratch you should have lots of relevant information about each lead that you can use in the ranking process.
Some CRM tools include automatic or manual lead scoring systems which can be particularly useful for ranking by engagement and demographics - but this is possible without one by setting out criteria and having someone take the time to assess your leads.
So how does your filtering system perform? Try implementing some of the tips here, and let us know what lead quality improvements you experience in your business.